Ex-Mayor of Passaic Gets Nearly 2 Years in Prison

17 08 2008

TRENTON (AP) — Samuel Rivera, the former mayor of Passaic, N.J., was sentenced on Friday to nearly two years in prison and fined $4,000 for accepting cash bribes in exchange for influencing city contracts.

Mr. Rivera, who was caught in a corruption scheme that netted 11 public officials, resigned last year after pleading guilty to attempted extortion.

Mr. Rivera, 61, admitted taking $5,000 in exchange for using his official influence to help a company become the city’s insurance broker. The company turned out to be an F.B.I. front.

The only explanation Mr. Rivera offered on Friday for his role in the scheme was “poor judgment.”

A former police officer, Mr. Rivera is among nearly two dozen New Jersey mayors charged with corruption since 2000.

Among the most well known is Sharpe James, the former mayor of Newark, who is set to surrender to prison officials next month. Mr. James was ordered to serve a 27-month sentence and pay a $100,000 fine for his role in the sale of city-owned properties at a discount.

We at PCJN wish our former Mayor the best of luck. And we acknowledge all the great things he has done for our city.


Ex-Passaic mayor awaits sentencing for corruption

15 08 2008

TRENTON, N.J. – Former Passaic Mayor Samuel Rivera is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Trenton Friday.

Rivera resigned last year after he pleaded guilty to attempted extortion. He faces up to two years behind bars.

Rivera admitted he accepted $5,000 in cash to influence government contracts.

The former mayor was snared in an investigation that began in 2006 amid evidence of corruption in the Pleasantville school district near Atlantic City. The FBI established an undercover insurance company that employed two cooperating witnesses and undercover agents. News Source  Newsday/pcjn

Schaer wants bus shelters, Rivera had opposed them because “they attract nuisances such as the homeless, public urination and graffiti,” and Jewish residents concerned about inappropriate ads.

10 08 2008

by PCJN Staff, with some quotes and information from a Herald news article by Karen Keller.

Passaic, NJ — Acting Mayor Gary Schaer would like a private company to install bus shelters in Passaic, in return for advertising rights. Of the city’s 119 NJ Transit bus stops, only three have shelters. Schaer himself takes a public bus from the intersection of Van Houten and Main avenues to his finance job in Manhattan at least twice a week.

Schaer, also a state assemblyman, pushed for the concept in January, But Samuel Rivera, then the mayor, said he didn’t want shelters. Rivera said he believes they attract nuisances such as the homeless, public urination and graffiti.

Many residents rely on buses in Passaic, where 31 percent of city residents over age 16 do not have access to a car, according to the Census. Statewide, 6 percent of adults don’t have car access.

With the rising cost of gas, that figure is likely to increase.

“The cost of gasoline is such that (riding the bus) is the way everyone is going,” Schaer said.

Many residents of Passaic have expressed concern about the shelters. Shelters in other cities are known to attract undesirables, litter, and even used drug needles. Jewish residents are also concerned about the appropriateness of the ads, in terms of modesty. Often, oversized images of barely-clad females can be seen at bus shelters throughout city’s that have them. A local Passaic Rabbi, on condition of anonymity told a PCJN staff member, “better to get wet in the rain occasionally, than have ourselves and our children exposed to constant schmutz (filth)!”

On the blog PassaicJews, poster Kalman Eller writes: “Any way to make sure that the ads are not a-la-Times Square?”

A quick search of the words “bus shelter ad” on Google Image Search, reveals images of a number of highly inappropriate ads on the first results page alone.