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Former North Arlington mayor and wife get probation after raiding campaign funds


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Ex-North Arlington Mayor Leonard Kaiser, who was also executive director of the Bergen County Utilities Authority and a commissioner of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, got a year’s probation — as did his wife — for trying to evade taxes on $28,000 they swiped for themselves from his campaign warchest.

L. Kaiser, courtesy POLITIKERNJ

The five-term, 61-year-old former mayor and his wife, Barbara, 60, a former county employee, both pleaded guilty in January to the federal charges involving  the unreported income.

Both admitted they knew that state election laws barred them from writing checks on the fund’s account directly to Mrs. Kaiser.

The couple established the election fund in connection with Kaiser’s 2002 mayoral reelection campaign. The treasurer? Barbara Kaiser.

“Though many of the checks indicated on their face that they were for ‘salary,’ the payments were neither disclosed on campaign finance forms filed with the N.J. Election Law Enforcement Commission, nor reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”),” according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in Newark.

The Kaisers admitted that from 2002 to about 2004, they received just under $30,000 in income from the election fund that they deliberately did not report as income on their federal tax returns in order to avoid paying taxes.

U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh worked within the government’s sentencing guidelines in determining the term, taking into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendants’ criminal history, and other factors, including what supporters said was generosity in serving the community — in addition, proecutors noted, to themselves.

Fishman credited Special Agents of the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge William P. Offord, and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Michael B. Ward, with investigation of the case leading to today’s sentences.

Prosecutors in the case were Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas R. Calcagni and Rachael A. Honig of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division, in Newark.

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