ELIZABETH — A top Bollwage administration appointee has resigned after allegations of corruption surfaced on an Internet video.
The sudden resignation of Oscar Ocasio sparked rumors about another corruption investigation closing in on City Hall. On Thursday, Ocasio resigned as director of the city Department of Planning and Community Development, the job to which he was appointed by Mayor J. Christian Bollwage.
Except to say that he has not been arrested or officially charged with any crime, Ocasio refused to comment whan he was contacted twice by telephone.
video posted on YouTube claims Ocasio profited personally from his political office and that Ocasio developed 13 houses and nine condominiums.
The video states that Ocasio is owner of Juarbe Development, LLC and a “super secret shareholder in 853-855 Jersey Avenue LLC.”
The City Council voted on June 23, to establish a lien on the 853-855 Jersey Avenue property, in order to reimburse the city $543.98 for the boarding up the house there.
Ocasio has been involved in litigation with Antonio Rivera, another political insider, that emerged from a soured business relationship. Sources believe Rivera posted the video on YouTube that brought the scandal to light.
Records on file with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission show that Ocasio is Councilman Frank Mazza’s campaign treasurer. In that capacity, campaign finance reports on file in Trenton show that Ocasio issued a $400 check on June 10, 2006 to the Ray Vella Civic Association.
Raymond Vella, who received at least $1 million in taxpayer money through Ocasio’s department in City Hall, is now serving a federal prison term for his conviction on bribery charges. Vella contributed $2,000 to Mazza’s campaign.
Observers say the Ocasio scandal is viewed as a potentially significant event as Elizabeth’s political machine heads into an election year with six city council seats at stake.
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