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Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Verona resident Justin Zimmerman as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. As commissioner, he will lead the department in regulating the banking, insurance, and real estate industries as well as operating Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace. Zimmerman currently serves as acting commissioner of the department and will continue to serve in his current role pending his confirmation by the Senate.“Justin Z...
Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Verona resident Justin Zimmerman as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. As commissioner, he will lead the department in regulating the banking, insurance, and real estate industries as well as operating Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace. Zimmerman currently serves as acting commissioner of the department and will continue to serve in his current role pending his confirmation by the Senate.
“Justin Zimmerman has been an asset to the Department of Banking and Insurance since day one of my administration, and I have no doubt he will continue to do an excellent job in his role as commissioner,” said Governor Murphy. “In addition to the time he has already spent serving as acting commissioner, Justin’s prior experience as the department’s chief of staff makes him more than qualified for this position. His skilled leadership and thorough understanding of banking and insurance policy have helped countless residents throughout our state and will serve him well as he continues to lead this department.”
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve as commissioner in an administration that is dedicated to improving the lives of New Jerseyans,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Zimmerman. “It is an honor to be nominated to lead the department’s committed public servants as we continue our efforts to protect residents, enable access to quality, affordable health insurance and ensure that the department’s regulated entities operate in accordance with the law. I thank the governor for his confidence and for this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the Murphy administration to create a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”
Zimmerman joined the department in January 2018, serving as the department’s chief of staff, where he oversaw the executive management team and managed all aspects of the department’s policy implementation under the direction of former Commissioner Marlene Caride. Following Commissioner Caride’s recent departure to join the judiciary as a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Zimmerman took on the role of acting commissioner.
During his tenure as chief of staff, the department developed and implemented numerous consumer protections and programs impacting countless New Jerseyans, including New Jersey’s out of network law, student loan protections, mortgage servicers licensing, expanded reproductive health care access, and Get Covered New Jersey.
Prior to joining Governor Murphy’s administration, Zimmerman served as chief of policy and legislation to the New Jersey state Senate president pro tempore, where he focused on expanding access to quality affordable health care for New Jerseyans, and the expansion of voting rights and civil rights. He began his career as a public servant working as a briefing aide to Governor Jon Corzine and director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the New Jersey Department of State.
Zimmerman was born and raised in New Jersey, growing up in Essex and Union counties. He received his bachelor of arts from the University of Mary Washington. He lives in Verona with his wife, Laura, and their two children.
Verona’s lack of Mexican food is about to end. In the next few months, not one, but two taco-focused restaurants will be opening near the center of town.The first, Mad Taco Express, has been “coming soon” for months. Located in the former Lucy’s Diner near the entrance to Verona Park, it is the brainchild of Anthony Tortoriello, a partner in Avenue Bistro. He said this week that he is hoping for a September opening. Mad Taco Express doesn...
Verona’s lack of Mexican food is about to end. In the next few months, not one, but two taco-focused restaurants will be opening near the center of town.
The first, Mad Taco Express, has been “coming soon” for months. Located in the former Lucy’s Diner near the entrance to Verona Park, it is the brainchild of Anthony Tortoriello, a partner in Avenue Bistro. He said this week that he is hoping for a September opening. Mad Taco Express doesn’t yet have a website.
The second tacoria is so new that it doesn’t yet have a name or a design. But it, too, has ties with an existing Verona restaurant. It is being opened by Skopos Hospitality Group, the owner of The Parkside Social, and it will take over the space next to Parkside at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Rockland Terrace. The building held a dry cleaning and fur storage business, Gemmell’s, for many years, but it has been vacant for about a decade. And for about that long, would-be business operators have tried unsuccessfully to buy it.
Dean Maroulakos, an operating partner at Skopos, said that the Gemmell’s building came on the market earlier this summer and Skopos bought it. He says it needs extensive renovations and, though there is already a dumpster and workers on the property, the new restaurant likely won’t open until January.
Unlike Mad Taco Express, the Skopos restaurant will serve alcohol, and Maroulakos says Skopos is already planning a mix of margaritas and other drinks. “Tequila and mezcal are really hot right now,” he adds.
