Paterson mayoral candidate allegedly threatened freelance reporter at courthouse | Paterson Times

Paterson mayoral candidate allegedly threatened freelance reporter at courthouse


Councilman Alex Mendez, who is running for mayor, allegedly threatened a freelance reporter at the courthouse earlier in the month, according to a law enforcement report.

Mendez and his lieutenant Omar Ledesma allegedly threatened freelance reporter Mario Rondon.

Rondon was at the courthouse on Friday, April 8 recording the proceeding where a supporter of incumbent mayor Andre Sayegh attempted to get Mendez removed from the ballot by objecting to his petitions.

“You’re a little piece of garbage. F—— rat, we’re going to get you,” Mendez allegedly told Rondon on the third floor of the Passaic County Courthouse.

Ledesma allegedly called Rondon a “piece of shit.”

“I let it slide cause we were in the chambers, but I know where you at and where you live,” Ledesma allegedly told Rondon.

Rondon said Mendez and Ledesma were upset because he was taking pictures at the courthouse. “They were angry,” he said. He also showed an image where Mendez’s wife is making faces at him because he was snapping pictures in the courtroom.

Mendez denied ever making any comments towards Rondon. He also said he never made any threats against Rondon.

“That’s a total lie. I never talked to him in court,” said Mendez. “It’s political. He’s trying to create some problems. It’s all a distraction.”

Rondon said after he was threatened, he went to the judge who called for one of the sheriff’s officers. He said an officer looked at recordings from one of the court cameras that appeared to show Mendez’s team making gestures at Rondon.

Ledesma also denied the allegations.

Both Mendez and Ledesma also told the Passaic County sheriff’s officer they never made any threats against Rondon. Both also refused to provide their identification information, according to the incident report.

Mendez said sheriff’s officers did not ask him for his identity. He said Ledesma told the officers he had to speak to his lawyer before providing his identification information.

Both Mendez and Ledesma were unhappy with Rondon outside the courtroom. Mendez said Rondon got too close to his face to try to take a picture. Ledesma said he told Rondon the latter had permission to take pictures inside the courtroom, but not outside of it.

“They don’t want people to know what’s going on in the courtroom,” said Rondon.

Mendez also alleged Rondon is linked to Sayegh. He alleged Rondon worked for Sayegh’s campaign in 2018, but Rondon denied the allegation.

Rondon said he never worked for the Sayegh campaign.

Rondon has contributed videos and photographs to the Paterson Times over the years. He also contributed recordings of the Mendez case that gave the public a window into the court proceedings.

Rondon said he has filed terroristic threats charges against Mendez over the incident.

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  • Sirrano Keith Baldeo

    Why is a so call reporter getting into a fight with a candidate? I have taken may photos and video and the rule is you keep your distance and space, unless they come over to you. This guys sounds like he was looking to create an incident for some reason, I suspect to help Sayegh.
    The judge controls the courtroom and the taking of photos and videos. He side he went to the judge, then the judge will get the sheriff to separate the parties and let them leave at separate times.
    This can't be a legitimate reporter or media, probably some guy who wants to go around taking photos and videos for a candidate (Sayegh) and posing as though he is the press;
    I don't see any outlet for him to publish news so.. the has to be an operate for Sayegh or someone. Wonder if Charles Florio is behind it.

  • John

    Why does patersontimes delete negative post on sayegh? Florio?

    • HankMorgan

      The editor here oozes bias. For example, Jayed Rahman’s “reporting” often reads as a blog in which he sneakily and frequently interjects his personal opinion, thus presenting “fact” as opinion. It’s despicable.

  • MarquinhoGaucho

    choosing a Paterson candidate to vote for is like choosing which cancer do you want. Prostate? Pancreatic?