MORE OPRA FALLOUT: Morose Nixon in Zealous Hunt to Find Hidden Jews

It got to the point that Jackson Township’s Business Administrator Helene Schlegel, MS, MPP, CPM was begging former Council President Robert A. Nixon to stop his hunt for alleged hidden gatherings of Jews in local homes throughout Jackson.

Helene details how code enforcement checked out several of the reported homes and repeatedly came up empty of illegal behavior: “We are wasting valuable time and money checking every complaint that comes in. … We have other more serious issues, heroin drug houses, etc. These are the issues that we need to be concentrating on.”

The above email was among the trove of stunning revelations found in the latest OPRA release from the Township. The emails reveal an obsessive hunt for alleged hidden gatherings of Jewish residents to pray on Friday evening and Shabbos, even though there was no illegality, noise, traffic or other bothersome activity alleged. Despite peering in windows, and counting pedestrians and cars, Jackson code officials found nothing, despite repeated directives from the town to track the Jews down. Ignored were the home prayer groups held by a long time Jackson pastor in his home for over 20 years, for his group no such directive was issued.

Councilman Nixon – who serves as Director of Government Affairs for the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, and as a Professor of Government at University of Pennsylvania – was exceptionally active in the Jew hunt.

Why would a Town zealously pursue legal home peaceful prayer assemblies while sidelining issues such as drug dens?

The publicized emails reveal a frightening pattern reminiscent of Americans’ worst fears about “Big Brother Watching.” Counting the number of people walking into a home, how many cars are parked in a driveway, at what time people arrive and whether “a Bible” was observed. In one stunning email, Zoning Officer Jeffrey Purpuro even observed how two of the targeted homes, on separate streets, “both have the same style blinds on all of the windows, first and second floors.”

On at least one occasion, Councilman Nixon personally drove down towards a property that has been cleared by Code Enforcement in order to report back that a greater number of cars were seen in the driveway the following week. In one mostly redacted email to Township Attorney Jean Cipriani, Mr. Nixon appears to have searched online for an Orthodox Shul directory and appears to relay a Jackson address for investigation.

The Jackson Attorney, part of the law firm of the powerful Ocean County law firm owned by power broker George Gilmore, later relayed to Mr. Nixon a draft ordinance that would more effectively limit allowed places of assembly, which “would better survive (legal) challenge.”  On another occasion, Mr. Nixon vowed to a complainer “I’ll drive by, take picture” regarding a curb allegedly damaged by residents.

It is particularly ironic to note that Orthodox Jackson residents have repeatedly reached out to Mr. Nixon and other Township officials, seeking a constructive dialogue on the construction of proper synagogues that respect Township and resident concerns. The Township refused to cooperate with them.

On the other hand, the emails reveal that Mr. Nixon made himself extremely accessible and helpful towards residents complaining about Orthodox neighbors and seeking to enact ordinances in response to their existence. For instance, Mr. Nixon invited Kelly Kanis, a vocal agitator, to call or text his personal cell phone and promised, “I am always open to new ideas.”

The paranoid Nixon hunt is reminiscent perhaps of the infamous Richard Nixon paranoia. Jackson’s Nixon’s actions are no surprise: given Mr. Nixon’s own words regarding the diversification of Jackson. In one email, he responded to a resident who complained about Orthodox Jews who had moved in; “Breaks my heart” the Councilman remarked. He used similar language in an email regarding Jews buying homes in Jackson’s Harmony Farms neighborhood: “It’s heartbreaking.”

“It breaks many hearts and likely the law, that a leading Township official finds that the presence of Orthodox residents to be heartbreaking,” remarks one distraught Jackson resident. “It is sad that Mr. Nixon invests so much personal time and effort to find non-existent violations amongst Orthodox residents, as opposed to focusing on issues far more important to all residents of our beautiful town. It is even more frightening that he is misdirecting official public resources and dollars in his hunt,” said the resident.

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    • No one should buy it, he doesn’t deserve to make a profit from us frum people wanting a quiet affordable neighborhood…..ironically his house is on Jefferison Ct. (off Reagan ct) close to the Imperial Place which is being marketed by Imperial……Nixon is an outright Anti-Semite, he sent code enforcement to follow Jews walking home on shabbos, we have it on video!!

  1. It sure seems like Nixon and his ilk were born in the wrong century and in the wrong country. He would’ve done quite well for himself in the Germany of the 1930’s..

  2. Sounds very similar to Russia under the communist regime. To my friends in Jackson. Next time Nixon comes checking on you just hide the sforim and take out your draidels. Very sad see how low these officials stooped too.

  3. If Jackson won’t approve zoning for synagogues, and they act like the KGB trying to find hidden prayer groups, is the township effectively saying that no Jewish place of worship will be allowed in Jackson? They think they can get away with this? I love this new attitude of taking them on you seem to have now.

  4. This is chilling beyond anything we’ve been witnessing. We always “assume” they are a biased but perhaps relatively reasonable people on the other side of the debate. This is grossly revealing and now we know the playbook they’re using. It’s frightening but also emboldening. Now we see what we are up against and not going to play so politely and nicely anymore. The township will bankrupt itself on attorneys fees. Hope the national outlets pick this up.

