Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Jersey, the most operatically corrupt state in the Union: Ya gotta problem with that?

NEWARK, N.J. — It’s one of the biggest corruption cases in the history of a state that’s famous for them: Three mayors, two state legislators and several rabbis were among those charged Thursday in what authorities described as a “dual-track” investigation united by a single undercover operative.

The sting that resulted in 44 arrests began with an investigation of an international money-laundering ring that trafficked in everything from fake Gucci and Prada handbags to human kidneys, which might be bought from a financially strapped donor for $10,000 and resold for $160,000.

Among those arrested were the mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield; two state legislators; the City Council president and the deputy mayor of Jersey City; and several rabbis from Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Ralph Marra, the acting U.S. attorney in Newark, said Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano told the government’s undercover operative that “I could be indicted and still get 85 to 90% of the vote” in his election race.

Cammarano, who won a runoff election last month and had been a potential rising political star in the state, is charged with accepting $25,000 in cash bribes. He’s a Democrat; some of the others charged are Republicans.

Ed Kahrer, head of the FBI’s public corruption division in New Jersey, said the case shows that “corruption is a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state.” The state has seen more than 130 public officials plead guilty or be convicted of corruption since 2001, according to the Associated Press.

Waysun Dun, head of the bureau’s Newark office, said the case was “truly unprecedented” because of the number of those accused and the variety and geographic spread of their alleged crimes.

Political consultant Jack Shaw found dead in Jersey City

by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk

Tuesday July 28, 2009, 8:03 PM

JERSEY CITY -- Jack Shaw, a Jersey City political consultant who was among 44 people charged in a federal corruption probe, has died.

Two officials with knowledge of the investigation said Shaw was found at home with several bottles of pills nearby. One of the officials said Shaw, 61, had an unspecified medical condition, and authorities are not jumping to conclusions about the cause of his death.

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