UPDATE: 11:00 p.m.
John Azzarello, of Morristown, was hired to help settle three specific West New York legal matters after a 3-1 vote by the board of commissioners at tonight’s meeting, with Commissioner Count Wiley voting no. Mayor Felix Roque was not present at the meeting.
Prominent criminal defense attorney John Azzarello, who represented West New York Mayor Felix Roque at last year’s federal hacking trial – where he was acquitted of all charges – could help settle three legal matters in the town, pending a vote by the board of commissioners at tonight’s meeting.
Azzarello, who has served as legal counsel for the town Parking Authority since January, is listed under resolution 12 with the description: “to approve the hiring of John Azzarello, Esq. on temporary basis to complete the legal services in connection with the matter of Demarquet vs. West New York, Mario Blanch vs. West New York, and Alain Gomez vs. West New York.”
Blanch, a former assistant to the town attorney in West New York, alleges in his complaint that town officials tried to coerce him into no longer attending North Bergen public meetings and being critical of Mayor Nick Sacco in exchange for less damning testimony in Roque’s federal trial.
Blanch is one of the original members of the North Bergen Concerned Citizens Group, which was formed in 2011, an organization that is very critical of Sacco. In the past, both the Roque and Sacco administrations have adamantly denied the allegations laid out by Blanch.
As far as Gomez is concerned, his lawsuit says that Roque and then-deputy Mayor Silvio Acosta continually harassed him about frequenting the website Recallroque.com, a page critical of Roque’s administration then was run by Freeholder Jose Munoz under the alias Maria Pasquale.
Gomez, an urban enterprise zone employee at the time, says – via the complaint – he was fired once he complained about the harassment.
Both legal matters were filed in federal court, with Blanch filing about a year ago and Gomez submitting his complaint back in March.
Additionally, a copy of Dominque Demarquet’s lawsuit was unable to be obtained at the time of this writing.
Stay tuned to Hudson County View to see what happens at October 17’s board of commissioners meeting in West New York.