Those stories were among several written in the Jersey City Reporter in 2004 that seemed to drop from public discussion after that, but are worthy of follow-up. Or as former talk show host Arsenio Hall used to say, "Things that make you go hmmm."Threatening Lou
It was one of several incidents that put an unflattering spotlight on the nasty Jersey City mayoral campaign in November of 2004. Eleven candidates were scrambling to replace former Mayor Glenn Cunningham, who died of a heart attack last year.
One of the more bizarre events was mayoral candidate Louis Manzo, a state assemblyman, asking the New Jersey State Police for protection.
A week before Election Day, rumors began to surface of a possible "hit" after a low-level campaign worker for Steve Lipski's campaign was questioned by police for allegedly defacing Manzo campaign signs. Sources said that when police questioned the worker, the worker accused Lipski of asking him to beat up Manzo.
Lipski, who does not have a history of such incidents, promptly went to the media, denying any involvement in the matter. He said he looked forward to any investigation into it. Lipski at the time also said that he believed it was another candidate who spread the rumors.
At the time, Manzo said that he could not comment on the matter since state police were conducting an investigation into the threat.
The campaign worker in question, said Hudson County Prosecutor Edward J. DeFazio last week, was Nelson Delgado, an alleged former member of the Latin Kings gang who previously served jail time for the aggravated sexual assault of a child and was facing more jail time for child abuse.
Last week, DeFazio said that Delgado is currently a fugitive being sought for failure to appear at a sentencing in State Superior Court in Jersey City on Nov. 19 for fourth degree child abuse and at a hearing on undisclosed charges on Oct. 28.
DeFazio said that what was interesting was that Delgado had worked on two separate campaigns: Manzo's, and then Lipski's.
"Delgado apparently worked on campaign of Louis Manzo, then went to work for Steve Lipski," said DeFazio.
DeFazio said that anyone with information on Delgado's whereabouts can contact the Hudson County Sheriff's Office.
DeFazio added that investigations by the NJ State Police and Jersey City Police Department are closed.
Lipski said that on Nov. 3, the day after Election Day, he and his campaign consultant Bob Burke spent four hours at New Jersey State Police Headquarters in West Trenton being questioned by State Police troopers on the matter.
"It was a humiliating experience and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but the State Police troopers treated me with the highest dignity."
Lipski said in November that he did not know about Delgado's criminal record and that Delgado came to his headquarters and wanted to work.
Lipski also called on Manzo, as well as former mayor Gerald McCann - who was Manzo's adviser during the mayoral election - to submit to a polygraph test.
McCann, when reached at home last week, said that he would be glad to take a polygraph test along with Manzo, Delgado, Lipski and Bob Burke, so there would be evidence of who is telling the truth and who isn't.
McCann also said that he was interviewed by telephone by the NJ State Police. He said he told them that Delgado did work under one of Manzo's official campaign workers, but did not work directly for the campaign.
Manzo did not return calls to his legislative office. 'Glenn Cunningham Way' overdue
At the funeral of late Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham last June, his close friend Ward F City Councilwoman Viola Richardson announced that she would take action to have Montgomery Street, from West Side Avenue to Exchange Place, renamed Glenn D. Cunningham Way.
At a City Council meeting three weeks after the funeral, the council voted 8-0 for a resolution that would have Glenn D. Cunningham Way bestowed as an honorary title and wouldn't require residents to change their addresses.
However, there have been no ceremonies since the resolution went into effect in July 2004 to erect any signs.
The chief of staff for Jerramiah Healy, Carl Czaplicki, said last week that there are plans under way to have a ceremony.
John Yurchak, the director of the Public Works Department, said Wednesday that he was contacted by Czaplicki the night before regarding the signage. He said he had to "ask a whole bunch of questions" because he did not know if the signage was under way. Later, it was clarified that the signage was already finished by the Traffic Engineering Division of the Public Works Department.
Viola Richardson said Wednesday night that a ceremony originally scheduled for Jan. 28 to unveil the new street signs has been postponed.
"This was done at the request of his widow, Sandra Cunningham, who asked me that it be done at a later date. And I wanted to respect her wishes," said Richardson, adding that an appropriate date should be in May, around the time of Cunningham's death. Remembering Derrick
Derrick Benbow, a 17-year old Lincoln High School student, was on his way to school on the morning of Oct. 21 when he was struck by an eight-ton street sweeping machine at the corner of Communipaw and Arlington avenues.
Benbow suffered a fractured skull and a broken leg, and succumbed to his injuries and died four days after being hit.
An initial investigation done by the Jersey City Police Department determined that Benbow was about to walk off the curb near the corner of Arlington and Communipaw avenues when the machine hit him, and he may have been wearing headphones and was unable to hear the encroaching machine.
Family members of Benbow, however, held a press conference in the parking lot of the Incinerator Authority the day after he passed away, where they said that a witness to the incident came forward and claimed that the driver of the machine had been flirting with her and was not paying attention to the road.
That witness was brought by police officers to the JCPD Accident Investigations Unit, where she was interviewed for over an hour before being driven home by a police escort.
At the time, the director of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority Oren Dabney said that the driver, a five-year employee of the JCIA, had undergone toxicology tests to see if had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The tests turned out negative. Dabney also said at the time that the driver has been on leave and was receiving counseling.
Loretta Wilson, Benbow's oldest sister, said last week that the family has retained the services of local attorney Francis Dorrity. The lawyer has subpoenaed the reluctant witness.
The JCIA has retained a lawyer to defend itself in case of any litigation. Dabney was out sick last week and could not be reached for comment. Wilson said she found out from the lawyer's office that the driver is back at work. Still flickering
On Nov. 7 at approximately 6 p.m., tenants at the 111 First St. found themselves under siege when a fire broke out in a vacant fifth floor studio.
The fire caused not only fire and water damage to the studio in question, but also caused water damage to other units on the floors below the studio, as well as flooding of the basement area.
Many of the tenants, who had been in an afternoon meeting to discuss a hearing in State Superior Court, already had their suspicions that the fire was started deliberately, in connection with their struggle with the building's owner.
The Jersey City Fire Department Arson Investigations Unit said the fire was started as the result of a gas pipe dislodged from a heater in the fifth floor studio. They said the blaze was accelerated by rags and paper and candles that were placed near the heater. They launched an arson investigation.
The investigation has so far resulted in the arrests of two employees of the building for obstructing the investigation. But no names were released and there have been no further details provided on the investigation because it is ongoing.
Last week, Capt. Lou Legregin of the Jersey City Fire Department Arson Unit, who is supervising the investigation, said that the two building employees were arrested were charged with "hindering apprehension" and that they spent a short time in custody but were released.
He said he was unaware of when they were bailed out and by whom.
Legregin also said that the investigation is still active and that a number of tenants and employees were interviewed.
"Some people came forward on their own to be interviewed, and some people came with attorneys. And then there were some who came with attorneys who did not submit to an interview," said Legregin.
When asked who were the persons who did not cooperate with the investigation, and whether these persons needed to be subpoenaed in order to be interviewed for the investigation, Legregin said that he was instructed by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office not to offer any more details on the investigation. He said that all of the tenants who they wanted to interview cooperated. Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com