Following corruption charged levied by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Jersey City Education Association President Ron Greco says that outgoing local school board President Sudhan Thomas should resign.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“A board of education trustee should serve as a beacon of hope for the children and parents in a community and not be bogged down with controversy and uncertainty,” JCEA President Ron Greco said in a statement.
“Although we believe the American principle of justice that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the allegations against Mr. Thomas are very troubling and his legal woes have become a distraction and are detrimental to progress for the students and staff of the Jersey City Public Schools. In light of his ongoing allegations and investigations, we feel it would be for the betterment of the district for Mr. Thomas to resign immediately … ”
The JCEA endorsed Thomas in 2016, where he won a three-year term, and supported his unsuccessful re-election bid last month. His term expires on December 31st of this year.
Yesterday, Thomas was one of five charged in a corruption sting by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which also included former Bayonne Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell.
Thomas allegedly accepted $35,000 in cash bribes for a 2021 council run in exchange for promising a cooperating witness, who has since been identified as tax attorney Matthew O’Donnell, special counsel work at the board of education.
The recorded conversation allegedly has Thomas saying “nobody questions all of that stuff” when the cooperating witness suggested being named special counsel for real estate matters.
Incoming school board Trustees Noemi Velazquez and Alexander Hamilton, who ran on the opposing “Change for Children” slate and bested Thomas at the polls, also expressed disappointment with the charges.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when the rule of governing becomes synonymous with corruption. Our children and their futures are the biggest victims … The incoming board may have to take a hard look of all contracts approved in the last three years to ensure they were approved with the highest level of integrity,” Velazquez said.
“To many, this announcement does not come as a big surprise. It’s shameful how Sudan selfishly used his board seat and the children of Jersey City in an attempt to advance his own political and ambitions. Jersey City parents and taxpayers can rest assured the new leadership will hold all board members accountable on a daily basis,” Hamilton added.