PATERSON, NJ - Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez will not be sworn in to the Third Ward Council seat Wednesday. The ruling, pending an appeal that is expected to be filed by Mendez’s attorney, came from Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela in a hearing that was streamed live and viewed by TAPinto Paterson Tuesday.
Allowing Mendez to be sworn in as scheduled would be “undermining the public trust,” given the fact that the manner in which the ballots were counted is “fraught with inconsistencies," Caposela said.
While McKoy's attorney argued that allowing Mendez to be seated would cause "irreparable harm," Mendez's counsel, Gregg Paster rebutted that it would be an "extraordinary and unprecedented step" and that with several Party leaders coming out in opposition to the outcome of the election the criminal charges Mendez faces "look too political to be clean."
The decision will mean that two of the nine seats will be vacant when the city’s legislative body reorganizes at noon. After two recounts the Second Ward race ended in a tie between incumbent Shahin Khalique and Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman.
While Caposela did not rule on a petition to invalidate the election, he did hint that his decision to not allow Mendez to assume the position may portend a ruling in this regard as well.
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