5 New Jersey Elected Officials charged with Corruption
The five were charged with taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a cooperating witness in the form of campaign contributions.
Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Thursday that five current and former public officials and political candidates in New Jersey – including Jersey City School Board President Sudhan Thomas and former State Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell – have been charged with taking bribes in a major investigation of political corruption in Hudson and Morris counties conducted by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
The five were charged with taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a cooperating witness in the form of campaign contributions. In return, the defendants allegedly promised the cooperating witness, who is a tax attorney, that they would vote or use their official authority or influence to hire or continue to hire his law firm for lucrative government legal work. Envelopes and paper bags filled with cash – and even a coffee cup stuffed with cash – were delivered to the defendants by the cooperating witness at restaurants, parking lots, a political fundraiser, and a campaign headquarters. Other times the cooperating witness offered checks from illegal “straw donors” – individuals reimbursed to write checks to the defendant’s campaign in amounts that complied with the legal limit on individual donations.
The following five defendants were charged separately in criminal complaints with second-degree bribery in official and political matters:
Jersey City School Board President
Former State Assemblyman and Former Bayonne MayoralCandidate
Former Morris County Freeholder
Former Mount Arlington Council Member
Former Morris County Freeholder Candidate