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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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I'm sure there must be some sort of reciprocal agreement which allows public officials to break laws in both states with impunity.

Posted on: 2010/12/12 3:24
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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She owes back property taxes. She improperly claimed Florida's homestead exemption provided to homeowners for their primary residence. Since she now claims she didn't live in Florida, she has to true up the difference (plus likely penalties) for the seven or eight years she falsely claimed residence.

Posted on: 2010/12/11 13:13
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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GrovePath wrote:
Lawsuit seeking to unseat Jersey City councilwoman is dismissed on technicality by state Appellate Division

Wednesday, December 08, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES - JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

During a trial before Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli last year, Lopez admitted she didn't pay New Jersey income taxes until last year. She is paying more than $30,000 in back taxes and penalties to the state of Florida for listing her Florida home as her primary residence on tax forms.

.


Umm... why would she pay back taxes to Florida? They don't have an income tax in that state. Unless they are talking about property taxes, or sales taxes for large items she had delivered to another state while she claimed her primary residence was Florida.

Unless this is a misprint and they meant she is paying income taxes to New Jersey that she should have paid if she considered her primary residence to be New Jersey.

Jersey Journal - please verify this because Florida does not have an income tax!

Posted on: 2010/12/10 20:29
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Lawsuit seeking to unseat Jersey City councilwoman is dismissed on technicality by state Appellate Division

Wednesday, December 08, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES - JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The state Appellate Division dismissed a case contesting the residency of Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez on a technicality yesterday.

The Appellate Division judges ruled that the case was not filed in a timely manner and should never have been heard.

The case was dismissed without the judges determining if the evidence showed that Lopez was a Jersey City resident when she ran for the Ward C seat in 2009.

"I had no doubt that I would prevail," Lopez said yesterday. "I am glad that the courts reaffirmed the truth that I live in Jersey City, am a resident of the city and I love the city."

But Norrice Raymaker, who ran unsuccessfully against Lopez and joined the lawsuit after the original filer was charged in last year's massive federal corruption sting, said she felt justice was not served.

"I think she should resign still," Raymaker said. "I do not think she is qualified to hold office based on the way she ran her own personal affairs, the way she conducted her business, and now she has fiduciary responsibility for the budget of Jersey City."

At issue was whether or not Lopez lived in New Jersey for a year prior to the May 2009 election. Lopez contends that despite owning a property in Florida that was once her primary residence she has lived in Jersey City since 2001.

During a trial before Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli last year, Lopez admitted she didn't pay New Jersey income taxes until last year. She is paying more than $30,000 in back taxes and penalties to the state of Florida for listing her Florida home as her primary residence on tax forms.

Gallipoli ruled in December 2009 that Lopez was a resident and could keep her council seat, but he criticized her actions, including her failure to pay taxes.

Gallipoli heard the case even though it was filed more than 30 days after the election, because campaign finance reports cited in the suit weren't made public until that time.

The appellate judges ruled that enough evidence was obtained within the 30-day period and the reports were not needed to make the case.

Posted on: 2010/12/10 19:52
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Both Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez and ex-candidate challenging her residency say they're confident after appeals court hearing

Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 11:37 AM
The Jersey Journal

Two state Appellate Division judges have heard the arguments and now they will decide whether or not Jersey City Ward C Councilwoman Nidia Lopez properly vacated her Florida residency before running for office in New Jersey, as reported by The Jersey Journal's Melissa Hayes in today's editions.

Raymaker, who ran unsuccessfully against Lopez last year, is arguing that Lopez was not a New Jersey resident for one year prior to the May 2009 election, as required by law. She's asking that the election be voided and a special election be held.

Lopez says that despite owning a property in Florida, which was once her primary residence, she has lived in Jersey City since 2001.

Posted on: 2010/7/15 5:41
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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CORRECTION ON THE ADDRESS: The Clerk gave me the wrong address. Oral argument is scheduled to take place at Veteran's Courthouse, Room 1114, 11th floor, 50 W. Market Street, Newark.

Posted on: 2010/7/13 1:31
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Good luck in this latest attempt to right one of the MANY wrongs perpetrated by our corrupt city government and the judge, Maurice Galipolli (who provided such an insulting ruling to the people of Jersey City).

