North-Oak NRZ member quits following confrontation

Published on Monday, 10 June 2019 18:02
Written by Charles Paullin


NEW BRITAIN – A city man, who was a member of the North-Oak Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, has resigned from the group following a confrontation with others involved in the organization.

Edgar Lopez, the man who had a heated discussion with the president of the North-Oak NRZ at the police substation that police described as “tumultuous and disruptive,” submitted his resignation Saturday, according to a press release from the North-Oak NRZ.

The organization said they accepted his resignation as public safety chairman after they conducted an investigation with the owners and residents of a building at 250 North St., a retail and residential site, and found that his claims of employment there were false.

In order to have a voting stakeholdership within the NRZ, a person must be a resident or conduct business in the organization’s territory, according to Pablo Rodriguez, president of the North-Oak NRZ. Lopez claimed he did cleaning work at the property, Rodriguez said.

Lopez could not be immediately reached for a comment.

It was not clear why Lopez, who lives in the Arch Street area and is eligible for membership with the NRZ there, wanted to join the North-Oak NRZ, Rodriguez said.

Lopez and Rodriguez’s discussion at an NRZ meeting held at the police substation on May 22, was detailed in a police report provided to The Herald that stated the two were yelling and police had to intervene to diffuse the situation. The meeting continued with arguments but nothing disruptive, police wrote in the report. Rodriguez said that discussion was about the removal of Lopez from the organization’s board.

“I’m committed to the residents of the NRZ,” Rodriguez said, by following bylaws and the state’s Office of Police Management that oversees the organization. “He did the right thing,” in resigning, he said.

Until a new public safety chairman is found, Rodriguez and the NRZ’s Vice President Marie Bachand will be overseeing the position’s responsibilities, Rodriguez said.

The purpose of the NRZ organizations in the city is to work collaboratively with residents and businesses in the neighborhoods they encompass, and along with government officials, to develop a strategy to revitalize the neighborhood.

The argument between the two men was not the only hostile confrontation involving members of the NRZ and documented by police.

There was also an incident of “loud” and “boisterous” behavior from Rodriguez when he went to City Hall to advocate for families displaced by a fire in May at an apartment complex, according to police. Subsequently, Rodriguez’ language in a post on social media about Mayor Erin Stewart led to Stewart telling city department heads to cease all activity related to the North-Oak NRZ.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Monday, 10 June 2019 18:02. Updated: Monday, 10 June 2019 18:05.