By JOHN T. WARD
A video posted on YouTube Monday shows Red Bank Council President Art Murphy mocking the customers of a now-closed billiards hall as “hippie mother****ers dying for a ****ing quarter” who wouldn’t pay for parking, leading to the demise of the business.
“They don’t want to put the money in the meter,” Murphy insists to a group of young men surrounding him at a social event. The business, Lucky Break Billiards, would still be ****ing open” if the clientele had more money, he insists to one.
Murphy called the YouTube posting evidence of “a cynical world.” James Hertler, a Lucky Break partner who alleges local officials forced him out of business, said it shows a “command performance” by Murphy.
The surreptitiously made 38-second video, posted by someone identifying himself as “Frank Jaurez,” is titled “Drunk Red Bank Council Man Art Murphy Bashes local business.” Text posted with the video alleges that Murphy was “drunk” and “crashed” the event, for which no date or location is given.
The video shows Murphy, shot from the side and down low, jabbing his finger as he argues with at least two other partygoers.
In an interview Tuesday, Murphy told redbankgreen that the occasion was a party held last December at the home of a neighbor he declined to identify, and said he was not aware he was being recorded.
“I guess I’m not even safe in a neighbor’s house,” he said.
“You get 39 seconds. The whole conversation isn’t there,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t really show the whole argument.”
Though he said he’d prefer the video not be published on redbankgreen, Murphy said “it is what it is,” adding that he was leaving it up to others to try to have it removed from YouTube.
Here’s what Hertler had to say, in an email response to redbankgreen’s request for comment:
Hertler has asserted in the past that Lucky Strike went out of business in early 2014 in large part because of mistreatment at the hands of borough government.
As documented in a redbankgreen article published in November, 2013 – see “Lucky Break’s Shattered Dream” – Hertler said the business was shut down by police in September, 2013 for hosting bring-your-own-beer-and-wine events characterized as illegal.
The shutdown, at which patrons were instructed to pour out their drinks, occurred even though Mayor Pasquale Menna, the borough council, zoning officials and the police department were aware that BYOB was the basis of his business, Hertler insisted.
Lucky Break reopened after a three-month closure when the council agreed to let it operate as it had for 18 months. But the loss of revenue during the interim put the hall in arrears with its landlord, and Hertler said he was forced to close it in January, 2014.
The space Lucky Break rented, at 14 West Front, has been vacant since. It was vacant for four years prior to the billiards hall opening in 2012.