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Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo. (Photo: New Jersey Globe file photo).

Passaic surrogate says she’s innocent, plans to complete term

Bernice Toledo faces ethics complaint

By David Wildstein, January 04 2020 1:33 pm

Embattled Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo would not say if she will seek re-election to a second term in 2021.

The state Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct has alleged that Toledo abused her office by naming a longtime friend and political ally to a lucrative executorship of an estate without disclosing her relationship.

“At this time, I am seeking to complete the term I’m in,” Toledo told the New Jersey Globe on Saturday.

Toledo denied any wrongdoing.

“When all the facts are presented, it will show that the law was followed,” Toledo said during a brief interview on Saturday.  She declined to elaborate.

Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie declined to call for Toledo’s resignation, saying that there is a presumption of innocence.

If Toledo does resign, Gov. Phil Murphy can appoint an acting surrogate with the advise and consent of the State Senate.  State Sens. Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon) and Kirstin Corrado (R-Totowa) would have senatorial courtesy over that choice.

A former deputy state attorney general, Toledo was elected in 2016, following the death of longtime surrogate William Bate.

Toledo, a first-time candidate, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary after Currie picked her to replace Bate.

While Toledo had not announced her plans to run again next year prior to the ethics complaint, though she has filed a campaign account with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

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