Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New Jersey officials arrested in corruption sting

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It’s a New Jersey bribery scandal straight out of the “Sopranos” playbook.

A group of Garden State officials embroiled in a corruption sting met in diners and parking lots where they accepted cash bribes stuffed in coffee cups and paper bags, the state’s attorney general announced.

The five defendants — including a school board president, a former state assemblyman and the wife of Morristown’s mayor — are accused of taking thousands of dollars of bribes disguised as campaign contributions from an unnamed tax attorney who they promised to hire for lucrative legal work.

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The misconduct took place between May and July this year, the complaint said.

Mary Dougherty, the first lady of Morristown and a former Morris County freeholder candidate, accepted a coffee cup stuffed with $10,000 worth of $100 bills at a restaurant but later asked the witness to cut her four checks of $2,500 each, prosecutors alleged.

Sudhan Thomas, president of the Jersey City Board of Education, was charged with accepting $35,000 in cash bribes to hire the witness as a special counsel to the school board.

Protesting his innocence, Thomas claimed the attorney general was targeting him because he sued the state for $2.1 billion he said his school district was owed.

“This is old-school political corruption at its worst,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at a press conference Thursday. All five charged face up to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

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