Paterson Top Stories

Despite Assurances, Akhtaruzzaman Still Has Not Filed Campaign Finance Reports

February 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM

 

PATERSON, NJ – At the end of last year, Councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman said he would “definitely” file his delinquent campaign finance reports in January.

The calendar has turned to February and Akhtaruzzaman still has not submitted his reports from last November’s 2nd Ward race to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Sign Up for E-News

“I thought they were done,’’ the councilman said in an interview on Friday. “We got everything ready. I guess he’s (campaign treasurer Aziz Rahman) going to do it soon.’’

The initial report was supposed to be submitted to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) in October and the final one was due on November 26. The finance reports are supposed to provide the public information on how much money candidates raise and spend on their political campaigns as well list the names of people who contributed more than $300 to them. Advocates say the lists of contributors are an important tool for the public to assess the motivations behind decisions by elected officials.

In some instances, ELEC imposes fines on candidates who fail to file or are late in filing their campaign finance reports. In general, the state agency always provides candidates an informal grace period before imposing sanctions. Agency officials don’t like to say exactly how late is too late.

Akhtaruzzaman said he had reached out to ELEC regarding his delinquent forms. “I called up the state and they said you shouldn’t be late, but it’s okay, just file when you can,’’ said the councilman.

Akhtaruzzaman did file reports for the regular city council election last May. In fact, those reports showed he raised $32,910, more than anyone among the 21 candidates who ran in the seven council races in the spring.

The councilman said his fund-raising efforts for the November special election were much more modest. “I didn’t spend money,’’ he said. “It was very little. It was not like the first time. This election, a lot of people worked for me for free.’’

PatersonPress.com asked Akhtaruzzman why it was taking so long to fill out the forms if he had spent so little money. He did not provide an answer.

Akhtaruzzaman won the 2nd Ward seat in May, but a judge nullified his victory ruling that his voter registration at the time was invalid. During that trial, it came to light that Akhtaruzzaman had not properly filled out various pieces of government paperwork, including his voter registration, an application for emergency food stamps after Hurricane Irene, and his child’s 2011 school registration form with the Totowa Board of Education.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Brogan, who presided over the trial, aimed some harsh criticism at Akhtaruzzaman, saying his testimony had been "evasive" and "replete with contradictions.'' The judge also said, "Some of the answers he provided were simply implausible.''

The city held a special election in November to fill the vacant 2nd Ward seat and Akhtaruzzaman won again, gaining his 36-vote margin of victory through 389 mail-in ballots, more than twice as many as anyone else in the field of five candidates.

All three of Akhtaruzzaman’s closest competitors in the special election have filed at least one of the requisite ELEC reports.

Last spring, all seven winning city council candidates had filed at least one of the required ELEC reports prior to the regular city election. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Sat, October 8, 10:00 AM

Montclair High School, LGI Room, Montclair

Road Map to College: College Admission and ...

Education Other

Carousel_image_0dbef356adb362d03387_pmp-2015-07c-300x260__1_

Sun, October 23, 3:00 PM

River Dell High School Auditorium, Oradell

Adelphi Orchestra - Slavic Celebration: Young ...

Arts & Entertainment

Parents are the Only Hope for NJ Public Education

September 25, 2016

I really wanted to take one of my precious few PTO days I had left to drive down to Trenton on September 7th and tell the State Board of Education how disappointed I was in them, again.... but more important things were going on. There was a Kindergarten bus to catch and a first day of school morning to have and I had already wasted 2 of those precious days on a state BOE that has all but ignored ...

Letting the Jean-ie Out of the Bottle

Sometime between the end of last spring and the beginning of this fall, someone snuck into my closet and shrunk all my jeans.  I tried to convince my husband that we had a problem with the dryer, but since all of his jeans still fit, it was a hard sell.  Without thinking it through, he scoffed and suggested that maybe it wasn't the jeans – maybe it was ...

Woman Sexually Assaulted in Woodland Park

September 13, 2016

WOODLAND PARK, NJ -  Police arrested Robert Moschillo shortly after he allegedly assaulted a woman, in front of her house on Cedarhurst Ave Sunday night.

The victim was exiting her vehicle after arriving at her home when an unknown male grabbed her, hit her on the head and began to grab her private areas, said Det. Sgt. John Uzzalino. As the attacked occurred, neighbors ...

Totowa Man Charged with Trafficking Stolen Cell Phones

ROCHELLE PARK, NJ - The Rochelle Park Police arrested a Totowa man who they allege sold hundreds of cellphones after filing fraud cell phone insurance claims. The Rochelle Park police said that they were tipped off by an anonymous tipster on September 1 regarding Junior Santana-Delacruz, who has been charged with trafficking of personal identifying information, theft by deception, and ...

Bane Haunted House Opens its Doors this Weekend

September 24, 2016

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Halloween is just around the corner, and for those who get a thrill from being scared—Bane Haunted House opened its doors this weekend, and will remain open through Halloween. According to Jennifer Condron, who owns the attraction with her husband John, Bane is one of the first such attractions in NJ to open this early.

Bane, which is ADA accessible, will be open on ...

Ticket Giveaway to See R&B Group TLC Perform at Wellmont Theatre, Sept. 26

September 19, 2016

MONTCLAIR, NJ - TAPinto Montclair has free tickets for two lucky readers to see R&B groups TLC and En Vogue perform at the Wellmont Theater on September 26.

Promoters announce that TLC and En Vogue will both be performing their greatest hits at 8:00 p.m. on the Wellmont Theater stage located at 5 Seymour St. in Montclair.

TLC, known as the best-selling ...