New Jersey has a lot of Democratic Mayors, and it seems difficult to find a city in the state that hasn’t had one indicted in the last few years. The latest is the former mayor of Perth Amboy from 1990-2008:
State Assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) was indicted last week on charges that, while he was mayor of Perth Amboy, he conspired with city employees to steal approximately $5,000 in funds from the city to pay for personal purchases and expenses.
Vas, 54, was indicted with his personal driver, Anthony S. Jones, 48, of Perth Amboy, on charges he rigged a city housing lottery so that Jones won the opportunity to buy a home through the city’s affordable housing program.
The indictment charges that from June 2003 to September 2007, Vas fraudulently obtained payment from the Perth Amboy Recreation Department for personal expenses.
Vas allegedly conspired with city officials, not named in the indictment, to submit fraudulent invoices, purchase orders and vouchers for the expenses, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.
If you are keeping score at home, Vas joins the following hit parade:
(1) Orange Mayor Mims Hackett Jr, who pleaded guity to extortion;
(2) Passaic Mayor Samuel Rivera, who pleaded guity to extortion;
(3) former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, convicted along with his former mistress in connection with shady land deals;
(4) former Atlantic City Mayor Robert Levy, who pleaded guilty to making false claims to receive more than $24,000 in veterans’ benefits;
(5) former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo, indicted for extortion and bribery and who ultimately pleaded guilty to mail fraud;
(6) former Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna, who was convicted along with his wife of extortion and tax fraud;
(7) former Irvington Mayor Sara Bost, indicted for taking kickbacks and who ultimately pleaded guilty to witness tampering;
(8) former Irvington Mayor Michael Steele (no relation, I assume) indicted for bribery;
(9) former Patterson Mayor Martin Barnes, convicted of accepting gifts in exchange for city contracts;
(10) fomer Brick Mayor Joseph Scarpelli, convicted of taking bribes;
(11) former Burlington Township Mayor Joseph Foy Sr., who pleaded guilty to tax evasion;
Oh, and throw in Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy, convicted of resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. Of course, the list * * goes well beyond Mayors.
In the interests of completeness, there’s also former Carneys Point Mayor John Lake, a Republican, who was convicted of trying to bribe his Democratic opponent to drop out of the race, as well as Republican Marlboro Mayor Matthew Scannapieco, also nailed by US Attorney Chris Christie for taking payoffs. I wonder where Lake could ever have gotten the idea that a New Jersey Democrat would accept a payoff?