Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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.

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

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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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