One of the infamous 44 busted in last year’s corruption sting, Jersey City Councilman Mariano Vega will resign his seat today at 5 p.m.
Sources say the resignation was carefully planned to allow his seat to be filled by the establishment, while just missing the Sept. 10 cutoff for his seat to go before the voters in November. Instead, his seat will be up for election next year and the council will appoint his replacement within 30 days.
Hilario “Larry” Nunez Jr., a Jersey City school teacher, ex-Marine, candidate for mayor in 2004 and city council in 2005, and aide to Vega, is the frontrunner, according to a source.
Councilman Bill Gaughan, in Trenton today, confirmed the resignation and said there is no frontrunner to replace Vega.
Some insiders claim Fire Director Armando Roman is a favorite – especially since Hispanic representation in Jersey City is declining – but Roman would have to resign his position in the department and as not willing to do so, according to a source.
Nunez is Dominican, and the seat in question has always belonged to the Puerto Rican community.
Facing community pressure, Vega resigned his council presidency last year, but remained on the council. He was also suspended as a county director.
Vega is accused of taking $30,000 from purported developer Solomon Dwek in exchange for help securing development approvals, and also for lying to the FBI under questioning about knowing Dwek. The two met six times, according to the criminal complaint against Vega.
Other names in the mix include former councilman Junior Maldonado and former deputy mayor Anthony Cruz.