*I thought McGreevy's resignation was big. I heard that there were so many arrests that a BUS had to be brought in. This is one way to make money in a recession. Only in NJ eh?
Two N.J. Mayors Snagged in Probe
Federal agents made dozens of arrests in New Jersey, including mayors and religious leaders, in a probe involving corruption, international money laundering and the trafficking of body parts.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark, the arrests related to the public-corruption probe included Peter Cammarano III, the newly elected Democratic mayor of Hoboken; Dennis Elwell, mayor of Secaucus, also a Democrat; state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, a Republican; and Democrat Leona Beldini, the deputy mayor of Jersey City.
Arrests that are part of the money-laundering portion of the investigation include several rabbis in New York and New Jersey, the statement said.
Those arrested were expected to be arraigned in court Thursday afternoon. An early afternoon news conference was getting under way in Newark.
Mr. Van Pelt, the former mayor of Waretown, a small town along the New Jersey shore, is accused of taking a $10,000 bribe from a cooperating witness who posed as a developer, the Asbury Park Press reported on its Web site Thursday morning. The money was for Mr. Van Pelt's "assistance" in getting a proposed multi-unit, multi-use development approved in Waretown, the newspaper reported, citing the FBI complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
The subjects of the arrests also include religious leaders from the Syrian Jewish enclaves in Brooklyn, N.Y., and in Deal and Elberon, in New Jersey's Monmouth County, the Asbury Park Press reported.
New Jersey has been rife with political corruption for decades. Chris Christie, a Republican and former federal prosecutor, is campaigning for governor citing his long track record of winning convictions of public officials.
Who's Who in the Probe
Here's a closer look at the public officials arrested Thursday as part of a major corruption and international money-laundering conspiracy probe:
Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, 32: Lawyer and former Hoboken City Councilman since 2005, he was elected mayor of Hoboken in June.
Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, 64: Served more than two decades as mayor and a member of the town council and is a former Secaucus Board of Education member. A Vietnam combat veteran, he is also the president of a family-owned trucking company.
Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini: One of three deputy mayors for New Jersey's second-largest city.
State Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, 44: Elected to the Legislature in 2008, the Republican from Monmouth County is also the mayor of Ocean Township, a post he has held since 1998, and is the Lumberton Township administrator.