Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and his brother, Ralphiel Mack, have
pleaded not guilty to federal charges that were involved in a 2010
plot to secure the mayor's help in developing a garage on city-owned
land. Prosecutors say an informant offered a $119,000 bribe.
About $54,000 of that amount had been paid, according to
The allegations against the brothers read like a cheap crime
thriller, filled with secret meetings and codes names like "Uncle
Remus" to refer to corrupt payments. The mayor, not a tall man, was
referred to as "the little guy" and "Napoleon."
Two others have pleaded guilty in the scheme. They are among 40
potential witnesses who may testify against the brothers during the
trial in U.S. District Court in Trenton, according to court
One of them, Charles Hall, a former Trenton city official and
confidant of the mayor, pleaded guilty in February 2013 to two
counts of extortion. The other, steak house owner Joseph Giorgianni
who is also known as "The Fat Man" and "JoJo," pleaded guilty in
December 2013 to two counts of extortion.
Prosecutors accused them of trying to conceal their activities by
avoiding meetings in City Hall, which is near the federal
courthouse, and instead gathering at Giorgianni's residence, his
steak house and restaurants in Atlantic City.
The mayor has
pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer has said he has no plans to step
down despite a call to do so by Governor Chris Christie. Mack kicked
off his re-election fundraising campaign last summer.
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Mack, 48, took office in 2010. He faced a stalled recall effort in
2011, and the City Council has since repeatedly failed in its
efforts to cut his $126,000 annual salary by as much as half.
The mayor and his brother each face one count of conspiracy to
obstruct justice, one count of attempting the obstruction of justice
by extortion, one count of accepting bribes and three counts of
fraud. If convicted of all the charges against them, they each face
a maximum punishment of 110 years in prison.
Another of the mayor's brothers, Stanley "Muscles" Davis, a Trenton
Water Works employee, is serving a six-year prison term on official
misconduct charges in a separate case after pleading guilty in 2011
to taking side jobs on city time and with department equipment.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Amanda Kwan)
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