The West New York board of commissioners approved a $50,000 settlement for a federal lawsuit between the town and former assistant to the town attorney, Mario Blanch, at Monday’s meeting. The measure was approved by a vote of 3-0-2, with Mayor Felix Roque and Commissioner Count Wiley abstaining.
The litigation was settled during a closed session meeting of the board in the mayor’s office, which adjourned the regular meeting for about 30 minutes or so.
In the lawsuit filed in federal court just over a year ago, Blanch – through his attorney Valerie Steiner – alleged that Roque and other town officials tried to pull him into a scheme tampering with witnesses from the mayor’s federal hacking trial.
The suit also claimed that North Bergen officials were also involved in the ordeal.
Often outspoken resident Angel Barquin wanted to know the particulars of the settlement, where Town Counsel Donald Scarinci revealed the settlement was for $50,000, with the town admitting to no wrongdoing as a result of the settlement.
Last month, only Hudson County View reported that John Azzarello – the current WNY Parking Authority attorney and one of Roque’s federal attorneys from the trial – was hired by the town to help settle the case.
Roque was acquitted of all charges last October. Blanch declined to comment when reached by Hudson County View by phone.