Posted on: 2010/7/12 17:52
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Oral argument in the case of Raymaker v. Lopez will take place on Tuesday, July 13 at 10:30 a.m. in the Appellate Division, 60 Nelson Place (Leroy F. Smith Public Safety Building) in Newark, NJ. The argument is open to the public and is expected to last about 30-45 minutes.

Diana H. Jeffrey, Esq.
Counsel for Norrice Raymaker

Posted on: 2010/7/12 15:55
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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PBW wrote:
During this whole thing, I've wondered why when you apply to run for council, you don't have to show your driver's license or passport with your JC address. Maybe they'll change their procedures.

Good to know that someone who follows blind advice (as she claims) is voting on issues that affect MY wallet.
good point ... but u.s. passports do not list your address ... i am stunned, and will continue to remain stunned for a long time ... that nobody actually checked to see whether she is a resident ... i am mean, how long would that take ??? .... 15 minutes? .... well .... it'd be fun to discover if she was a non-citizen ... now, that would make things interesting ....

Posted on: 2009/12/18 20:40
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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During this whole thing, I've wondered why when you apply to run for council, you don't have to show your driver's license or passport with your JC address. Maybe they'll change their procedures.

Good to know that someone who follows blind advice (as she claims) is voting on issues that affect MY wallet.

Posted on: 2009/12/18 17:44
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Editorial: Judge agrees: In her mind, she's legal

By The Jersey Journal
December 14, 2009, 12:01AM

In New Jersey, or at least in Hudson County, when it comes to running for elected office or voting, residency is only a state of mind.

This is what one could easily conclude from a Superior Court judge's ruling this past week allowing Jersey City Ward C Councilwoman Nidia Lopez to keep her seat on the City Council.

Norrice Raymaker, who ran unsuccessfully against Lopez in May, picked up the lawsuit that was started by runner-up council candidate Jimmy King, who was challenging Lopez's residency at the time she ran for office. Raymaker finished third. She contended that Lopez did not meet residency requirements when she filed her petition for candidacy in Jersey City. It was charged that Lopez was a Florida resident, and she had to live here at least a year before seeking local office. Lopez countered that she has lived in Jersey City since at least 2001.

Yet she has not paid New Jersey income taxes in at least three years, but filed federal taxes in Florida during that time. Florida does not have a state income tax. How many people could do this and not face serious repercussions?

For most of this decade, Lopez took advantage of a Sunshine State homestead property tax rebate program. She had to pay back more than $30,000, including penalties, after Florida officials learned of the brouhaha in New Jersey.

She also voted in both states in 2003.

Why did she have a Florida driver's license when she won the Jersey City election and applied for a New Jersey license only after her Sunshine State connection became public?

It was easy for Lopez's attorney to defend her. Florida officials' demand that Lopez return the property tax rebate money provided the odd defense that the Sunshine State recognizes her as a New Jersey resident. Then all she had to do was continually act puzzled on the stand and blame an accountant for her inability to file New Jersey taxes -- if she was truly a resident.

This is the same person who was astute enough to sue a pancake house in Florida when she slipped on a french fry.

The defense argued that she saw Garden State doctors, was active in a church, and is married to a Hudson County employee.

It was easy to call Judge Maurice Galipolli's decision even before the trial. There was no sense of urgency. Since the lawsuit was filed Lopez voted on a umber of issues. One vote resulted in a tax increase for Jersey City property owners, and the next morning she was in her Orlando, Fla., home.

The ruling could have been read from "Alice in Wonderland." While not condoning her actions, the judge was convinced that she "intended" to live at her Jersey City address.

"Residence under our laws is determined by nothing more than intention confirmed by actual acts of living to such a degree that they reasonable show that the party intended the residence as his real and actual residence," he wrote.

It is somewhat similar to what the Duchess told Alice: " ... Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise ..."

Now Lopez remains on a City Council that has seen one of its members, Philip Kenny, plead guilty in a federal corruption investigation and another, Mariano Vega, prepare to go to trial on similar charges.

She added her vote to those who approved a bonding issue for a fiscally troubled city to help its Parking Authority buy what could easily be considered an over-priced Central Avenue building. A principal in the building contributed to the administration's re-election campaign. Is it just that these elected officials cannot stop themselves from abusing those they swore to serve?

