Cumberland County Freeholder Director William Whelan said Tuesday he has asked Freeholder Louis N. Magazzu to resign after nude photos of Magazzu were posted to a website.
"I just think Lou's behavior is awful," Whelan said. "We need to address it. None of us can resign for him. I hope he makes the right decision."
Whelan said he asked for the freeholder's resignation three weeks ago. Magazzu, however has not submitted his resignation.
Calls to Magazzu were forwarded to attorney Rocco C. Cipparone, who said he did he could not speak to any calls for resignation. Cipparone added that nothing Magazzu did touched on his office or involved any government property.
Whelan said he would assign Freeholders James A. Dunkins, a Democrat, and Thomas Sheppard, a Republican, to review the situation through the ethics board. The Freeholders will also appoint three people to reconstitute the county's dormant ethics panel at the next board meeting, Whelan said.
Cipparone said that Magazzu had separated from his wife Carmele for more than two years, and was going through the process of a divorce.
Last year Magazzu began an online relationship with a woman whom Cipparone would not identify. In mid-to-late-January, Cipparone said, Magazzu sent her the naked pictures of him at her request. Cipparone said there was never a physical relationship.
The photos of Magazzu appear on magazzuwatch.com, a website established in December 2008 by Millville resident Carl B. Johnson. The site describes itself as "a non-partisan political watchdog group focused on tracking and reporting the abuses of power practiced by the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders."
Cipparone would also not address how the photos got from the woman to Johnson, but said he did not believe the motive was blackmail.
On his website, Johnson wrote that the woman "contacted me out of the blue this year" and he directed her and her photos to Cumberland County media. When none immediately responded, Johnson wrote he "reluctantly revealed them."
On the website, Johnson first posted a waist-down photo picture of Magazzu on July 7. Johnson added another mostly nude photo, apparently taken in a mirror, on July 8 and a topless photo on July 19. Magazzu's genitals were cropped out of each image.
The photos were republished repeatedly, with Johnson seeming to taunt Magazzu, writing on July 25, for instance "I made sure to tag all images properly to ensure that Google indexed them - we want to be sure that when people ‘Google' Lou they get the ‘whole picture!'"
Johnson wrote that he believed Magazzu was complicit in Johnson's arrest in late 2010 for unspecified reasons.
Johnson, 49, is a painter, mural installer and web designer who described himself as an "outlaw artist" on his personal website, wuli.com, explaining his political philosophy as "anarcho-liberal-republican."
On his personal site he wrote "I hate all politicians because they are bottom-feeding scum and high-class hoodlums looking for legal ways to pillage," adding "It is nobody's business who is sleeping or committing fellatio with whom."
Johnson has been involved with an array of arts- and community-related organizations in and around Millville, and has also chaired the Millville Republican organization. He published the former INFERNO-no boundaries arts publication, along with several books and was a one-time member of
The Press of Atlantic City's Citizens Editorial Board.
On July 21, attorney Rocco C. Cipparone, Jr. wrote to an attorney he believed represented Johnson, asking he take down the photos and stop sending them to others.
The letter from Cipparone, of Haddon Heights, Camden County, said that Johnson's posting of the photos could expose Johnson to potential criminal charges and civil liabilities.
Quoting Johnson's website, Cipparone's letter said that Johnson seemed to acknowledge transmitting the photos to an array of people including newspapers and political leaders. This could lead to third-degree charges, Cipparone wrote.
Cipparone also wrote that Johnson seemed to defame him on his websiteby suggesting he committed a crime of stalking him and committing official misconduct.
In an interview, Cipparone said that he was retained shortly before the letter went out, adding on Tuesday morning "Mr. Magazzu is evaluating all of his options and will make a decision."
In response, Johnson set up a legal defense fund on his website, soliciting donations. Johnson wrote "The posting of the abridged photographs on this website does not violate any law, whatsoever," adding later Magazzu is not the first politician to be caught with his pants down. "I am guilty only of exposing the truth. I may be the first whistle-blower, however, to be persecuted and illegally prosecuted to fulfilling my duty as a citizen and watchdog."