Mayor's friend gets slap on the wrist in tax fraud scheme

Linda Jumah, a political consultant and close friend of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, was sentenced to three years' probation Wednesday by a federal judge who cautioned her to stay on the straight and narrow.

Under a plea agreement negotiated with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Jumah in November admitted she cheated the government out of $40,000 in taxes by underreporting money she earned from her consulting and fundraising business. 

Jumah was president of Elite Strategies, LLC which was contracted by the city of Newark and the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC) -- the city's redevelopment arm.

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N.J. Big Brother and Big Sister come through every time

Kabir Daniels-Verden was a shy 8-year-old boy who was afraid to speak up in class at his Jersey City elementary school.

China Rogers, of Newark, was the just the opposite. She didn't follow rules, acted out in class, and was considered unmanageable. She was only 8 years old, too.

They didn't know each other, having met for the first time recently, but both share an experience that has changed their lives for the better.

Daniels-Verden, now 17, has had the same Big Brother mentor and Rogers, also 17, has had the same Big Sister mentor for nearly 10 years, who have helped them develop into responsible and motivated young people.

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Candidates certified for Newark municipal election showdown

March 9, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Mayor Ras J. Baraka is being challenged by Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins for the mayor's seat in the May 8, 2017 municipal election.

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The stage is set for the Newark municipal election, with 39 candidates now officially certified for the upcoming electoral contest.

The entire council slates for incumbent Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and his mayoral race challenger, Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins made it on the ballot for the May 8 election as of today, according to a list provided by the City Clerk's office. 

Baraka, elected in 2014, tops his reelection ticket sale. He is joined by East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador; North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr.; South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James; West Ward Councilman Joseph McCallum, Jr., and Council-at-large members Mildred Crump, Carlos Gonzalez, Eddie Osborne, and Luis Quintana.

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Ironbound residents sue city council, planning board over new zoning measure

March 8, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Ironbound residents have filed suit against Newark's City Council and Central Planning Board over an MX-3 zoning ordinance that they say threatens the fabric and character of their neighborhood.

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Newark, NJ—When Lisa Sanders bought her condo five years ago in the Button Factory condominiums—a converted 1879 button factory in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood—she thought the charm and character of the four-square-mile, multi-ethnic hub she called home would never change.

But now Sanders is concerned that her bustling and diverse neighborhood in the city’s East Ward is in jeopardy due to new zoning legislation recently passed by Newark’s city council.

“We bought in with expectations,” Sander said. “I speak for a lot of my neighbors. We want to see development, but we don’t want high-rises plopped in the middle of our neighborhood. It’s a very profitable ward and a thriving community and now they want to jeopardize that.”

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Newark's My Brother's Keeper program is pipeline to opportunity

Tajamir Felder walked into the Prudential Center last Tuesday thinking he was just going to receive information about Newark's summer job program.

It couldn't hurt. The 17-year-old senior at Bard High School Early College in Newark had been looking for after-school employment for six months and was getting frustrated.

"It shouldn't be like that,'' he said.

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Schools That Can Newark connects students with employers throughout the city

March 5, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Last week, externship hosts interviewed students during the Bridging the e2e Gap Interview and Networking Night, hosted at Newark’s Bard High School Early College.

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Newark, NJ—For the last two years, University High School senior Nasia Spencer has been attending program designed to prepare the city's youth for college and career. She's learned how to write a resume and cover letter workshop and had an opportunity to hone her interview skills with three different companies.

“While being in this program I gained helpful interview skills for before, during, and after the interview,” Spencer said. “I also gained insight on what is relevant to put on a resume and how to write a cover letter that relates to the position I'm interviewing for. I now feel more prepared to go into interviews.”

That's exactly the goal of the Bridging the Education to Employment (e2e) Gap Program launched in 2015 by Schools That Can Newark—a nonprofit organization that includes a national network of more than 180 district, charter and independent schools serving predominantly low-income students.

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No prison for ex-Booker advisor who stole $113K from gov't

political consultant who worked for two former Newark mayors was sentenced to a year of home supervision Thursday after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges. 

Oscar James Sr., 60, admitted he underreported his income from his consulting business, The James Group, between 2008-09, cheating the government of about $113,000 in taxes, court records show. 

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark, James said he took full responsibility for his actions.

"My family, my profession and everything that's important to me has been impacted by my bad choice," James said, choking up. "I wish I could take them all back, but I can't." 

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Lambert shapes the community through an artist's eyes

February 28, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Ellen Lambert will be honored at Newark Arts' "Flashes of Genius" gala for her longtime work with some of New Jersey's most notable non-profit and corporate community responsibility foundations.

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Ellen Lambert uses one word to describe her drive to give back to the community.

"Without empathy you can't search for what's true for others, or for yourself, in a realistic way," said Lambert on the verge of being honored by Newark Arts for a lifetime of work first raising, then donating corporate funds to help Newark and communities all around New Jersey.

"Art enables you to empathize. It inspires emotion," Lambert said. "It develops part of your depth of character. Art makes you whole."

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Essex County State Legislative Delegation officially endorses Baraka for mayor

February 26, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka stood with former Newark mayor and current U.S. Sen. Cory Booker earlier this month at a rally outside City Hall after Baraka filed petitions to run for reelection.

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Newark, NJ—The Essex County State Legislative Delegation announced their endorsement Monday of Mayor Ras Baraka in the City of Newark’s 2018 mayoral race.

Elected leaders endorsing Baraka include Sen. Ronald Rice, Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, Sen. Richard Codey and Sen. Nia Gill.

Other leaders endorsing Baraka as part of the delegation include State Assembly members Ralph Caputo, Cleopatra Tucker, Eliana Pintor-Marin, Shanique Speight, Mila M. Jasey, John McKeon and Thomas Giblin.

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Newark receives grants for community programs, social services agencies

February 23, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

The YMCA of Newark and Vicinity was among 13 Essex County municipalities and 33 nonprofit community organizations that received a total of about $5.1 million in grants.

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Newark, NJ–Thirteen Essex County municipalities and 33 nonprofit organizations will be receiving $5.1 million in funding for infrastructure improvements, community programs and building renovations, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. announced this week.

The funding comes from the Community Development Block Grant program and the Emergency Solutions Grant program, which are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Essex County Division of Housing and Community Development.

Newark-based recipients of the funding include Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union, the Salvation Army of Newark, Wynona's House, Covenant House, NJ Citizens Action Education Fund and Bridges Outreach, as well as The North Ward Center's Casa Israel Senior Center, among others.

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