Yesterday, reports indicated that the FBI searched the home of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and two other locations.
Mack has denied any wrongdoing and no once has been charged in the expanding federal probe.The other two homes belong to Mack's brother Raphael.
“We have not violated the public trust in any way, nor have I violated any of my public duties, and I have no further comment on this matter,” Mack said in a brief statement, before decline to answer questions to a group of reporters
As the search at City Hall entered its second hour, Trenton Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson said she was surprised to find the federal agents there this morning.
"I'm just here to make sure our clerk's office and council business is moving forward as best we can," Caldwell-Wilson said. "I was pretty shocked when I heard this morning. And I'm not going to interfere with the investigation. I'm going to let them move on."
Mack’s administration has been plagued with accusations of cronyism and corruption since he took office in July 2010. He has cycled through business administrators and police directors and seen appointees step down when they were charged with crimes, or when their criminal histories or personal financial troubles came to light.
City Councilman George Muschal, a frequent critic of Mack's management of the city, said he was not surprised when he received a text message notifying him that the FBI was raiding City Hall this morning. He only asked one question:
“What took them so long to get there?” Muschal said when reached by phone this afternoon. "There is full blown corruption in the city of Trenton. We have to go to a rock bottom low before we can rebuild. This might be a rock bottom low.”
Among those prosecuted have been Mack’s half-brother, a city water utility employee, as well as a former business administrator and a former chief of staff. A number of employees have sued the administration, including a former recreation employee who alleged that a close Mack associate, acting public works director Harold Hall, acted to bypass public bidding requirements and hired unqualified friends and relatives.
Today, the FBI initiated searches of the Mayor's offices at City Hall.
Mack has been under suspicion of engaging in nepotism and reckless spending, but this appears to be something much more serious. Corruption is a huge problem in the state, and it wouldn't be surprising to learn that Mack has engaged in all manner of shoddy practices while in office.
Mack had faced a recall election last year, but survived the recall when it failed to garner sufficient support. That's despite going through eight business administrators, four police directors, many other key employees while the city's finances and fortunes wane. Critics have repeatedly noted that Mack fired the competent and hired the incompetent, replaced the honest with the dishonest. That's why the calls of nepotism and corruption are so strong.
We had to play name that party since the news reports didn't indicate as much, but he's a Democrat.
Labels: corruption, FBI, law enforcement, name that party, New Jersey, NJ politics, Tony Mack, Trenton