Published: Thu, March 09, 2017
Life&Culture | By Ted Wilson

Paterson Mayor, 3 City Officials Facing Corruption Charges

Paterson Mayor, 3 City Officials Facing Corruption Charges

PATERSON-Former Jackson Township Business Administrator Jose "Joey" Torres said today that he is innocent of charges against him levied by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.

These allegations first came to light as part of an I-Team investigation by NBC news which video taped city employees doing work at the mayor's daughters house, his brothers liquor store, and his wife's office. The work, which included renovations, painting, carpentry and electrical work, took place while the employees were being paid by the City of Paterson, the release states.

A press conference was held in Totowa by the attorney general where the charges were announced.

Torres later left city hall without speaking to reporters, driving through a stop sign in his SUV.

"This is a case of old-school public corruption and abuse of power", state Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a statement released by his office. It wasn't immediately known if the men had attorneys to comment on their behalf.

The indictment alleges that, at Mayor Torres had Mania, Mowaswes and Hanlon performed work and assigned subordinates to perform work while "on the clock" for the city at a private warehouse at 82 East 15th St. leased by "Quality Beer", a limited liability company formed by Torres' daughter and his nephew.

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Mania had false time-keeping records submitted to the city, including overtime verification forms and bi-weekly timesheets that falsely stated he and other employees were working on legitimate city projects, Porrino said.

Paterson Councilman Luis Velez says it's a sad day for Paterson.

All are facing charges of: conspiracy, official misconduct, pattern of official misconduct, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, tampering with public records or information and falsifying or tampering with records. If convicted, he could be sentenced to spend up to 10 years in prison or pay up to $150,000 in fines.

In a statement read by a spokesperson for the mayor, he said he will not be stepping down following the indictment and looks forward to proving his innocence in court.

First elected to Paterson's city council in 1990, Torres became mayor in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006. He lost another re-election bid in 2010 but won the office again in 2014, running as an independent.

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