WEST NEW YORK MAYOR BLASTED: State Ed Dept. recommends legal action against Roque, others; Roque responds, saying it's political payback
Apr 25, 2013 | 2763 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Felix Roque is under fire again.
Felix Roque is under fire again.
WEST NEW YORK – The New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) published a report today outlining “potential ethics violations and the abuse of office” on the part of Mayor Felix Roque and other elected officials, mainly concerning the district’s hiring practices and the mayor’s solicitation of political contributions on school grounds.

The report, according to OFAC Director Robert Cicchino, was forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General and to the Division of Community Affairs, along with suggestions that Roque and others have potentially violated the state’s School Ethics Act.

According to the report, “the review was initiated based on concerns that some employment decisions were based on political allegiance and a school district employee’s willingness to make campaign contributions to municipal officials.”

Some of the contributions, including $2,000 tickets to one of Roque’s fundraising events, were made under duress, the report alleges.

“Family and friends who supported the mayor were hired, promoted or reassigned to more desirable work environments,” the report alleges. Conversely, those who expressed support for the former mayor, Silverio “Sal” Vega, whom Roque ousted in a 2011 election, or declined to contribute to his campaign, “were selected for termination, demotion or reassignment to less desirable work locations.”

Roque, reached on the phone, accused the former administration under Vega of sending state offices after him, and denied any wrongdoing.

“All I have to say is that the old political corrupted machine has been trying to use the arm of the law to eliminate me from the beginning,” he said. “The fact that I beat them and won by a landslide victory must have pissed them off very much.”

Roque is already under indictment on federal hacking charges relating to an incident last May when he and his son, Joseph, were arrested for allegedly hacking into a website advocating for his removal from office.

The report is dated April 19, but pursuant to New Jersey law, it was published on the district’s website this morning.

The report says that such practices have been commonplace in West New York for years, but that “under [Roque], the amount of contribution solicited from school employees and the method of solicitation raised a new level of concern.”

Roque said that until he reads the full report, he will continue to work for the betterment of the town.

To read the full report, go back to hudsonreporter.com and scroll to the previous breaking news item on this issue.

“I will not subject myself to any of their political subjugations,” he said. “They will try their best to knock me down, but my goal is to govern and make this town better, and I’ve done a great job of that so far.” – Dean DeChiaro

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