County Dem Leader: ‘Judicial Review’ Of Rodriguez And Prasad Underway

Rebuffs Call For Robinson To Call For Prasad's Resignation

The Somerset County Republican Committee has called upon Deputy Mayor Shanel Robinson, a Democratic Freeholder candidate, to call for the resignation of Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad.

Actions taken by a Township Councilman and Municipal Court Judge are being reviewed in a “judicial investigation,” according to an email sent by a top Somerset County Democratic Committee official.

An email set out Oct. 1 by Somerset County Democratic Committee executive director Max Blum said that there is an “ongoing judicial investigation” into township Municipal Court Judge Hector Rodriguez, in which “actions by Councilman (Rajiv) Prasad are being examined.”

The statement came in a rebuttal to an earlier press release sent by Somerset County Republican Chairman Al Gaburo, in which Gaburo challenged Deputy Mayor and Somerset County Freeholder candidate Shanel Robinson to call for Prasad’s resignation.

As documented in an exclusive Sept. 27 story, emails obtained by the FR&A through an Open Public Records Act request show that Prasad (D-At Large) may have tried to influence Rodriguez – over whom he holds appointment power – into helping a township landlord with an eviction case.

The comment contained in Blum’s email is the first indication that there may be some judicial review of the case, most probably by the state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct. Those investigations, and their results, are usually kept confidential, unless the ACJC decides to file a formal complaint against a judge.

In his email, Gaburo said it was time for Robinson to “end her ‘Summer of Silence’ and do the right thing. Deputy Mayor Robinson knowingly allowed Councilman Prasad to engineer a backroom deal to push through his controversial monument project, and now she is silent again while he abuses the power of his office in an unethical and, perhaps even, illegal way. It’s time for Councilman Prasad to go and it’s time Shanel Robinson to say so.”

“Councilman Prasad’s actions have long been a out of line and unbecoming of an elected official,” Gaburo said in the release. “It’s bewildering that Deputy Mayor Robinson thinks it’s acceptable behavior. But what else would you expect from someone who embraces the candidacy of corrupt, career politician Bob Menendez? It’s clear Deputy Mayor Robinson has a major blind spot for corruption and lack of ethics…as long as you’re a Democrat.”

In the email Blum sent out, county Democrats signaled that they are willing to wait for the results of the judicial review before making any decision on Prasad.

“What is it with Republicans wanting to end investigations before they’ve determined what happened?” Blum asked in his email.

“Whatever is determined by that process should be reviewed when completed,” the email said, referring to the investigation. “I understand that Al wants to score cheap political points against a qualified woman veteran who is running for freeholder, but this really smacks of desperation.”

Robinson declined to comment for this story.


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