Although no longer an elected official or even a resident of Roselle Park, an e-mail that Michael Yakubov sent to the Union County Board of Elections on March 2nd had residents discussing the former councilman even after he moved out of town. Mr. Yakubov resigned from his office as Fifth Ward Councilman effective March 5, 2015.
In an attempt to confirm the correspondence and allow for an explanation from Mr. Yakubov, Roselle Park News reached out to the now private resident for a comment. Upon a request from this newspaper, Mr. Yakubov also provided the text of what would have been his farewell speech.
First is the addressing of a section of an e-mail that was sent by Michael Yakubov on March 2, 2015. The e-mail was received through an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request after learning of its existence in a self-described satirical publication (link). The release of this letter here serves solely as a confirmation that the correspondence is, in fact, real and not a fabrication. It should be noted that in releasing this document, an editorial decision was made to redact two pieces of information. The first redaction was the street address of Elizabeth Cairney, who is the acting chair of the Roselle Park Republican Committee. The decision was made that such information, although public, is not imperative to the public’s right to know in this instance. The second piece of information that was redacted was the name of Mr. Yakubov mother. That was removed to uphold that person’s privacy and was not pertinent to the correspondence. No other alterations were made to the document. The correspondence is provided below.
The section of note was the third paragraph that ended with the sentence ‘Please update my records to reflect that l will no longer be a resident of Roselle Park (thank god).’
In contacting Mr. Yakubov, he responded by stating, “The ‘thank god’ reference was not in regards to my discontent of any kind toward Roselle Park but more of a sigh of relief that I will not be daily subjected to the many verbal and political attacks that have created great stress and challenges for me in my life.”
Mr. Yakubov was referring to the aftermath of his arrest in October last year for stealing a campaign sign that belonged to current Roselle Park Mayor Carl Hokanson, the man Mr. Yakubov unsuccessfully ran against for that office. Even though Mr. Yakubov lost that election, he remained Fifth Ward Councilman until his resignation. In the interim, Mr. Yakubov pleaded guilty to Crmininal Mischief and a Disorderly Person charge. He also served the municipality with what is called a “Notice Of Claim”, which allows for the possibility of having Mr. Yakubov sue to municipality (link to article). As of this writing, that notice has not been rescinded by Mr. Yakubov or his representatives.
Additionally, Mr. Yakubov provided the text to what would have been his farewell speech on March 5th. That meeting was canceled due to severe snow weather conditions. Below is the content of his closing remarks to the borough.
Dear Roselle Park Neighbor,
As you may know, March 5, 2015 was supposed to be my last Roselle Park Council meeting as a member of the governing body; and although the weather had other intentions, I would like share with you my intended comments of that evening. For the past twelve years, I have called Roselle Park home, a place where I have had the honor and pleasure of serving the Fifth Ward with dignity and character during my three elected terms. As a Councilman, I had prided myself on knowing my residents, being responsive to their calls and concerns and for doing my best to make sure Roselle Park was headed in the right direction. I minded the budget as if it was my own, served as a watchdog for our property taxes to ensure that money spent was reinvested back into Roselle Park in the shortest amount of time and made sure our first responders had all the essentials needed to keep Roselle Park a safe place to live.
As a candidate for Mayor, my vision was to infuse new business opportunity into our downtown corridor by growing our reach through a public campaign for Roselle Park Business; I intended on streamlining our budget while increasing new revenue streams and generating greater services for our community. My vision included an increase in the diversity of our workforce to help meet the demands of our ever changing community, to cultivate more arts opportunities for our children, expand senior and youth services and incorporate new technology that would aid in better serving our residents.
I knew that as a team we could quickly get Roselle Park on the right path through beautification, proactive budgeting and open communication that lent itself to more and more involvement from the many willing and selfless volunteer of our community. I had hoped to implement a theme for Roselle Park “A place for all” speaking to the wonderful offerings the town could expand on for visitors, businesses, residents and newcomers.
I am most proud of having had the opportunity to serve with distinct members of the governing body that have unselfishly given and continue to give to the people of Roselle Park. Thank you to “Mayor Joe” DeIorio – whose legacy and Mayoral tenure had planted the seeds for Roselle Park’s success. Thank you for taking me under your wing and for helping me be a better public servant and person, I am forever grateful for your friendship and for your no fear attitude. Thank you to Councilman Modesto Miranda, who exemplifies everything Roselle Park is and could be. Your friendship and your leadership is second to none. Thank you to Councilmembers [Robert] Rubilla, [Rick] Matarante, [Loren] Harms, [Tanya] Torres, [Ryan] Kelly, [Scott] Nicol, [Andrew] Casais, [Eugene] Meola, [Larry] Dinardo and others for your friendship and your support. I enjoyed serving with you all.
Thank you to the GOP of Roselle Park, a party built on the principles of community volunteerism, diversity, opportunity and love for Roselle Park. I genuinely appreciated and was honored to serve as Chairman. I am forever appreciative of the many sacrifices and support you have given so Roselle Park can keep moving forward in a way that values the taxpayer. Thank you to our Representatives at the State Level; Senator [Tom] Kean [Jr.], Assemblyman [Jon] Bramnick and Assemblywoman [Nancy] Muñoz – because of your leadership Roselle Park benefits each day.
There are so many more residents, friends and people I would like to thank – you have all had a profound impact on my life. I wish Roselle Park all the best in the future and hope that the current leadership has the ability and foresight to make Roselle Park the best town in Union County.
Although, I am no longer a resident of Roselle Park, I hope to stay in touch with the many people who are the fabric of the community and are the reason Roselle Park is a great place to live and raise a family. In closing, I cannot conclude without mention that this past year in particular has brought upon a great deal of stress, strain and challenges for me and my family. There were those who intended to impact my life beyond public service, yet my only intention was to serve the public in a way that would create opportunity for others and pay tribute to those who have provided those same opportunities for me.
Unfortunately, this past year, I saw the most evil of some and most generosity of others, a life lesson I will never forget. With this statement, I do not discount my own actions but hope to bring to light how vicious some could be with comments and actions at unprecedented levels in the name of holding on to the past. I can only hope that with time, all wounds can heal and we can all learn to forgive without hatred or anger but with peace.
“I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it”. – Abraham Lincoln.
Neighbor and Friend
Although omitted specifically by name in Mr. Yakubov’s farewell speek, current Mayor Carl Hokanson had previously provided his final words on Mr. Yakubov and are relayed below.
Today, Thursday March 5, 2015 Councilman Michael Yakubov’s resignation from Roselle Park Council is effective. As tonight’s Council mtg. is cancelled due to weather, I would like to thank Councilman Michael Yakubov for his service. For the past nine years, Councilman Yakubov has dedicated himself to serving the Borough of Roselle Park and its residents. Since being elected to the 5th Ward in 2006, Councilman Yakubov has also served as Council President and Chairman to numerous committees including: Finance, Municipal Services and Public Services. He also made efforts towards revitalizing the Roselle Park Community Watch. Community leadership takes much time and dedication. Not to mention the support of ones family. As such, I’d also like to thank Councilman Yakubov’s wife, Rory, for sharing her husband with our community. I wish Michael, Rory and their family all the best. Wherever you go, whatever you do … may good luck follow.
On March 19th, Richard Templeton was appointed and sworn in to complete the term of Fifth Ward Councilman which expires December 31, 2015.