Prohibiting their poison pens

Defendants agree to stop distributing mock mayoral letters

The individuals arrested last month for allegedly distributing a critical political flyer made to look like an official letter from Union City Mayor Brian Stack have been prohibited from distributing similar materials in the future.
A consent order filed on Dec. 14, 2009 in Hudson Superior Court forbids the six defendants from distributing communications “purporting to be authored, signed by, approved by or endorsed in any way by Plaintiff, Mayor Brian P. Stack.”

Arrested last month

On Friday, Dec. 4, 2009 Frank Scarafile, Superintendent of Little Ferry Schools and the former principal of Emerson High School in Union City, was allegedly handing out political flyers in a bank parking lot. Others who were allegedly helping were Emilio Lopez of West New York and Union City residents Justo Delgado, Armando J. Hernandez, Carlos Lopez, and Joamelly Artaega.


Scarafile foresees an opposition ticket in May, with or without him on it.

The bilingual flyer resembled official correspondence from Stack. In addition to a photograph of Stack and a likeness of his signature, the inclusion of the mayor’s cell phone and office numbers mimicked his common practice of sharing personal contact information with constituents. The body of the letter was a mock apology, recounting Stack’s alleged failings as mayor and making mention of supposed girlfriends who have city jobs.
The six were arrested by Union City Police that evening and charged with forgery, falsifying records, harassment, and violation of the city’s ordinance against distribution of flyers. After their arrests, they were reportedly held for six hours as they were processed and issued summonses.
Less than two weeks later, Stack’s attorneys went to court and got a consent order barring the arrested residents from further distributing that flyer or any others made to look like they were coming from him.
Originally, Stack’s attorneys wanted the defendants to publish some sort of retraction of the original letter, but in order to come to an agreement, they settled on an order stopping them from publishing similar flyers.
However, Juan Fernandez, an attorney for Stack, said last week that they are still pursuing a retraction.
Meanwhile, the defendants are waiting on a final decision regarding the criminal charges.
“We’re going to adhere to the order,” said defendant Frank Scarafile. “The criminal charges are still pending with the prosecutor. He will have to determine if there’s an issue here at this point. As of right now, everything is on hold.”

May election

Stack is up for re-election this May, a situation that likely fueled the flyers from opponents.
Scarafile said last week that regardless of whether or not he’s a part of it, there will definitely be an opposition ticket in the race this spring.
Asked if he might run for mayor, Scarafile said, “Right now I’m just getting the dates in order. I am seriously considering it.”
Stack said last week that he wants to focus on the business of the city right now.
“Serving the residents of Union City is my sole focus as we enter the new year,” he said through his spokesman, Mark Albiez. “I look forward to meeting the needs of constituents and a continued commitment to enhancing the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at

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