Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam has been cleared of charges of assault and harassment stemming from a fight in the early hours of November 11 in the parking lot of the Golden Nugget Casino.
A video of the fracas, between Gilliam and City Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy and three employees of the Nugget’s Haven nightclub, was widely shared online late last year. While Atlantic City police declined to charge the two elected officials, two Haven staff members — Joseph Camarota and Greg Aulicino, a VIP host — both filed complaints.
Charges were dismissed against Gilliam. His punches — at least those seen on the surveillance tape — failed to land, but his companion, Faunterloy, whose aim was truer, was fined $500 on one violation of a city ordinance against obstructing traffic.
Fauntleroy admitted his actions had impeded traffic from moving out of the Golden Nugget valet area,
The justice system proved itself to be what we said from the very beginning,” said Gilliam afterwards, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s basically about moving Atlantic City forward.”
His lawyer, Vincent Campo, said the mayor had been accosted and had attempted to protect himself. “We’re happy the mayor was exonerated, as we knew he would be of any illegal or untoward conduct,” he added.
Not Welcome Back
Both plaintiffs were in court, Thursday, and agreed to dismiss the complaints against Gilliam and to amend the complaint against Fauntleroy.
Aulicino said it was good to “see someone that’s taking responsibility for their actions.”
It’s a shame to see public officials behave so poorly,” he added “It makes my job a little bit harder to promote the city of Atlantic City when you have someone like Jeffree Fauntleroy putting a black eye on Atlantic City.”
Asked if the two elected officials would be welcome back at Haven, Aulicino said, “I don’t believe so,” The Inquirer reported.
The fight occurred just days before Gilliam’s house was raided by the FBI, for reasons still unclear. Agents were seen removing cardboard boxes and computer equipment from his home on December 3.
Questions have been hanging in the air since last year when Gilliam was accused of misappropriating a $10,000 check from the Atlantic City Democratic Committee.
The committee accused Gilliam of theft after he rerouted the check into his campaign account. The mayor claimed it was an administration error and returned the money.
In April, a New Jersey Superior Court judge dismissed a criminal complaint against Gilliam, saying there was not a “scintilla of evidence” that this had been anything but an honest mistake.
But The Press of Atlantic City has reported sources who have said they have been questioned by the FBI over additional campaign checks made out to others that Gilliam had allegedly placed in his own account.