A federal corruption investigation rattled New Jersey today, snaring political figures, including two assemblymen and three mayors, and prompting the resignation of a member of Gov. Corzine's cabinet.
Altogether, federal agents arrested 44 people in what officials called a two-track corruption and international money laundering investigation that also targeted a group of rabbis in Broolyn and New Jersey.
Hours later, Joseph Doria, the state Community Affairs commissioner, resigned.
Doria, a former state legislator and ex-mayor of Bayonne, was not charged, but his home and Trenton office had been searched earlier in the day federal investigators.
Before Doria's resignation, Corzine said, "The scale of corruption we're seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated."
Public officials arrested on bribe taking charges included Assemblymen Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean) and L. Harvey Smith (D-Hudson), Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell and Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, all Democrats.
The rabbis were charged in separate money laundering complaints with offenses ranging from the trafficking of kidneys from Israeli donors to laundering proceeds from selling fake Gucci and Prada bags.
A federal complaint alleges that Van Pelt, a former mayor of Ocean Township in Ocean County, took $10,000 in bribes to move along a development in his hometown, which is better known as Waretown.
His district includes Long Beach Island and Washington Township in Burlington County and he also is township administrator in Lumberton, Burlington County.
Also arrested, according to a list compiled by the Jersey Journal, were:
Mariano Vega, Jersey City Council President
Lori Serrano, former Jersey City Council member.
Leona Bedini, Jersey City deputy mayor
Michael Schaffer, former Hoboken council member
Guy Catrillo, former Jersey City Council candidate
Jack Shaw, a political operative
Edward Cheatam, Hudson County Affirmative Action officer and a Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner
LaVern Webb-Washington, a former Jersey City City Council candidate
Lou Manzo, a former state Assemblyman
Michael J. Manzo, a former Jersey City Council candidate
Ron Manzo, brother of Lou Manzo
Richard Greene, a former aide to L. Harvey Smith
John Guarini, a Jersey City taxi inspecyor and former 13th District congressional candidate.
Denis Jaslow, a former state Senate candidate
Eliahu Ben Haim
Levi Izhak Rosenbaum
Maher A. Khalil
David S. Goldhirsh