Residents demand drug-dealing Mayor’s resignation

Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw —known on the streets as 'Don the Dope Man' or 'Don Poppy' —is a convicted drug dealer who was incarcerated at New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison

Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw is a convicted drug dealer who spent time behind bars at New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison facility and admitted that he offered to sell heroin to undercover New York City Police officers on September 13, 1989.

When he was prosecuted, Shaw pleaded guilty to the crime of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree under New York Penal Code § 220.39. Shaw later evaded the requirement that he submit fingerprints when he was hired as the borough recreation director.

Sources with direct knowledge of the events say Shaw refused to submit his fingerprints when he was hired as borough recreation director because he knew that the background check would reveal his criminal record and the 273 days he spent in prison in New York State.

That information did not emerge until after he was in the job and another employee complained that Shaw violated her civil rights.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said that Shaw offered to sell heroin, a highly addictive narcotic drug, on Sept 13, 1989, and he was placed under arrest by New York City Police officers.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than a million US residents have died from opioid drug overdoses.

On June 13, 1990, Shaw pleaded guilty and he was sentenced to three years prison plus probation in the case known as New York Supreme Court Docket Number N13014-89 with the court control number 12612991P.

Despite his criminal record, Shaw is currently employed by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation at a salary in excess of $85,000.

He made headlines recently when Councilwoman Cynthia Johnson discovered that a check for $4,952 of taxpayer money was made out to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and signed by Shaw.

Shaw made the taxpayers pay for 49 E-ZPass violations that were recorded at the Goethals Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel over a two-year period during a seemingly bizarre series of trips to New York City, where he had been arrested for selling heroin.

“One violation was for $66 at the Goethals Bridge on March 26. Another violation was at the Lincoln Tunnel in April, also for $66. There were two violations from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge on June 28 and four more from that same day totaling $220,” said News 12 New Jersey’s Chris Keating in a Jan 13, 2023, report.

Questions swirled about the mayor’s use of a Roselle municipal car to travel back and forth between his old drug turf and the house he bought last year for $649,000 at 728-732 Thomas Street in Elizabeth.

Shaw evicted tenants who occupied three units in the four-family dwelling but until the possibility it is being used as a stash house came up, his reasons seemed very unclear.

Shaw has still not responded to questions about his home purchase, his late night travel to New York City, his criminal conviction and the circumstances in which he failed to divulge his criminal record when he applied for jobs interacting with local children.

In a recent interview, former Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau said that she discovered Shaw had failed to submit his fingerprints after a complaint was filed against him with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“Donald Shaw filled out the application for the recreation job and he had to be fingerprinted,” said Dansereau.

“Cynthia Johnson had a problem with him so she went to EEOC about him,” said Dansereau. “They asked questions about his personnel employment file and it turned out it did not exist.”

Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw —known on the streets as ‘Don the Dope Man’ or ‘Don Poppy’ —is a convicted drug dealer who was incarcerated at New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison after he pleaded guilty to third-degree felony charges of selling heroin in New York City.

“The EEOC asked for his personnel file and there wasn’t one,” said Dansereau, who explained that she learned Shaw had refused to submit fingerprints because he knew that the background check would reveal his criminal record.

“Business Administrator Dave Brown discovered that (Shaw) never went to get fingerprinted, so Donald admitted that he didn’t get fingerprinted because he has been incarcerated before,” said Dansereau. “He lied.”

“My understanding it was in the business administrator’s hands,” said Dansereau. “I don’t know if he ever actually received those fingerprints and Cynthia Johnson decided not to go through with the EEOC complaint.”

Dansereau said Councilwoman Cynthia Johnson raised questions about Shaw’s criminal record as an issue while she was opposing the proposed Mind and Body complex.

“When Jerry Orlando was chief of police, I had a phone call (because) the candy fundraising company was upset with Donald Shaw,” said Dansereau. “He told me that Shaw, who was in charge of the Pop Warner football program, owed $20,000 to the candy company from chocolate that was sold and the company was entitled to.”

The account manager told Dansereau that he intended to go to the police and report it as theft.

Dansereau referred the matter to the police chief and “Orlando told Donald Shaw to make restitution and make it fast.”

“He’s a scam artist and hustler,” said Dansereau of Shaw.

Union County Commissioner Joseph Bodek, Senator Joseph Cryan and other Column A candidates who are allied with Shaw on the June 6 Democratic primary election ballot did not return calls for comment.

Union County Department of Parks and Recreation Director Victoria Durbin-Drake also failed to respond to requests for information about Shaw’s vetting.

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