The Jersey Journal: Corruption in Union City!
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Tells judge: I extorted $20G from builder
UNION CITY – A former city Board of Adjustment member who is currently employed by the city school system pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to taking $20,000 in bribes, officials said.
John Medina, 38, of North Bergen, admitted accepting the money from a contractor who was having trouble getting building permit renewals for construction of a six-story building on Summit Avenue in Union City, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie.
Medina admitted taking the money in exchange for his official help and he told the contractor he was closely associated with other high-ranking officials in Union City government who could be of help, Drewniak said.
Medina said he intended to share the cash with another person involved in the extortion scheme, Drewniak said, adding that the investigation is ongoing. Drewniak would not name the contractor and would not say who the money was to be shared with.
Medina was on the Board of Adjustment between 2002 and January 2005, and is currently employed by the Union City Board of Education as an attendance and truant officer at Emerson High School, officials said.
Medina admitted meeting with the contractor in January 2005 near 23rd Street and Summit Avenue and demanding $35,000 in exchange for his assistance, Drewniak said, adding that they later settled on $20,000.
The charge of extortion under color of official right carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, officials said.
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