ROSELLE PARK – According to multiple sources, one the eve of the November General Election, mayoral candidate and 5th ward councilman Michael Yakubov was arrested in what his campaign is calling a “lawn sign ‘sting’ operation.”
Many of the details surrounding the event have not been provided to LocalSource by the Roselle Park Police Department despite multiple requests, but the Facebook account of the candidate has provided some details, and some accusations, related to the arrest, which took place the night of Saturday, Oct. 25.
“Late Saturday night, the Roselle Park Police Department misused precious police resources and taxpayer funds in conducting a lawn sign ‘sting’ operation which improperly led to the detention and mugshot of Councilman Mike Yakubov,” the statement on Facebook read.
“This is a waste of police resources clearly manipulated by mayoral candidate and ex-police officer Carl Hokanson,” accused Betty Cairney, Roselle Park GOP vice chair, in the statement. “Nothing in this alleged incident goes to the qualifications, record and integrity of mayoral candidate Mike Yakubov, who has served the residents of Roselle Park with distinction for the past nine years.”
LocalSource was unable to reach Yakubov or Cairney directly.
The Roselle Park GOP was not alone on using Facebook as a means to communicate with the public, however, as both current Mayor Joe Accardi and challenger Hokanson also took to social media.
“With respect to the incident resulting in the arrest of Councilman Michael Yakubov, it wouldn’t be responsible of me to comment at this time,” said Hokanson. “There’s an ongoing investigation. He should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. I have faith in our justice system to do its job.”
Accardi, the outgoing mayor, shared a similar sentiment as Hokanson, before using strong words to take “exception with” the accusations by Yakubov’s campaign.
“On Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, Councilman Michael Yakubov was arrested and charged with Theft and Criminal Mischief by the Roselle Park Police Department. In our justice system there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation and coordination has taken place with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I take exception to assertions made by Councilman Yakubov in his recent statement in response to these allegations,” he continued. “I fully support our Police Department, and have no reason to believe the RPPD or anyone associated with Councilman Hokanson’s campaign acted improperly in any way. Glaringly absent from Mr. Yakubov’s comments is any assumption of personal responsibility, any sentiment of remorse, any degree of introspection, or any apology for actions and circumstances that are purely of his own making. It is my sincere hope that in the days ahead, as the investigation is concluded and the facts become public, Roselle Park will not suffer as a result of this untoward situation.”
The election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 4.