The residence of a second administration nominee to the Jersey City Municipal Court is being called into question.

Property tax records show that attorney Rahat Chatha and her husband Thomas Curtis have owned an apartment in Kenilworth, New Jersey since 2019. The Jersey City Municipal Code requires that municipal court judges be domiciled in Jersey City at the time of their appointment and during their term.

Rahat Chatha

Jersey City Times has questioned the domicile of attorney Paul Scalia who was nominated for a municipal court judgeship at the same time as Chatha.

In the same article, Jersey City Times noted that Chatha and her family had contributed close to $20 thousand to mayor Fulop and his team. In making a $2,500 contribution to the mayor in 2014, Chatha gave an address in Jersey City. Chatha made no further donations. Thereafter all, except one, of the seventeen donations were made by other family members and an undisclosed “homemaker.” All, except one, were made from the Jersey City address. No donations were made from the Kenilworth address.

In a 2020 financial disclosure statement made in connection with her appointment to the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority, Chatha left her home address blank. Disclosure is made optional on the form. To a non-optional question question that asks for a list of all real property held in New Jersey, she lists the Kenilworth apartment.

At Tuesday’s city council caucus, several council councilpeople asked Corporation Counsel Peter Baker to define domicile. He said he would research the question.  Merriam-Webster defines domicile as “a person’s fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes.”

Neither Chatha nor the Fulop administration has responded to Jersey City Times’s request for comment.

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Aaron Morrill

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....