The Borough of Totowa is facing proceedings before the New Jersey Government Records Council after borough officials refused to process an Open Public Records Act request by New Jersey Corruption for the alleged arrest records of Passaic School Board Member Luis Daniel Rodriguez. We use the term “alleged” because the OPRA request was filed for the purpose of authenticating a document we received from a source.
Rodriguez, who was elected to a one-year term on the school board, is also a Commissioner on and the Treasurer of the Passaic Housing Authority. The Passaic School District website’s profile of L. Daniel Rodriguez states as follows:
L. Daniel Rodriguez was appointed onto the Board in June 2016. He is the chairperson for the Athletics Committee and serves on the Policy and Negotiations, Community Relations, and District Operations Committees.
We received the document embedded below, which is purportedly a Totowa Police Department Order to Release Defendant from Custody or more commonly known as a Release on Own Recognizance form, a few days before the Passaic School Board election on April 24, 2017. That incidentally was the day that Rodriguez was required to appear in municipal court in Totowa.
In order to verify the authenticity of the document, we first contacted Captain Carl Cifaldi of the Totowa Police Department–the officer who signed the ROR document. After receiving no response, we filed an OPRA request with the Totowa Borough Clerk Denise Zarek. Once the Clerk refused to respond to our OPRA request for any warrants or summonses related to the document, reporter Dan Damigo filed a complaint with the New Jersey Government Records Council.
Totowa officials will likely be ordered to respond to the complaint with a sworn certification in the coming days.
Updates in the proceedings will be posted as they occur.