NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

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SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Regarding Chuck Billingham's Political Coup d’état

Updated 

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

 

" I have the blessing of Jim Beach, the chairman of the Camden County Democrat organization and also the state Democratic organization to proceed with the re-organization of the Gloucester City Democrat Party.”  

~Charles Billingham, former Gloucester City Mayor

(August 30, 2021 Tape Recording transcript)

 

GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (January 26, 2022)--Yesterday, Tuesday, we received a phone call from Charles Billingham who was upset with our Opinion/Editorial column that was published the day before. More specifically he took offense to the following paragraph. 

 

The local Democratic Club is a ghost from the past. It was disbanded. Now one group is being led by King George Norcross and his Camden County Democrat Power Brokers. George was asked to rescue the local Party by former Sheriff Charles Billingham. Forget about the City Democrats who are led by Mike Billingham, Chuck's son. They (the Democrats) are fighting among themselves and many of them have already abandoned ship eager to kiss George's Crown.

 

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gloucestercitynews.net graphic file 

 

During our brief conversation with Billingham, he stated what we wrote in that paragraph was a lie, that he never spoke with George Norcross. He also alleged that we hinted there was a fissure between him and Michael. 

 

Later in the day, Charles submitted a comment to CNBNews that stated in part, 

 

 

You lied that I reached out to George Norcross for help in local politics. The only communication I’ve had with George since retiring was a text regarding a football game between (my beloved) GA Bulldogs and (his beloved ) TN Volunteers (UGA won). I certainly don’t need George to unify our local Democratic supporters. You lied that my son was the leader of the GC Democrat Club (he NEVER was). And worst of all: you despicably lied (in your “figure of speech”) that there was a fissure between my son and me.

 

Last summer, on August 30, Billingham called us and said that he had a breaking news story that he wanted to share. According to the tape of that conversation and our notes, he said,

 

”I don't want to do anything in a vacuum or behind closed doors from now on everything will be in the open. The people I spoke to so far agreed to that open-door policy. I have the blessing of Jim Beach, the chairman of the Camden County Democrat organization and also the state Democratic organization to proceed with the re-organization of the Gloucester City Democrat Party.”

 

“In recent months I met with the present members of the Party and I wasn't hearing anything different coming from their mouths. I just got my tax bill and I saw how high it was this year, I just had to do something. I also have been reading your Peyton and Me Meandering columns and I see the quality of life problems I just didn't like”, said the former Camden County Sheriff, Washington Township Police Chief, Gloucester City Mayor and Gloucester City Patrolman. 

 

Yes, Charles is correct the tape recording states clearly that he asked Jim Beach, the Chairman of the Camden County Democratic Party not Norcross himself to approve his “political coup”.  He also sought the blessings of state members of his Party according to the tape recording we made of that conversation, with his knowledge. 

 

Many people living here have been disgusted with the direction the City has taken over the past decade or more. When we first heard him say he was taking over the Club we were elated. And, when we spoke we told him we were glad someone was trying to change things.

Read the graph in question again, there is nothing nefarious in that 86 word statement at all. Everything that is written was confirmed by Mr. Billingham himself during our taped conversation. 

 

The tape recording of that interview proves that we did not lie. Plus the article with the information we based the Editorial on was first published on August 31, 2021. We spoke with the former mayor the day that article was released to the public. He never said a word that what we had written was wrong. But, for some strange reason, 150 days later, he claims we have lied!  

 

If you don't know George Norcross is the “Political Boss” of South Jersey you have been living under a rock. Nothing happens in the Democrat Party without George knowing about it or without his approval.

 

The Free Dictionary defines a political boss as a leader in a political party who controls votes and dictates appointments.

 

" I am starting my own Democrat organization in Gloucester City. I have resigned from the Gloucester City Democrat Club"

~Charles Billingham, former Gloucester City Mayor

(August 30, 2021, Tape Recording Transcript)

 

 

Billingham, a longtime politician, knew that he needed Beach's okay to move forward with his “political coup.” Like a good soldier, he used the chain of command and he first talked to Beach followed by a meet with the state power brokers. He knew what steps he had to take because he took a similar road when he sought the position of Sheriff. That is how Party politics work whether it is South or North Jersey or in another state. All of those individuals in those meetings were well aware that George Norcross approved Billingham's coup or he wouldn't have gotten this far up the ladder. To suggest Norcross didn't approve the process is preposterous. 

 

As for the insinuation that we attacked his son, he alluded to a “private disagreement” during our recorded interview on August 30. Asked at that time who was in charge of the present Democrat Party, Billingham said,

 

My son Michael is the head of those people, and there is a bit of a private disagreement between us. I have no intention of running for office. I am just an advisor.”

~Charles Billingham, former Gloucester City Mayor

(August 30, 2021, Tape Recording transcript)

 

 

Regarding the local Democrat Club being in disarray. That too is a well-known fact. One of the reasons the members closed the long-time clubhouse at 6 North Broadway was because of that infighting. We asked a former president of the club about that rumor some time ago and he said that was one of the reasons.

 

On a personal note, Chuck, your “Don Corleone” comment at the end of our brief conversation on Tuesday knocked me off my feet. To allude to something that I allegedly did 40 or 45 years ago was beyond belief. As for the other remark it was below a man with your professional background in law enforcement. It was uncalled for and unnecessary. We have been acquaintances for some time. And when your brother needed a pick me up I reached out to help. I never saw this side of you before. I am saddened you would stoop that low. For the life of me, I can not understand your thought process. You tell me your son is the leader of the club and then you say I lied when I published what you said. You say that you and your son have a private disagreement regarding the direction of the local organization but I am lying to suggest there is a fissure between you and he. Our interview was recorded, with your permission. If you want to listen, give me a call, it is 22 minutes long. Maybe hearing it will refresh your memory.

 

As for your other tirade pertaining to spelling and grammar mistakes on our website. We use the app Grammarly. It checks everything we write and highlights any mistakes so we can correct them prior to publication. Grammarly releases a weekly report on our performance weekly. Below are our most recent scores. If you or anyone else sees a mistake we ask you to bring it to our attention so it can be corrected. We are human, like yourselves, as such we make mistakes.

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You have every right to your opinion. I too have that same right. As the saying goes, in this case, we will just have to agree to disagree.

 

Wishing you well.  Say hello to your family for me.

 

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