Trenton Mayor Tony Mack Charged In Federal Bribery Sting [AUDIO/VIDEO]
Trenton, New Jersey Mayor Tony Mack was arrested at his home yesterday by FBI agents as part of a two-year and still ongoing federal probe into bribery, influence peddling, extortion and corruption.
Mack's longtime campaign supporter and local sandwich shop owner Joseph Giorgianni and Mack's brother Ralphiel are also facing charges. Giorgianni is also a convicted sex offender, but has been a trusted supporter of Mack's for years.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman calls Giorgianni Mack's "bagman" in a bribery scheme in which a co-operating witness offered bribes to have the mayor help green light a city parking garage project a few block from City Hall. There was never going to be a garage project. It was all a part of an elaborate FBI sting according to Fishman.
"This morning based on files charged by my office agents of the FBI arrested Trenton mayor Tony Mack and one of the mayors closest associates, Joseph Giorgianni at their homes in connection with a scheme to commit extortion," explained Fishman yesterday. Mack's brother surrendered later in the day.
Fishman says, "We have charged Mayor Mack, his brother and Giorgianni with conspiring to solicit and accept more than $100,000 in bribes."
According to the complaint, "The investigation revealed evidence of a conspiracy among the defendants and other to corrupt certain functions of Trenton City government in favor of a purported developer seeking to building a parking garage on City-owned property in exchange for cash payments totaling approximate $119,000, a total of $54,000 that the defendants actually accepted in one way or another and another $65,000 that they anticipated accepting."
"Time and again, we have seen public officials in New Jersey who are all too willing to sell their power and betray the public's trust," says Fishman.
"Here, the Complaint charges that Mayor Mack and his coconspirators were willing to let city property go for a fraction of its worth. And he allegedly chose as his middleman a convicted felon who was simultaneously heading a conspiracy to traffic in prescription medication. Neither selling one's oath of office or illegally selling prescription medication is acceptable on the streets of Trenton or anywhere else in New Jersey."
According to the court papers filed, Giorgianni is caught on taping telling a witness, "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."
Michael Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Newark Division says, "The citizens of New Jersey's state capital deserve far better than politicians and cronies who aspire to the Boss Tweed-style, Tammany Hall politics of patronage, graft, and corruption. Public service is not an open invitation to enrich one's self via illegal means. At no time should elected officials have need for middlemen, 'buffers,' and coded conversations."
On 'code' phrase it is alleged was used by Giorgianni was "Uncle Remus," which Fishman says would indicate bribe money. He says Giorgianni can be heard on tape saying telling Mack that he heard received a payment, "Using the code words 'Uncle Remus….Uncle Remus came by, Uncle Remus landed."
Mack is free on $150,000 bail, but a federal magistrate Monday ruled he cannot leave the state.
The complaint reads like a pulp fiction novel because it states that Mack is also known as 'Napoleon,' 'Honey Fitz' and 'The Little Guy.' Giorgianni's aliases include, 'Jo Jo,' 'Mr. Baker' and 'The Fat Man.'
Giorgianni's weight has been issue in the past. He reportedly once weighed over 500 pounds. He weight was also a factor in his release from jail on a previous charge.