Mayor of New Jersey’s 3rd-Largest City Admits Public Works Corruption
PATERSON — Well, whad'ya know — turns out the mayor is guilty after all.
Jose “Joey” Torres on Friday admitted his involvement in a scheme in which Public Works employees got paid city money to work on a private warehouse leased by his daughter and nephew.
Torres, 58, was arrested in March and had insisted he was not guilty until taking the plea deal this month.
He now faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced. He will also be removed from office and must pay back $10,000 to the city.
Also charged were DPW supervisors Joseph Mania, 51, of Randolph; Imad Mowaswes, 53, of Clifton; and Timothy Hanlon, 31, of Woodland Park.
State prosecutors say that Torres ordered the three DPW supervisors in 2014 and 2015 to work on the warehouse that his daughter wanted to turn into a wholesale liquor distribution facility — a business venture that never took off.
The state also says the workers falsified overtime on their time sheets for the work they performed for the mayor's relatives.
“Today, Mayor Joey Torres retracted his vigorous denials and promises of vindication and admitted to engaging in the old school corruption we charged him with earlier this year," Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said Friday.
"With this plea, Torres forfeits his position as mayor of New Jersey’s third-largest city, will never again be in a position to abuse the public’s trust, and will go to prison. Our message is that this type of arrogant abuse of power and public resources will not be tolerated in New Jersey.”
Torres' daughter worked for the Passaic Valley Water Commission before resigning after her father's bust.