Paterson NJ candidates violated financial reporting mandates, ELEC says

PATERSON — Two losing candidates in the 2020 Paterson ward council election — Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman and Chauncy Brown — face fines of $8,600 for failing to submit campaign finance reports.

Akhtaruzzaman, a former Paterson councilman, and Brown, a former school board member convicted of accepting bribes in that role, were among more than 40 statewide candidates named in complaints filed Wednesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Akhtaruzzaman lost Paterson’s 2nd Ward election by eight votes to Councilman Shahin Khalique, while Brown finished fifth in the race for the 3rd Ward seat, gaining only 43 votes.

In separate complaints, the Election Law Enforcement Commission said the two men failed to file a series of reports detailing their campaign contributions and expenses. Nor did any of them file affidavits indicating that their campaign spending would fall below the threshold at which detailed reports are required, the commission said.

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Akhtaruzzaman, who served as a councilor for the city’s 2nd district from 2012 to 2016, said he had already spoken to the state commission about filing the forms that were due two years ago.

“I did a few games,” the former councilman said, “but I never finished them.”

Brown could not be reached for comment.

Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press.

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