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Morristown mayoral candidate Esperenza Porras-Field. (Photo: YouTube/NJ Globe.)

Morristown mayoral candidate admitted to illegally stacking immigrants

Police officer who charged Esperanza Porras-Field was the same who let family member into town hall after hours to amend petitions

By David Wildstein, April 27 2021 12:08 am

The bizarre involvement of a Morristown cop who allowed the daughter of mayoral candidate to entire a closed municipal building hours after the filing deadline becomes even stranger with one additional bit of information: the same police officer issued a summons to Esperanza Porras-Field in 2006 for stacking largely immigrant tenants in an apartment she owned.

Porras-Field is challenging incumbent Tim Dougherty in the June 8 Democratic primary in a race where police union leaders want the mayor unseated.

The police officer, Michael Molnar, said at the time that he was responding to a fight when he saw one of the alleged offenders run into a house.  That led Molnar, now a lieutenant, to find evidence of stacking – an illegal practice where the number of occupants exceeds the capacity of the residence.

As a defense, Porras-Field alleged that Molnar entered her home illegally. She later admitted to three charges of allowing the tenant overcrowding as part of a plea deal with local prosecutors.

The New Jersey Globe first reported earlier this month that Molnar opened the locked door of town hall for Hope Field at 9:10 PM so that she could deliver a portion of her mother’s nominating petition to the municipal clerk’s office more than five hours after the filing deadline.

Field was adding a notarized signature page, a legal cure for a petition during the three days that followed the April 5 deadline.

Porras-Field, a perennial candidate making her fifth bid for public office, did not immediately return a 7:47 PM call to her cell phone.  She did quickly respond to a text message, although it appeared her response was being sent to the wrong recipient.

Dougherty is seeking re-election to a fourth term as mayor.  Gov. Phil Murphy endorsed him last week.

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