CARTERET — With three weeks to go before Election Day, the race for mayor has moved from Mayor Daniel Reiman running on his record to having to defend himself from decades-old rumors of sexual misconduct.

Reiman has filed a defamation lawsuit against multiple people, including: his Republican challenger, the borough's Republican chairman and the man making the allegations, who said he never wanted them to be made public this way in the first place. Reiman has denied the allegations made against him by former Carteret resident Mohammed Radwan, who he said he has known for many years.

In his lawsuit against Radwan, the mayor cites a letter in which Radwan calls him a “sexual predator who preys upon under-aged boys. I know, because I have witnessed and experienced it myself,” the complaint says. In his lawsuit against Republican Challenger Fred Gattuso, Reiman said he has several websites, including a Facebook page and YouTube channel for his campaign that “typically contain false and misleading statements” that Gattuso uses “to promote his own political interests and undermine his political adversaries.”

In addition to spreading word of the allegations made by Radwan, the mayor said Gatusso and his running mate, Tony Gallo, have spread rumors about an arrest for driving while intoxicated, that he said never happened.

“It’s been really an interesting and sad campaign from the other side while we attempt to run on the issues,” Reiman said.

Reiman said neither Radwan nor the other defendants in the lawsuits have any credibility to their allegations, and he looks forward to seeing the legal process play out.

“We have a signed affidavit from his own wife and his best friend saying that his allegations are absolute bull***t, and that he started a year ago on this mission to destroy me because I stopped talking to him years ago,” he said.

Gattuso and Gallo said they were not responsible for a social media post about Radwan’s allegations against Reiman, only sharing a post they had seen as part of a larger effort to promote their campaigns online. In addition to being the chairman of the Republican committee in the borough, Gallo is also running for a seat on the governing body.

“These allegations that are coming out from Mohammed Radwan are rumors we’ve been hearing about him in the public in Carteret for over 20 years, before he was ever in office,” Gattuso said.

He also said he knows of other possible victims of the mayor’s, but said they are “scared to come out because of retaliation.”

“This man and this administration have been known to retaliate against people and try and ruin their lives,” he said.

Radwan said he had not wanted his story to be made public this soon before the election. He said he had wanted to tell his story a year ago, and had talked to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office about the allegations. He said he was told they could not bring charges against Reiman because the statute of limitations had expired. He also said he had not planned for the allegations to become political fodder against someone he has known for so long.

“What it looks like is he’s got a challenger who has a big election going on and he’s doing what he’s gotta do,” he said. “Based on what I’m seeing, the Republican Party is a bankrupt party. They have no money, they have no support in the town because people are afraid to support them.”

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday would not comment on whether there had been an investigation against Reiman.

Radwan said part of the reason he did not come forward with his story sooner was because he was embarrassed, and also because he thought nobody would believe him with his criminal past.

Seeking his fifth term as mayor, Reiman said he wants to prove a point in the lawsuits and then move on to continue to serve the town.

“In this day and age with Donald Trump in the presidency, in the White House, whether you like him or dislike him, people think that you can say anything you damn well please and you’re allowed to get away with it,” he said. “It comes to a point where you’re going to defame somebody, where you’re going to slander somebody, you’re going to be held accountable.”

Even after so many elections, Reiman said this one is in a class by itself.

“This is a name and reputation I spent 20 years building and I’ll be damned if this gang of thieves are going to try and steal it from me,” he said.

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