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Edison Councilman Ajay Patil

Edison councilman fined for ethics violation

Ajay Patil, one of the Edison Eight, faces new legal issues

By David Wildstein, November 19 2020 11:22 am

Embattled Edison Councilman Ajay Patil is facing some added legal issues after the Edison Ethics Board voted unanimously to fine him for leaving off properties he owns in town off his personal financial disclosure.

The ethics panel continues to consider allegations that Patil failed to disclose his ties to a shadowy political action committee, People for Progress.

The PAC treasurer, Cesar Suarez, is a tenant at the one of the properties owned by Patil that he didn’t disclose.  State law requires disclosure of all major assets for local elected officials.

In a written decision, the Ethics Board decided to punt on that issue since it’s the “subject of separate ongoing investigation(s) by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, and/or other applicable law enforcement authorities.”

Patil is one of the Edison Eight, which face a probe after allegedly participating in a scheme to send out allegedly fake racist flyer aimed at inciting the township’s Asian American community in a 2017 school board race.

The mailer – “Make Edison Great Again” – urged voters to “Stop Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel from taking over our school board.”

“The Chinese and Indians are taking over our Town!  Chinese School! Indian School! Cricket Fields,” the flyer said. “Enough is Enough.”

Now there are allegations that the PAC, whose treasurer is a politically uninvolved tenant of Patil, was somehow involved with helping Shi.

The fine levied against Patil was a symbolic $100.

“Welcome to the Edison Politics where people seeking for the office for their election or re-election would go to any extent that includes character assassination, using their power and situation for the political gain, use their resources to push others down,” Patil said.  “This report is not from the committee which heard everything and asked for the proofs which I gave and committee did agree that it was a technical mistake. However report states many things that are irrelevant — as it’s a political report than a committee decision.  I will have all these things answered publicly unearthing direct and indirect relationship of the involved people in making political opponent look bad.”

This story was updated at 12:02 PM with comment from Patil.

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