Espana, a one-time political liaison to Fulop’s 2013 mayoral campaign, had her first court appearance on April 2 via teleprompter, at which time a public defender assigned to her case entered a plea of “not guilty.”
Police officers responded two weeks ago to a call for a possible burglary at the mayor’s Ogden Avenue home at about 7 p.m. and found Espana inside, officials said.
A police source with knowledge of the situation said Espana – although charged with burglary – apparently did not actually break into the house. The source said she appears to have been waiting outside the house when Fulop and his wife returned home.
“Fulop and his wife unlocked the door and then went back to collect some packages when she [allegedly] went into the house,” this police source said. “His wife went upstairs, where she found the woman standing.”
According to the criminal complaint against her, Espana allegedly said to Jaclyn Fulop, “I had done bad thing to people especially you.”
Espana, who was Fulop’s pick for a 2012 city Woman of Action Award, has been charged with burglary, harassment, and stalking, according to city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione.
“Fulop and his wife unlocked the door and then went back to collect some packages when she (Espana) went into the house.” – A police source
The March 25 incident has raised questions about a previous incident in which Espana was allegedly found in Fulop’s office in City Hall last June.
Allegedly, Espana somehow managed to evade City Hall security to get into Mayor Fulop’s office. Police sources and published reports said she was found sitting at his desk. The mayor was not in City Hall at the time.
A police officer familiar with security at City Hall said it wasn’t difficult to get past the mayor’s secretary if connected with the campaign. “There was no buzzer on the door to the inner office at the time,” the source said. “She could have even said she was with the campaign.”
Although no criminal complaint was filed at the time, police sources said additional security measures were installed after the incident, including a buzzer to the secretary’s office door.
Espana lives about ten blocks from Fulop’s home in the Heights section. She was rumored at one point as a possible candidate for Ward C council. She was described as a very active member of Fulop’s 2013 campaign.
“She was always there, always working,” said a source close to the campaign. “If you turned around, she was right there. She was an extremely hard worker and was very involved with helping the campaign.”
This source said Espana was instrumental in striking a deal between the Fulop campaign and jitney drivers to have his campaign advertisements placed on the sides of jitney buses throughout Jersey City.
“He [Fulop] gave her some kind of title for that,” this source said.
Espana is also employed at least part time in a nearby school district as a substitute teacher.
Mayor Fulop did not comment on the situation, and he reportedly asked those close to him not to comment as well.
City Hall sources said investigators may be looking at things Espana may have posted on social media.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.