Assemblywomen Joan Voss (D-Fort Lee) and Connie Wagner (D-Paramus) have both called on arrested Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, a fellow Democrat, to resign.
"Good government is based on mutual respect, confidence and trust and when one of these ingredients is missing then the elected official must step down so that government can move forward," said Wagner. "I hope the Mayor is correct when he says he is innocent of these very serious allegations. But right now he needs to step aside, take care of his legal issues, and let the business of the town move forward."
Ridgefield is located in the 38th Legislative District, which is represented by Wagner, Voss and state Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Fair Lawn). The district’s voters are not strangers to corruption, as they used to be represented by former state Sen. Joe Coniglio (D-Paramus), who was convicted of steering state grants to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was employed as a consultant.
The Suarez arrest for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for help with a real estate deal, combined with the recent Coniglio conviction and the upcoming corruption trial of former Democratic party boss Joe Ferriero, has given Republicans hope that they can make this usually safe Democratic district competitive this year.
Republican Assembly candidates Nicholas Lonzisero and Judith Fisher had already called on Voss and Wagner to ask for Suarez's resignation, saying that refusing to do so demonstrated a "tolerance for corruption."
Meanwhile, Fort Lee officials plan to discuss today whether to remove Suarez as attorney for the town's ethics board.