Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
New York

Feds Subpoena More Records From Paterson City Hall in Corruption Probe

FBI agents and federal prosecutors demanded more records from Paterson City Hall this week amid the ongoing federal corruption investigation in New Jersey’s third largest city.

The city’s corportation counsel, Domenick Stampone, said documents were turned over to the Justice Department on Sept. 12 after the city was served with another grand jury subpoena.

The FBI and US Attorney have been looking into possible corruption in Paterson’s recycling program as well as involving city’s officials use of federal housing money. City officials say the FBI and state investigators have hit city hall five times in the last year seeking records.

City officials said city hall first received the latest subpoena at the end of August.

“It complied fully with the demand for certain documents and other records and transmitted same to the federal authorities on Sept 12," Stampone said. "I am not at liberty to discuss any further details."

The I-Team first exposed the alleged kickback scheme where some tire firms were apparently dumping thousands of tires into the city’s yard without paying required fees. The Justice Department also wants to know if federal grant meant in part for a prisoner re-entry program was looted or improperly spent.

Mayor Joey Torres and three Department of Public Works workers have already been arrested on state charges in connection with a separate alleged corruption scheme. The I-Team first showed how city workers were allegedly billing the city overtime for private jobs allegedly ordered by the mayor – including construction at a would-be beer business for the mayor’s relatives.

"At this point I think its safe to assume that the federal investigation is broader than the state charges that have been brought against Mayor Torres and the three public works employees,” said former federal prosecutor David Miller. “Generally, federal authorities will not be prosecuting the identical state case.”

The mayor and the three workers have until Friday to tell a judge they plan to go to trial or whether they will accept the plea deal offered by New Jersey's Attorney General.

Torres did not respond to a request seeking comment. Spokesmen for the FBI and US Attorney’s office also declined to comment.

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