Former council candidate, JCHA Chair Lori Serrano indicted again
Former Jersey City Council candidate Lori Serrano, one of 46 public officials who was arrested in an FBI sting operation in 2009, has been hit with a second superseding indictment that charges her with mail fraud, on top of other charges she is already facing.
According to the new grand jury indictment, released Dec. 1, in the spring of 2009 Serrano received two $5,000 cash payments from Solomon Dwek, a cooperating government witness who posed as a real estate developer with an interest in building a project on Garfield Avenue. The indictment further alleges that Serrano diverted this illegal cash contribution to her City Council campaign, and used a portion of the money for personal expenses.
The diversion of this cash, according to the indictment, caused Serrano’s campaign to submit state election contribution reports that Serrano allegedly knew were inaccurate. These falsified campaign contribution reports were sent in the mail to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, which constitutes the alleged mail fraud in her case.
In addition to being a former City Council candidate in 2009, Serrano was also chairwoman of the Jersey City Housing Authority and served as a Democratic committeewoman for Jersey City’s sixth district.
Serrano had previously been charged in December 2009 with accepting illegal campaign contributions from Dwek. The second superseding indictment adds the new charge of mail fraud.
Serrano pleaded not guilty to the original charges filed against her.
Clock ticking on Jersey City’s Ward F vacancy
With the clock ticking, there is still no word on who might fill the Ward F vacancy on the City Council.
The vacancy, created when former Ward F City Councilwoman Viola Richardson won an at-large seat during last month’s special election, currently leaves the governing body with eight members.
According to a spokeswoman for Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, by law the vacancy must be filled within 30 days of the election certification.
To fill the vacancy, the mayor will make a recommendation to the eight members of the council; the council will then vote on Healy’s recommended appointee. In the event of a 4-4 tie, Healy gets to cast the tie-breaking vote.
Since results of the Nov. 8 election were certified by Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert on Tuesday, Nov. 15, the mayor and council have less than two weeks to fill the vacancy.
When asked when the mayor might make an announcement regarding his choice for the Ward F seat, Healy spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said “discussions and interviews to fill the Ward F vacancy on the City Council are underway.”
Due to the holidays, the City Council has only one public meeting this month, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, with a caucus meeting scheduled for Monday, Dec. 12.
Town Hall meeting on school budget process
On Monday, Dec. 5 the Jersey City Board of Education will host a town meeting titled “Understanding the School District Budget.” The meeting will take place at the Franklin L. Williams Middle School (MS 7) at 222 Laidlaw Ave. at 6 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation on the budget process, budget realities, and the ways in which the public can have input.
JC native Patrice O’Neal dies after suffering October stroke
Jersey City native Patrice O’Neal died last Tuesday, less than two months after the rising comedian suffered a stroke in mid-October.
Before his death, O’Neal, 41, appeared on “The Office,” “Arrested Development,” and recently was featured on the “Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen.”
Liberty Humane Society changes public hours
Beginning this month, the Liberty Humane Society (LHS) has changed its public hours as part of a plan to boost adoptions and to provide better pet health services to the community, according to the staff.
The new adoption hours will be Monday through Friday 2 to 7 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
“It is our hope that with these extended hours we can offer better access to our adoptive animals and continue to create loving families,” says John Hanusak, president of the LHS Board. “Shifting our public hours and opening later in the day will allow people who work during the week more opportunities to visit the shelter, while also providing them with a calmer, more positive environment in which to meet their ideal pet.”
LHS will also add an additional low-cost Wellness Clinic each month, to be held on a Wednesday night, to help bring more comprehensive preventative pet health services to Jersey City residents. LHS currently offers a low-cost clinic two Sunday mornings each month for vaccinations and affordable preventative services.
“We have seen an increase in attendance at our Sunday morning clinics and there has been a consistent demand to add an extra day of service to accommodate people’s work schedules,” explained Irene Borngraeber, director of Development and Operations. “It is our hope that by providing affordable access to pet wellness services we can limit the number of animals surrendered due to preventable illness, and keep families together.”
For more information regarding these Wellness clinics, please visit www.libertyhumane.org/wellness.php or call Borngraeber at (201) 547-4147, ext. 1006.
Bulgarian dance performance is Dec. 11
The traditional Bulgarian folk dance troupe, Goranga Dance, will give a performance on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 12:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 38 Duncan Ave. Elissaveta Iordanova will direct. There is a $10 suggested donation.