Roberto Silva, 49, of New Rochelle, NY. was arrested at Saxon Woods Park on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, NY by Westchester County Police. He was charged with public lewdness on September 30th.
Silva is a co-Manager of the Roberto Lopez Campaign for New Rochelle City Council District 1, sources tell Talk of the Sound. He is said to have managed at least one previous Lopez campaign.
Lopez has denied any relationship with Robert Silva.
“He is not my friend”, said Lopez. “I know who he is just like I know who you are (Robert Cox) but he is not a friend of mine.”
NOTE: I have met Roberto Lopez once, last December, while reporting how DPW workers led by Joe Cotroneo, were caught clearing a commercial parking lot owned by Quitupan Realty Corp. Quitupan is owned by Roberto Lopez:
City Manager Chuck Strome calls it all a big mix up, former District 4 City Council Member Roberto Lopez said it was lies being told by liars then later admitted it was true but that he had nothing to do with it, and DPW workers were broadcasting over the radio saying “we’re going back to Lafayette and you’re not going to believe why!” In the end no one could quite make explain what had happened or how.
Six months later, Cotroneo who had served as Acting DPW Commissioner after the unexpected resignation of former DPW Commissioner Jeff Coleman, was terminated for cause.
Quitupan is a town in Mexico that was the subject of a New York Times article in 1992, This Road to New Rochelle Begins in the Hills of Mexico.
It is 2,800 miles from the peasant mountain communities of Cotija, Quitupan and Jiquilpan in Mexico to the cracked sidewalks of Union Avenue here, but hundreds of Mexicans have found a direct route.
Quitupan is a town and municipality located in the southeastern region of the Mexican state of Jalisco between Guadalajara and Acupulco.
Sources familiar with both men tell Talk of the Sound that Lopez and Silva grew up together in the same town and have know each other most of their lives. After denying a relationship with Silva, Lopez did not respond to a request to clear up whether he and Silva both came from Quitupan and knew each other growing up back in Mexico.
Lopez and Silva worked closely with a third person, a woman named Alida Yoguez. She owns a liquor store near the store owned by Lopez not far from Silva’s home. Yoguez previously ran for New Rochelle Board of Education. Described as a “three-pack”, the trio has worked together on various issues in the Mexican/West End community over many years.
Lopez denied Silva is or was his co-campaign manager or in any way associated with his campaign now or in the past.
“He never worked on my campaigns,” Lopez told Talk of the Sound. “He attended a meeting or two but never got involved”.
New York State records show that Silva was a contributor to Lopez in past campaigns. So far, Roberto Lopez has failed to any of the required campaign donation reports so there is no way to check whether Silva has donated to Lopez current campaign.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Silva was present at campaign meetings and has been actively campaigning with Lopez prior to his arrest.
Silva served on the New Rochelle Planning Board after a recommendation by Lopez, sources say. Talk of the Sound is working to clear up the details of his time on the Planning Board but sources tell Talk of the Sound he was appointed by Tim Idoni. Lopez says this is not accurate.
City spokesperson Kathy Gilwit tells Talk of the Sound that Planning Board members are mayoral appointments. and that Roberto Silva was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Roberto Lopez.
“He assumed the position on February 2, 2004 to fulfill the remaining time for the seat and was reappointed on February 28, 2004 for a three year term” said Gilwit. “He was not reappointed further.”
The time frame indicates the appointments were made by Tim Idoni and continued under Noam Bramson after Bramson replaced Idoni was Mayor when Idoni was elected as Westchester County Clerk.
Asked about Silva’s appointment to the Planning Board, Lopez said he did not recommend Silva to fill out his unexpired term and that he had nothing to do with Silva going on the Planning Board. Lopez left the Planning Board after the was elected to City Council in 2003.
Lopez said that at the time, the Mayor and City Manager were looking to put more Hispanics on the Planning Board and Silva was known to them through his work with Columbus Elementary School. He said that Silva attending one or two meetings and then did not return to the Planning Board. The City says Silva served for over three years on the Planning Board.
Roberto Silva owns a landscaping business in the West End of New Rochelle. He is married with two children and attends services at the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Joseph. Lopez also attends mass at Saint Joseph.
The arrest came as part of a months long sex sting named “Operation Overexposed” which was begun in response to complaints from county residents. 16 people had been arrested since May 2011 on charges of public lewdness or forcible touching. Some of the men were arrested after they were observed engaging in sex while others were arrested for exposing themselves to police or groping undercover officers in the park’s bathrooms.
Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth noted that the park had become a popular trysting place for men seeking anonymous sexual encounters. He hoped that by publicizing the arrests, the public would get involved and help deter men from using the park for sexual activity.
“We will not tolerate this kind of activity in any county park,” said Longworth in a press release. “If you come to Saxon Woods Parks for this purpose, you will be arrested and your name will be released to the media.”
Police acted on reports of suspicious activity near a picnic and restroom building in the park.
Public lewdness and forcible touching charges are misdemeanors.
Noam Bramson has distributed joint campaign signs throughout the city for the Democratic candidates for City Council with Bramson’s name on top and the Council candidates name below. In the upper left corner of the sign is a banner which reads “We Support” except for the Bramson-Lopez signs which simply reads “Vote”.
One of the more high-profile Bramson-Lopez signs had been displayed on Webster Avenue at Van Guilder Avenue. That sign has now been removed and replaced by a Robert Lopez for District 1 sign. Another Bramson-Lopez on Walnut and Grove Street was found on the ground.
NOTE: This story has been updated several times since the story was originally posted based on information provided by Roberto Lopez, Kathy Gilwit and other unnamed sources.