  5. Even in 2017 we’re dealing with a bunch of ignorant anti-semites we’re watching the very closely closely I mean where they go what they do and I’m not going to elaborate more we’re monitoring the situation very closely and we will not sleep for 1 minute until this is resolved

  6. Ironically no other news outlets are reporting on this, this should be national news, apparently no one cares!! What people don’t talk about is the Yuppies buying homes from orthodox families in Williamsburg and the Asian community knocking on doors in Boro Park to offer high dollars for houses there!! Double standard much??

  7. Maybe Nixon may work for the Spanish Inquisition, he certainly acts like a throwback bigot from the 13th century. Not to mention his creepiness in stalking Jewish residents’ homes. If I lived lived in Jackson I would take out a restraining order against this monster. He seems really bored and obsessed with Harassing Jews. Creeps me out big time. University of Pennsylvania and NJ State PBA are both very fine institutions, but I ask you the following: do you want to associate with this menace who is “heartbroken” that Jews are moving into Jackson? Do you want to continue associating with a council member who REFUSES to even speak to a Jewish resident yet gives his personal cellphone number to avowed anti-Semites?? Do the right thing and please disassociate from this threat to democracy immediately.

  8. It should be clear to all that anti-Semitism is the only factor in how this council operates. To deny this fact is to deny reality itself. To deny this fact is to embolden the racists by giving them cover and ensuring that this horrible behavior continues. I implore all public officials to please put a stop to what is going on in Jackson. Jackson is a beautiful place to live, with amazing residents who want to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors, regardless of color or religion. Unfortunately, there are a minority of residents and council members who have nothing better to do with their lives than ti harass Jews. People of Jackson, STAND UP TO THIS HATRED! You deserve better, and you, and only you can put a stop to this.

  9. Can Dennis @ 101.5 please explain to me onee again how the jews are wrong for assuming anti-semitism behind these ordinances. I’m really having a hard time following his logic at this point.

    On another note, can someone post a contact at the University of Pennsylvania one can forward these e-mails to and get their comment? I would love to hear from this “haven of open mindness”.

  10. I only wish Jackson Strong would JUST monitor and report to zoning. But their vile behavior is harassment, bordering on assault.

    There’s one young man in a pickup truck who drives by Cross St every Shabbos, honking, swerving his car towards us, and sticking out his middle finger at every Jew coming home from Shul (children included). A few weeks ago he even pulled over to tell my 16 year old daughter, who was walking home alone from Shul ” **** you Jew.”

    Another woman in a white sedan deliberately swerves toward everyone walking home from shul on White Rd every erev shabbos, (as there’s no sidewalk). 2 months ago she swerved so close that the wind from her car knocked my 4 year old daughter to the ground. And we were well behind the white line marking the border of the street, and all wearing reflector belts.

    I try to be friendly and give a polite hello to the Jackson Strong “neighborhood watch.” But their only response is: “move back to Lakewood you ****ing Jew.”

    Why can’t zoning (or the police) accompany us to shul for just one shabbos to see the vile behavior our children are exposed to?

  11. I would expect Nixon and Calogero to resign..shame on them and their obsession with Jews…..stalking Jews just because their Jews ..WHERE IS THE APOLOGY…..the A.g. is going to hit Jackson hard

    • don’t be fooled it’s not just calogero and nixon they’re ALL (mayor, council memebers etc.) complicit in this despicable behavior. yes and the AG should waste no time in teaching the haters a long overdue lesson

  12. Moshe, you need to report the harassment and assault you are experiencing to the Police immediately! Also, it is imperative to report it to the NJ Attorney General. In my conversations with the NJAG’s office, they were very helpful and asked me to report any harassment or discrimination I experience. The matter you are alleging is very serious and and needs to be brought to the attention of the Police and the Attorney General’s office. If it happens again take down the plate number and report it to the proper authorities. It also wouldn’t hurt to report these actions to the ADL.

    • What good would it do for just one person to complain. The whole community needs to come together, get their license plates, take pictures of them just like they take pictures of our houses, and report everything they do in our neighborhood just like they report everything they see US do in OUR neighborhood.

      This has become the new normal in the Cross St/White Rd area. I don’t want to complain as just one person, getting into a ‘he said, she said’ confrontation. once we have a group willing to come together and report these people as a community; and someone (the media, zoning, police) to actually listen; only then can we expect to have such vile hatred addressed.

  13. It’s pertinent to note that ad hoc weekend orthodox prayer services have been taking place in jackson since the fifties and sixties. There was even a shul gor a while near the liquor store at the corner of hope and veterans. When that closed there were families who made the trek to the old shul on park avenue in lkwd! I wonder how long mr. Nixon’s history goes in jackson.

  14. I don’t think it is good to make a National issue out of it it will bring to much unwanted attention and exposure never to good in Golus. better to deal with it in a Local Level and realize this is only a Temporary issue as it is only a matter of time until a Third of Jackson becomes Jewish with elected Jewish people to the city Government

  15. @Moshe – It need not be a group. A car swerving close to you is a form of vehicular assault. If you have even a partial plate you need to report it Immediately. And if they knocked down your daughter its definitely vehicualr assault. It snot a joke. This is extremely dangerous.

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