Kopko & Chiaravalloti disagree about Chiaravalloti’s past ineligibility

Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Matt Kopko, Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively, battling for one of two Assembly seats in the state’s 31st Legislative District, have offered differing viewpoints about Kopko’s publicizing of Chiaravalloti’s being listed as one of the administratively ineligible attorneys from October of last year to May of this year.
At a press briefing outside Bayonne City Hall on Oct. 6, Kopko, also an attorney, said that Chiaravalloti had been “suspended” from practice as a lawyer during that time period because of a noncompliance issue with the New Jersey IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Account) program.
But Ellen Ferrise, executive director of the IOLTA program, which provides grants for free legal services to low-income people with civil legal problems and other services, said that Chiaravalloti was not suspended, which is a disciplinary determination. She said his being listed ineligible arose from his not completing required paperwork necessary for the program. A source said dozens or hundreds of New Jersey attorneys were on the same list.
Chiaravalloti said he would not respond to Kopko’s questions about the period he was listed as ineligible.
“The issues of public safety, education, economic growth and jobs, and disparity in opportunity, are what people want to hear about,” Chiaravalloti said. “When going door to door and to ‘meet and greets,’ that’s what people are concerned about; those sorts of issues.”
Chiaravalloti and Angela McKnight are running on the Hudson County Democratic Organization ticket in the Nov. 3 election. Kopko and Herminio Mendoza are running mates on the Republican slate. Anthony Zanowic and Alex Rodriguez are independent candidates for the two open Assembly seats.

Bayonne Houlihan’s cited by U.S. Department of Labor

Citing “pervasive skimming from employees’ tips and wages,” the U.S. Department of Labor has sued a Saddle Brook-based company that operates Houlihan’s restaurants in New Jersey and New York and their owner for alleged violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the department reported in a press release Oct. 6.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the lawsuit could recover millions in back wages, tips and liquidated damages on behalf of approximately 1,430 current and former Houlihan’s employees. The defendants include A.C.E. Restaurant Group Inc., A.C.E. Restaurant Group of New York LLC and Arnold Runestad.
There were 15 New Jersey restaurants cited. Those in Hudson County were Bayonne, Secaucus and Weehawken.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that the defendants allegedly engaged in a number of practices that violated the FLSA, including:
-Allegedly requiring servers and bartenders to contribute a percentage of tips to a tip pool, but using the tips to pay employees for tasks, such as custodial and kitchen work. The lawsuit claims that Houlihan’s regularly retained a portion of employee tips.
-Allegedly denying overtime pay to employees who worked at more than one restaurant, even when their combined hours totaled more than 40 hours in one workweek.
-Allegedly routinely deducting money from employees’ paychecks for meals consumed during breaks, while also requiring payment, at times, for the meals. The deductions were greater than the defendants’ cost for providing the meals, and often resulted in some employees receiving less than minimum wage.

Turnpike reconstruction project to cause traffic change

Work on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority 14A toll plaza project will necessitate a new traffic alignment beginning the week of Monday, Oct. 19, according to a turnpike spokesperson.
Starting on the 19th, northbound Avenue E traffic will be shifted east of the connector bridge, between East 50th Street and the toll plaza. Due to this new alignment, making a left turn at 53rd Street will no longer be possible.
The last left turn for Bayonne motorists before the toll plaza will be at 50th Street.
In addition, those driving from Port Jersey Boulevard to the turnpike will no longer be able to make a right turn onto the service road at 53rd Street.

Free IT training programs for young adults expanded to Hudson

NPower Technology Service Corps has opened its newest regional office at New Jersey City University’s (NJCU) Logistics Center on West Side Avenue in Jersey City.
The site will be New Jersey’s first location operating NPower’s 22-week information technology workforce development program that merges classroom technical training and certification with internships and professional development led by corporate and nonprofit technology professionals.
“Our Technology Service Corps program provides training for underserved young adults through our free technical skills and professional development training, as well as employment and alumni services,” said NPower Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Cuskley.
NPower’s Technology Service Corps Jersey City program is open to those ages 18-24 who are Hudson County residents, not currently in school, and have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.
For more information about applying for the program, visit
View the latest program events, photos, and videos by visiting or searching #TechnologyServiceCorps across social media.

Menendez, Booker announce $28M in Sandy recovery funding

U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker announced on Oct. 7 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection $28 million in federal Sandy recovery funding to reimburse it for the removal of sand and silt debris which made many of the state’s waterways impassable following the superstorm.
“Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc all across our state, leaving not only our inland roads and bridges covered in debris, but our coastal waterways dangerous and impassable,” Menendez said. “This funding is critically important to ensure our local communities are not bearing the full financial burden for these tremendous clean-up and recovery efforts.”
“Following the damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy, communities throughout the state of New Jersey stepped up and worked diligently to clear out and restore critical waterways,” Booker said. “This grant will ensure that those communities are adequately repaid for the enormous costs they bore in the aftermath of the storm.”

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