Despite the ruling, Lopez has been exposed, as well as those who pull her strings. She is just a symptom of a bigger problem.

The word "recall" is being heard more often among reformers. The people may want to cleanse the city rather than rely on lawyers and the courts.

© 2009 NJ.com. All rights reserved.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/voices/index ... _judge_agrees_in_her.html

Posted on: 2009/12/18 16:27
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Crazy_Chester wrote:
"While the many things Lopez did or failed to do since returning to New Jersey in 2001 are inexplicable and may implicate possible violations of civil and/or criminal law here and/or in Florida, they are "things" that are done unfortunately, day in and day out, by any number of people for any number of reasons, running the gamut from the dumb to the negligent to the criminal, regardless of residence."

This judge's only duty was to decide whether Lopez was a JC resident and, therefore, eligible to hold office here. He has issued his ruling on that. But I wonder if the above was a not-so-subtle message to other authorities that they should take a whack at her now.
you have a point here ... last time i checked, filing inaccurate and i mean inaccurate, not incorrect, tax returns usually leads to an expensive conversations with the state(s) involved. i do hope that they go after her - both in florida and here in jersey - because what she did is borderline criminal. we can only hope that she will not get reelected if she decides to run again....

Posted on: 2009/12/11 0:34
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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How much $ did Gallipoli get from her/Healy for that decision!? Or was it just oral favors? What a f'ing idiot corrupt scumbag judge! I am so sick of this crap. She commits tax fraud directly contradicting her residency claims and he ignores it. Absurd. He just rubber stamped fraud. Good for him. Kick him off the bench.
what a classy statement ...

Posted on: 2009/12/11 0:31
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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[quote]

In a statement, Raymaker “urges everyone not to be discouraged by this decision.” Although the residency challenge was not upheld, Raymaker said that the case “exposed … a nine-year scheme” in which Lopez “maintain[ed] a separate identity in Florida so she could duck her responsibilities.” Raymaker continues to call for Lopez’s resignation and asks the community — and Mayor Healy — to do the same.

But Mayor Healy, who headed the election ticket on which Lopez was elected and has supported her throughout the trial, told JCI that he is “happy that this case is closed and that the outcome is positive.”

Healy thinks the outcome is positive? Positive for who? Had he ahd a few when he said this?

Posted on: 2009/12/10 1:37
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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One good note from all of this. She probably will not win reelection. We should keep fighting but history is on our side.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 21:58
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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While I have not read the decision, the fact that the court found that she "intended to reside in Jersey City" is irrelevant, and should not have been a factor in determining her residency. "Intention without residence is no avail." If she was still a Florida res, and only "intended" to become a Jersey City res, then she failed to qualify for office. Very good chance that the lower court will be reversed on appeal.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 14:56
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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"While the many things Lopez did or failed to do since returning to New Jersey in 2001 are inexplicable and may implicate possible violations of civil and/or criminal law here and/or in Florida, they are "things" that are done unfortunately, day in and day out, by any number of people for any number of reasons, running the gamut from the dumb to the negligent to the criminal, regardless of residence."

This judge's only duty was to decide whether Lopez was a JC resident and, therefore, eligible to hold office here. He has issued his ruling on that. But I wonder if the above was a not-so-subtle message to other authorities that they should take a whack at her now.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 13:52
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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How much $ did Gallipoli get from her/Healy for that decision!? Or was it just oral favors? What a f'ing idiot corrupt scumbag judge! I am so sick of this crap. She commits tax fraud directly contradicting her residency claims and he ignores it. Absurd. He just rubber stamped fraud. Good for him. Kick him off the bench.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 12:44
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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This statement sums up the Healy Administration - dumb, negligent, and crooks, lets not forget corrupt and incompetent too.

Quote:

“This decision is nothing that Nidia Lopez should be proud of,” Jeffrey said. “It’s not a victory to have a judge say that you might be dumb, negligent, or a crook — but you live in New Jersey.”

Posted on: 2009/12/9 5:51
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Raymaker to appeal Lopez decision

By Matt Friedman, PolitickerNJ.com Reporter

A judge ruled yesterday that Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez can keep her seat, but Lopez faces one more legal challenge to her residency status by former council candidate Norrice Raymaker.

