Hudson County Superior Court Judge Maurice Gallipoli will issue a written decision on whether Jersey City Ward C Councilwoman Nidia Lopez can remain in office.
Gallipoli today heard arguments from a lawsuit that challenges Lopez’s residency because she claimed her Orlando, Fla. home as her permanent residence for tax purposes and filed income taxes from Florida, which does not have a state income tax.
Attorney Diana Jeffrey, who with law partner Howard Myerowitz represents the plaintiff, unsuccessful Ward C council candidate Norrice Raymaker, said that she expects to hear the decision soon because judges typically rule quickly in election related cases.
Jeffrey said Lopez explained why she did not pay her taxes in New Jersey.
“Basically she said she didn’t know she had to – that she had to file taxes from her New Jersey address even though she worked exclusively in New Jersey, and as to the mortgage documents said they say her Florida home was her primary residence,she said she didn’t read them, just signed them,” said Jeffery.
Jeffrey said that Lopez admitted that she renewed her driver’s license in Florida in 2006, and said that she was unaware that she was supposed to get a New Jersey driver’s license if it was her permanent address.
An account of today’s testimony from the Jersey Journal said that Lopez attorney Bill Northgrave tried to establish Lopez's status as a Jersey City resident based on her church membership, her husband’s job as director of family services for Hudson County, and the fact that she’s always sought medical treatment in the Jersey City area.
Reached by phone, Northgrave declined to go into specifics, but said that Lopez is "glad the trial is over, and she wants to get back to serving the people of Jersey City."
"We'll await the judge's decision," he said.