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Union City landlord gets 34 months for bribe

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A judge sent a Union City building owner to federal prison for 34 months today for bribing a West New York offical to look the other way while he rented an illegal apartment.

Friedman’s building was on this block

A West New York inspector had given Herman Friedman, 49, notice two years ago to remove the apartment at 235 56th St. or get a variance from the zoning board.

FBI audio and video recorders were running when Friedman showed up at the official’s office in March 2008 with an envelope containing fifty $100 bills.

The official testified at a trial and Friedman was convicted by federal jurors in Trenton on Nov. 20, 2009.

In addition to his prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson also fined Friedman $25,000.

According to the FBI, Friedman offered the construction official the bribe to “put it on” — meaning that Friedman would be permitted to use the apartment. He also used hand signals to indicate the amount he was willing to pay, they said.

During the final meeting, the code official counted out the bills — and, soon after, the government counted out Friedman.

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