An effort linked to incumbent mayor Andre Sayegh to eliminate councilman Alex Mendez from the Paterson mayoral election is heading to the court.
Sayegh supporter Vincent Iannaccone, represented by Genova Burns, a law firm linked to the incumbent, filed in New Jersey Superior Court on Wednesday alleging hundreds of Mendez petitions are “legally deficient.”
Mendez called the latest Sayegh-linked effort yet another indication of the incumbent’s desperation as he seeks a second term.
“He’s so afraid. He knows he will lose. He can’t run on his record. High crime. Dirty streets. High sewer and taxes,” said Mendez speaking of Sayegh. “He’s hiding himself behind that person.”
Sayegh has largely sidestepped questions about him funding the effort to disqualify Mendez. He called Mendez a “compulsive liar.”
Court complaint states 400 of Mendez’s petitions are deficient. Mendez has said he is not worried about falling below the 867 signatures. Iannaccone’s initial objection to Mendez’s petitions were rejected by the City Clerk.
The case argues the City Clerk’s decision was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.” City Clerk Sonia Gordon re-verified the petitions submitted by Mendez and provided an explanation for every petition that the Sayegh supporter challenged.
Mendez said his petitions are valid and Sayegh is unlikely to get a win in court.
“His idea is to keep me in court and spending money,” said Mendez speaking of Sayegh.
Mendez is also in court defending himself against voter fraud charges related to the 2020 election.
Sayegh has said Mendez is not fit for mayor because of his indictment. He again mentioned the election fraud charges against Mendez. Mendez’s criminal case is not going to be resolved until after the May elections.
“We’re spending taxpayer dollars going over these petitions,” said Mendez. He said Sayegh’s effort is costing the public money.
Mendez also accused Sayegh of being behind a harassment campaign against him and his family. He said people are rummaging through his trash, trespassing on his property, and taking pictures of his house.
Sayegh did not respond to a specific question asking whether he is behind the alleged harassment.
Besides Sayegh and Mendez there are three other candidates – former councilman Aslon Goow, council members Michael Jackson, and Luis Velez — running for mayor.