Raymaker, who just yesterday received Superior Court Judge Maurice Gallipoli's Friday ruling that Lopez is a Jersey City resident despite owning a home in Orlando, Fla. and only paying taxes there, plans to appeal the decision based on the allegation that Lopez did not abandon her Florida domicile one year before she was elected.

"We raised a crucial issue: in order for her to claim under the law Jersey City as her domicile, she needed to prove that she abandoned Florida as her former Domicile," said Raymaker. "[Gallipoli] just ignored it. He didn't rule on it. We think on that basis, she can't embrace Jersey City as her domicile."

The case against Lopez has dragged on for nearly six months.

Almost two months after Lopez was elected to the city's Ward C council seat, unsuccessful candidate Jimmy King, who finished second behind Lopez in the May municipal election, touched off the suit with evidence collected in part by a private investigator in Florida. But King was arrested in July on corruption charges and eventually dropped the case, leaving Raymaker, a good government reform activist who finished third in the May election, to pursue it.

Among King's initial allegations was that Lopez claimed a tax exemption on her Orlando home only meant for permanent Florida residents. Lopez admitted that continuing to claim the exemption was a mistake and is paying the state of Florida over $30,000 in back taxes and penalties.

Although he ruled in Lopez's favor, the wording of Gallipolis's decision did raise some eyebrows.

"While the many things Lopez did or failed to do [...] are inexplicable and may implicate possible violations of civil and/or criminal law here and/or in Florida, they are ‘things' that are done unfortunately, day in and day out, by any number of people for any number of reasons, running the gamut from the dumb to the negligent to the criminal, regardless of residence," he wrote.

Jeffrey said that if her request to proceed on an emergent basis is granted - which she expects -- then the case should be decided within the next two weeks. Otherwise, it will move at the usual "snail's pace."

Lopez's attorney, William Northgrave, said he's confident that they will overcome any appeal.

"Factually and legally, it had always been clear that Councilwoman Lopez lived in Jersey City. We are happy that Judge Gallipoli, in a strong, well reasoned opinion, sustained Ms. Lopez and the people who voted her into office on the first ballot," he said. "Councilwoman Lopez can now continue serving her constituents without this unnecessary and warranted distraction."

Northgrave argued that Raymaker was grasping at straws in her appeal.

"What they tell you in law school is if the fact is on the facts you pound the fact, if the law is on your side you pound the law, and if neither are on your side you pound the table," he said.

Matt Friedman is a PolitickerNJ.com Reporter and can be reached via email at matt@politicsnj.com.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 3:34
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Judge Upholds Lopez’s Eligibility for Ward C Council Seat
By Shane Smith • Dec 8th, 2009 • Category: Featured, News, Politics


Photo: Steve Gold

Ward C councilwoman Nidia Rivera Lopez’s claim to her seat is safe.

A legal challenge against Lopez filed after the May election alleged that she did not establish residency in New Jersey at least one year prior to the election, making her ineligible to hold office here. Hudson County Superior Court Judge Maurice Gallipoli filed a 16-page decision in the suit on Friday, in which he found that Lopez “intended” to reside in Jersey City, “and that intention was objectively confirmed” by the facts in the case.

Norrice Raymaker, who ran against Lopez in the May election, joined a legal challenge against Lopez in August; the suit was originally filed by Raymaker’s fellow Ward C candidate Jimmy King, but Raymaker joined the suit when it became clear that King would drop it because of federal corruption charges pending against him.

Lopez’s residency was called into question after it came to light that she had not paid New Jersey state taxes for a number of years. Lopez lived in Florida from 1994 until about 2001, and she continues to own a home in Orlando. From 2001 until this year, she paid her federal income taxes as well as corporate taxes on her Hoboken-based dental consulting business in Florida. Lopez also claimed Florida residency and improperly received a homestead rebate on her property taxes there. Raymaker’s lawyer argued in court that these actions as well others — including the renewal of a Florida driver’s license and a vote in Florida by absentee ballot — showed that Lopez never “abandoned her domicile” in Florida or “evidenced her intention to establish a new domicile” in New Jersey.

