Anthony Suarez is the Ridgefield, NJ mayor arrested in an FBI sting.
Anthony Suarez, 42, a Democrat, is arrested and charged with “conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.” Suarez is alleged to have accepted money from a “co-operating witness,” thought to be Solomon Dwek, in exchange for favors with a real estate deal.
Mayor Suarez is an attorney at Fort Lee law firm. His first term as mayor of Ridgefield began in 2003. In 2007 he was re-elected to a second four-year term. He is out of jail on a $100,000.00 unsecured bond.
The Federal complaint says that Anthony r. Suarez and Vincent Tabbachino:
…did knowingly and willfully conspire to obstruct, delay, and affect interstate commerce by extortion under color of official right, by accepting and agreeing to accept corrupt payments that were paid and to be paid by another, with that person’s consent, in exchange for defendant ANTHONY R. SUAREZ’s future official assistance in Ridgefield Government matters.
NorthJersey.com says that Suarez was “known and feared – for suing those who leveled false accusation against him on web sites and in newspapers. “But his eagerness to go to court may have led to his political downfall, critics said….” Read more about a previous lawsuit with a Ridgefield resident, Michael Mecca.
Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled council declined to pay Suarez’s legal fees after Mecca sued the mayor for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Suarez’s defamation lawsuit against Mecca for postings on a Web forum in 2005 had been dismissed.
There appears to be two counts to the charge. Count One involves both Suarez and Tabbachino. The men met the “cooperating witness” at a Fairview, NJ restaurant. Suarez told the “CW” of two properties he might be interested in, in Ridgefield, saying there might be another party interested in one of them.
[On about May 18, 2009] Defendant Tabbachino indicated that “I was just talking to Anthony. He says he’ll try to help us whatever ways we need,” prompting defendant Suarez to add “I, I’d really like to develop the area.” The CW then informed defendant Suarez that “I don’t wanna have, uh, uh, an incident where I go ahead, I tie up a property. I put up two, three million dollars hard, and then they [u/i] say I need a zone change or whatever it is, and they put me on the bottom of the pile, and it takes me three years, and then they jerk me around.”
Defendant Suarez assured the CW that “[w]e don’t have that kind of issue because
we don’t have wait lists like that.” The CW responded, in referring to another situation in which the CW purportedly attempted to develop a property, “there were no wait lists either in Orange . . . They weren’t busy. They just kept on, eh, adjourning it, adjourning it. . . They wanted to jerk me around. They didn’t like me.”
The CW then explained to defendant Suarez that “I just wanna make sure I got someone in there that, you know, can help me expedite, uh, you, know, with my approvals. That’s all. And, you know, I wanna make sure I got a friend that will support my stuff.” Defendant Tabbachino interjected, as he laughed, “[y]ou’ve got a friend,” and added, in an apparent reference to other Ridgefield officials, “[a]nd now we’ve got to, uh, get the rest of the friends in a circle and form the wagons up.”
Defendant Suarez advised the CW that the “best thing” for the CW to do at this juncture would be to produce “some sort of preliminary or schematic.” The CW agreed to do so, but added that “I don’t wanna go crazy unless I know that, you know, people will–-are receptive to me,” prompting defendant Suarez to respond “[r]ight.” Defendant Tabbachino inquired “[w]hat is the next step that we have to do here?” The CW reiterated that “I’ll do a schematic with a colored rendering. We’ll give to the, you know, Mayor, and he’ll do, you know, he’ll show it to his people.” Defendant Suarez agreed to this proposal and added that “I’ll meet with the . . . planners and attorneys.”
Subsequently, during the May 18, 2009 meeting, the CW inquired of defendant Tabbachino, “[n]ow, uh, did, you know, you told the Mayor how we gonna do business now?” Defendant Tabbachino responded, in defendant Suarez’s presence, “[y]eah. He understands everything. I told him I would take care of whatever had to be done. And I told him that we’d help him out with his, his campaign.” The CW responded, “[y]eah, do whatever you want. Just don’t put my name on anything,” at which time defendant Suarez smiled and nodded in the affirmative. The CW
added that “I don’t need conflicts. I don’t need, you know, I like staying under the radar. Low key.” Defendant Tabbachino then informed the CW that “I said whatever way [defendant Suarez] wants it, that’s the way I’ll be glad to do it.” Defendant Tabbachino then joked, as he laughed, “I’ll give him the three dollars for popcorn to go to a movie.” As defendant Suarez began speaking on his cell phone, defendant Tabbachino turned to the CW and informed the CW that “[s]o what I did was I, I brought a check with me in case [u/i]. I brought a check with me.” The CW explained to defendant Tabbachino that “well, I have ten thousand cash.” The CW asked defendant Tabbachino “I’ll give him–-ask him what he wants. I’ll give it to you after the meeting as long as he says, you know, whatever, you work it out with him.”
