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Freeholder Calls Paterson Mayor ‘Punk,’ ‘Slimy Coward’ After National TV Interview

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, Theodore Best (inset).
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, Theodore Best (inset). Photo Credit: FACEBOOK

Passaic County Freeholder Theodore Best called Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh a “slimy coward” and “a punk” in a Facebook post Thursday night following a nationally televised interview the mayor gave MSNBC about the city’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although initial projections were that 8,000 Paterson residents would contract COVID-19 by April 15, the actual number on that date over a month ago was about 2,500, Sayegh said, praising the work of city health officials and contact tracers.

“It could have been far worse,” Sayegh said during an MSNBC interview segment with Chris Hayes entitled “How the mayor of NJ city built one of the best contact tracing systems in U.S.”

“As the whole country starts the push to begin contact tracing,” a promo for the spot reads, “there's one city in New Jersey that seems to have it figured out.”


Chris Hayes talks to Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.


Best then posted on his Facebook page: “Did he really just say Paterson only has 2,500 positive cases of Covid19? Last time I checked it was 6,000 confirmed with an estimated true number of 15,000 using most models.”

Best then personally attacked the mayor, calling him a “self serving, credit seeking slimy coward.”

Sayegh “is a punk” who “will do or [say] anything to serve himself.”

The mayor took the high road in response: "Those comments were very unfortunate, unprofessional, and unbecoming of a public official."


As of Wednesday, state health officials reported 15,426 total confirmed coronavirus in Passaic County  with 855 deaths (16,772 cases according to county officials).

The municipalities with the highest numbers:

  • Paterson: 6,717
  • Passaic: 2,921
  • Clifton: 2,688
  • Wayne: 1,265

Personal animosity between the two men unrelated to politics is an open secret in the city.

Sayegh, a former school board member and city councilman, was elected mayor in 2018. Best, who also served on the school board, has been a freeholder since 2011.

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