Although the lawsuit against Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa names a sitting Democratic freeholder as a co-defendant and charges that another Democratic freeholder who’s up for reelection this year benefited from Zisa’s alleged shakedowns of subordinate police officers, Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin is not going to make an issue out of it just yet.
“It’s really too early to tell. These are allegations and in a civil suit a person can make any kind of allegations they want,” he said.
The suit, filed by six current Hackensack police officers and one former member of the force, names Tomas Padilla – a Hackensack policeman who has been a freeholder since 2005 and is a hopeful to be appointed U.S. Marshall – as a defendent along with Zisa, who it accuses of pressuring officers to donate to his and Padilla's political campaigns. It also alleges that a co-defendant, Local 9 union President Phillip Carroll, donated union dues to fund campaigns for Zisa and Padilla without the plaintiffs’ consent.
Not accused but named in the suit as benefiting from what the plaintiffs charge was “money illegally obtained” are incumbent Freeholders David Ganz, Bernadette McPherson and Vernon Walton, who is up for reelection this year against Republicans Rob Hermansen and John Driscoll (the other Democratic freeholder up for reelection, Julie O’Brien, was not named in the complaint).
Yudin, however, would not take the bait — at least not until the allegations were given more credence than a lawsuit.
“This has got to play out, in all fairness to all parties. If there is any truth to these allegations, there has to be remedial action taken. And it seems to me that if there is any truth to the allegations, the U.S. Attorney’s office should be involved,” he said.