The city of Paterson has canceled its tire recycling program after the I-Team's report of potential corruption there prompted an investigation by city officials and the FBI.
Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres issued an executive order Friday barring any further drop-offs of vehicle tires for the purpose of recycling at the Paterson City Yard on East 16th Street.
Curbside pickup of truck or passenger automobile tires for recycling can be arranged throught the Department of Public Works, Torres said.
The development comes after the News 4 I-Team reported last month on allegations of corruption and mismanagement at the city recycling plant. Four city workers told the I-Team that while residents can drop off up to four tires for free each year, the vast majority of tires dumped in the yard come from just a few tire repair companies.
Those tire companies do not pay the required fees and instead sometimes pay cash to some DPW supervisors. The city loses needed revenue from the tire collection and then taxpayers pay for a separate recycling firm to remove those tires.
City policy requires tire firms to pay $1 to $5 for each tire dropped off at the yard. But in one two-month period, records obtained by News 4 show the city took in just over $3,700 in tire fees, while paying a separate firm slightly more than $20,000 to remove those tires.
The FBI served a subpoena for records from the city of Paterson regarding the program after the I-Team report.
Paterson’s corporation counsel Domenick Stampone said the city received the subpoena last Friday, three days after a report showed private tire firms dumping hundreds of tires at the city yard.
The subpoena on Friday comes as the FBI and New Jersey attorney general continue to investigate corruption allegations at City Hall.
Mayor Joey Torres has been under scrutiny for allegedly using city workers to perform private jobs at his home. And investigators also want to know if federal grant money was misappropriated by city officials.
Torres has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He has said he referred the tire matter to the city's business administrator, who in turn passed the matter to law enforcement.