Roman Receives Subpoena to be Deposed by Armstead’s Council: His Full Statement

Roman

As you know, Mayor Armstead and his council have accused me of unauthorized access to the Linden DPW lot where I photographed evidence of lawn signs that were removed by DPW workers, after I was credibly notified that DPW workers while on duty removed signs from private properties.  This was not the first time during the Armstead reign that signs were removed by DPW workers. They are also attempting to accuse me of evidence planting, staging, and tampering. Under normal circumstances. I would have requested someone from DPW or the police department to escort me to photograph this evidence, but given the state of Linden, I truly believe that if I would have requested that, I would have been denied access and the evidence would have been gone and never came to light.  The following day, The State Attorney General’s Office took the case and to my knowledge their investigation is still on going.  I did provide the OAG with testimony and supporting documents and they have jurisdictional prowess over this incident. I would like to add that the Linden Chief of Police David Hart, did go on record in our council meeting stating that the State was handling this case and it was taken out of the jurisdiction of the City and the County.

On June 18th, 2019, Armstead’s City Council adopted a resolution to create their 2nd Municipal Investigation Committee (MIC) to investigate what they call my “unauthorized access” to Linden’s DPW lot. First let me be clear, the DPW lot is owned by the taxpayers and the Linden City Charter states in plain English, “A councilmember may investigate any activity of the municipality.”

To this point, I have never refused to cooperate with Linden Council’s Investigative Committee however I do question their intentions and their (ab)use of power.  On September 25th, Council President Yamakaitis sent me a letter stating that she would subpoena testimony and documents under oath if I did not voluntarily provide them to her as Chair of the MIC (Attachment A). As you can see, she is asking for documents regarding the AG’s case into sign theft and election tampering. She is basically asking me to turn over state evidence to her or the information would be subpoenaed under oath.

I sent an email back to her on October 7th stating that I would cooperate with the municipal investigation but only after the AG finished their investigation or alternatively, authorized me to release evidence in their case to the MIC (Attachment B).  I told her I was not comfortable providing her with the information for a number of reasons, namely that releasing evidence in a state case could be viewed as obstruction. I also feel this is becoming another example of an Armstead led Municipal Investigative Committee being used interfere or obstruct a state investigation.

You may be asking, what do you mean another attempt to obstruct?

As I said earlier, this is the 2nd Municipal Investigative Committee set up by Armstead’s Council this year. I now would like to point to first one, the Nick Scutari Investigative Committee which was used to investigate my personal life by the Chair of that Committee, Councilman Peter Brown, along with his fellow members Councilman Ralph Strano and Councilman Alfred Muhammad.  During Brown’s “investigation”, Brown abused and leveraged his position on this committee and acquired personal text messages between myself and an ex romantic interest from 2018. These had nothing to do with Nick Scutari and was simply Brown prying into my personal life in an attempt to embarrass, harass or defame me. There were many other incidents during Linden City Council Meetings over the last year where he threatened to release these messages in an attempt to silence me and prevent me from executing my office to the fullest extent of my ability. Brown did all this (and more) because shortly after coming onto Council, I blew a whistle and filed an ethics complaint against him regarding his possible corrupt activities with developers here in Linden.  Brown, as chairman of the Scutari Investigative Committee, went so far as to ask his accused co-conspirator in the corruption complaint for video surveillance of me visiting my constituents in the 6th Ward, the same ward I have the honor to represent. (One of these residents in the surveillance who I check on is wheel chair bound and several times in my term had to be carried from the building because of the elevators not working.)  Brown did all this while yielding his threats of subpoena power to various entities. Also, during this same timeframe, I can prove that Brown threatened litigation against myself and other councilmembers for pointing out valid concerns and his unnatural connections with developers. He also has filed numerous false/erroneous police reports and complaints against elected officials as well as members of the public in an attempt to bring their credibility into question and to hide his wrong doings. These Police Reports are readily available to be OPRA’d by anyone reading this.

So, given all this knowledge that is documented of how the first municipal investigative committee was handled, this is why I told Mrs. Yamakaitis that I would be happy to cooperate but only after the state had completed their investigation, as the Attorney General’s Office had been in contact with me and were actively investigating this election tampering case.

Recently, I received what looks like an Official Subpoena from the County of Union directing me to come and be deposed on November 1st in front of the Municipal Investigative Committee. It also requested me to bring with me all communications between myself and several entities, including and most importantly, communications between myself and the Attorney General’s Office (Attachment C).

So let’s break this down,

Derek Armstead, his Council President Yamakaitis, and his squad (Municipal Investigative Committee) are possible subjects of the AG’s Election Tampering investigation. They also as a Municipal Body, have no prosecutorial jurisdiction over the state’s case. But they are asking, via subpoena, for my confidential communications with the AG’s Office pertaining to the case anyway (AKA the evidence I gave the AG’s Office in regards to their possible abuse of office in this matter). By revealing the evidence I hold, it will unmask the whistle blower who told me about that DPW was ordered to take down the lawn signs, and under NO circumstances will I reveal the identity of that person. Via this subpoena, they are demanding I turn over the conversations I had with OAG investigator or face possible civil action. Now remember, this all is coming from an elected majority that knows, as a matter of fact, that I filed a corruption complaint against one of their own, this is the same body of people that have protected each other time and time again even when they abuse their power as elected officials.

All of this has confirmed to me that the purpose of their Municipal Investigation Committee is either to obstruct or to gain insight into the state’s election tampering investigation, which could greatly affect Mayor Armstead and his inner circle (including all the members that serve on both MICs). On top of this all, I have recently become aware of another investigation that includes Mrs. Yamakaitis and a close relative and this may also be a contributing factor into all of her actions against me.

On November 1st, or any day. The Linden City Council’s Municipal Investigative Committee has no rights to my private data, especially communications between the AG’s Office and myself regarding an active state investigation.  This is a clear abuse of power orchestrated by Mayor Armstead and Michele Yamakaitis. I will not be a party to obstruction or interference in this state investigation, period.

 I only ask they do the right thing, the legal thing, and wait for the state to conclude their investigation.

John Francis Roman is Linden’s 6th Ward Councilman

ATTACHMENTS:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=10IDwF5zDLqETF26kBZwOZTHnmNBLqqFe

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