The FBI served a subpoena for records from the city of Paterson regarding potential corruption in that city’s tire recycling program – an alleged scheme first reported last Tuesday by News 4 New York.
Paterson’s corporation counsel Domenick Stampone said the city received the subpoena on Friday, three days after a report showed private tire firms dumping hundreds of tires at the city yard.
Four workers said the 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.
City workers said 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.
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.
Councilman Luis Velez told the I-Team in a statement, "The FBI is welcome to conduct any investigation. We expect that this administration cooperate with such investigations. I hope that the same agency expedite all investigations so this gray cloud that is over Paterson be removed and we can move the city forward for the benefit of our constituents."