With Passaic’s Mayoral election set for May 9th, New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission records show that Passaic Council President and State Assemblyman Gary Schaer used a false address to donate $7,200 to acting Passaic Mayor Hector Lora’s 2015 campaign for Passaic County Freeholder. Schaer, a resident of 511 Passaic Avenue, made two donations totaling $7,200 in October 2015 to fellow Democrat Lora’s campaign for county freeholder from 211 Passaic Avenue according to ELEC records.
On October 6, 2015, Schaer made a donation of $5,700 to Lora’s campaign and on October 19, 2015, Schaer hit the maximum donation limit of $7,200 by funneling $2,500 to Lora’s campaign. Lora would go on to win the race. More recently, Schaer donated $2,500 from his actual address on 511 Passaic Avenue to Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin.
On November 17, 2016, Lora resigned his post as Passaic County Freeholder to assume the position of interim/acting Passaic Mayor after former Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and extortion. Schaer and other council members had handpicked Lora for the interim post. Lora previously had served alongside Schaer as a Passaic councilman.
NJ.com reported that at the November 17 emergency Council meeting, several residents, including Passaic NAACP President Jeffrey Dye, criticized Schaer:
“Every appointment in this city, any appointment, has to go through you,” he said to Schaer during the emergency council meeting to appoint Lora. “How is it that you keep escaping this corruption but everybody underneath you is being brought up on charges?”
Lora said at his swearing in, “The public trust has been compromised. I understand that. I want to make sure the public knows someone is in charge.” And that’s Gary Schaer.