Former prosecutor from Secaucus arrested in Bayonne court
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit last week arrested Rakesh Desai, 42, a municipal prosecutor for the Bayonne municipal court and former prosecutor for Secaucus. The arrest took place inside the Bayonne Municipal Court after Desai allegedly accepted a cash bribe in exchange for reducing the penalties on an outstanding charge, according to a release from the prosecutor’s office.
The investigation began several months ago when Bayonne detectives contacted the prosecutor’s office. Preliminary investigation indicated that Desai was allegedly meeting with defendants prior to court appearances and soliciting cash payments. In return, Desai would allegedly agree to lower their exposure to fines, and dismiss or reduce charges that might carry a greater penalty.
With the assistance of Bayonne officials, undercover detectives observed Desai during court proceedings and Desai’s interactions with defendants. During a court session last week, Desai allegedly solicited a cash payment from a defendant acting on behalf of the prosecutor’s office while detectives observed from the court room. The defendant was allegedly promised favorable treatment and a reduction in fines in return for a cash payment of $500. Desai allegedly instructed the defendant to get the cash and return it to him in an envelope provided by Desai, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Members of the Special Investigations Unit then arranged for a controlled delivery of the cash as allegedly requested by Desai. Once he allegedly accepted the payment Desai was immediately arrested and the cash was recovered by detectives.
Desai is charged with bribery in violation of section 2C: 27-2, a second degree charge that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The current full-time Secaucus prosecutor Karen Boylan said that Desai filled in during two sessions this year – the last one in April because her father died and the alternate prosecutor was not available. She said that Desai worked full-time as the prosecutor in Secaucus under the previous administration prior to her hire in 2010.
Anyone who has information regarding similar incidents involving Rakesh Desai in the Secaucus or Bayonne Municipal Courts is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutors Office, Special Investigations Unit at 201-795-6400, Extension 6775.
Divided Democrats pick congressional candidates for November
In a Democratic primary election that divided Hudson County and a good portion of northern New Jersey, voters gave victories to Rep. Albio Sires in the 8th District, Bill Pascrell in the 9th and Donald Payne, Jr. in the 10th.
Unopposed, Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez was nominated for his third term and will face off in November against Republican state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, who handily defeated three challengers.
In one of the most watched elections in the state, Pascrell overwhelming defeated Rothman after the two eight-term congressmen confronted each other in the newly reconfigured 9th District. With just under 28,000 votes, Pascrell beat Rothman, who collected 15,283 votes.
Rothman, who had been sharply criticized for choosing a primary fight rather than take on a strong Republican challenge in a neighboring district, said it was unlikely that he would seek elected office in the future Pascrell will face Republican Schmuley Boteach and independents E David Smith and Jeanette Woolsey in November.
In the 8th district, Sires received 28,784 over his challenger Michael J. Shurin who received 3,563 votes, clearing the way for Sires to run against Republican Maria Karczewski, a former Bayonne City Council member, in November. Sires, a former mayor of West New York and former speaker of the state Assembly, will run for his fourth term. Other independent challengers include Herb Shaw of North Bergen, Stephen DeLuca of Jersey City, and Pablo Olivera of Newark. DeLuca previously ran unsuccessfully for Hudson County Executive.
Payne overwhelmingly defeated four challengers in the 10th district, with about 37,000 district wide votes, to run for the seat vacated by the death of his father, Rep. Donald Payne, Sr. Newark Councilman Ronald Rice finished second with just over 11,000 votes, and Nia Gil, who won in the Hudson County portion of the 10th District, finished third with just under 10,000.
Payne, who had the support of the Essex County Democratic organization, where most of the voting took place, will face off against Republican Brian C. Kelemen of Bayonne in the November election. Joanne Miller of Newark and Mick Erickson of West Orange have filed to run as independents in the 10th district in November.
In the sole election for Hudson County, incumbent Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert beat Paul Lichstein to win the Democratic nomination.
Of 320,341 registered voters in Hudson County, about 41,000 cast votes in the June 5 primary or about 12.69 percent. Of this, about 36,000 Democrats voted, compared to just under 5,000 Republicans.
Palisades Medical Center to hold health screenings
Palisades Medical Center’s staff has partnered with North Hudson Community Action Corporation, Christ Hospital School of Nursing, and Hudson Perinatal Consortium to provide free health screenings and education programs.
The New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) recognized Palisades Medical Center’s Community Outreach Program with its 2011 Community Outreach Award for its unique and effective methods of reaching out to better serve the healthcare needs of area residents. Palisades Medical Center’s community outreach and education programs are funded in part by Abbott Nutrition, the Aetna Foundation, the Provident Bank Foundation, Schering-Plough Corporation, and Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.
On June 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. free screenings and information on blood pressure, heart rate, percentage of oxygen in the blood, sugar and total cholesterol will be held at St. Joseph Church located at 120 Hoboken Rd. in East Rutherford. On June 16, a fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Trinity Reformed Church located on the corner of Palisade Avenue and 60th Street in West New York. On July 28, a fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nazareth Baptist Church located at 5800 Palisade Ave. in West New York. For more information, please call Joanne Riggs at (201) 854-5793.
Keeping kids out of the medicine chest
In an effort to educate parents on what they can do to keep prescription drugs safe, Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC), the Jersey City Public School system, and Partners in Prevention, will host the forum, “Prescription Drug Use: What Every Parent Should Know,” to address prescription drug use among kids and teens. All parents in Hudson County are encouraged to attend.
It takes place on June 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Franklin L. Williams Middle School (P.S. 7) in Jersey City. Guest speakers include Orlando Ramos, director of the Giant Steps Program and HUMC; Lisa Canteno, senior primary therapist with the Giant Steps Program at HUMC; Sylvia Sanchez, a pharmacist at HUMC; Dr. Syed Ibrahim, a psychiatrist at HUMC; and Joseph Evensen, coalition supervisor with the Hudson County chapter of Partners in Prevention. Transportation to the forum will be provided from the following Jersey City locations: Dickinson High School, Ferris High School, Lincoln High School, and Snyder High School. Shuttles will leave from these locations beginning at 5 p.m. and will return to these locations after the forum ends. The event is free, but an RSVP is recommended. To RSVP, call (201) 418-2381.
Free events for seniors in the Meadowlands
The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) has a number of free senior events planned for June. All events take place at the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst.
Debbie Lawlor of the Meadowlands Conservation Trust leads From Trash to Treasure on June 12 at 2 p.m., for those who want to create something of value out of recycled materials.
Singer/songwriter Joe McKay sings folk songs in Pig Farm Blues: Music and Stories from a Childhood in Secaucus on June 14 at 7 p.m.
Join Meadowlands Environment Commission Director Dr. Angela Cristini as she uncovers the underground secrets of the ruins unearthed in the Meadowlands, and leads you in a game of Marsh Jeopardy on June 19 at 2 p.m. for a presentation called “Why are the ruins of NYC’s Penn Station in the NJ Meadowlands?” To register, call: (201) 777-2431. For more info, visit: www.njmeadowlands.gov.
NJMC Father’s Day Canoe Tour
Take a three-hour guided tour June 16 at 8:30 a.m. to explore the Mill Creek Wildlife Management Area. Paddlers will learn the basics of salt marsh ecology and enjoy the magnificent natural and man-made scenery while rowing past wetlands down creeks. The tour costs $15 per person and departs from Laurel Hill County Park. Pre-registration required.
For more info or to register go to www.njmeadowlands.gov or call (201) 460-4640.