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Former Newark Mayor Indicted – Guess His Party

From the DNC’s Associated Press:


By JANET FRANKSTON LORIN, Associated Press Writer

July 12, 2007 — NEWARK — A federal grand jury indicted former Newark Mayor Sharpe James on corruption charges Thursday, accusing him of fraud in the sale of city-owned land and using city-issued credit cards to spend extravagantly on himself and several women.

The 33-count indictment charges James with fraud for allegedly facilitating and approving the cut-rate sales of city-owned land to a female companion.

James, 71, is charged with using the credit cards for himself and eight women during vacations and trips to locations such as Puerto Rico, Martha’s Vineyard, the Dominican Republic and Rio de Janeiro, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie and state Attorney General Anne Milgram announced.

Minutes after the indictment was announced, James, a state senator since 1999, was seen walking into FBI headquarters in Newark; he was to appear in federal court later Thursday.

Tamika Riley, a female companion, allegedly collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from the land sales and is also charged with fraud, authorities said. She was also expected in federal court Thursday afternoon.

Riley, 38, of Jersey City, is a publicist and former clothing store operator in Newark.

The former mayor has said little publicly since federal investigators notified him he was the target of a corruption probe last month.

In a handwritten letter to The Associated Press dated June 16, James said he never had the power to broker land deals or set prices by himself.

“No, no, no, the mayor is not a boss or a lord or can give away municipal land,” he wrote.

James served as the mayor of New Jersey’s largest city for 20 years before announcing last year he wouldn’t seek re-election.

He announced in April that he also wouldn’t seek another term in the Senate where his term expires in January.

Ethical questions have long surrounded James, who has a home on the Jersey shore, a yacht and a Rolls Royce.

“This indictment is about as surprising as the sun rising in the morning,” said Tom Wilson, New Jersey Republican State Committee chairman.

James first joined Newark city council in 1970 and his election in 1986 made him the city’s second black mayor.

He earns $49,000 a year as a senator and collects an annual pension of about $125,000 from Newark.

Additionally, he accrued more than $1 million in a retirement account at Essex County College, where he worked two decades ago. After leaving the mayor’s job last year, he directed an urban institute at the college – at a salary of $150,000 annually – before retiring in June.

Last week he withdrew $500,000 from his retirement account, state Treasury Department spokesman Tom Vincz said.

And you will have to guess his political affiliation, because the Associated Press doesn’t feel its readers deserve to know such things.

Of course Mr. Sharp James is a Democrat. (Otherwise the AP would have mentioned it in the headline and the lede and several other times.)

(Thanks to HNAV for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, July 13th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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