Saturday, October 9, 2010
Newark, NJ - Dwek Accuses Long Branch City Prosecutor Fixed Traffic Tickets For The Jewish Community
Newark, NJ - In the federal corruption trial of Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, criminal mastermind turned FBI informant Solomon Dwek has been name-dropping again.
During a cross examination by Michael Critchley, Suarez’s defense attorney, Dwek on Thursday named Long Branch City Prosecutor Steven C. Rubin as someone whom Dwek bribed during a criminal career that began when the 38-year-old was still in high school and he sought good grades without having to study for them.
Rubin, 66, of Ocean Township, could not be reached for comment. Rubin also serves as assistant city attorney for Long Branch, and has been in his positions for 16 years, officials said.
According to the Star-Ledger of Newark, Dwek alleged he leased free office space to Rubin in exchange for Rubin fixing traffic tickets for members of the Syrian Jewish community in neighboring Deal.
Dwek said Rubin either reduced the fines or reduced the points.
The testimony resulted in some puzzled reactions back in Monmouth County. Rubin doesn’t serve as municipal prosecutor in Deal, said borough clerk/administrator James F. Rogers, although some time ago, Rubin served as an occasional fill-in prosecutor when a borough employee became ill.
“He has filled in from time to time but I don’t believe he has done that for several years,” Rogers said.
“He has on a very rare occasion filled in” at Deal Municipal Court, said Rogers, who added he had no idea how one could “fix” tickets in these days of computerized processing and easy audits.
“If he did, I have no knowledge of it and I doubt anybody in our court would have knowledge of it,” Rogers said.
Dwek may have meant that Rubin “fixed” tickets of Deal residents in cases where they were charged in Long Branch, but City Attorney James G. Aaron said in all the years Rubin has been in place, city officials have never received a single complaint about the propriety of Rubin’s actions in the courtroom.
Municipal Court Judge George Cieri has delivered the same report to Mayor Adam Schneider in other contexts, said Schneider, who also was named by Dwek as an official who accepted a bribe. Schneider has denied Dwek’s accusations and has noted he has not spoken to Dwek for more than eight years.
Dwek testified he bribed Schneider prior to 2006, when Dwek’s role in a $50 million bank fraud became known and Dwek began cooperating with the FBI in an attempt to reduce the prison time he could face. It was in 2006 when Dwek — armed with a video camera — began posing as a corrupt developer, offering bribes to officials all around the state.
Schneider has maintained he has never been contacted by the FBI or questioned by authorities in connection with Dwek’s accusation.
Aaron on Friday read the newspaper account of Dwek’s accusation against Rubin and immediately drafted a letter to Rubin asking him to immediately clarify his relationship with Dwek to Schneider and City Administrator Howard H. Woolley. Rubin must provide the information before next week’s City Council meeting, the letter indicates.
Aaron said it is not unusual for a prosecutor to offer a plea negotiation resulting in reduced penalties. He also noted it would not necessarily have been wrong for Rubin to arrange some sort of barter service in which he would offer private legal services to Dwek in exchange for his office rent.
“That happens every day of the week whether you are Syrian, Jewish, Christian or Muslim,” said Aaron of plea negotiations. If Dwek is telling the truth, said Aaron, it would be helpful if he could share details — a name or date, for example.
Schneider, meanwhile, continues to stand by Rubin.
“I have 100 percent faith in Steve,” said the mayor. “I’ve known Steve a long time and he is a good prosecutor. I don’t believe he did anything wrong.”