Holiday Blizzard No Excuse for Newly Indicted NJ Mayor

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011  |  Updated 4:01 PM EDT
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Holiday Blizzard No Excuse for Newly Indicted NJ Mayor

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 The fallout from the Holiday Blizzard of a month ago has damaged the reputations of Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Christie. 

  
Now it could cost the Mayor of Roselle, N.J., Garrett Smith, his job and even his freedom. 
 
 The two-term Mayor, who just this week announced a bid to win a third term, was indicted by a Union County grand jury Wednesday on a count of 2nd degree insurance fraud.
 
 According to an investigation overseen by Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow, Mayor Smith used the blizzard to cover up an accident he had the day before with his 2001 Lincoln Town Car.  
   
 That would have been on Christmas Day, when, according to the indictment, security camera video tape showed Smith leaving a local tavern shortly after the closing hour of 2am and go to his car.
 
 Moments later, the indictment maintains, he drove into a parked car.
 
Police who arrived on the scene a few minutes later were actually able to follow a trail of car fluids to Smith's garage, investigators said. 
 
But when they knocked on his door, no one answered. 
 
The next day, the day of the blizzard, Mayor Smith is alleged to have parked his car out on the street.
 
Later, he called police to report the damage and suggested it might have been caused by a snowplow. 
 
He is then accused of calling his insurance company several times to file a claim for the damage.
 
 "Nothing is accomplished by trying to cover up a wrongdoing," said Prosecutor Romankow in a statement. "Mr. Smith had the opportunity to do the right thing from the beginning by stopping and reporting that he was involved in an accident. He only compounded his error by lying to the police and his insurance carrier by falsifying a claim.  As a public servant, the people who elected him deserve the truth."
   
The Mayor is also accused of filing a false police reportn a 4th degree offense. 
 
 According to Prosecutor Romankow, if convicted Smith faces upp to ten years behind bars and will be permanently banned from public office.

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