It will be able to do so under quirk in New Jersey’s liquor laws that allows one restaurant to piggy-back on the liquor license of another if they operate as a single place of business. Both The Parkside Social and the new tacoria would be Skopos properties and restaurant workers will be able to pass from one to the other thanks to a doorway in the back. Maroulakos said, however, that the two restaurants would have separate kitchens and bars.
The tacoria would be Skopos’ first foray into Mexican food. The company operates Cowan’s Public, The Barrow House, The Vanguard, Franklin Social, Gus’ Last Word, and The Junto Attic Bar, all of which have an updated American tavern approach to their food and drinks. Maroulakos says that the tacoria would have a “casual vibe,” but would offer some of the composed plates that The Parkside Social has come to be known for.
Connor Demasi threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game with just 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift Verona to a 34-31 victory over Madison in Madison.Demasi found Bodie Maisano on the 5-yard game-winner for the fifth lead change of the back-and-forth battle. The touchdown was set up by a bad snap on a punt play in the final minutes, which gave Verona possession at the Madison 35. Complete Box Score »It was a much...
Connor Demasi threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game with just 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift Verona to a 34-31 victory over Madison in Madison.
Demasi found Bodie Maisano on the 5-yard game-winner for the fifth lead change of the back-and-forth battle. The touchdown was set up by a bad snap on a punt play in the final minutes, which gave Verona possession at the Madison 35.
It was a much better offensive showing for Verona (1-1) than its 10-7 loss to Lakeland the previous week. Though the end result was more enjoyable for Verona coach Kevin Batty, the way his team got there was not.
“It definitely made my blood pressure go up,” Batty said. “It was a tremendous game. If you didn’t have to coach, it had to be a great game to watch.”
It was certainly a big showing for Demasi, who completed 20 of 26 passes for 360 yards and the four scores.
Three of Demasi’s TDs went to Zach Garmont, who finished with eight catches for 280 yards.
The duo connected for TDs of 10, 25 and 70 yards in the first half when Verona, after falling behind 7-0, built a 21-17 halftime lead.
Madison (0-1) took leads of 24-21 and 31-28 in the second half, but Verona kept finding answers.
A 2-yard run by Maisano gave Verona a 28-24 lead in the third, but the Hillbillies missed a field goal in the fourth quarter and would not take the lead again until the final minute.
“We just clicked,” Batty said about the increased offensive production from the opener. “The kids worked extremely hard this week in practice. We made mistakes last week, but we found a way to fix it.”
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Tim McClain may be reached at [email protected].
TRENTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Al Garcia announced today that an Essex County man has been indicted on charges related to the financial exploitation of a 90-year-old woman, after the suspect allegedly abused his authority over her finances to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.John Boston, 47, of Verona, has been indicted by a state grand jury on one count of theft (2nd degree) and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition (2nd degree), follow...
TRENTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Al Garcia announced today that an Essex County man has been indicted on charges related to the financial exploitation of a 90-year-old woman, after the suspect allegedly abused his authority over her finances to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.
John Boston, 47, of Verona, has been indicted by a state grand jury on one count of theft (2nd degree) and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition (2nd degree), following an investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s (OIFP) Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). The investigation began after a referral from the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. At his arraignment last month in state Superior Court in Essex County, Boston pleaded not guilty.
According to the investigation, Boston, a registered financial advisor at the time, signed a contract with the victim, agreeing to assist in managing her affairs and assets. However, the defendant never obtained authorization from his employer to take on the victim as a client, failed to notify his employer and failed to register the victim as a client, as required by the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Boston then signed a durable financial power of attorney with the then-90-year-old victim on or about June 27, 2017, and it is alleged that through a series of transactions, including ATM withdrawals and bank transfers, Boston diverted more than $75,000 from the victim. It is alleged that Boston used his own debit card to withdraw the money and spent it on his own bills and purchases for himself and his family. Meanwhile, according to the investigation, he defaulted on the victim’s bills and neglected her care and wellbeing.
“Victimizing our senior citizens under the guise of providing professional services occurs too often, and the effects on the victims and their families can be devastating,” said Attorney General Platkin. “No one should have to fear losing their life’s savings or their home because someone purporting to be a professional violated their duty and trust. We will continue to hold accountable those who commit elder abuse.”
