Trenton Mayor and Two Others Are Charged in an Alleged Bribery Case

The New York Times on September 10, 2012 released the following:


The mayor of New Jersey’s capital was arrested on Monday and charged in what federal prosecutors described as a scheme to accept more than $119,000 in bribes in exchange for selling city property at a fraction of its value.

The arrest was the latest blow to the long-struggling city, Trenton, and its controversial mayor, Tony F. Mack, who narrowly escaped a recall effort last year as allegations of corruption dogged City Hall. Since he took office in 2010, a parade of his appointees have quit in various stages of disgrace, while residents and City Council members have complained that Mayor Mack’s mismanagement allowed the once-vibrant manufacturing city to fall further into neglect.

“It’s proving what I always said: full-blown corruption,” said George Muschal, a city councilman who has been a persistent critic of Mr. Mack, a Democrat.

The charges were the culmination of an inquiry that began almost immediately after Mr. Mack, 46, was elected. According to the 31-page complaint by prosecutors, Mr. Mack; his brother, Ralphiel; and his chief political benefactor, who were also charged, arranged to receive the bribes from two other men who had approached the city looking to build a parking garage on the main street between the State House and City Hall.

The two other men, who were not named in the complaint, were secretly cooperating with federal prosecutors, who recorded the conversations.

The arrest had been anticipated since July, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided City Hall and the homes of the mayor, his brother and his benefactor, Joseph Giorgianni, a sandwich shop owner who served time in prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. Mr. Giorgianni was also charged on Monday with helping to operate an oxycodone distribution ring.

The United States attorney, Paul Fishman, said the investigation of the mayor was continuing. He said Mr. Mack was the third New Jersey mayor to be charged in recent months with abusing his office.

“The public deserves better,” Mr. Fishman said.

Mayor Mack and his associates spoke in code to try to avoid detection, referring to money as “Uncle Remus” and the mayor as “Napoleon,” the authorities said.

According to the complaint, Mr. Giorgianni, acting as the middleman, accepted several bribes intended for the mayor, then, in May of this year, offered the two would-be developers this deal: The city would sell the land for $100,000 — less than half its assessed value — if they paid an additional $100,000 to be split among the mayor, Mr. Giorgianni and an unnamed city official.

“One thing about the Mack administration,” Mr. Giorgianni later told the men seeking to develop the property, “we’re not greedy, we’re corruptible. We want anybody to make a buck.”

According to the complaint, when investigators confronted Mr. Giorgianni after the raids in July, he defended the mayor as “basically an honest man.” Mr. Mack was looking to do good things for Trenton, and if he received small payments along the way, Mr. Giorgianni said, that was “good corruption.”

Mr. Mack, who was released on $150,000 bail, denied accepting cash or anything of value in exchange for official action, the complaint said. Calls to his office on Monday went unreturned.”


Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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