Bloomfield Councilor: Charged with Taking $15,000 Bribe, Using Position as Councilor

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015 4:53pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

Elias-ChaletMore on Bloomfield Councilor bribery story we broke yesterday:

Bloomfield Township councilman has been arrested on a charge that he solicited and accepted a bribe of $15,000 from a business owner, promising the owner that he would use his position on the council to ensure that the township went ahead with its planned purchase of the man’s commercial property.

First Ward Councilman Elias N. Chalet of Bloomfield, 53, was arrested Monday night and charged by complaint with second-degree bribery in official and political matters. The charge is the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption North Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Continue Reading

Bloomfield Councilman Arrested on Bribery Charges

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2015 6:10pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

Bloomfield Councilman Arrested on Bribery ChargesBloomfield councilor and local realtor Elias Chalet was arrested yesterday on second degree bribery charges at his real estate office. Mayor Michael Venezia confirmed the news to Baristanet.

“I’m in complete shock, that’s all I can really say. I don’t know any more than that.” Continue Reading

Essex County Jury Convicts Two Bloomfield Police Officers on All Counts

BY  |  Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 3:53pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Trinidad talking  with ABC’s Sarah Wallace, 2014.

Trinidad talking with ABC’s Sarah Wallace, 2014.

This just in from Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray with regard to Bloomfield Police Officers Sean Courter and Orlando Trinidad:

An Essex County jury has convicted two Bloomfield police officers of official misconduct and related charges in connection with a June 7, 2012 motor vehicle stop on the Garden State Parkway in which the officers falsely accused a motorist of resisting arrest and going for an officer’s weapon.

Following a five week trial before the Honorable Michael L. Ravin, Judge of the Superior Court, the jury found Sean Courter, 35, of Englishtown and Orlando Trinidad, 34, of Bloomfield guilty of conspiracy to commit official misconduct, official misconduct, tampering with public records, falsifying public records and false swearing. In addition Trinidad was also found guilty of simple assault.

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Attorneys Deliver Closing Statements in Trial of Bloomfield Police Officers

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 29, 2015 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Trinidad talking  with ABC’s Sarah Wallace, 2014.

Trinidad talking with ABC’s Sarah Wallace, 2014.

Attorneys delivered closing statements on Wednesday, October 28, at the trial of Bloomfield Police Officers Sean Courter and Orlando Trinidad, who are facing official misconduct and related charges in connection with a June 7, 2012 arrest on the Garden State Parkway. reports.

Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Betty Rodriguez argued Courter and Trinidad lied in police reports about the arrest of Marcus Jeter.

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Historical Society of Bloomfield Presents “The Administration of Mayor John Kinder”

BY  |  Friday, Oct 23, 2015 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

John KinderOn Tuesday, October 27, the Historical Society of Bloomfield will present “The Administration of Mayor John Kinder: 1972-1987. Former Bloomfield Councilman Joseph Wojak will discuss the programs and policies, successes and disappointments of Kinder’s administration.

The Administration of Mayor John Kinder
Tuesday, October 27 at 7:30 pm
Bloomfield Civic Center, 84 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ
FREE & open to the public. Refreshments will be served.





Bloomfield Council to Establish Animal Shelter Advisory Board, Pass CAPA Legislation

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (6)


Mayor Venezia announced at Monday evening’s conference meeting that the council intends to create an Animal Shelter Advisory Board to oversee the township’s embattled animal shelter. He said the council would be discussing the details in closed session.

The Board would have seven members, and would oversee the shelter operations, whether the township keeps control of the shelter or a new nonprofit comes in to manage it. Venezia told Township Attorney Aloia that he had a copy of Montclair’s legislation for their similar Advisory Committee that he could provide as an example.

Later in the meeting, the council voted unanimously to move forward with the Companion Animal Protection Act, which would guarantee the shelter would remain a no-kill shelter and establish certain protocols that must be followed by whoever manages the shelter. It will be on the agenda to be voted on for first reading at the November 2nd meeting.

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Animal Shelter, Crime and Speeding Discussed at Bloomfield Community Forum

BY  |  Friday, Oct 09, 2015 6:05pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

New Township Administrator Matt Watkins responds to questions from the public.

New Township Administrator Matt Watkins responds to questions from the public.

The future management of Bloomfield’s animal shelter, crime, speeding and other issues were addressed at a community forum held at Temple Ner Amid in Bloomfield on Thursday evening.

Mayor Michael Venezia and Councilmen Nick Joanow and Elias Chalet were present, as well as Police Director Sam DeMaio and newly-appointed Township Administrator, Matt Watkins.

