North Bergen Housing Authority official arrested for alleged extortion
The director of operations for the Housing Authority of North Bergen was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of allegedly extorting employees of a maintenance company contracted by the authority, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The Housing Authority is federally funded and oversees local subsidized and senior housing.
John T. Kennell, aka “Jack Kennell,” 49, of North Bergen, was charged with one count of obstructing and affecting commerce by extortion under color of official right and induced by fear of economic harm.
“The North Bergen Housing Authority learned of Mr. Kennell’s arrest this morning,” said Executive Director Diane Peirano-Ingvaldsen of the North Bergen Housing Authority. “He has been suspended without pay, effective immediately. We take this matter very seriously and are fully cooperating with the investigation.”
The complaint makes these allegations:
“While the director of operations for the NBHA, Kennell [allegedly] used his official position to extort cash payments from employees of a company (Company 1) that provided repair and grounds maintenance services. Kennell, who supervised the employees of Company 1 working for the authority, [allegedly] accepted cash payments in amounts ranging from $100 to $400 from employees for, among other things, facilitating additional paid vacation days for these employees. Kennell assisted in securing these additional paid vacation days by [allegedly] falsely reporting to Company 1 that the employees were working at the NBHA, when they were, in fact, traveling outside of the United States. Between Feb. 2008 and June 2011, Company 1 compensated employees for approximately 80 days of unauthorized vacation, totaling $12,498, because of Kennell’s [alleged] actions.
“Kennell [allegedly] accepted approximately $2,000 to $2,500 in payments for his official assistance in this fraud. He also [allegedly] accepted cash payments of approximately $50 to $100 from an undocumented employee of Company 1 for permitting that employee to twice change the alias that employee was using to continue working...”
The extortion count charged in the complaint carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Coupon book fundraiser is underway
United Cerebral Palsy of Hudson County, Inc. in North Bergen is raising funds to support programs for the developmentally disabled by selling Entertainment 2008 Books. The cost is $30 for Monmouth, Bergen, Essex, Morris, and Middlesex Counties and includes hundreds of discount coupons.
For more information, or to order a book, call Peter LaBarbiera at (201) 662-8120 or (551) 265-3512.
Youth Football Registration is ongoing
North Bergen’s Youth Football registration will be held Monday through Friday 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lou Piantadosi Youth Center (Pop Warner Building) at 6300 Meadowview Ave. or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Recreation Office during the month of August or until all teams are full. Kids are urged to sign up early. This will be open to boys ages 7 to 14. Girls cheerleading is open for ages 7 to 11 and pom poms are for ages 5 to 6.
Volunteer coaches are needed, so if interested call (201) 861-9601 or (201) 869-6950.
Come to the Health Awareness Fair
Gospel Tabernacle and Casa Mama Doňa are sponsors for From Head To Toe, health screenings free of charge on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There procedures available include certificates for mammograms and paps, on site breast exams, certificates for prostate exams, cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, glaucoma and dental screenings. Gospel Tabernacle will also have back to school giveaways which will be backpacks (pre-register with Maria Perez to receive them while they last), school supplies, games for kids such as face painting, cotton candy, balloons and much more. A barbecue will also be available with hot dogs, hamburgers and sodas. The event will be at Gospel Tabernacle, 5029 Kennedy Blvd.
For more information contact Maria Perez from Casa Mama Doňa at (646) 379-4471 and to register your organization email firstname.lastname@example.org. For any further information go to www.gospeltab.org or call (201) 863-1000.
Summer Concert Series scheduled
Guttenberg’s Summer Concert Series continues on Wednesday, Aug. 22, with “The Infernos” performing Doo Woop to Disco. The entertainment begins at 5 p.m. with the main event taking place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. between 71st and 70t streets on Boulevard East.
The Summer Concert Series continues through Wednesday, Aug. 29.
‘Fame Jr.,’ The Musical, is Aug. 24 – 25
On Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25, North Bergen Public Library will host the musical “Fame Jr.” in the North Bergen High School Auditorium, 7414 Kennedy Blvd., at 7 p.m. Admission is free to the public.
Palisades Medical Center’s Casino Night set for Aug. 23
On Aug. 23, Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen will create an event for all municipalities in Hudson and Bergen Counties. Waterside will be transformed into a Las Vegas-style casino for Palisades Medical Center’s sixth Annual Casino Night. The event will begin with dinner from 6 to 7 p.m. Gambling will take place from 7 to 10:30 p.m., followed by the drawing of a Super 50-50 and other raffle prizes.
Casino Night admission is $100 per person and includes a buffet dinner (beer, wine and soda) and $150 in casino chips for guests. The guests can try to tempt Lady Luck at either Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em, Poker, Craps, Roulette and much more. Additional chips can also be purchased throughout the evening. Guests will be able to redeem chips at the end of the event for raffle prize tickets.
Casino Night is planned and organized by the Palisades Medical Center’s Auxiliary, a team of dedicated volunteers that works throughout the year to support the Palisades Medical Center Foundation.
For tickets or more information, please call Denise Whitley at (201) 854-5011. Those interested can also visit www.palisadesmedicalfoundation.org .
Little Miss Schuetzen Park applications available
Applications are available for the 46th annual German-American “Little Miss Schuetzen Park Beauty Pageant” to be held on the occasion of the Oktoberfest-in-August celebration. The pageant will take place Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18 and 19. Admission is $6 for adults and children get in for free. Funds will be donated to the Fritz Reuter Altenheim Continous Care Retirement Community along with other charities. It is sponsored by the Plattaduetsch Volksfest-Vereen of New York and New Jersey (PVV). Teri Nemeth is the president of the PVV.
Girls of German or part-German extraction who are between the ages of 7 to 12 are eligible. For applications call Co-Chair Mrs. Kathleen Solorzano at (201) 927-0898.
There will be seven winners for this pageant and those chosen will receive a free gown and will ride on the Little Miss Schuetzen Park float in the Steuben Parade which will be held on New York’s Fifth Avenue on Sept. 15. Mrs. Katherine Solorzano and Ellen Gloistein are co-chairs and John R. Lawrora, is the senior chairperson.
Some of the highlights of the Oktoberfest-in-August celebration include target shooting at the Regulation Range in the Senator Lounge in the park; and the Masskrugstemmen competition that will be held on both days. You can try the potato pancakes, bratwurst, hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, coffee and cake in the Senator Lounge. The affair and pageant will be held at Schuetzen Park, 3167 Kennedy Blvd., North Bergen.