Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fired Rec Chief Faces Charges

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fired Rec Chief Faces Charges

Article excerpt

PASSAIC -- When Eriberto "Eddie" Carrero was appointed head of a newly reformed city Recreation Department in 2012, Mayor Alex Blanco looked past his criminal history, saying he was "entitled to a second chance."

On Friday, Carrero, 54, was arrested and charged with official misconduct, extortion and theft, accused of demanding money from recreation teams that sought to join city leagues and extracting extra fees from parents to let their children participate in soccer teams, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

Authorities estimate that Carrero's demands for extra fees began around 2004, while he was with the earlier Recreation Department, and continued until early this year. He was fired from his position as recreation director after an audit of recreation finances this year discovered stark discrepancies.

In 1997, while serving as a Passaic police officer, Carrero was charged with official misconduct and theft after he and four colleagues allegedly were paid for public school security details without showing up for duty. He entered a rehabilitation program for first-time offenders and was forced to resign from the police force.

Calls to Blanco and to city spokesman Keith Furlong seeking comment about Carrero's arrest were not returned on Friday.

Carrero's attorney, Miles Feinstein, said his client was expected to post 10 percent of his $25,000 bail on Friday. Feinstein said Carrero would plead not guilty.

"We ask the public to keep an open mind," Feinstein said. "He's well thought of in the city of Passaic and other places. He has done a tremendous service for the youth of Passaic and has devoted his life to improving the activities in which the young people could participate in the city of Passaic. Saying so doesn't make it so."

Carrero believes the investigation was politically motivated, Feinstein said. …

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