Lopez’s attorney produced an array of documents in court in order to prove that she did intend her domicile to be New Jersey, including a voter profile, medical records and a variety of correspondence mailed to Lopez’s Corbin Avenue address. Lopez also testified that she has served as a commissioner for the Jersey City Parking Authority and that she is an active member of a Jersey City church. When asked in court why she did not pay New Jersey taxes and claimed an improper exemption in Florida, Lopez stated that she wasn’t aware of the matter because she entrusted her tax affairs to her accountant.

Based on the evidence presented and his determination that the burden of proof in the case lies with the plaintiff, Gallipoli ruled that Lopez was a resident of New Jersey as of one year before her election to public office.

However, he did not spare the court his opinion of Lopez’s actions. Writing that he was “mystified” by her “apparent lack of attention to many details of her personal and financial affairs,” Gallipoli said that it might be explained by “any number of reasons, running the gamut from the dumb to the negligent to the criminal.”

Lopez’s attorney William Northgrave told JCI that he and Lopez are “happy that Judge Gallipoli … sustained Ms. Lopez.” Calling the challenge an “unnecessary and unwarranted distraction,” Northgrave said that Lopez will “continue serving her constituents.”

Diana Jeffrey, who along with Howard Myerowitz represents Raymaker, says that she will appeal. The argument Myerowitz made in court that Lopez never abandoned her Florida domicile was “overlooked” by Gallipoli, she says.

“This decision is nothing that Nidia Lopez should be proud of,” Jeffrey said. “It’s not a victory to have a judge say that you might be dumb, negligent, or a crook — but you live in New Jersey.”

In a statement, Raymaker “urges everyone not to be discouraged by this decision.” Although the residency challenge was not upheld, Raymaker said that the case “exposed … a nine-year scheme” in which Lopez “maintain[ed] a separate identity in Florida so she could duck her responsibilities.” Raymaker continues to call for Lopez’s resignation and asks the community — and Mayor Healy — to do the same.

But Mayor Healy, who headed the election ticket on which Lopez was elected and has supported her throughout the trial, told JCI that he is “happy that this case is closed and that the outcome is positive.”

Posted on: 2009/12/9 2:19
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Norrice Raymaker has asked me to post this as her comment on the decision i n Raymaker v. Lopez:

Ward C voters deserve a representative that is fully committed to serving our interests--not someone who avoids her own taxes while raising ours. This decision has exposed that Nidia Lopez ran a nine-year scheme to maintain a separate identity in Florida so she could duck her responsibilities. Yet now she expects the public to trust her judgement. We deserve better than this. I call upon Nidia Lopez to do the only decent and honorable thing and resign for the good of Jersey City.


Ms. Raymaker intends to appeal this decision as the court overlooked and failed to rule on a crucial legal point raised.

Ms. Raymaker thanks everyone in Ward C for their support and urges everyone not to be discouraged by this decision. Admittledly Lopez's candidacy is yet another example of the HCDO's lack of respect for voters and its belief that it is above the law. Instead, she asks that those who feel a sense of outrage like she does, to call upon Ms. Lopez to resign. Demand that Mayor Healy also do the same. Ask the Council to engage in a "no confidence" vote. And please, seek every opportunity to empower yourselves and the community and take back our City. It can be done.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 23:32
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Agreed with the posters above. DUMB,DUMB,DUMB-- (but we are paying for her dumbness!)

A business woman who has no knowledge of the documents she signs, who blindly hands everything to her accountant for handling is not someone I want representing me.

So will she be subject to the other possible repercussions of her acts mentioned on the last page of the judgment?

"While the many things Lopez did or failed to do since returning to New Jersey in 2001 are inexplicable and may implicate possible violations of civil and/or criminal law here and/or in Florida,..."

Posted on: 2009/12/7 21:33
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T-Bird wrote:
I liked this:

"While the many things Lopez did or failed to do since returning to New Jersey in 2001 are inexplicable and may implicate possible violations of civil and/or criminal law here and/or in Florida, they are "things" that are done unfortunately, day in and day out, by any number of people for any number of reasons, running the gamut from the dumb to the negligent to the criminal, regardless of residence."

Dumb, negligent, criminal - Judge Gallipoli invites you to take your pick. Yep Ward C, that's your councilwoman.


