Grand jury indicts Paterson councilman’s brother Shelim Khalique, again, for using unqualified school bus drivers, toll evasion, AG says | Paterson Times

Grand jury indicts Paterson councilman’s brother Shelim Khalique, again, for using unqualified school bus drivers, toll evasion, AG says


A grand jury has indicted Shelim Khalique – brother of City Council president Shahin Khalique – for using unqualified school bus drivers and failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars in toll, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Shelim Khalique, 53, of Wayne, who was previously indicted for using unqualified drivers to operate his school bus company, A-1 Elegant Tours, was indicted again on Wednesday by a grand jury.

Authorities said the new indictment states Khalique continued to operate school buses in Paterson and elsewhere using unqualified drivers. He did so through American Star Transportation, a company owned and operated by his brother.

Jwel Khalique, 44, of Totowa, has been charged in the new indictment, authorities said. His bus company American Star Transportation has also been charged under the new indictment.

Jwel’s company, American Star Transportation, inherited most of the buses, equipment, assets, and employees belonging to A-1 Elegant Tours after that company and Shelim were charged in June 2020.

Both brothers had employees of American Star Transportation who were not properly licensed and, in some cases, had criminal records to transport students. Numerous drivers lacked valid commercial driver’s licenses and did not have endorsements to carry children as passengers. Some drivers had suspended licenses, incomplete mandatory fingerprinting records, background checks, and drug tests, authorities said.

“As more allegations emerge about these bus companies and their management, increasingly a picture emerges of businesses allegedly under the impression that rules and requirements could be shrugged off at will,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “We previously alleged that this operation ignored its responsibilities, to school districts and students. Now we are learning the business and its managers allegedly opted not to pay highway tolls that countless other law-abiding drivers in New Jersey pay daily.”

Shelim is additionally charged with second-degree theft of services for failing to pay $75,000 in tolls to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. A-1 Elegant Tours buses routinely failed to pay the tolls, authorities said.

“This company’s fleet of buses was allegedly getting a free ride on the Parkway and the Turnpike at the expense of the Turnpike Authority and other motorists,” said Thomas Eicher, executive director, Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). “A-1 Elegant acted as if it was exempt from obligations the rest of us take for granted. Hopefully this indictment will make it clear that no company can simply ignore its obligations.”

Shelim, his bus company, and a manager Henry Rhodes, 59, of Paterson, were charged in June 2020. They were accused of providing false information to school districts to secure contracts. After the indictment, the equipment, assets and employees of A-1 Elegant Tours were transferred to American Star Transportation.

Similar improprieties continued at American Star Transportation. Both Shelim and Jwel were arrested in December 2022 on charges of conspiracy, false representation for a government contract, and theft by deception.

Rhodes pleaded guilty in March to two counts of second-degree conspiracy and two counts of second-degree theft by deception for conduct stemming from his involvement with the two bus companies, authorities said.

Rhodes is banned from doing business with government entities for a decade. He cannot personally or through any business submit a bid, enter a contract, or conduct business with government agencies.

Shelim was previously charged with voter fraud offenses in the 2020 municipal election. Those charges are still unresolved.

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  • John

    I would be for deporting them.