New Jersey politicians are accusing local labor leaders of bullying a state Assemblyman at Bart Blatstein's entertainment venue, "The Playground".
According to a report in The Press of Atlantic City, a confrontation and brief fight went down two weeks ago at an Atlantic/Cape May County AFL-CIO fundraiser attended by city and county politicians and local labor leaders.
The event was held at the Philadelphia-developer's newest venture: a $50 million makeover of The Pier Shops at Caesars, located on the Jersey Shore town's beleaguered boardwalk.
Roy Foster, the union's president, told the newspaper that when state Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, a Democrat, walked into the reception on Aug. 7 he was immediately approached by four men.
The four men, Foster confirmed, were members of Ironworkers Local 350, and are also associates of Atlantic County Freeholder Will Pauls.
Pauls is the Ironworker chapter's business manager. Pauls, a Republican, is also challenging Mazzeo for his Assembly seat.
The four men then proceeded to curse and verbally taunt Mazzeo, who left after the confrontation.
Foster told the newspaper the confrontation was over the union endorsement of Mazzeo instead of Pauls.
Two of the four men told the newspaper they asked Mazzeo why he's not fighting for them on North Jersey casinos.
Later in the night a brawl ensued that involved associates of the two candidates and included "shattered glass and shouting."
James Schroeder, Atlantic County Democratic chairman, told the newspaper ""Will Pauls engaged in a game of political intimidation, plain and simple."
Former Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans was punched, but it was intended for someone else, the union leader said.
Foster, the union president, told the newspaper: "Don't judge all union members because four Ironworkers whose local business manager is a candidate for state Assembly decided to confront the sitting Assemblyman over an endorsement."
Pauls said in a statement to the newspaper that he didn't remember seeing the Assemblyman at the event.