In at least two special elections for mayor on Nov. 4th – in Passaic and Bayonne - attroney and big money Democratic Party donor Donald Scarinci stands to lose money if the other side wins.
In Passaic, Scarinci’s powerful firm, Scarinci and Hollenbeck, has the lucrative city attorney contract, with a base salary as high as $600,000 annually, not including add-ons.
City supervisor Vincent Capuana says if elected mayor he would look at trimming the firm from the payroll.
Countering that claim on the day he endorsed former School Board President Alex Blanco, Acting Mayor Gary Schaer said Capuana’s designs on in-house legal work likely wouldn’t save the city money.
In Bayonne, Scarinci represents Fidelco-Roseland Property, a residential developer of the Bayonne peninsula, site of the former Military Ocean Terminal.Read More >
PASSAIC - With his career at the state level apparently in ascendency, a handful of Trenton allies didn’t think Assemblyman Gary Schaer(D-Passaic), the new chairman of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, should get in the middle of this ground-level, five-man mayor’s contest.
Other factors are already at work, none of them good, including a jailed former mayor, two busted former councilmen who are still visible in city politics, a third councilman defiantly digging in on the governing body against federal corruption charges, and an impaneled grand jury, which each day threatens to intrude on the campaign process by toppling yet another public official.
Moreover, some of the candidates competing - seemingly nice guys - in any event seemed too close to the man everyone still refers to around here as "Sammy," as in Sammy Rivera, the former mayor who had a good run for about five years before corruption caught up with him in his second term and the feds bagged him on bribery charges.Read More >
Passaic mayoral candidate Alex Blanco says he is not the high-ranking public official implicated in a new indictment of former Councilman Jonathan Soto.
Federal prosecutors added to Soto’s indictment yesterday, alleging the former councilman received cash payments from undercover agents posing as health insurance contractors. The government says Soto received money in exchange for exercising his official authority to secure business with the City of Passaic, including the Board of Education.
Blanco, who served as school board president during the time, insisted he never played any role in the case.
"I absolutely deny any involvement in that, and I unequivocally deny that Mr. Soto solicited any payments on my behalf," said Blanco, who called Wednesday’s news regarding Soto "shocking."Read More >
In his filing this week with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), Passaic real estate developer Jose Sandoval showed the richest mayoral campaign, although he slightly trails city supervisor/School Board President Vincent Capuana in cash on-hand. Sandoval lent his campaign $47,830, which is entirely how he’s funded his run. He reported a closing balance of $1,007.85.
Capuana has raised $10,633, and reported a closing balance of $2,116.58. City Councilman/landlord Joe Garcia reported $18,800 raised, which includes a self-loan to his campaign in the amount of $7,500. He closed this period with $539.45 in the bank.Read More >
Marcellus Jackson, who resigned his seat as a Passaic City Councilman after admitting that he took $26,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent, remains involved in politics as a he awaits sentencing. According to a report by PolitickerNJ.com's Max Pizarro, Passaic mayoral candidate Vincent Capuana has ackowledged that Jackson has been volunteering on his campaign. Last night, he worked the door at a Capuana fundraiser collecting money from donors. “Twenty years of friendship are 20 years of friendship,” said Capuana campaign manager Jose Alex Ybarra told Pizarro. “Loyalty is very big with many of us.”Read More >
PASSAIC - One candidate’s revelation that someone offered him a bribe to get out of the mayor’s race has touched off a battle of words between the campaigns of two old friends, who grew up in the same neighborhood here.
Carl Ellen, a candidate for mayor in the City of Passaic, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office today postponed until next Thursday what Ellen described as his scheduled Grand Jury appearance. "I was told to appear at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Trenton at 10 a.m.," said the candidate. Ellen yesterday said he received a subpoena from U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s office to answer questions about a $25,000 bribe the local businessman said someone offered him as a reward for getting out of the mayor’s race.
