After three years without a Hudson County prosecutor, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has nominated Passaic County Judge Esther Suarez to fill the vacancy and become the first woman to ever hold the position.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Back in February, Suarez – who was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Jon Corzine in 2010 – lived in Wayne, but real estate records showed her house was up for sale. Now, Christie’s nomination – which was made public on Monday – lists her as being a resident of Secaucus.
Suarez, a native of Bayonne, attended Rutgers University where she received her undergraduate degree, before earning her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University Law School in 1997.
Additionally, Suarez is a former member of high-powered Lyndhurst law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck, working at the firm for a couple of years in the late 90s.
After winning a publicized lawsuit regarding longevity payments against the city of Hoboken in late 2000, Suarez was an easy pick to serve as the city’s corporation counsel – beginning in July 1, 2001. Living in the Mile Square City at the time, Suarez left her city counsel job in 2003.
She was then appointed as Bergen County counsel in 2003 by then-County Executive Dennis McNernery.
The next year, Suarez was tapped to investigate allegations that Bergen County and statewide officials, including McNernery and then-Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero, had county police officers chauffeur them to Yankee games, among other activities.
The investigation revealed that the endeavors ran up a bill of approximately $1,000 in police overtime, as The Record reported.
Suarez married Keith Furlong, the vice president of the Catania Consulting Group who serves as the Passaic County spokesman, in 2009.
Back in February, Suarez was one of three possible names – along with North Bergen Public Defender Julio Morejon and Acting Prosecutor Gaetano Gregory – profiled by Hudson County View as the next potential Hudson County prosecutor.
Weeks after being named a Passaic County judge, Suarez served as the treasurer to a political committee affiliated with Union City Mayor/state Senator (D-33) Brian Stack.
While Morejon received the support of a number of Latino organizations touting him to be the next prosecutor in Hudson, he apparently was never able to ease the tensions that existed between him and Stack.
Stack, state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and state Senator Nick Sacco (D-33), also the North Bergen mayor, will play a major role in the nomination being approved by the state Senate.
Christie had stated last year that the three Hudson County senators could not agree on a pick for prosecutor, and out of senatorial courtesy, the position remained vacant.
Suarez would potentially replace Edward DeFazio, who left the position in June 2012 and is now a Hudson County Superior Court judge.
Suarez could not be reached for comment.