Saily Avelenda was targeted for her participation with NJ 11th for Change, the same group that pressured Frelinghuysen to hold a town hall earlier this year and held empty-chair meetings when he refused.
The fundraising letter covered the basic plea for donations, indicating there are national and local forces at work against the conservative agenda, but Frelinghuysen added a personal note at the end: “P.S. One of the ringleaders works in your bank!” Accompanying the letter was a news story that referenced Avelenda.
Though she wasn’t fired outright, Avelenda told WNYC News the letter and ensuing confrontation with superiors did factor in her decision to resign her position as assistant general counsel and senior vice president.
“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. 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,” Avelenda said.
In a written statement, Frelinghuysen’s campaign office said of the incident:
“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.”
Lakeland Bank did not respond to WNYC News’ request for comment.