Carl Ellen, a candidate for mayor in the City of Passaic, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office today postponed until next Thursday what Ellen described as his scheduled Grand Jury appearance.
"I was told to appear at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Trenton at 10 a.m.," said the candidate.
Ellen yesterday said he received a subpoena from U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s office to answer questions about a $25,000 bribe the local businessman said someone offered him as a reward for getting out of the mayor’s race.
PASSAIC - If body language is one of those factors observers use to score debates, on Sunday evening they could at least imagine four mayoral candidates frantically typing answers to questions posed by a moderator at Passaic Jews.com.
"Arranging an online chat session with mayoral candidates is one of the crazier things I've done in my life," admitted debate organizer Moshe Feigin in an email written shortly after the conclusion of the two-hour forum.
The public could make judgements about the various candidate’s speed in response, as answer after answer appeared on screen, registered by physician Alex Blanco, School Board President Vincent Capuana, and real estate developer Jose Sandoval on a broad range of topics.
Citing a family emergency, bailbondsman Carl Ellen did not participate in the online debate.Read More >
PASSAIC - The streets throb with Mariachi rhythms as the floats and red, white and green-draped cars move slowly through Passaic and the public men and women wave to the crowds that spill finally into the yard of Public School Number 11 in the 2nd Ward: a confluence of food, flags, bodies and music.
All pay homage to Mexican independence.
The lead singer dances on stage and sing about Mexico and women, and arms in the crowd sway to the horns and guitars and in the background in the middle of supporters wearing red shirts with his name printed on them stands a subdued man in a gray suit.
Councilman Jose "Joe" Garcia shakes hands with a lot of people who pass. They know him. He has nine children, and has served on the School Board for 12 years, and as councilman for the last seven years.Read More >
PASSAIC - The arrest last week of Passaic City Councilman Gerardo Fernandez on corruption charges dredged up the Sammy Rivera era again in the middle of a mayor’s election.
A candidate for mayor, Councilman Joe Garcia was on the governing body when the now disgraced and jailed Rivera told an FBI plant that he could deliver four votes on the City Council in favor of a dummy insurance contract.
Garcia defenders say Councilman/mayoral candidate Garcia was not one of Rivera’s four sure bet votes, but rumors persist.
An indictment already identified Councilman Marcellus Jackson as one of the council people implicated in the failed Rivera scheme. Former Councilman Jonathan Soto was also implicated.Read More >
PASSAIC - On Main Street, the tower looms over everything like the past.
Vincent Capuana and Carl Ellen grew up here together and now they’re running against each other for mayor in this immigrant city dominated by an old Art Deco building you can see all the way from the high ground in Paterson, which teemed with business 40 years ago, and now stands abandoned.
The Sicilian, and the African-American from Macon, Georgia came of age in the same Washington Place neighborhood, on the same block, right next door, in Passaic.
"I’m not going to say anything bad about anyone in this race," said Ellen, now 65, sitting in his bailbondsman’s office at the corner of State and Passaic streets. "All of the men I’m running against are caballeros y carinosos."
Gentlemen and affectionate.
They are, all told, Ellen and School Board President Capuana, physician Alex Blanco, real estate developer Jose Sandoval and Councilman Joe Garcia.Read More >
Democratic Party insiders are converging tonight on the Morristown home of attorney Phil Sellinger.Read More >
Days Since Last Christie Press Conference (Jan. 9)
Bridget Anne Kelly’s attorney says lawmakers rushed to judgement An attorney for former top Gov. Chris Christie administration official Bridget Anne Kelly filed paperwork arguing his client shouldn’t have to comply with a legislative subpoena. The documents, filed by Kelly attorney Michael Critchley, argues lawmakers rushed to judgment...
By Suzanne M. Walters When unions representing local police and firefighters cannot agree to new contract terms with local governments, State law mandates that the parties submit to binding arbitration. A third-party referee, then, sets the... Read More >
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