NJ Mayor Blasted by Newly Resigned Councilwoman

     NEWARK (CN) – On the heels of her resignation, a former city councilwoman filed a federal complaint Tuesday accusing Hackensack, N.J., officials of anti-Semitism.
     A practicing Jew, Rose Greenman says she was raised in Soviet Moldova but has lived in New Jersey since immigrating to the United States in 1972.
     She has been a licensed attorney since 1997, a native Hackensackian since 2000, and a U.S. citizen since 2007, according to the 25-page complaint.
     Greenman says Mayor John Labrosse quickly made her background an issue when she took the office of city councilwoman in July 2013.
     In addition to allegedly trying to avoid calling in a rabbi for Greenman’s swearing-in ceremony and mocking her English, Labrosse told Greenman from the get-go that her tenure on the council “would be the worst four years of her life because she was not a real Hackensackian, not a real American,” according to the complaint.
     Greenman traces Labrosse’s anti-Semitism to the failure of his Teaneck fish market, noting that he once complained to her that Jews in the area wouldn’t shop there because his products were not certified as kosher.
     Kathleen Canestrino, a fellow councilwoman who also served as deputy mayor, meanwhile made anti-Semitic jokes when the council attended a 2013 church event, according to the complaint.
     Greenman says Canestrino warned her, “the holy water will make you fizzle and melt into a puddle of scum.”
     Canestrino made fun of Greenman’s accent, too, the complaint says, saying the mayor removed Greenman as liaison to the city library because of her purported inability to “speak English.”
     Demeaning comments have allegedly been posted about Greenman on an online message board, and the former councilwoman says it is Canestrino posting the messages under the name of Ethel Rosenberg, “an infamous, American-Jewish woman who was executed for … allegedly passing information to the Soviet Union.”
     Greenman says she was also the subject of criminal proceedings based on the baseless accusation by Richard Salkin, counsel for the city’s board of education, that she was using her apartment as a law office to meet with clients.
     After zoning officer Albert Borelli brought the criminal complaint against based on these charges, he later admitted that city manager Art Koster pressured him to file it, Greenman says.
     Koster “was in turn receiving instructions and pressure from defendants Labrosse and Canestrino,” the complaint continues.
     Borelli had allegedly accused Greenman falsely of denying him access to her dwelling for an inspection.
     Greenman says that she had been speaking out in the meantime about the misappropriation of city funds. To retaliate against her for these comments, the City Council voted to stop providing its members with insurance on Aug. 18, 2014, the complaint sates.
     Salkin was allegedly giddy when the case against Greenman was scheduled for trial.
     On Jan. 6, 2015, two days before proceedings would have gotten underway, Salkin “bizarrely, read aloud a poem – ostensibly written by Salkin himself – about the plaintiff,” the complaint states.
     Greenman says the poem referred to her as “Rosie” and said she was “a sociopath” who “just feels she’s above all our laws.”
     The “festivities,” as Salkin allegedly called them, never got off the ground, however, because a judge dismissed the criminal charges against Greenman on Jan. 8.
     Greenman resigned on March 31. She seeks punitive damages from Hackensack and each of the aforementioned individuals for First Amendment retaliation, discrimination, malicious prosecution, defamation and other charges.
     Ryan Lockman with Mark B. Frost & Associates in Philadelphia represents Greenman in the civil action.

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