TRENTON – Trenton Mayor Tony F. Mack, the mayor’s brother, Ralphiel Mack, and his close associate, Joseph A. “JoJo” Giorgianni, were arrested by federal agents this morning and charged by criminal complaint in connection with an alleged scheme to extort payments of more than $100,000 from others who were purportedly developing a public parking garage, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The complaint alleges that over the past two years Mack, 46, and his associates negotiated with two individuals who were cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI and agreed to expedite approvals and sell city-owned property at a fraction of its value. Giorgianni also was charged in a separate complaint along with eight other defendants with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone pills in the Trenton area.
“Time and again, we have seen public officials in New Jersey who are all too willing to sell their power and betray the public’s trust,” Fishman said. “Here, the complaint charges that Mayor Mack and his coconspirators were willing to let city property go for a fraction of its worth. And he allegedly chose as his middleman a convicted felon who was simultaneously heading a conspiracy to traffic in prescription medication. Neither selling one’s oath of office or illegally selling prescription medication is acceptable on the streets of Trenton or anywhere else in New Jersey.”
“The citizens of New Jersey’s state capital deserve far better than politicians and cronies who aspire to the Boss Tweed-style, Tammany Hall politics of patronage, graft, and corruption,” said Michael Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “Public service is not an open invitation to enrich one’s self via illegal means. At no time should elected officials have need for middlemen, ‘buffers,’ and coded conversations.”
The investigation, which lasted nearly two years, included the execution of search warrants, court-ordered wiretaps and consensually-recorded conversations. The extortion conspiracy count with which the defendants are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The drug conspiracy count with which Giorgianni is charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The felon in possession of firearms counts, with which Giorgianni is also charged, is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.