Trenton mayor arrested on federal corruption charge
Tony Mack, mayor of New Jersey's capital city, was arrested early Monday by federal agents investigating allegations of bribery in connection with a downtown parking garage project.
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He was also caught on tape telling one of the informants: "One thing about the Mack administration — when I say that, it's me and Mack — we're not greedy. We're corruptible. We want anybody to make a buck," and "I'm there to buffer the thing where, you know, take the weight ... going to jail's my business. It ain't his."Skip to next paragraph
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By contrast, when Mack was recorded, it was mostly just to say he'd meet someone or exchanging pleasantries. But in April, he was recorded at a meeting with Giorgianni and one of the informants saying: "I really appreciate what you guys have done for us. I appreciate your support and, like before, I support you and I'll keep on supporting you."
Authorities say, though, that the short-in-stature Mack, whom Giorgianni referred to as "Napoleon," was involved in the scheme. One piece of evidence they offer is that Giorgianni referred to money by code — calling it "Uncle Remus" — when he spoke with Mack, and that Mack seemed to know what he was saying.
The complaint also said that $2,500 in $100 bills with the serial numbers of those given to Giorgianni were found in a search of Ralphiel Mack's home in July.
Tony Mack was taken to an FBI office in Hamilton for processing and was driven into a secure area of the federal courthouse in Trenton at around 11 a.m. He was due in court later in the afternoon.
His 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.
Under an agreement reached last year, the Democrat may hire department heads only from a pool of applicants the state offers or he risks losing $6 million in state aid.
Under state law, he would be forced out of office if he is convicted. But activists in Trenton would like to see him step down immediately. "If he were smart, he'd resign," said Jerell Blakely, a former campaign manager for Mack who is now a critic. Blakely predicted Mack would not step down on his own.
The mayor and his brother could each face 20 years in prison if convicted.
Giorgianni and eight others were charged separately Monday with a scheme to distribute oxycodone from the sandwich shop, and he was also charged with weapon possession by a convicted felon. He went to prison in the 1980s on charges of carnally abusing and debauching the morals of a 14-year-old girl in the back of his shop.
The case gained notoriety because of weight-related health problems that got Giorgianni, a steakhouse owner who once claimed to tip the scale at over 500 pounds, released and led a prosecutor to charge he "ate his way out of jail."
He faces up to 50 years in prison if he's convicted on all charges.