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West New York Democratic Municipal Chairman Jonathan Castañeda

Castañeda ordered to appear before judge

Roque appeal to be heard next week.

By Nikita Biryukov, April 18 2018 7:20 pm

A Hudson County Judge has ordered Jonathan Castañeda, former chief of staff to West New York mayor Felix Roque, and other representatives of the Hudson County Democratic Organization to appear and show why petitions submitted by HCDO candidates should not be invalidated.

The proceedings will come before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso on April 24.

The fight is over  town’s 58 county committee seats.  Roque backs Brian Stack for Hudson County Democratic Chairman, while the HCDO slate is allied with the anti-Stack forces seeking to secure another term for Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise — and possibly a different candidate for county chairman.  Roque has alleged that Castañeda took petitions that had been circulated for his county committee candidates and gave them to a rival West New York Commissioner, Cosmo Cirillo.  Cirillo is considered a likely challenger to Roque in 2019.

West New York Town Clerk Carmela Riccie ruled against a challenge filed by Roque-aligned lawyers on April 11. She said the attorneys did not show cause as to why the HCDO petitions should be invalidated.

Roque attorney Stephen Edelstein, who staked much of his challenge on Castañeda’s testimony, appealed the clerk’s decision, which came after Castañeda missed a hearing after receiving a subpoena to appear. He said the subpoena did not provide him sufficient notice and that he needed to speak with counsel before testifying.

Roque et al. v. Hudson County Democratic Organization et al. HUD-L-1439-... (1)
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