Ex-Guttenberg Mayor Dave Delle Donna, who served a four-year prison sentence after being convicted on extortion charges, says a $20 million construction project in town is damaging the structure of his home.
We met with Delle Donna at his home on 68th Street, which is right next to the Anna L. Klein Elementary school for 6th and 7th graders. He said that the demolition process started about three weeks ago and is consistent from about 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
He also admitted that over 12 years ago when he was still in office, he advocated for the school renovation – which will serve as a space for extra classrooms during the day and convert into a recreation center at night and on weekends.
Della Donna added that he considers current Mayor Gerald Drasheff and the current town council “friends” and “good people,” although he doesn’t believe they understand the impact this project is having on his home.
A look at one of the outside walls of his home showed obvious cracking that follows the block pattern of the structure.
When Hudson County View reached Drasheff on the phone, he said the town is following all the proper guidelines for the $20 million project.
“Basically, the contractor is doing everything according to state standards and it is being monitored by engineers. They did a survey during the blast process, but Dave refused to let them in,” the mayor said.
Additionally, a letter sent to local property owners “adjacent to our project” from Protec Documentation Services, dated May 20, 2015, says they wished to conduct “a pre-blast inspection,” further stating “all blasts will be monitored on portable field seismographs.”
Delle Donna made national headlines in 2008, when he and his wife were convicted on tax evasion and extortion charges, allegedly accepting bribes from a local bar owner, who pleaded guilty to harboring illegal immigrants as part of a human trafficking ring and testified against the Delle Donnas as a cooperating witness.
The gifts were said to include a Yorkshire terrier and cosmetic breast surgery for his wife, among other things.
When Delle Donna was questioned about the ordeal, he maintained the same stance he’s had from day 1: that he never committed a crime and was shocked that the testimony of Luisa Medrano, the bar owner in question, was taken seriously.