Sad, but oh so true.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 21:12
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I liked this:

"While the many things Lopez did or failed to do since returning to New Jersey in 2001 are inexplicable and may implicate possible violations of civil and/or criminal law here and/or in Florida, they are "things" that are done unfortunately, day in and day out, by any number of people for any number of reasons, running the gamut from the dumb to the negligent to the criminal, regardless of residence."

Dumb, negligent, criminal - Judge Gallipoli invites you to take your pick. Yep Ward C, that's your councilwoman.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 18:40
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Re: Jersey City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez a Florida Resident?
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Posted on: 2009/12/7 18:31
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Re: Upholding the Integrity of the Ward C Election
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WTF?!! Why am I not surprised. Ok so I intend my residence to be in Brooklyn at my bf's apartment, that doesn't make it so. She should still be charged for tax evasion and voter fraud.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 18:03
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Re: Upholding the Integrity of the Ward C Election
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Judge rules in favor of Jersery City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez in residency case
By Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal
December 07, 2009, 11:32AM

Superior Court Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli has ruled that Lopez is a resident of Jersey City.

The decision comes after Lopez took the stand Oct. 26 to defend her residency in a one-day trial before Gallipoli.

Norrice Raymaker, who ran unsuccessfully against Lopez in May, filed the suit against Lopez.

Raymaker finished third behind Lopez in the council election and contends that Lopez' primary residence is in Florida and therefore should not be allowed to serve in Jersey City. Lopez has not paid New Jersey income taxes in at least three years, but filed federal taxes in Florida during that time. Florida does not have a state income tax.

Lopez said she has lived in Jersey City since at least 2001 when she married her husband Ben Lopez. She belongs to Iglesia Presbiteriana Nueva Esperanza church on North Street in Jersey City; has sought medical attention in and around Jersey City; and her husband works for Hudson County.

In his 16 page decision, Gallipoli said that he does not condone what Lopez did, but that she “intended” her residence to be 66 Corbin Ave. in Jersey City.

“Residence under our laws is determined by nothing more than intention confirmed by actual acts of living to such a degree that they reasonable show that the party intended the residence and his real and actual residence,” he wrote in the Dec. 4 ruling.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 17:47
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Upholding the Integrity of the Ward C Election
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Upholding the Integrity of the Ward C Election

By Norrice Raymaker • Dec 3rd, 2009

The day after the trial ended in Raymaker v. Lopez, Benjamin Lopez was quoted in the press as asking “What right does someone who lost at the election box have to challenge this election?”

I think that’s a great question, Mr. Lopez — and here’s my answer:

I joined Jimmy King’s lawsuit because someone had to uphold the integrity of the Ward C election. We live in America. We can’t allow counterfeit candidates to hold office. We have to defend our right to authentic representation. As a candidate for the Ward C seat, I was in a unique position to stand up for the voters and for these democratic values — that’s why I kept the suit going.

I joined the lawsuit because it was important to learn who Nidia Lopez really is and where she really lives. Whether we win or lose the lawsuit, now the people know. We know she never used the name “Nidia Lopez” until January, 2009 when she decided to run for office. Up until then, she went by “Nidia Boehringer.” As Nidia Boehringer she claimed Florida as her permanent residence in order to get a homestead rebate on Florida property taxes. As Nidia Boehringer she filed her taxes using her Florida address and consequently avoided paying any New Jersey state income tax for years. As Nidia Boehringer she held a Florida drivers’ license, which she renewed in 2006 and which enabled her to pay Florida auto insurance rates (much lower than New Jersey’s) until June 2009. And then she changed her license after the election to get a city-paid car — you know — the one we taxpayers are footing the
bill for.

We know the woman who claims to be “a 30 year successful New Jersey business woman” allowed her certificate of incorporation to lapse in 1995 in this state and never paid New Jersey income tax for her business in all the years since then. We know in 2003 she voted in Florida as Nidia Boehringer only a few months after voting in New Jersey as Nidia Rivera. We know she sues people when she slips on French fries and falls down in high heels. We also know her current husband is a former business administrator for Jersey City and the director of Family Services for Hudson County, positions which require financial acumen. But we also know that Mr. and Mrs. Lopez don’t file joint tax returns. I wonder, why not?

