Marcellus Jackson, the former Passaic councilman who admitted to taking $26,000 in bribes, has resigned from the $70,000 taxpayer-funded job in the Murphy administration.
After his controversial hiring was exposed by Politico New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy defended hiring the former Passaic councilman who went to prison for taking bribes.
Murphy even suggested that more criminals should be hired to work in state government.
“Mr. Jackson is remorseful for his actions, he has taken responsibility, and he has since paid his debt to society. We want to give people a second chance and help them with a successful and productive re-entry into society,” said Michael Yaple, a Department of Education spokesperson.
“It is my understanding that Marcellus Jackson has tendered his resignation to Commissioner Repollet of the New Jersey Department of Education,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
A bipartisan group of 40 lawmakers introduced a bill that would prohibit anyone convicted of public corruption from being employed by the state.
The legislation, A-4584, has 40 co-sponsors — 25 Republicans and 15 Democrats — in the Assembly. No Senate version has yet been introduced.
Murphy’s hiring of the corrupt former Passaic councilman was a reward for work Jackson performed on the Governor’s 2017 campaign.
Jackson, who admitted to taking bribes in an insurance sting while in office, was hired as a special assistant to the education commissioner in July.
Jackson was one of 11 public officials arrested in a sting operation overseen by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, whom Murphy succeeded this year as governor.
Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of interstate commerce by extortion and was sentenced to 25 months in prison. He was released on July 8, 2011, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Between January and August 2007, Jackson accepted cash payments in exchange for official acts intended to help obtain insurance brokerage contracts in Passaic, federal authorities said.
Investigators posed as insurance brokers for a fake company, Coastal Solutions LLC. On the Passaic City Council, Jackson voted against two resolutions relating to insurance brokerage contracts, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office said “had the effect of favoring the undercover company.”
Federal prosecutors also charged that Jackson was the go-between in another corrupt arrangement between the fake company and former Democratic Assemblyman Alfred Steele (D-Passaic).
Jackson resigned from the Passaic City Council shortly after entering his guilty plea.
The Murphy administration also hired a former Citigroup executive who was once accused of defrauding thousands of investors to a $131,000 per year job at the state Department of Transportation.
That official, Lewis E. Daidone, 60, began work in late March as the DOT’s assistant commissioner for finance and administration, managing the agency’s budget and capital investment staff, along with several other programs.
While a managing director at Citigroup, Daidone was named in a 2005 enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission that was later dismissed by a federal judge.
A separate class-action lawsuit ended in a judgment and his employer agreed to $208 million in fines and restitution as part of a settlement.
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