GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Residents through social media say the township’s ex-Mayor Don Purdy went too far in forcing a business to cancel a fundraising event to be held for an opposing political party.
The event, advertised as a meet and greet to support local Democratic Council candidates John O’Kane, Elizabeth Egan, and Walead Abdrabouh, was scheduled for the evening of October 23rd at Tailgaters, a local sports bar and grille. On the eve of the event, the organizers were notified by Tailgaters ownership that they needed to cancel the event out of “concerns” that retaliatory action would be taken by customers if the event proceeded as scheduled at the establishment. The local election in Galloway has been heated in recent weeks and Tailgaters ownership cited the political climate as the reason for cancelling.
The event organizers believe, however, that the event was not cancelled due to concerns over customers but rather from fear that retaliatory action would be taken by ex-Mayor Purdy against the business if the event proceeded. Though no longer an elected official, Purdy still holds influential positions on the Township’s Planning Board and on the Economic Development Committee through appointments by Township Council. The organizers cite evidence on social media as proof of Purdy’s involvement.
O’Kane had posted a reminder on his social media page reminding Facebook friends about the event. The social media post shows Purdy commenting with the word “CANCELLED!” almost immediately after the O’Kane post was made, indicating that Purdy knew of the cancellation even before the event organizers themselves knew.
“I am saddened to know that in 2019 somebody that was mayor of this town and is still heavily involved in the Planning Board would try use his influence to adversely harm a private business person’s livelihood,” O’Kane wrote on his Facebook page. “In this day and age when Galloway needs business ratables to reduce the tax burden on residents more than ever, is this really someone we want involved in government?”