Defendant Tabbachino told the CW “[a]lright. No sweat.
Whatever way he wants to do it,” prompting the CW to add that the CW would
provide the “ten now, and then we’ll do another ten later.” The CW then told defendant Tabbachino that “I got it in [an] envelope there so nobody knows nothing.” Defendant Tabbachino then indicated that he might provide a check to defendant Suarez to cover a portion of the $10,000 and provide the remaining total in cash, prompting the CW to reply “[d]o whatever he wants. I don’t care,” and then added “everyone has their own likings, so–-as long as my name is not on the darn thing.” Defendant Tabbachino assured the CW, “[n]o, no. That’s why I have–-brought my own, my check.” The CW further informed defendant Tabbachino “[a]s long as he wants it. He doesn’t want it, that’s also fine.”
A short time later, after defendant Suarez had completed his cell phone call, the CW asked defendant Tabbachino “you wanna go do some business? What do you wanna do?” Defendant Tabbachino replied “[y]eah, let’s go take care of that, we’ll be in business.” The CW inquired “[s]o, I’ll do, I guess, uh, I’ll give you, uh, how do you want me to do this?” Defendant Tabbachino stated “[g]ive it to me and I’ll sit in the car with–- and we’ll check the weather,” prompting defendant Suarez to laugh. The CW then turned to defendant Suarez and stated “so, uh, Mayor, wh–-, I’ll give him, uh, [u/i]. I told Vinny [u/i] ten thousand.” Defendant Suarez replied “[t]hat’s really nice of you. I appreciate that. You don’t have to,” prompting the CW to reiterate that the CW had “ten thousand cash.” Defendant Suarez then informed the CW that “[j]ust, just so you know, it goes ina, it’s like a, an account where it doesn’t have to go to ELEC,” a reference to the governmental body to which public officials and candidates must report any campaign contributions. The CW told defendant Suarez that “I don’t care where it goes. Just don’t put anything in my name,” prompting defendant Suarez to assure the CW that he would not do so. The CW then added “just
make sure you expedite my stuff, my applic–-, you know, if I have zoning, just make sure you have my back covered for me. That’s all I ask.” Defendant Suarez replied “that has nothing to do with, you know,” to which the CW stated “[c]all it what you
want.” Defendant Suarez added that he “appreciate[d]” what the CW was doing for him. The CW stated “I’ll do it through Uncle Vinny [Tabbachino],” prompting defendant Suarez to state “it’s not like a mixed thing, but you know, whatever . . . they’re separate things.” Upon hearing this, the CW remarked “[o]kay, no problem. I hear you. If you don’t want it, I won’t give it to you. I don’t want . . ,” at which point defendant Suarez laughed and…
There’s much more in the same vein in Count 1.
Count 2 involves Tabbachino and here’s where we hear about the designer-knock-off handbag business:
On or about February 4, 2009, defendant Tabbachino and the CW met at a restaurant in Guttenburg with another individual who later departed the meeting. Thereafter, defendant Tabbachino agreed to launder $50,000 in illicit proceeds for the CW. In particular, defendant Tabbachino was advised by the CW that the CW had a bank check for $50,000 that represented “profits” from the CW’s “label swapping” [meaning counterfeit] “handbag business.” Defendant Tabbachino directed the CW to make the check payable to “Tabbachino Associates” to make the check appear to be a “business check.” Defendant Tabbachino then agreed to“deposit” the check, and to give the CW “back 45″ [implying that defendant Tabbachino would retain $5,000 as his laundering fee, and return $45,000 to the CW].
To read a copy of the actual federal Complaint naming Suarez, click here.