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Ethics violation? – Did Ridgewood Councilman (now mayor) use a private e-mail address to conduct official business?

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the staff of The Ridgewood Blog

Ridgewood NJ, Correspondence recently obtained via an Open Public Records Act request reveals that Ridgewood Mayor Paul Vagianos may have used a private e-mail address to initiate communication with Historic Preservation Specialist Peter Primavera in November of 2022. Mr. Vagianos was a Ridgewood Councilman at that time; he was appointed mayor in January of 2023. The correspondence, Mr. Primavera’s reply to the then Councilman’s request for information indicates an e-mail address provided by Mr. Vagianos was:

Mr. Primavera’s reply to Vagianos’ information request was dated November 28, 2022, which was a mere 20 days post the local election in which then Ridgewood Mayor Susan Knudsen lost her bid for re-election to the Village Council, along with her running mate and first-time candidate James Van Goor. Vagianos effectively gained majority control of the Council as a result of election wins by Evan Weitz and Siobhan Winograd, whom he had both supported.

The twenty-one-page reply from Primavera was in essence a detailed proposal for the provision of the first-round professional services (obtaining information and coordinating actions) that would be required to “Attempt to eliminate most of 7 acres [Schedler property] from DEP jurisdiction.”

Bottom line – Eliminating the current NJ Department of Environmental (DEP) jurisdiction over the designated historic Schedler property would enable the current Village Council majority to build the massive, artificially turfed, sports complex they so much desire.

$6800 of taxpayer funds have already been authorized for this absurd and disrespectful undertaking. Word is that Mr. Primavera will ask for more this coming Wednesday, July 12.

Stay tuned taxpayers.

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30 thoughts on “Ethics violation? – Did Ridgewood Councilman (now mayor) use a private e-mail address to conduct official business?

  1. So, despite the fact that election results had not yet been certified, Vagianos was already making plans to build the massive sports complex at Schedler? What a scumbag.

  2. The smirk on his face says it all.

  3. Pee Wee’s Great Adventure !

    Keep your eye on Schedler…it’s a page right out of the Aronsohn playbook to move forward in the summer when no one is watching.

    1. Just like Healthbarn in Habernickel. Be in your toes people

  4. Wow. And I thought ethics violations a poor and corrupt government was bad in Montclair.
    Seems that it’s all over the place. Heaven help us.

    1. Didn’t our past Mayor Paul have one along with his side kick Roberta? What is being done about this????

    2. Yes, just look at the Board of Education; they are poster child for being dysfunctional.

  5. Knudsen’s body was still warm as he plotted his upcoming moves. What a guy!

  6. Dirtbag supreme.

    1. Honestly, can’t understand how Paul Vagianos is acting so reckless and blind when it comes to the Schedler project. His actions aren’t gaining him fame in the right way.

  7. So this scheme was planned all along and the majority block probably planned that they would vote for Paul as Mayor. He/they have been scheming since before day 1 and they will stop at nothing to build this field at Schedler because they promised the sports community and want to look like big heroes. What they don’t realize is that they are zeroes not heros and are going rogue spending tax dollars and trying to slide things through so they can break ground. This is a spectacle at this point and should be carefully documented so a timeline of wrong doing can be put together.

  8. There are probably so many evil deeds done that we don’t even know about. Can we OPRA his private email? I would be you would see quite a few emails telling the sports community to come out in droves for those meetings like they did, even bringing their little kids in uniforms. That and a lot more! Someone like this mayor and his majority block cronies have an agenda and it is not to serve all of Ridgewood, only their special interest groups like sports organizations and how Paul can further benefit from the CBD.

  9. And who will investigate this??? Nobody !!!!

    1. Same as Paul aronson and Roberta. What happened to them? Nothing

  10. Nothin speaks more about him than these expressions:
    – a picture is worth a thousand words
    – the face is the mirror of the soul

  11. Isn’t Siobahn and her husband starting their own soccer team, that is the word around town in the sports circles. Then it would make sense that she would be behind the giant turf field at Schedler and would want Primavera to find a loophole so they could get in there and control the scheduling along with the other sports organizations. I wonder since Green Acres money was also used, if teams from out of town can mandate that they be given time to use the field. That would be interesting and could be discriminatory if no one but Ridgewood is able to use it.

  12. Recall Paul is looking really good right about now.

  13. Good luck .

  14. Well we might not be able to Recall Paul, however someone with an ego as huge as his probably has a bigger political agenda so let’s see what comes back to bite him!!

  15. Fine sleuthing. We are lucky to have OPRA in NJ.

    Somebody should file for a formal investigation into a serious ethics violation.

  16. At this point most of us are not paying attention anymore to politics. Why even bother they going to do what they want anyway. They don’t care about you and I .

  17. I bet the new village MGR knew he’d be getting hired before Paul was sworn in! That’s why he was so quick to say Heather shouldn’t do both jobs. Also his salary was already added to the budget. He also knows the AG won’t look into him because they are friends.

    Like a previous post, NOTHING will happen

  18. Will something be done. Seems a lot of shade!!!!

  19. Even if EVERY ACCUSATION of Corruption, Ethics Violations and General Scumbaggery against Vagianos IS TRUE, HE DOES NOT CARE.

    HE KNOWS that he will be handily reelected, because in Ridgewood, the voters are:


    You don’t have to believe me, but it IS TRUE …. and HE KNOWS IT.

  20. The OPRA of personal e-mails is an interesting question. If an elected official conducts public business on a personal, non-public e-mail account, that personal e-mail account essentially becomes public property, and therefore any e-mails Vag may have sent via his personal e-mail regarding Schedler can be OPRA requested.
    Request any and all e-mails from that account containing the words Primavera, Schedler, field, Ridgewood, election and so on. If he lies and claims no such e-mails exist, he could be challenged. If you push hard enough, you should be able to get those e-mails. Don’t expect anything to happen because of it, but it would be interesting to see what Vag really has to say about the situation if he thinks he is off the record. Cheers.

  21. These elected officials need to be held accountable for their misdeads, whether it is using personal email accounts, being in collusion with pay to play, etc. This all needs to be brought to the attention of the taxpayers. You are probably right that he is arrogant and believes that he can get away with it, but just like his Mayoral facebook page which had the TapInto owner acting as an administrator and deleting and hiding comments, which is a violation and not allowable, the ACLU had to step in and get involved. This is worse and these are only the things that we are aware of, I am certain that there are lots of insects under the carpets where he is concerned. We need to turn on the light!!

    1. Not in Ridgewood.
      Ridgewood has become a woke cesspool and WILL NOT hold these officials responsible.

      …and they KNOW IT. So, they are emboldened to become more and more corrupt, knowing there are NO consequences.

  22. IGTH must mean, It’s Greek to Him! LOL. This is great!

  23. I issued an OPRA request as follows:
    Additionally, please provide any memorandum of understanding or communications summarizing the role of the Ridgewood YMCA in the 2023 Pedestrian Plaza.

    The response was the following:
    In response to your OPRA request regarding any memorandum of understanding or communications, we have no documents to provide.

    Should I believe there is not a single document that exists summarizing the arrangement with the YMCA and the 2023 pedestrian plaza? The invoices for reimbursement are payable by the YMCA. Maybe Paulie just had a chat with Ramon.

    1. Yes, all done face to record of it.

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