Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II will not face criminal charges stemming from a Nov. 11 fight outside the Haven nightclub at the Golden Nugget casino, the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday.
The two elected officials will still face a Dec. 11 Municipal Court hearing on citizens' complaints filed by three employees of the Haven nightclub, the prosecutor said.
"Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland announces the Cape May County Prosecutor's office will not be pursuing any criminal charges regarding the altercation that took place outside of the Golden Nugget Casino between Atlantic City Mayor, Frank Gilliam, Atlantic City Councilman, Jeffree Fauntleroy II and certain employees of the Haven Nightclub," the prosecutor said in a short news release.
The matter was ordered transferred out of Atlantic County by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Late Wednesday, the state Attorney General's Office released security footage from the Golden Nugget that shows the fight erupting in the valet area shortly after the men exited Haven nightclub. The silent video shows the mayor, wearing a cap, first arguing with two men, as a woman attempts to restrain him. Around the 4-minute mark, the mayor can be seen running after the men alongside a row of cars and throwing punches in their direction. Fauntleroy can be seen throwing one man to the ground.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who has authority over the city under a state takeover, has called the allegations "troubling," but said she would await the outcome of any criminal proceedings before weighing in.
Jim Johnson, the special counsel appointed to oversee the takeover under Gov. Murphy, said via a text message that the administration "has decided to wait until the end of the criminal process before commencing an administrative review."
"The allegations are very troubling and you can expect the State to continue to look at the facts and weigh in after the criminal complaints are adjudicated in municipal court," Johnson said. A similar statement was issued from Oliver later in the day.
Complaints filed by citizens are typically handled in the same way as a disorderly persons summons signed by a police officer.
The brawl took place at 2:30 a.m. in the valet parking area outside Golden Nugget, following a dispute inside the casino. Faunteroy said in an interview that the two men were leaving the club when they were followed out by employees, which resulted in the altercation and complaints.
Gilliam was reported to have "swung and missed" during the brawl.
Lt. Kevin Fair said Gilliam did not have his police detail with him at the time of the altercation. An Open Public Records request filed with Atlantic City as to whether he or Fauntleroy were driving the city-issued SUV assigned to the mayor was pending.
Gwen Lewis, chairperson of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee, which has called for its fellow Democratic elected officials to step aside from their posts and forfeit their salaries pending the outcome of the case, said she was "very upset" and "disappointed" with the decision. The committee has called for the state to intervene.
"If it were anyone else, they would have been charged for their behavior," she said. "It's unprofessional and it's conduct unbecoming of a public official. They should be held accountable just as any other citizen.
"The conduct is outrageous," she added.