West New York Democratic Municipal Chairman Jonathan Castañeda has been subpoenaed to appear before a hearing tomorrow morning to address allegations that he turned over blank petitions for Democratic County Committee to a rival slate.
Town Clerk Carmela Riccie, a tough-as-nails veteran of the Anthony DeFino era, has called a hearing to address a challenge to petitions filed by Commission Cosmo Cirillo, a Roque rival, as part of a fight over the town’s 58 county committee seats. Roque backs Brian Stack for Hudson County Democratic Chairman, while Cirillo is allied with the anti-Stack forces seeking to secure another term for Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.
Last week, lawyers for the Roque-aligned Democratic organization accused Castañeda, Roque’s departing chief of staff, of fraud.
Sources say that Castañeda, a Roque protégé and the Democratic Municipal Chairman, told the mayor he had secured signatures for all 58 county committee seats before leaving on a trip to Chicago the week before the April 2 filing deadline. Castañeda was reportedly not returning Roque’s calls, and eventually let the mayor know that he had somehow misplaced the petitions – forcing Roque to spend the Easter weekend securing new ones.
Roque, sources say, later learned that Castañeda had turned over the petitions – signed, but without the names of candidates – to Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, a political rival who is preparing to challenge the mayor next year.
On filing day, Castañeda told the mayor he was resigning his post as chief of staff to accept a job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Stephen Edelstein, counsel to the West New York Democratic Municipal Committee, has filed a challenge for twenty of town’s 58 county committee seats.
“The basis for this objection is that the petitions to which we object were circulated without candidate names, which were added later, after the nominating signatures were obtained. In addition, the circulator of the petitions, Mr. Jonathan Castaneda, misled signers into believing that the petitions were for a different office,” Edelstein wrote in a letter to Riccie.
Edelstein West New york