Goow's Lawsuit Seeks To Anul Akhtaruzzaman's Victory
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 • 3:27pm
PATERSON, NJ – Councilman Aslon Goow is asking a state Superior Court judge to declare him the winner in the May 8 2nd Ward election on the argument that Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman failed to meet municipal residency requirements.
In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Goow says that Akhtaruzzaman was a resident of 105 Jefferson Place in Totowa within the past year, which would make him ineligible to run for office in Paterson.
State law says candidates must be residents of the city for at least one year prior to the election.
In a field of five candidates, Akhtaruzzaman won the May 8 election by more than 500 votes, an outcome that stunned city political insiders who hailed the result as evidence of the growing importance of Paterson’s Bengali community. Goow, a 12-year incumbent, finished second.
Akhtaruzzaman did not return phone messages seeking his comment on the lawsuit. In an interview the day after the election, Akhtaruzzaman told PatersonPress.com he had moved out of Paterson in 2008 so his daughter could attend Totowa schools. He said he returned to the city in January 2011. But an article on northjersey.com had quoted Akhtaruzzaman as saying that he lived on Carlisle Avenue in the 2nd Ward for the past seven years.
Goow’s lawsuit does not say what evidence he has to prove Akhtaruzzaman was not a Paterson resident for the past year. Goow said his attorney, Michael DeMarco, had to file subpoenas to get documents to support the cases. “Some of these are not public records,’’ Goow said.
Goow previously has said that school records from Totowa proved Akhtaruzzaman was not a Paterson resident until March 2012.
A court date on the case has not yet been scheduled, but the lawsuit likely will be resolved soon because of the time considerations involved. Akhtaruzzaman is scheduled to take the oath of office on July 1.