West New York contractor Victor Coca, who owned a construction company and also ran the WNY Future Vision Super PAC, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to bribing a fire official in order to abate roughly $8.75 million in building fines.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Victor Francisco Coca Martin (better known as Victor Coca), 49, with known addresses in North Bergen and West New York, admitted in front of Judge Esther Salas to bribing a West New York fire official on multiple occasions in order to abate about $8.75 million in fines on two separate properties in town yesterday.
Between January and May of 2014, Coca was the owner and president of a West New York construction company – which Hudson County View has identified as YYY Enterprise LLC.
During the court proceeding (where Hudson County View was present), Coca conceded that on March 27, 2014, in order to abate about $14,500 in fines on a Bergenline Avenue property, he offered a $2,000 bribe to a town fire official in exchange for eliminating the fines and obtaining a certificate of occupancy (CO) for the building.
It was also revealed that a second property on Hudson Avenue – which Hudson County View has identified as 6200 Hudson Ave. – had outstanding fines and fire code violations totaling roughly $8.7 million.
Furthermore, Coca admitted that between April 7 and April 21, 2014, that he met with the fire official to bribe him with $5,000 cash, and even drove the official to his then-North Bergen home to give an additional bribe in the form of a $5,000 check made out to the West New York Bureau of Fire Safety in order to eliminate the hefty fines.
The government stated that the first building was owned by a friend of Coca and the Hudson Avenue property was partially owned by Coca.
The fire official was said to be voluntarily cooperating with the FBI and Howard Brownstein, one attorney representing Coca, told Salas he would be making an “imperfect entrapment” argument prior to sentencing and said he plans on sending a subpoena to “Mr. Martinez.”
The West New York Fire Official is Frank Martinez. Mayor Felix Roque had previously referred to the unnamed cooperating witness in the case as “praiseworthy.”
Coca faces up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, and his sentencing is scheduled for October 20.
Nelson Gonzalez, of Dover, also represented Coca in the court matter.
Hudson County View exclusively reported on Coca negotiating a plea deal for bribery charges back in April.