Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Hudson County road inspector pleads guilty to bribery charges

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A Hudson County official has pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct after accepting cash to delete construction violations, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.

On Oct. 29, Barry Smith, a Hudson County Roads Inspector from Bayonne, pleaded guilty in relation to charges that he initiated and accepted cash bribes. In May, Smith was initially charged with second degree bribery, second degree theft by extortion, and two counts of official misconduct in the second-degree and in the third-degree.

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During the virtual plea hearing, Smith, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree Official Misconduct. The state is recommending a sentence of three years in New Jersey State Prison, with two years of parole ineligibility, as well as Smith’s forfeiture of current and future public employment.

Official misconduct

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On May 21, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Public Integrity Unit, Special Investigations Section in conjunction with the Special Investigations Unit of the Bayonne Police Department, arrested and charged Smith with bribery, theft by extortion and official misconduct charges following an investigation.

Smith was arrested after he asked for and accepted a cash payment to delete any violations he may have issued regarding a construction project in the area of Kennedy Boulevard and 15th Street in Bayonne.

The charges against Smith also allege he previously accepted a similar cash payment in December of 2019.

Prosecutor Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office HCPO Public Integrity Unit, Special Investigations Section and the Special Investigations Unit of the Bayonne Police Department with the investigation and arrest.

Sentencing has been scheduled for January 21, 2021 before the Honorable Vincent Militello, J.S.C., who accepted the guilty plea. The state is represented by Assistant Prosecutor Karyn Darish of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Earlier in the year, two other Hudson County officials were charged with allegedly taking bribes, former Jersey City School Board President Sudhan Thomas and former state assemblyman and Bayonne mayoral candidate Jason O’Donnell.

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