‘Let’s Go Brandon’-chanting Official Causes Ruckus at NJ Restaurant, Manager Says
HOWELL — The township's deputy mayor is facing calls for her resignation after she was accused of threatening to spit in the face of a restaurant manager.
The target of Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond's reported ire revealed the allegations during the public comment section of the Township Council meeting on Tuesday.
Kimberly Shulskie, a manager of The Ivy League Restaurant in Howell, she Richmond and her boyfriend John Bitner had a "very disturbing and unhinged" argument on Oct. 9 after they began chanting the anti-President Biden slogan "Let's go Brandon" at the bar while watching a football game.
Shulskie — a Republican supporter for former President Donald Trump — said she calmly told them to stop as it was riling up other customers and she was concerned about things turning violent.
"Her and her partner's reaction was so aggressive and irate because they were drunk. Come to find out in hindsight they had both been at (co-owned) Chapter House drinking before they showed up at Ivy League and they were drinking the night before," Shelsky said.
Bitner and Richmond began shouting profanities and told Shulskie to "take off your mask so I can spit in your face" as children and families watched.
Shulskie said the pair climbed up on the bar, screamed in her face and threatened to have her fired.
"They tried to intimidate me by telling me she hoped I liked my job because I won't be there tomorrow and that I should call the owner Bob Jaspin so that they could both scream in my face," Shelsky said.
Richmond, a Republican, said she has hired an attorney but did not address the allegations during the meeting.
Police got involved
Shulskie said she was going to call police when Richmond and her boyfriend refused to leave. Shulskie, who said she didn't know at the time that Richmond was deputy mayor, said she tried to de-escalate the situation by walking away as Richmond bad-mouthed her to customers.
"Her and her companion's actions are completely inappropriate and despicable for a deputy mayor and community servant, which is why I am bringing this incident to light," Shelsky said at the meeting. "This type of person should not be governing any part of municipal government whatsoever. She has a drinking problem and she should see help."
Shulskie said she filed a police report and has security video of the incident.
Police Sgt. Peter Kuppler told New Jersey 101.5 that officers took a report of harassment involving Richmond and Shulskie on Oct. 9. He did not know if a complaint was signed.
A person who answered the phone at The Ivy League said the restaurant's management had no comment and declined to provide a copy of the video.
A call to step down
Two members of the council offered their apologies for Richmond's behavior.
"I'm very sorry that you had to experience that. It's inappropriate, unprofessional, unethical," Mayor Theresa Berger, a Democrat, said. She later called for Richmond's resignation, which was greeted by applause from the audience.
John Bonevich, a Democratic councilman, called the manager's account a "very serious allegation." He said the council has received emails about Richmond's behavior.
"The Deputy Mayor continues to use her position to intimidate, harass, and destroy people's lives when they disagree with her. This is unbecoming of an elected official," Berger told New Jersey 101.5 in an email. "This isn’t the first offense, and unfortunately I believe not the last. I stand by my decision, that she should resign from council, before the rest of the complainants come forward, worsening this situation. The deputy mayor didn’t even have common decency to apologize. It might have gone differently for her but her arrogance is her worst enemy."
Richmond does not appear to have plans of stepping down from her position. She posted the music video to Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" on her Facebook page and called it her theme song.