Alicea’s suit had alleged that the city and Mayor Dawn Zimmer discriminated against him because he is Hispanic and complained about improprieties in the police department that he was tasked with overseeing. An eight-member jury ruled 6-2 in favor of Alicea in his charge against the city, but absolved Zimmer herself of any wrongdoing by a 7-1 vote.
Zimmer testified that she asked for Alicea’s resignation after she felt that he’d lied to her about whether he'd met with Solomon Dwek, the federal informant involved in Operation Bid Rig, which resulted in the arrests of dozens of political figures. (There was no accusation that he accepted money, but simply that he failed to tell the truth to Zimmer that he had taken a meeting with Dwek.)
Zimmer has said in the past that she asked for Alicea’s resignation following the revelation that he had met with Dwek during Alicea’s run for City Council in 2009.
Alicea’s lawyer, Louis Zayas, recently denied that the meeting, which Zimmer claimed took place in 2009, ever took place, despite an article in NJ.com saying it did.
"The jury obviously did not believe Mayor Zimmer when she testified that Angel Alicea lied to her in a meeting in 2009 regarding ... Solomon Dwek,” Zayas told NJ.com. "My client is a very hardworking man and a very proud man and a large part of this case was about clearing his name.”
As public safety director, Alicea earned $27,000 per year to oversee the fire and police departments on a part time basis. Following his resignation, former Jersey City police officer Jon Tooke was given the job on a full-time basis with an annual salary of $110,000.
The city’s spokesman, Juan Melli, declined to comment on the proceedings until the jury has concluded its full deliberations. The jury is expected to decide today whether Alicea should be awarded any punitive damages. – Dean DeChiaro