UNION CITY AND BEYOND – The hearing on a simple assault charge filed against Union City Mayor Brian Stack, which was supposed to take place Monday afternoon, was postponed for the second time after Stack’s lawyer, Dennis McAlevy, requested a change of venue, according to a municipal court official.
A Secaucus resident, Ray Mitchell, has alleged that Stack assaulted him at the mayor’s holiday party in North Bergen on Dec. 14. Mitchell filed the charges two weeks after the alleged incident.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Jan. 7, but was postponed until Monday, Jan. 28, after the defense argued they were still locating discovery documents regarding to the case.
Mitchell alleges that upon entering Scheutzen Park in North Bergen, where the party was being held, Stack approached him, asked him why Mitchell had not greeted him, and then began to choke him, according to a police report. Police who responded to the scene initially reported seeing no injuries on Mitchell’s person, although a second report filed by another officer indicated that Mitchell had red marks on the sides and rear of his neck.
According to a third police report, video footage from Scheutzen Park’s security system showed no altercation taking place from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., when it was supposed to have occurred, and no footage showed Stack in the vicinity of where it was alleged to have taken place.
Many believe the case is a result of the ongoing political war between Stack and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco. Both men are state senators and longtime rivals. Following the incident, Stack accused Sacco of sending Mitchell to the holiday party in act of provocation. Spokesmen for Sacco have denied the charge. – Dean DeChiaro