PERTH AMBOY — Maria Garcia is a former city Republican Party chief, a close political ally of Mayor Wilda Diaz who chairs the Planning Board and is now a candidate for school board but municipal officials have ordered her to eliminate a junkyard that has collected on her 124 Kearny Avenue property.
Code Enforcement Director Edward J. Scala and two other city inspectors investigated complaints raised at a recent city council meeting and found numerous health and safety violations at Garcia’s home.
“It is genuinely disconcerting when one of Wilda Diaz’s top political lieutenants is operating a junkyard on residential property,” said Ricardo Perez, a spokeperson for the Middlesex County Environmental Action Council. “The person Mayor Diaz put in charge of governing land use in the city is creating a public health and safety menace that threatens the environment.”
“There are violations of both the Property Maintenance Code and a Municipal Ordinance dealing with the storage of inoperable and disassembled vehicles,” wrote Scala in a memo directed to City Administrator Gregory C. Fehrenbach. “There are other violations of the Property Maintenance Code dealing with the maintenance of the property, i.e., auto parts stored on all parts of the property as well as an overgrowth of weeds.”
Scala reported that vehicles are stored in a fenced rear yard and that Garcia’s husband claimed to be is a collector of antique cars who denied that they are for sale or that he is not running an auto sales business.
“(Garcia) has been ordered to remove any and all vehicles that are in a state of disrepair, are not presently registered or are unable to operate under their own power,” said Scala. “All auto parts are to be removed and the property cleaned.”
Garcia is competing against Anton Massopust for an unexpired term on the Board of Education.