The mayor of New Jersey’s capital, his brother and a friend were indicted by a federal grand jury on bribery and fraud charges tied to a city-owned lot and a plan to build a parking garage on it.
Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, 46, a Democrat, Ralphiel Mack, 40, and Joseph Giorgianni, 63, were accused of participating in a scheme to accept $119,000 in bribes in exchange for helping two individuals acquire the parcel, U.S. prosecutors said today in a statement.
The defendants went to great lengths to conceal their corrupt activity and keep the mayor of Trenton, located between New York and Philadelphia, “safe” from law enforcement, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in Newark, New Jersey.
Tony and Ralphiel Mack are charged with attempted obstruction of commerce by extortion, accepting bribes, and defrauding the city of money and property, and of the mayor’s honest services. Giorgianni is also charged with agreeing to give bribes, and extortion, related to a separate kickback scheme. The defendants face as long as 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.
Lawyers for the Mack brothers said in separate phone interviews that their clients are innocent and they anticipate going to trial.
“We can finally move on with the case instead of having it hanging in limbo,” Mark G. Davis, a lawyer for Tony Mack, said. “Tony is going to be given his day in court.”
John Hartmann, a lawyer for Ralphiel Mack, said, “We’ll probably resolve this with a trial.”
Jerome A. Ballarotto, a lawyer for Giorgianni, said in a phone interview that he expects his client to plead not guilty. “And we’ll take it from there,” Ballarotto said.
The case is U.S. v. Mack, 3:12-mj-02573, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton).