New Brunswick Today Public Safety Blotter: September 2019 Incidents, Arrests, and Indictments

For the benefit of our readers, New Brunswick Today will be consistently updating a list of incidents and occurrences in the city, including emergencies, reported crimes, police investigations, and other public safety developments, including grand jury indictments and significant criminal cases.

The following information is based on various records obtained from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and Middlesex County as well as additional information gathered by New Brunswick Today. We have selected the most newsworthy or interesting incidents, and shared what we think is important. Accused or indicted individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty by the NJ court system.

UPDATE: This article has been expanded and updated as of September 23.

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Voters Deal Another Blow to Edison Mayor, Effectively Killing His Privatization Deal

EDISON, NJ—In a special referendum election, voters in Edison overwhelmingly approved a citizen-initiated ordinance to protect their water and sewer utilities from further privatization.

More than four out of five voters approved the new law that will effectively prevent a massive privatization scheme targeting the Township’s sewer system, and much of its drinking water service.

The ordinance came before voters on September 10, capping off a saga that has already seen massive political upheaval over the proposed deal.

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Who is New Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Chris Kubereit?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Andrew Carey is out as Middlesex County’s top cop, and until Governor Phil Murphy chooses a permanent replacement, former First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher L. C. Kubereit is now at the helm.

But the Governor is exercising his right to remain silent on the matter, and he declined to answer this reporter’s question about the recent personnel change on September 5.

“I have nothing to say on that, thank you,” Murphy responded.

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Governor Murphy Praises Convicted Felon John Lynch as “Great Mayor”

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new school, Governor Phil Murphy made sure to praise both the current and former Mayor of the Hub City.

Murphy, a staunch supporter of Mayor Jim Cahill, was introducing the eight-term Mayor when he felt the need to express his support for Cahill’s predecessor, a legendary politician who did time in federal prison on a felony conviction.

The comment came just minutes before Murphy declined to address a personnel change in the important law enforcement role of Middlesex County Prosecutor, a recently-vacated position to which Murphy has not yet nominated anyone.

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After Trying to Withdraw His Guilty Plea, Killer Gets 16 Years For Fatally Shooting Woman

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Christian Cortes, the 27-year-old man who admitted to fatally shooting a woman on 7th Street in New Brunswick, tried and failed to withdraw his guilty plea on August 28.

The following day, Judge Joseph Rea sentenced Cortes to 16 years in state prison, in accordance with the plea agreement negotiated by Cortes’ prior attorney.

“He’s going to do the full 16 years because… it’s necessary for the protection of the public,” said Rea, who noted that Cortes has “anger issues” and “impulse control issues.”

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After 6-Month Lapse in Compliance, Crane Permit Was Issued 12 Days Before Collapse

INTERIM CITY ENGINEER: “I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT.”

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The construction crane that came crashing down on two homes during a July 21 storm was apparently operated without a proper city permit for over six months, according to records obtained by New Brunswick Today.

The red crane was observed in action on June 6, well before the July 9 permit approval.

Vergona Crane Company, Inc.’s 2019 permit application is dated July 9, just 12 days before the crane failed, and more than six months after a previous permit had expired.

The head of the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering (DPWE) admitted on August 22 that he signed to approve Vergona’s late permit application, even though a city ordinance regulating construction cranes only authorizes “the city engineer” to issue or deny such a permit.

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“Sunday Morning Quarterback” Soaries to Retire in November 2020

SOMERSET, NJ—On July 28, Reverend Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries, Jr. publicly announced his retirement from First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG), which will take place on November 15, 2020 after 30 years of leadership.

In the game of American Football, a quarterback is defined as the “signal caller” who directs the play on the field and gives executive direction to those on the offensive side of the ball.

To those familiar with the sport, the quarterback is considered to be the most glorified but the most scrutinized position on the field.

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WATCH: Reporter April Ryan Has Her Bodyguard Forcibly Remove NBToday Camera and Reporter

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick Today’s camera equipment was briefly stolen by a bodyguard who proceeded to violently force this reporter out of a hotel lobby.

Newly-released video shows the bodyguard, Joel Morris, getting physical with the author of this article on August 3 shortly after 8:30pm at the Heldrich Hotel.

The video was handed over to the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) two days later, only after this reporter questioned the department about why it had not yet been retrieved.

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New Biergarten Set to Open Next to Train Station This August

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) found a tenant for the space that previously housed Brother Jimmy’s Barbecue at 5 Easton Avenue.

After months of delays, Redd’s Biergarten is tentatively set for a “soft opening” in mid-August, according to the NBPA Executive Director’s report to his Board of Commissioners on July 24.

“I’m 99.9 percent certain the first day we will be open to the general public will be August 19th,” confirmed Frank Pinto, one of the three men behind Redd’s.

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Middlesex County Trial Court Administrator Leaves Position Suddenly For Unknown Reasons

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The top official overseeing the state court system in Middlesex County appears to have been ousted from office abruptly.

Dawn Brevard-Waters first became a Trial Court Administrator (TCA) nearly four years ago, following the retirement of Gregory Edwards, who had served in the role for 45 years.

As TCA, Brevard-Waters was the highest-ranking staff executive in the “vicinage,” which covers all 25 towns in Middlesex County.

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