“We have resources in place whose sole mission is to eradicate this type of exploitation,” said Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia. “We are steadfast in investigating and prosecuting these cases. If you target our elderly, you will get caught, and you will face justice.”
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Krayn is prosecuting the case for the OIFP – MFCU, under the supervision of Assistant Bureau Chief Michael Klein and Bureau Chief Heather Hadley. Detectives Little Trenard and Chantel Blake led the investigation, under the supervision of Lt. Jarek Pyrzanowski, Lt. Joseph Jaruszewski and Deputy Chief Rich King. Investigator SeRonne Anderson and Analyst Keira McRae-Wiggins also played integral roles in the investigation. Interim Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Garcia thanked his staff for their work on this case, and to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the referral.
New Jersey MFCU’s total funding for federal fiscal year (FY) 2023 is $9,418,641. Of that total, 75 percent, or $7,063,984, is awarded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $2,354,657 for FY 2023, is funded by the State of New Jersey.
OIFP’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit specifically protects Medicaid beneficiaries and the Medicaid Program from fraud, waste, and abuse. Further, the Unit may review complaints of abuse or neglect of patients or residents in care facilities regardless of the funding source. To report fraud, abuse or neglect, please email [email protected] or call 609-292-1272. If you are concerned about insurance cheating in general, and have information about insurance fraud, you can report fraud anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to eligible persons who provide information that leads to an arrest, prosecution, and conviction for insurance fraud.
Today is the International Day of the Girl, and it was a big day for a nonprofit founded by a Verona resident a decade ago.
Allison Wright’s ESchool4Girls rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange in midtown Manhattan. The nonprofit is dedicated to building the next generation of female entrepreneurs and leaders by helping them to understand what they could accomplish with an entrepreneurial mindset. Its flagship program is a two-week summer session at New York University aimed at high school students from under-resourced and minority backgrounds.
ESchool entrepreneurs learn in a hands-on, step-by-step framework to develop ventures focused on identifying and solving today’s real-life problems. The program covers personal skills, as well as professional and business development in a collaborative pre-college environment that allows students to engage with successful entrepreneurs, college professors, and corporate leaders.
Wright (second from right, above) attended the NASDAQ event alongside Program Coordinator Emily Sebiri, with alumni Aminata Drame, Lula Torres, Yaleza Fernandez, and Ashanti Bruce. “To say I am ecstatic about our future is putting it lightly,” said Wright, who as Allison Sebiri graduated Verona High School with the class of 1983. “I know that we can do this and I know that our future is in great hands with these amazing women.”
“When I started ESchool for girls 10 years ago,” she added, “I could only have imagined standing up on that stage with some of our alumni to show the world the power of girls for today and the future.”
On Saturday afternoon, Verona football traveled to Glen Ridge to play in a competition that was as challenging physically as it was mentally. The teams dueled through frigid rain and thick mud, and though Verona fought for every yard, they came up just short of a victory.Verona elected to receive the ball at the start of the game, and #23 Zach Garmont returned the ball to the 40-yard line. An offsides penalty on Glen Ridge originally moved Verona forward, but a botched snap followed up by a sideline interception caused the drive to en...
On Saturday afternoon, Verona football traveled to Glen Ridge to play in a competition that was as challenging physically as it was mentally. The teams dueled through frigid rain and thick mud, and though Verona fought for every yard, they came up just short of a victory.
