FBI Arrests Trenton Mayor, Others in Corruption Probe

Jonathan Dienst et al., NBC New York, September 10, 2012

Federal authorities arrested Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and more than half a dozen other people early Monday in connection with an ongoing corruption probe, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Mack faces federal charges including conspiracy to obstruct commerce by extortion. Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni, a top campaign contributor, and six others were also taken into custody. {snip}

Tony Mack

Mack, a Democrat, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on extortion charges, prosecutors said.

In recorded conversations, Giorgianni said, “I can be bought,” “We want this,” “I like to do it the Boss Tweed way, you know, Boss Tweed ran Tammany Hall,” and “Tony knows when I’m in for a penny I’m in for a pound,” according to a criminal complaint.

{snip}

The arrests are the latest development in an ongoing federal investigation that began in 2010 into alleged corruption within Mack’s administration, which has been marked by accusations of nepotism and reckless spending. {snip}

In the first of two criminal complaints, Tony and Ralphiel Mack and Giorgianni were charged with conspiracy in connection with a parking garage project. The complaint alleges that cash payments intended for Mayor Mack were made by a cooperating witness to Giorgianni inside his restaurant.

In the second complaint Giorgianni and eight others, not including the Macks, were charged with conspiracy to obtain and fill prescriptions for oxycodone-based pain medications, and to distribute the pain medications.

Mack’s administration has been in turmoil from Day 1, staggering from one crisis to another. A housecleaning of staff at City Hall opened the door for Mack’s own appointees, who quickly turned it into a revolving door. Some left over questions about their credentials, others to face criminal charges.

In Mack’s first year in office in Trenton, a city of 85,000, he ran through a string of business administrators. The first resigned after a month, saying the mayor didn’t believe in “good government.” Another resigned just ahead of pleading guilty to embezzlement at another job.

Mack’s housing director quit after it emerged that he had a theft conviction. His chief of staff was arrested trying to buy heroin. His half-brother, whose authority he elevated at the city water plant, was arrested on charges of stealing.

Questions have also been raised about how he financed his campaign for mayor.

{snip}

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