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Bergen judge tosses suit against Ridgefield Mayor Suarez

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A state judge in Hackensack has dismissed charges against Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez by a man who claims the mayor deliberately had him arrested as payback for a dispute.

Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez (CAMPAIGN PHOTO)

Superior Court Judge Lisa Perez-Friscia cited a federal judge’s dismissal of similar charges after they had been “litigated and brought to a final judgment on the merits.”

Michael Taffaro of Moonachie filed a seven-count complaint in state Superior Court in Hackensack accusing Suarez of having police issue an arrest warrant in late 2007 charging him with lying on a public information request.

At the time, Taffaro was fighting in probate court over his mother’s estate with his sister, Susan Taffaro — a borough planning board secretary who also happened to be Suarez’s neighbor and close friend.

Her probate lawyer? Suarez.

Taffaro originally sued the borough four years ago, saying that police strip-searched him, violating his civil rights. The case was moved to federal court, where a judge ruled that the arrest warrant was valid.

Taffaro then filed another suit in 2009, accusing Suarez of malicious prosecution and false arrest. But Perez-Friscia pointed out that the U.S. District Court judge’s ruling that upheld the arrest invalidated the charges.

She also rejected Taffaro’s additional claim of emotional distress, because he “failed to produce any medical reports” and couldn’t prove that Suarez or the borough had any “improper motives” by having him arrested.

Federal jurors acquitted Suarez of corruption charges after he was arrested as part of “Operation Bid Rig,” a sting that netted dozens of public officials and several rabbis.

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