Verona elected to receive the ball at the start of the game, and #23 Zach Garmont returned the ball to the 40-yard line. An offsides penalty on Glen Ridge originally moved Verona forward, but a botched snap followed up by a sideline interception caused the drive to end in a turnover. Tackles by #22 Dean Algieri as well as penalties by Glen Ridge forced a Ridger punt to the 15-yard line. On offense, rushes by #44 Bodie Maisano got Verona to the 35-yard line. Verona’s drive however resulted in a punt due to numerous gang tackles. While punting, a penalty on Verona brought the team into their own red zone, but another punt by #2 Kieran Patel led Glen Ridge to start at the 38-yard line. Glen Ridge’s counter-offensive would be stopped by tackles from Maisano, Algieri, and #52 Shane Costigan. During the fourth down punt, #12 Ethan Fersch put out his hands and just managed to block it, giving Verona great field possession at the 25-yard line. A rush by Maisano got Verona within 5 yards of a touchdown and on the next play #10 Connor Demasi threw a pass to Garmont to give Verona the lead. Patel’s extra point made the score 7-0. When kicking off to Glen Ridge, a reverse return was very close to being a score, but #13 Salvatore Santos-DiTrani saved a touchdown by tackling the returner #3 Brad Foster at the 50. Gang tackles, penalties, and individual tackles by #11 Jesse Wagner resulted in another Glen Ridge punt. This punt was out of bounds, so Verona started at the 50. To close out the quarter, Maisano barrelled through defenders to get Verona to the 45.
In the second quarter, a botched snap followed by a pass to Garmont that just nearly missed resulted in Patel punting the ball to the Glen Ridge 6-yard line. Tackles by Fersch, Maisano, and #81 John Paul Alfano, as well as another botched snap forced Glen Ridge to punt back to Verona at the 48-yard line. A 5 yard rush by Maisano got Verona to the Ridger 47. Another rush by Maisano and a catch from Garmont moved the chains past the 30-yard line. However, a fourth down conversion by Verona fell incomplete and Glen Ridge took over the ball. Nevertheless, Ridger incompletions and a tackle for a loss by Maisano caused a Glen Ridge punt to the 10. Passes to #5 Gianluca Checchetto, as well as rushes by Maisano did generate some yardage, but Verona was short of the first down and punted to the Glen Ridge 39-yard line. Tackles by Fersch, Garmont, and #20 Jayden Nigro, as well as good pass coverage by Wagner, developed a Glen Ridge turnover at the 20-yard line. A rush by Maisano capped off the first half with Verona still holding a one score lead.
Verona kicked off to start the second half and Glen Ridge began their drive slightly past their 30. Gang tackles by Verona held back the drive, but penalties on Verona kept it going. Finally, a screen by Glen Ridge resulted in their first touchdown of the day. A successful 2-point conversion gave Glen Ridge an 8-7 lead. A return from Garmont started the drive at the 32-yard line. Jumps and maneuvering by Garmont nearly got Verona to the 50, but it was called back to the 35 due to a penalty. Another penalty on Verona moved them back 5 yards to the 30. Multiple consistent rushes by Garmont then finally got Verona across the 50-yard line into Ridger territory. Unfortunately for Verona, its progress would stop there as swarms of Glen Ridge defenders limited Verona’s rushing ability. Patel’s punt then brought the ball to the 13-yard line. Group tackles by Verona brought the 3rd quarter to a finish.
At the start of the 4th quarter, tackles by Costigan and Santos-DiTrani looked like they were going to cause a Glen Ridge stop, but a pass across the middle kept the drive going. Finally, a tackle by Maisano, followed by pressure in the pocket from #50 Aidan Cifaretto forced the conclusion of Glen Ridge’s drive. A jumping return from Garmont got Verona to the 25. After an incomplete pass, a sack, and a penalty, Verona found itself in a third and long. A 40-yard pass to Garmont then brought Verona back nearly to the 50. A rush by Maisano crossed midfield and Verona looked poised to put points on the board. Unfortunately, a wet ball slipped out backfield and was recovered by Glen Ridge. Verona’s defense refused to give up and tackles by Alfano, Wagner, and Costigan turned the ball over one more time. Despite a 7 yard pass to Garmont, Verona could not convert on fourth down and Glen Ridge kneeled the ball to close out the game, an 8-7 loss for Verona.
“The loss against Glen Ridge was just an ugly loss,” said Captain Shane Costigan. “ We can say there were excuses but to win a football game you have to want it, and to win against Hanover we need to want to win.”
Next Friday, Verona will take on rival Hanover Park at Sellitto Field at 7 p.m. The game will be Verona’s senior night as Verona football seeks to give the students an underdog victory on this day. One thing is for certain, and that is Verona will continue to give 110% to close out this year.
Photos copyright Mike Perry. Used by permission.