Trenton mayor, others arrested amid corruption probe
TRENTON — Federal agents arrested the struggling mayor of New Jersey's capital on Monday on corruption charges, alleging he agreed to accept bribes in connection with a proposed parking garage — a fake project designed by authorities trying to snare him.
Trenton Mayor Tony Mack; his brother, Ralphiel; and convicted sex offender Joseph Giorgianni, a Mack supporter who owns a Trenton sandwich shop, were each accused of a single charge: conspiring to extort the undercover informants who pulled them into the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said at a news conference that the city-owned land a few blocks from City Hall for the garage was assessed at $271,000. He said Mack and Giorgianni agreed to accept $100,000 for the land for the city coffers — as long as the purported developers paid a bribe of $100,000 to be split between the two alleged conspirators.
A federal magistrate ordered Mack released on an unsecured $150,000 bond but ruled that he cannot leave the state while free on bail. Mack left the courthouse without commenting.
The charges against Mack, a 46-year-old Democrat, were not a surprise.
He's been accused of hiring unqualified cronies to city positions, made deep cuts in the police department and overseen a chaotic City Hall as officials fled their jobs soon after he took office in 2010.
Things got so bad that the state government threatened to withhold $6 million in aid unless he agreed to hire only department head candidates cleared by the state.
He avoided a recall election last year after opponents fell about 1,000 signatures short of getting a measure on the ballot.
Federal agents began working with an informant to gather information on Mack and the other suspects in September 2010, just two months after Mack took office.