A political action committee financed largely by contractors doing business in Bergen County paid for an event celebrating the county Democratic party's election night victory last November in Hasbrouck Heights, the Star-Ledger reported Wednesday.
The PAC that covered the $10,033.54 event, the New Leadership Council of New Jersey, was created by Daniel Ortega, a former Democratic party official under ex-chairman Joe Ferriero. The former party chair was indicted on mail fraud charges, but his conviction was later overturned.
Ortega said the PAC was not seeking to hide contributions, according to the report. The celebration was not an official Democratic party event, he said.
"The purpose of this PAC is to support current and new candidates who bring new leaders to the political process," Ortega said in an e-mail to the newspaper, adding he was the main organizer.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Ferriero political foe who visited a "VIP suite" on a different floor from the celebration, said she thought the event was the party's regular election night function and was "disturbed" that Ferriero aides remained involved in the party, according to the report.
The Democrat's new chair, Lou Stellato, has taken steps to mend fences and make the party more open, Weinberg added.