Sources in West New York say federal investigators are interviewing people regarding their knowledge of a disabled website called recallroque.com and the possibility that Mayor Felix Roque and or his allies tried to hack the site.
Set up anonymously by the mayor’s political enemies, the website caught the attention of Roque and or his surrogates sometime in the February time frame.
A source close to the investigation said federal investigators confiscated the computer of Roque’s son.
The mayor continues to publicly maintain his innocence and said the investigation constitutes political payback for his defiance of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO).
After beating the Menendez-backed incumbent in last year’s mayoral election, Roque fired Menendez’s longtime friend and political confidant, Donald Scarinci, from the Board of Education. He fired North Bergen/Sen. Sacco fixture Herb Klitzner as the attorney at the library.
Then in February he endorsed state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) for U.S. Senate over Menendez.
“He’s crazy,” said an HCDO source, speaking on condition of anonymity, referring to Roque’s repeated frontline salvos against the HCDO and their allies.
But to the mayor, standing up to the establishment represents exactly why the voters of West New York put him in office, and he doesn’t want to let them down.
“I will never bow my head,” said Roque. “I would rather die. I’m cutting all the fat out of government, all the waste and abuse. I don’t want to be part of their system. They can’t bait me. I don’t bite on the hook of corruption.”
A colonel in the U.S. Army and medical doctor who runs a pain clinic on the same street where he grew up after coming to this country from his native Cuba, Roque said he lives by the code of duty, honor, country.
He admitted his estrangement from the organization power players at times hurts people in his town, a terrible Catch 22 in his view. When he refused to go to a meeting at the request of state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32) to shake hands with Menendez, for example, Roque claims Sacco denied Roque’s school-age candidates for a training program at the Hi Tech High School for gifted and talented.
“There is not any semblance of truth or reality in anything Mayor Roque is saying here,” said Sacco Spokesman Paul Swibinski. “Sen. Sacco would never do anything to harm school children in any way.”
Roque said North Bergen Commissioner Frank Gargiulo serves on the Hi Tech board.
“Those guys don’t say a peep unless Sacco looks at them,” said Roque.
Now federal investigators are in his town, swarming government nerve centers and asking questions that the combative anti-establishment mayor’s enemies hope will bring him down.
As he cooperates with the investigation, Roque said he is determined to stay on offense.
“I am relentless,” the mayor said. “This is about taking care of my town. I left my fear in Cuba.”
Insisting that he’s energized more than anything, the mayor today said he is reconsidering earlier statements that he does not intend to run against Sacco for the state Senate in 2013.
“Now I am considering it,” said the mayor. “He’s stale.”