Nidia Lopez justified all this by claiming she didn’t know any better. But we know that this was not a onetime lapse in judgment. For nine years she claimed her Florida home as her primary residence, maintained her identity as “Nidia Boehringer,” voted in two different states and avoided paying any New Jersey taxes. She didn’t know any better? Come on. A Democratic committee woman didn’t know any better? How gullible does the HCCO think we are? This was deliberate, ongoing and willful. It is clear to me now that Nidia Lopez is neither honest nor responsible, but she is very adept at playing the system to have it both ways.

And this is the person the HCDO and Mayor Healy chose to represent Ward C. Was this really the best they could do? The HCDO dumped Steve Lipski, a genuinely accomplished and fairly elected councilman, when he struggled with alcoholism. But the HCDO is hanging on to Nidia Lopez — a tax avoider. This is evidently how little Mayor Healy and the HCDO care about us in Ward C.

I think it is shame that Nidia Lopez has tarnished this election. It is a shame that Nidia Lopez has never paid taxes to the state of New Jersey and yet feels entitled to hold elected office. It is shame that the HCDO recruited a candidate who claims Florida as her primary residence. It is a shame that the HCDO did not conduct a background check before placing her on the ticket. And it is shame that Mayor Healy has not demanded her resignation.

If the judge rules against us, Ward C will be stuck with Mrs. Lopez unless another agency steps in and investigates her obvious tax issues. Even if she is indicted, she may follow Mariano Vega’s lead and refuse to resign. In the meantime the administration has not introduced the budget and taxes have gone up 11 percent — an increase Lopez supports. Apparently she doesn’t like paying taxes herself, but has no problem raising ours.

If we prevail in this suit, I will not be named as the new council representative for Ward C. Instead, the court will order another election and the voters of Ward C will get another shot at fairly electing the most qualified representative. The question before us, no matter what the outcome of this suit, is: “Now that we know, what we do?” What do we take away from this experience? How do we prevent the HCDO from doing this again?

We must demand more from our elected representatives. And I mean sincerely, loudly, forcefully demand more. Mayor Healy, it’s not too late to rescue your administration from disgrace. Admit there is a problem and stop clinging to the outdated view held by the HCDO and its members that they are indomitable and above the law. Stop sidestepping: come out of the shadows and ask Nidia Lopez to resign.

It’s the only moral, ethical, and responsible thing to do. If you don’t, Mayor Healy, you will only become more irrelevant and ultimately go down in history as just another Hudson County joke.

Next, we must demand that outgoing Gov. Corzine do something during his last days in office to overthrow this culture of corruption. Gov. Corzine, I ask you to sign an Executive Order changing campaign finance laws to stop candidates and elected officials from using money raised during their campaign to buy gifts for their constituents. That’s right, candidates and elected officials use campaign funds to buy tennis shoes and turkeys and make other “charitable” purchases for their constituents. Clearly this is nothing more than old-fashioned vote-buying. Gov. Corzine, you have an opportunity to stop these politicians from using campaign funds to buy votes, and we ask you to take action.

Most importantly, we have to take our power back by getting involved. The new Party Democracy Act curtails the power of political bosses by enabling us — regular voters — to participate in how parties like the HCDO select candidates and carry out business. In the past, party chairs had vast power over ballot lines, campaign cash, and the filling of municipal vacancies and there was little county committee representatives could do. But under the Party Democracy Act this will change and the HCDO will no longer be “the boss of you.”

So I am asking residents in Ward C and throughout Jersey City to please run for county committee. Join your local neighborhood association. Become active in at least one community group. Attend council meetings. Reach out to your county committee representative and communicate your needs and expectations. Read the newspaper and the daily blogs. Stay informed. Be hopeful. Seize opportunities. If we do this, we will reclaim our democracy and make the politicians work for us. Because it shouldn’t be “them against us.” We are one Jersey City.

Norrice Raymaker is a former candidate for the Ward C City Council seat. A longtime community activist, in August she joined Jimmy King's lawsuit seeking to disqualify Ward C councilwoman Nidia Rivera Lopez from her position.

http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/ ... y-of-the-ward-c-election/

Posted on: 2009/12/4 18:06
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