MIDWEEK BRIEFS
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MINI CAR – A “Smart Car” may be a smart parking idea in densely populated Hoboken. But is it smart to pay the $8,000 and up price?
MINI CAR – A “Smart Car” may be a smart parking idea in densely populated Hoboken. But is it smart to pay the $8,000 and up price?
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Five murders: 19-year-old suspect in JC couple’s slaying charged with three other deaths

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said on Monday that a Jersey City man, who along with two women was charged in the murder of a recently engaged couple in front of their home, has been charged in three others murders that took place this year.

Shiquan Bellamy, 19, of Arlington Avenue, along with Darmelia Lawrence, of Woodlawn Avenue, and Latonia Bellamy, also both 19, were charged Friday in the brutal shootings of Nia Haqq, 25, and Michael Muchioki, 27, on April 4 after the pair returned to their Randolph Avenue home following their engagement party.

DeFazio said Bellamy is now charged additionally in the murders on Feb. 2 of cousins Mileak Richardson and Lester “Bleek” Thompson, and the the March 27 murder of Lamonte Wright.

DeFazio said Bellamy allegedly had accomplices in the Feb. 2 murders but allegedly acted alone in the Mar. 27 murder.

DeFazio said that his alleged accomplices in the Feb. 2 murders, Hakeem “Hak” Lester, and Ronald “Diddy” Lawrence (brother of Darmelia Lawrence), have already been arrested.

DeFazio said Bellamy’s bail is set at $6 million, $2 million for each alleged murder. DeFazio said Shiquan Bellamy will appear in court tomorrow to answer to charges on the three additional homicides.

DeFazio said it was forensic evidence from Haqq’s vehicle that led to investigators to connect Bellamy to the other murders. DeFazio also said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about the murders of the couple as well as other murders connected to Bellamy can call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345. – RK ‘Reformer’ vs. ‘reformer’ in Hoboken again...

Just because the “reformers” in Hoboken elected Dawn Zimmer as mayor last fall, doesn’t mean everyone’s happy. The town’s “reformer” movement split open during a school board election in 2008 and hasn’t come together since. (It was, of course, festering before that, with several people wanting to be the leader.)

One side of the current debate tends to support Councilwoman and former mayoral candidate Beth Mason, and tends to point out any perceived missteps of the Zimmer administration. Zimmer’s supporters don’t like some of their comments, and as a result, numerous battles have ensued on local blogs. (See the “most commented” stories in the lower right-hand column of www.hudsonreporter.com for an example or two.)

With the April 20 school board election less than two weeks away, the Zimmer and Mason fans and foes are at it again, blasting each other’s school board slate (“Kids First” seems to be the choice of Zimmer fans, and they are opposing the “Real Results” slate favored by school board member Maureen Sullivan) and criticizing each other’s – well, breed of criticism.

The Hoboken Tax Revolt board’s forum has been filmed last week both sides firing away at each other, and some discussion of the school board issues.

In addition, an apparent Zimmer supporter has launched severe criticism of the anti-Zimmer folks on a new blog, the GrafixAvenger. Someone claimed the author is a Zimmer appointee to the Zoning Board, and that it was inappropriate for that person to post graphics of candidates in a punch bowl that also contained excrement.

Do you think the prevailing administration need loyal opposition? Are both sides getting out of hand in their comments, or does it continue the dialogue and heighten interest? Comment at www.hudsonreporter.com.

New entry into Secaucus council race

Current Secaucus Board of Education Trustee Michael Makarski has filed a petition to run for the 3rd Ward Town Council seat in the June Democratic primary.

This seat is currently held by incumbent Town Councilman John Shinnick, a Democrat who is up for reelection this year, but who was an ally of former Mayor Dennis Elwell, rather than the current Secaucus administration.

Last month Shinnick told the Secaucus Reporter that Secaucus Democratic Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto had refused to back his reelection bid. He said that instead, the local Democratic party would back former Board of Education Trustee Mark Bruscino.

Bruscino is part of a slate that also includes candidates Robert Zych (1stWard) and Nancy Mateo (2nd Ward).

When asked more recently why Shinnick was off the ticket, Prieto said the party wants to back a ticket of fresh faces for the Town Ccouncil. It is also believed that Prieto favors candidates who lack strong ties to Elwell, who was arrested last summer in a large-scale corruption scandal.

Last month Shinnick said he had not yet decided whether he would run for reelection, and said he could even skip the June Democratic Primary and instead run as an Independent in November.

Republican and Democratic candidates file petitions in April for the party primaries in June. However, independent candidates don’t have to file their petitions until June. Independent candidates then face in winners of the June party primaries in November.

Shortly after he filed his petition, Makarski said he is not currently running as part of a slate. – E. Assata Wright UC real estate investor pleads guilty in corruption probe

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Thursday that a real estate investor and property manager who lived in Union City pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to launder money in order to make contributions to public officials in Union City in exchange for favors. The guilty plea stems from last summer’s FBI corruption investigation in which 44 people were charged.

Itzhak Friedlander, 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder approximately $175,000 to conceal and disguise unlawful activity.

According to Fishman, Friedlander admitted that from June 2007 to August 2008, he conspired with a cooperating witness (posing as a real estate developer) and co-conspirators Michael Altman and Shimon Haber (non-officials) to launder money from the cooperating witness through Friedlander’s account at a purported charitable entity called Gmach Shefa Chaim.

He and the conspirators planned to funnel up to $175,000 through the “charity” to public officials in Union City in exchange for approvals for developing a Union City property, the U.S. Attorney’s office charged.

The charge he pleaded guilty to carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The minimum recommended sentence is 24 to 30 months. He is currently released on $250,000 bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for July 14.

Free artist exhibition to be held

On April 18, the Hispanic Mercantile Federation will hold their eighth annual Hispanic-American Artists Exhibition with over 40 artists from over 15 countries. The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at 4111-13 Palisade Ave. in Union City. Admission is free. For more information, contact Odelta Montesi at (201) 865-0383.



Italian descendants sought for exchange program

The Federazione Molfettesi D’America seeks descendants of Molfetta, Italy in order to participate in an exchange program with the City of Molfetta, Italy. Twelve people between the age of 18 and 40 will be selected to travel overseas during the first week in September, 2010. All interested should send a letter of interest no later than April 15 to Federazione Molfettesi D’America 112 Willow Ave., Hoboken, NJ 07030. Expenses will be paid by the sponsors.

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