Mayor Felix Roque may have seen too many episodes of The Sopranos. The FBI arrested the chief executive of West New York, New Jersey, and his son for hacking the website of a recall movement group aiming to remove him from office and for threatening them with retaliation. The Democrat told his victims that he had friends in the CIA that would make sure he knew where to find them:
Felix Roque, 55, the Democratic mayor of West New York, N.J., and his son Joseph, 22, allegedly accessed and cancelled the domain registration for Recallroque.com, a website that was critical of the mayor and associated with a movement to recall him in early February.
Joseph Roque learned how to hack email accounts and GoDaddy.com, a domain registration company, by searching the Internet, according to a criminal complaint unsealed after the arrests.
After RecallRoque.com was taken down, the criminal complaint says, Roque placed a telephone call to the proprietor of the website — “Victim 1,” a government official in Hudson County, N.J. — to say that the page had been taken down by “high government officials and that everyone would pay for getting involved against Mayor Roque.”
Roque also allegedly tried to intimidate those involved with the website, telling “Victim 1” that he had a friend on the CIA: “A friend of mine. he works in the — I can’t tell you — three letters — CIA. You know. That’s how I get information. So what I’m doing is not very kosher.”
The most bizarre part of the plot is its context. West New York, according to the Politico account, has a population of less than 50,000. What exactly was Roque defending? Maybe this city pays its mayor like the City of Bell, California did, but I somehow doubt that Roque was defending a six-figure salary. From what I’ve seen of what mayors do in small towns, Roque should have been thanking them for the recall rather than hacking their website.
That’s why this looks like the beginning of a story rather than its end. This is an awful lot of effort just to protect a smaller-town mayor position. Either way, Roque may have given us the political epitaph of the year: “So what I’m doing is not very kosher.” No kidding, Rabbi.