The meeting opened with brief remarks by the Mayor, Township Administrator Watkins, and Police Director DeMaio, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Animal Shelter Continue Reading

Bloomfield Seeks Temporary Animal Shelter Management in Wake of North Jersey Humane Society Investigation

BY  |  Thursday, Oct 08, 2015 7:00am  |  COMMENTS (6)

NJHS LogoAt Monday evening’s council meeting, held at the Franklin School, Mayor Venezia read a statement regarding Bloomfield’s animal shelter prior to the public comment period indicating the township is looking for an agency to temporarily take control of the shelter. The shelter is currently managed by the North Jersey Humane Society, with animal control handled by its sister organization, Bergen County Humane Enforcement.

The shelter was investigated on August 19, 2015 by the New Jersey Department of Health, and found to be deficient in a number of areas, including sanitation procedures, failure to provide proper shelter, improper food storage and inappropriate handling of wildlife, as well as for lack of construction permits for ongoing work, structural deficiencies in the building itself and more.

In addition, the New Jersey SPCA had charged the organization’s Director and Supervising Animal Control Officer (ACO), Vince Ascolese, with 14 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the euthanization of an injured fawn that was brought to the shelter at the end of June, according to a NJSPCA press release. Ascolese allegedly slit the deer’s throat to euthanize it via exsanguination (blood draining), according to the charges, which is not a permitted form of euthanasia in New Jersey. Continue Reading

Bloomfield Through Time Chronicles Housing Evolution

BY  |  Friday, Sep 25, 2015 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (4)

153 Franklin Street: A stately Second Empire Victorian home later replaced by an apartment building in 1930. (Old photo by Nathan Russell)

153 Franklin Street: A stately Second Empire Victorian home later replaced by an apartment building in 1930. (Old photo by Nathan Russell)

Bloomfield Through Time, a new book by local preservationist Richard Rockwell is a treat for architecture buffs and hardcore historians. A parade of more than 90 digitally repaired “then and now” photos tracks the history of housing in Bloomfield—from the glorious Victorians of the 1890s to the mixed-used structures of today.

“I wrote the book to make people think about what defines historic character and how much of that character is worth preserving,” said Rockwell, who will donate proceeds from the sale of the book to the Friends of the Morris Canal Greenway in Bloomfield, an organization devoted to preserving the Morris Canal and the Collins House.

Rockwell is a longtime historic preservationist and has created the websites:, and Historical Society of Bloomfield. Putting the book together was relatively easy since he had already collected a large body of work.

“I was accumulating stuff for years and already doing presentations and slide shows. Somebody from the publisher [Fonthill Media] contacted the Historical Society of Bloomfield saying they were doing a series of books of then and now photographs. It took about a year to assemble the old photographs and take new ones.”

100 Bloomfield BookMost of the original photographs used in Bloomfield through Time, were either glass plate negatives or magic lantern (a projector from the 1800s) slides on glass with many from a collection compiled by Nathan Russell, a Bloomfield realtor, in the 1890s-early 1900s who took photos of the houses he sold.

In those days Glen Ridge was part of Bloomfield. The slides were rescued from Russell’s basement before his house was torn down in the 1960s to make way for Glen Ridge High School. The original negatives are now preserved in the Glen Ridge Public Library.

The book tracks how industry, development and construction of the Garden State Parkway changed the complexion of Bloomfield. First older water-powered mills, including a few paper mills and Oakes Woolen Mill, expanded and other industry grew with the availability of coal transported on the Morris Canal. Later railroads drove more commercial business to the area. That led to companies such as General Electric, Westinghouse and General Motors setting up shop in the early 1900s.

“There was a great need to house those industrial workers,” Rockwell says. “So a lot of the existing housing was divided into multiple units or replaced with apartment buildings. The first apartments were built on the Green on Park Place near Liberty Street and on Broad Street around 1912. In the 1920s more Victorians along Franklin Street were torn down to accommodate apartment buildings.”

You can get a taste of what those old Victorians were like by checking out the Historic District on the Green and some Victorians on Monroe and Beach Street.

For more information on Bloomfield through Time visit Richard Rockwell will be signing copies of Bloomfield through Time at the locations below. You can also buy the book at

Oakside Bloomfield Cultural Center
Sat., Oct. 3, 1-4 p.m.
240 Belleville Ave
Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres from Spice Thai Cuisine will be served

Watchung Booksellers
Sat., Oct 24, 1-2 p.m.
54 Fairfield Street



Mile-Long Marketplace, Music, Food, and More at Bloomfield HarvestFest

BY  |  Monday, Sep 21, 2015 9:00am

Bloomfield HarvestFest

Bloomfield’s biggest celebration of the year returns for two days at Bloomfield Center on September 26 and 27.

The 23rd annual HarvestFest includes a mile-long outdoor marketplace with more than 100 craft and retail vendors, plus two stages for nonstop entertainment, children’s rides, games, activities and food.

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I don't know the suspect, but this is a very good portrait. :-)

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