Fake website, genuine friendshipBy Cristina DC Pastor
“Gary Abasolo for Jersey City Mayor.”
@abasoloformayor. Founded June 2014. Dedicated to Jersey City’s favorite son. 156 Likes.
Nothing about this Facebook page strikes the reader as amiss. But if you’re from Jersey City, you know that lawyer Gary Abasolo, 47, was never a candidate for mayor. Not in 2014 when the fan page was created, not in the years that followed. His name never appeared in the ballots, and there was never any flier showing his boyish face.
The website is a fake. The only reason it has not been shut down by Facebook is because no one has complained. Not Gary, who is a civil case attorney, not his family, nor his clients.
“Someone offered to make a donation to his campaign, but we did not do anything to encourage it or it would constitute fraud,” said Almor Dayoan, 36, an accountant at Booking.com, who created the site.
More than the site’s creator, Almor is a friend of Gary for more than a dozen years. He created the site as a prank. As a matter of fact, he created it knowing Gary wouldn’t mind and would probably think it’s funny.
He shared with The FilAm how it started.
In June of 2014, they were hanging out at a friend’s living room. Recalled Almor, “I’m a New Yorker and I like to make fun of New Jersey or Jersey City where Gary is from. He would sometimes get annoyed. I told him, since you’re so passionate about Jersey City, why don’t you run for mayor?”
That same night, the “Gary Abasolo for Jersey City Mayor” fan page was born.
“Initially, a lot of people thought it was real,” said Almor.
When he saw the page, Gary just gave a shrug. He told The FilAm, “If it bothered me, I would have asked Almor to close it down a long time ago.”
The page would take on a life of its own, with people Liking it, asking how to make a donation or calling Gary “Mayor.”
“Many of my friends nowadays actually call me Mayor Gary or sometimes as just Mayor, as basically a nickname, which I don’t mind at all,” said Gary. In fact, when one does a search for Gary Abasolo, the fan page comes up high in the ranking alongside his law practice.
“Sometimes I think he enjoys it,” joked Almor.
The friendship dates back to 2005 when the two crossed paths at the Jaycees International. Gary preceded Almor by three years. In 2006, he became vice president for recruitment services and Almor was named auditor. From that time on, the two became best buds as well as motivated JC officers. They would watch basketball together or go out for drinks after work. They make it a point to meet once a week.
“We’re pretty close,” said Gary. “Almor is a laidback type of guy, easygoing. He is a jokester.”
Almor likes that Gary is very passionate about sports and politics and does not take offense when he pokes fun at his opinions. “He knows it’s all in good fun, and we have a good laugh.”
He continues to update the page with photos and videos of Gary. He plans to generate more Likes for the page by offering to raffle off movie tickets. One thing he will never do is to embarrass his friend or ridicule him publicly.
“I will not cross that line,” he said.