Union City settles illegal arrest, abuse of power suit with ICE agent for $100k

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The City of Union City has settled a lawsuit with a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, who alleged that Mayor Brian Stack repeatedly used government resources to harass him, for $100,000. Union City Commissioners

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The city settled the lawsuit back on December 27, 2016, but it was not made public until court documents were released by John Paff, the chairman of Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project, today.

Through his attorney Thomas Mallon, ICE agent Ricky Patel alleged in a November 26, 2014 lawsuit that Stack, also the state Senator of the 33rd Legislative District, berated him by exclaiming “I am the f**king Mayor! This is my city! F**k the feds!”

The friction began after Patel said he thought a woman, who turned out to be Stack’s girlfriend, was running a surveillance on his New York Avenue apartment and received a note on his car that said his vehicle “was part of an ongoing investigation,” according to the suit.

Eventually, Patel allegedly asked the woman why she was parked in front of his apartment, prompting her to call Stack, who arrived, and continued to shout obscenities at the agent before local police arrived and escorted Patel to their headquarters.

According to the suit, a police lieutenant told Patel that she was concerned federal agents were “conducting an unsanctioned investigation against our mayor.”

The settlement indicates that the neither the city, or any of its officials, admit to any wrongdoing that was alleged in court documents.

Patel said through the lawsuit that this pattern of harassment began around two weeks after the FBI raided the Union City Community Development Agency, which ultimately resulted in five employees or contractors pleading guilty to a bid rigging scheme.

Earlier this month, Stack, a staunch critic of President Donald Trump (R), said that Union City police would not participate in ICE raids as Trump continues to bulk up efforts to deport illegal immigrants.

“It was the Union City insurance carrier’s decision to settle and both parties agreed,” said city spokeswoman Erin Knoedler.

Mallon did not return a call seeking comment.