One of the most powerful lawmakers in New Jersey took petty to a whole new level in March. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen was so angry at an activist that he literally wrote a letter to her boss informing him that one of his employees was being mean to him. The lawmaker’s letter then made it so uncomfortable for the woman, she resigned from her position at the bank.
Saily Avelenda, former senior vice president at Lakeland Bank, says that she was pressured for her involvement in a group called NJ 11th for Change after one of the board members of her bank, Joseph O’Dowd, received the correspondence from Frelinghuysen. According to the letter, which arrived on campaign stationary, asked supporters to donate to his next campaign in advance because he’s under attack:
But let’s be clear that there are organized forces — both national and local — who are already hard at work to put a stop to an agenda of limited government, economic growth, stronger national security.
By “attack” he means NJ 11th for Change was asking him to hold town halls and speak to his constituents. The horror!
At the end of the letter was a footnote, in Frelinghuysen’s handwriting that said,”P.S. One of the ringleaders works in your bank!” The congressman then attached a newspaper clipping that quoted Avelenda.
After the letter was received, Avelenda says her boss confronted her with it and although she was not fired, she was forced to explain herself (because apparently employees are not allowed to work for change outside of work):
I had to write a statement to my CEO, and at my level as an assistant general counsel and a senior vice president, at this employer it was not something that I expected,” Avelenda said. “I thought my Congressman put them in a situation, and put me in a really bad situation as the constituent, and used his name, used his position and used his stationery to try to punish me.
When the congressman was asked about the letter, his spokesperson responded,”The Congressman wrote a brief and innocuous note at the bottom of a personal letter in regard to information that had been reported in the media. He was in no way involved in any of the bank’s business and is unaware of any of the particulars about this employee’s status with the bank.” As for Avelenda, she said, of the letter:
Needless to say, that did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome.
And there you have it folks, the perfect example of a vindictive Republican. He didn’t like that she was asking him to do his damn job and speak to the people he represents, so he retaliated by making her job so uncomfortable she had to leave it. What a piece of shit.