And they would be correct.
On September 10th, Mack was arrested by federal agents at his home on corruption charges linked to a city development project. Also taken into custody were Mack's brother Ralphiel and a prominent Mack campaign donor, Joseph "JoJo" Giorgianni.
"The investigation revealed evidence of a conspiracy among the defendants and other to corrupt certain functions of Trenton City government in favor of a purported developer seeking to building a parking garage on City-owned property in exchange for cash payments totaling approximate $119,000, a total of $54,000 that the defendants actually accepted in one way or another and another $65,000 that they anticipated accepting," according to the criminal complaint filed today.The July raids on City Hall, the mayor's home and Giorgianni's steakhouse reportedly stemmed from a phantom parking garage which was actually a paid parking lot in downtown Trenton that was sold to the city for $1 in 2000. The informant at Giorgianni's steakhouse had reportedly offered cash to both Giorgiani and Mack to arrange a meeting and help expedite the permit process for converting the current lot into a garage.
The complaint indicates the FBI had been investigating Mack since September 2010, just a few months after he took office. At least two cooperating witnesses are cited in the complaint and the FBI made extensive use of wire taps on the phones of Mack, Giorgianni and the cooperating witnesses.
An informant working with the FBI, identified in the complaint as "CW-1," first met with Giorgianni on Sept. 14, 2010 claiming to represent a developer who wanted to build a parking garage on East State Street in the city. The confidential witness asked for Mack's help in securing the property in exchange for cash and Giorgianni agreed to broker the deal, the complaint states.
That conversation, which occurred two months after Mack's election, was recorded by the witness, according to the complaint.
"We want this," Giorgianni said, according to the complaint. "What do you think we did all this for? I like to make money for my friends. I like to do it like the Boss Tweed way. You know Boss Tweed ran Tamany Hall?"
Numerous meetings and conversations followed regarding the parking garage, but the project discussions slowed last year when a citizen's group mounted an effort to recall Mayor Mack. The recall fell short of the signatures needed.
"On April 18, 2011 at JoJo's Steakhouse, Giorgianni stated that Tony F. Mack was interested in engaging in the corrupt transaction previously discussed 'once this July thing's over,' referring to the efforts by certain Trenton citizens to recall Tony F. Mack," the complaint states. "Giorgianni stated 'Once that's over, we're ready to roll."
The bribes started to flow on Oct. 27, 2011 when Giorgianni accepted two envelopes with $1,500 each from the cooperating witness "with the express understanding that Giorgianni would give one of the envelopes to Tony F. Mack in exchange for Tony F. Mack's support of the development of the East State Street lot."
So far, Tony Mack faces just the single corruption charge, but more charges could be pending depending on what subsequent searches of City Hall, Mack's residence and Griogriani's steakhouse turn up.
Since taking office in 2010, Mack has been accused of using the city payroll as how own personal piggybank as well as steering larded up city contracts to friends, hiring and promoting unqualified relatives into various municipal positions. Earlier this year, Mack's half-brother who was appointed supervisor of Trenton's water utility pleaded guilty to using city employees and city owned equipment to carry out private work at the city's expense. A Mercer County judge had decided to revoke Mack's half brother's bail at the end of August.
It should also be worth pointing out that Mack is also a member of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's 'Mayors against illegal guns' coalition.
Trenton is New Jersey's state capitol and 10th largest city.