In West New York, former Urban Enterprise Zone coordinator Alain Gomez and ex-Police Director Al Bringa had six-figure lawsuit settlements approved at Wednesday’s board of commissioners meeting. Gomez cashes out with $155,000, while Bringa will take home $271,000.Â
In Gomezâ€™s federal lawsuit, filed back in February of last year, he alleged that Roque and other town officials plotted to fire him as the Urban Enterprise Zone Coordinator after he would not fundraise for the mayor while on town time.
He also claimed that he was fired when he would not provide Roque the names of the people contributing to Recallroque.com, an anti-Roque website being run by Freeholder Jose Munoz under the pseudonym Maria Pasquale. Gomezâ€™s attorney, Victor Afandor, did not respond to an email from Hudson County View.
Bringaâ€™s Hudson County Superior Court suit, which was filed back in April 2013, alleged that Mayor Roque considered him a political enemy due to his close relationship with ex-Mayor Sal Vega – who was a bitter enemy of Roque at the time.
Further friction was created when he planned on firing Michael Acosta, then-Deputy Mayor Silvio Acostaâ€™s son, after an internal affairs investigation found he illegally accessed confidential information on a public employee he was stalking and harassing.
Through the suit, Bringa said that the day before Roque took office in 2011, a â€œrepresentativeâ€ of Roque met with Bringa to ask him the status of the investigation, which he refused to disclose.
The next day, Roque met with Bringa and said if he did not resign, he would be fired, according to the lawsuit.Â Two weeks later, Bringa put in his retirement papers.
Roque later rationalized the move by saying that the town was saving money by not having to pay Bringaâ€™s salary of roughly $194,000.
Scarinci later clarified that he did not have a copy of the Bringa settlement in front of him at the meeting, and that Bringa would be paid a total of $271,000 by February 2016, with another possible $90,000 in attorneys fees going to Zayas in the event that insurance did not cover the costs by July.
Bringaâ€™s attorney, Louis Zayas, told Hudson County View that he was â€œhappy to move forward with this unfortunate situation in an amicable manner with Mayor Roque and his administration.â€