It was no surprise on Monday when Trenton, New Jersey’s mayor was arrested. Allegations have swirled since his first day in office two years ago, but until this week Mayor Tony Mack (no relationship to Bernie) had avoided arrest. He had survived a recall effort and the resignation of most of his office and associates for various scandals (e.g., sex with underage girls, prescription drug rings).
But allegedly taking more than $100,000 to sell city property way below cost to developers (who, oops, were actually undercover agents) was enough to land the mayor in jail, along with his brother.
Yes, Mayor Mack adds to a growing list of New Jersey shame: He is the 17th mayor of a New Jersey city/town to be arrested in the past eight (!) years for corruption.
Three years ago, Operation Bid Rig snared 44 New Jersey politicians, public officials, and rabbis for corruption charges. In that roundup, six city mayors were arrested, piling on the 10 mayors who had been arrested in independent stings since 2005, including the heads of Atlantic City, Newark and Hoboken.
In perhaps the most absurd wrinkle in the current case, according to the US Attorney’s compliant, Mayor Mack and his associates spoke in code to try to avoid detection, referring to money as “Uncle Remus” and the mayor as “Napoleon.”
Oh, New Jersey, you do yourself no favors.