UNION COUNTY — Questions have surfaced regarding Assemblywoman Annette Quijano’s connections to a former Hudson County freeholder who was convicted as part of a bribery scheme that defrauded taxpayers of more than $2 million in no-bid contracts.
When Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2002 to taking more than $100,000 in bribes from Dr. Oscar Sandoval, he testified that Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon handed him several envelopes containing cash bribes from the Union City psychiatrist who held more than $2 million in county contracts for psychiatric services.
Quijano was closely associated with Davila-Colon, particularly while she worked as a political operative on behalf of state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the self described power broker who was also a close friend of Janiszewski.
The two men shared vacation homes over a period of several years, spending summers in Point Pleasant Beach at the Jersey shore and winter at the Hunter Mountain ski resort in New York.
During her criminal trial, a jury listened to a recorded conversation between Davila-Colon and Sandoval, her married lover who was acting as a government informant, about envelopes she passed to Janiszewski in the mid-1990s, at least three years before the two 1999 incidents for which she was charged.
That jury also heard a recorded conversation where Janiszewski told Sandoval, “if it blows up, it’s not me that’s going to blow up, it’s you,” after which, Davila-Colon said, “Because whatever happens, whatever happens, I get caught in the middle.”
Jersey City Councilman Mariano Vega, who testified as a character witness for Davila-Colon, admitted to accepting $20,000 in bribes from Solomon Dwek, the government informant who held authorities snare 46 people in the FBI’s July 2009 New Jersey corruption sting.
Note: An error in the photo caption accompanying this story was corrected after its initial publication.
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