Hollywood has its share of somewhat shady characters and so does Parsippany. And the players here, just like those in films, switch roles so quickly it’s hard to keep track.
In Parsippany the character parts are political and if the term “flip flop” applied anywhere it would be here.
Take Louis Valori. The current council president who is running on a ticket with Republican Mayor Jamie Barberio. But in 2005 he supported the Democratic Candidate even going so far as to sign on to the Republicans for Luther letter. (click here to read letter). This year, the Democratic candidate is just as qualified, so one would have assumed he would be supporting Michael Soriano for mayor, but not so. Instead he is backing the man he accused of bribery in the “JobGate” scandal of 2012.
When he was summoned to a Sunday night meeting at town hall with Mayor Barbiero, former Council President Brian Stanton and Township Attorney John Inglesino. Valori was so suspicious he wired up and taped the meeting in which he claimed he was offered a job in exchange for his support. The whole affair sounded like a sequel to the story in which Inglesino offered Rick Merkt a job if he would drop out of the gubernatorial race to clear the way for Chris Christie some years back. In the end, after many legal fees and public embarrassment to all the players, Valori dropped the criminal case because the tape was not running throughout the meeting so there wasn’t enough evidence to support Valori’s bribery claim.
Valori is now a supporter and running mate of Mayor Barbiero. That has to make one think about what’s going on in this town.
Then there is the story of Casey Parikh, the planning board chairman for over twenty years. He claimed he could not see the relationship between major developer and board attorney John Montefusco, who basically admitted to bribery, was disbarred and ordered to pay a ridiculously low repayment to the township after years of profiting from his wrongdoing.
In a letter dated December 21, 2016, (click here to read letter) Mayor Barberio wrote that he was not reappointing Parikh to the planning board. In it he cited his, “overriding concern is that you have continuously scheduled clandestine meetings with developers on applications”. The Mayor accused Parikh of theses serious charges and rebuked him publicly. Parikh then turned around and ran on a ticket opposing Barberio in the June primary. Now, just 10 months later, Barberio and Parikh kiss and make-up, Parikh endorses the Mayor and is honored by him in a ceremony at town hall! Even Hollywood wouldn’t write a script like that – it’s just too unbelievable. But it’s a true life story, it happened right here in Parsippany! Is it opportunity or do these two men have no shame?
Before you go to the polls in Parsippany on Tuesday, November 7 think long and hard about your vote. Just because the name is familiar, just because a person has been elected or appointed in the past doesn’t mean they deserve your vote, it doesn’t mean they did a good job and it doesn’t mean they’ve done the right thing.
Who you want in a starring role in your town?