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Mayor Appoints Official Indian-American Liaison

For years, Jigar Shah has worked as an unofficial link between the Barberio administration and Parsippany's East Asian community.

Keeping a promise he made to Parsippany's Indian-American community on the campaign trail four years ago, Mayor James Barberio Sunday announced a new special volunteer liaison to that demographic: Jigar Shah.

According to his LinkedIn page, Shah is president of Mount Tabor's D K International LLC, a subsidiary of the Veerprabhu Export House, of which he is a principal. The company specializes in the international export of food products and spices from India.

He came to Parsippany in 1974 and attended Montclair State University.

He is the uncle of Amil Shah, a member of the Parsippany Zoning Board of Adjustment, and Milin Shah, who is poised to run in the Town Council primary election as part of Mayor Barberio's re-election ticket.

Shah is known in Parsippany for his work for Republican campaigns and candidates in recent years. He was named in connection with alleged absentee ballot fraud in the 2011 primary while working for council candidates Michael dePierro, Vincent Ferrara, John Fox, Brian Stanton, who collectively were known as Team Parsippany. (The councilmen denied wrongdoing in the matter, which arose during the contested freeholder race between Margaret Nordstrom and current Freeholder William "Hank" Lyon.)

Ultimately the matter surrounding the absentee votes went to a state appellate court, which wrote in its decision a year ago:

Twelve voters—all who supposedly submitted mail-in ballots and who lived in the same apartment building in Parsippany—testified at trial. The undisputed evidence revealed that some of these voters denied receiving their mail-in ballots, some admitted that their signatures appeared on their Vote by Mail applications, and some denied that the signatures were theirs. Others indicated that although their signatures appeared genuine, other writings on the Vote by Mail applications were in someone else's handwriting. ...

An additional witness, Jigar Shah, testified that he collected ballots for people in the community and transported them to the Morris County Board of Elections. He said that he did not witness anyone fill in a ballot or sign a Vote by Mail envelope. Although he did not know the exact number of ballots for which he was the bearer, he said it was possibly 32. He did not collect ballots directly from the voters.

Shah could not remember the names of those who actually handed him ballots. He also was unaware that he was required to sign the outer envelope in the voter's presence to ensure that the ballot was valid.

Neither Shah, who never was charged officially with any offense, nor the state attorney general's office were available for comment. 

In a press statement, Shah is described as a "tireless advocate" for Indian-Americans.

“Jigar is the perfect person for this position,” the mayor is quoted as saying. “Hundreds, if not thousands of Indian-Americans in Parsippany have relationships with Jigar that stem for nearly two decades."

He added that Shah has served informally as a bridge between Barberio's Town Hall and Indian-Americans in Parsippany since the administration's start in 2009.

He said Indian-Americans make vital contributions to the township, including places of worship, restaurants, dance studios, beauty salons and a host of small businesses.

"Indian-Americans have become an essential part of Parsippany, and one of the reasons why Parsippany is ranked the #1 township to live in New Jersey,” said Barberio.

In 2009, he promised the Indian-American community a special liaison to help voice their concerns and issues directly with the administration. He described the creation of this volunteer position as a step forward for the community, which the U.S. Census Bureau shows as the fastest growing culture in Parsippany, Morris County and New Jersey.

A crowd of more than 100 turned out for the Town Hall ceremony. Among the attendees were U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Morris County Freeholder Ann Grossi, Parsippany Town Council President Brian Stanton, Council Vice President Vincent Ferrara and Councilmen Michael dePierro and Jonathan Nelson.

Scott Dean February 20, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Will Mr.Shah be lip sinking the Star Spangled Banner at the swearing in? The Indian community should question the fast acting Mayor why now? Election time
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 20, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Suggest we adopt the real McCoy appoint American Indian Liaison to help us save our Land from developers; They have gotten enough of Parsippanong already; just remember please; Colon Christopher Columbus did not discover America and the Indians never sold anything to anyone it was share and share alike; but that was too much to handle.
ChrisP February 20, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Is that true that Jigar lives in Parsippany for 40 years? Never heard or seen him anywhere before! He will help Mayor to get absentee ballots for the next election from Indian community. What has he done in the town other than helping politicians to win the election? Has Milin Shah done anything for the community? This is nothing but a political move by the Mayor. Why it took Mayor so long to appoint someone? Where is his economic development committee that he promised? If he has one, never heard of them doing anything. This town has gotten too political under this Mayor.
Tushar R February 21, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Scott, do you get off by promoting subliminal racism against the Indian community? Your comment against Mr. Shah would suggest so. Disgusting.
Tushar R February 21, 2013 at 01:00 AM
I am glad the mayor is recognizing the importance of the Indian community in Parsippany. Also, it is nice to see a young Indian trying to speak out in his community to make a difference.
Scott Dean February 21, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Tushar, No racism here I do find the timing of the appointment in year 4 kind of ironic is all.
PatchLover February 21, 2013 at 12:37 PM
"Will Mr.Shah be lip sinking the Star Spangled Banner at the swearing in?" No racism here?
W. Yang February 21, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Hey, where is my ethnic community's liaison Mr. Mayor? Or is the East Asian American residents not politically advantageous for you during this election period. My community is a fastly growing constituency also in Parsippany. In my opinion, this is a political tactical move with racial overtones. Shame on you, Mayor to exclude other constituents because it does not serve your needs. Second, out of all the wonderful, honest and upstanding Indian American residents to choose from for this liaison position, Mayor, you choose one subpoenaed, questioned and linked to the 2011 Morris County absentee fraud case. This should be enough for Parsippany residents to see what you are after. Convicted or not, this is a shady member of the community like the mayor who appointed him. Shame on you Mayor for your shady, underhanded ways.
Scott Dean February 21, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Parsippany # 1 place to live, you will be seeing this all over town I wonder when the foam fingers go on sale ??
Nicholas Robert Homyak February 25, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Parsipanny was "one" of the top places to live because of our once Arcadian type living arrangement with our Landscape. Those days are gone at least for the American People. Everything has limits the last thing we need is this Waterview Re-zoning; that's over the limits. Hopefully our Indian citizens will raise their voices against this demise..
The All Seeing Eye May 07, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Jigar the jig is up you were cought changing a Carifi sign and putting a Barberio sign in it's place.on Emerson Street. next time smile for the camera.And why are you promising a weeks free groceries if elderly Indian People do an absentee ballot. Jigar it's people like you who give Indian people bad names. Barberio do you have any other great picks. Notfiying Board of Elect.

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