WEST NEW YORK – Local media reports stated Sunday that West New York Mayor Felix Roque removed $29,500 from the Democratic Municipal Committee account just before he was voted out as chairman last week, leaving a $2,000 negative balance. On Monday Roque explained the negative balance was due to a check that had not yet cleared, and that as of that day the balance was back to zero.
Committee Treasurer Cosmo Cirillo claimed there was still a negative balance on Monday morning.
In fact, on June 1, $14,500 had beentransferred to the “Friends of Dr. Roque” account, and on June 4, $15,000 was transferred to the civic group associated with the mayor called “West New York Forever.” The checks were signed by Deputy Mayor Silvio Acosta, who had the ability to handle committee checks, Roque confirmed.
However, the act of moving the money out of the committee account was not illegal and within Roque's rights.
“The moving of money that was in the account isn’t illegal,” Cirillo said. “It's a matter of being unethical and inappropriate. The $2,000 is the concern of the committee and it's being looked into, which is a disservice to the committee itself.”
“I knew after being forced out of the town by the [political] machine that my chances were very slim in winning the line,” Roque said Monday in regards to his 44 to 13 loss of the Hudson County Democratic Organization committee seat vote last week. “I prepared accordingly by closing all the accounts in order to prevent the new committee from ravishing our earnings, and the money will go back to the town through our nonprofit.”