Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres and three DPW supervisors were indicted on official misconduct and conspiracy charges Tuesday, Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced. A state grand jury indicted Torres and three supervisors in Public Works. "Mayor Torres is alleged to have misappropriated public resources and workers to advance a family business, and his co-defendants allegedly joined in his blatantly crooked scheme". Even if he does reach May 2018, however, chances are slim that Torres's already-damaged reputation would give the mayor a viable path to re-election.
While Porrino held the press conference, Torres stood in front of city hall to respond to the charges against him.
Torres previously has said no city workers had ever done private jobs for him, but he has repeatedly declined to comment about the allegations at length. 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.
The warehouse was leased by Torres' daughter and nephew.
Paterson Mayor Joey Torres is expected to turn himself in for what the state attorney general calls a classic case of "old-school political corruption and abuse of power", but it is unclear when that will happen.
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. Barnes later pleaded guilty and served more than two years in federal prison.
The I-Team later obtained records that seem to show that at least eight employees had indeed been earning overtime during the same periods they were seen on camera doing private work at the mayor's home and the planned beer business.
The charges may not have come as a surprise to the residents of New Jersey's third-largest city.
Torres was first elected mayor in 2002, when he became the city largely Hispanic city's first Latino mayor. He was the first African-American mayor of Paterson.
In fact, about an hour before news of the indictment broke Tuesday, Torres was on the phone with a reporter discussing the relocation of some municipal offices and his plans to attend the City Council meeting Tuesday night.