West New York contractor Victor Coca, who owns a construction company in town and also ran the WNY Future Vision Super PAC, has switched attorneys for a third time as he prepares for his June 1 trial for federal charges of trying to bribe a fire official to abate $8.75 million in building fines.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
As only Hudson County View reported last Monday, Coca had Dover lawyer Nelson Gonzalez – who replaces Union City attorney Zak Aljaludi – filed a continuance with U.S. District Judge Esther Salas on March 17 as they negotiate a plea deal.
Now, in the latest court documents obtained by Hudson County View dated April 24, it is revealed through a consent order that Coca is now being represented by Howard B. Brownstein, of Brownstein & Associates, P.C. in Union City.
Brownstein is one of the state’s most recognizable criminal defense attorneys, representing clients such as Hudson County real estate developer Moshe Altman – who was charged with conspiracy and money laundering (per NJ.com) as part of the infamous Bid Rig III arrests in 2009.
He also represented now-disbarred Union City attorney Manuel “Manny Diaz when he was facing charges of misconduct and misappropriating clients funds after writing $100,000 worth of bad checks in 1999.
This old chart from inside the pages of The Star-Ledger provides a few more details of Brownstein’s previous cases.
The consent order allows Coca, along with three family members, to visit his sick father in Cuba between May 3 and May 19.
The court previously barred Coca from out-of-state travel due to fact he was charged with violating the Travel Act when he was arrested on December 22, but the court was willing to make an exception here – as long as Coca posted a $200,000 bond ($10,000 up front).
Opponents of Mayor Felix Roque have previously alleged that Coca is an ally of the mayor, but those close to Roque have brushed off the criticism as, at best, wishful thinking.