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Paterson mayor surrenders to NJ state police on corruption charges

Posted at 1:57 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 14:42:22-04

PATERSON, NJ — Paterson’s Mayor Jose Torres  turned himself in to the New Jersey State Police in Totowa on Monday morning, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said.

He came to the Totowa State Police station voluntarily; Torres, 58, was photographed, fingerprinted and formally served with the indictment.

State authorities say Torres directed three supervisors in the public works department and other municipal employees to perform work at a warehouse leased by his daughter and nephew and allowed them to be paid overtime by the city for the work. The indictment charges Torres and the supervisors with theft, misconduct, tampering with public records and other offenses, Attorney General Christopher Porrino said.

“This is a case of old-school public corruption and abuse of power,” Porrino said. “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. We have zero tolerance for this type of abuse of public office in New Jersey.”

Torres’ lawyer said the mayor won’t resign and will not plead not guilty.

Torres, the first Hispanic mayor of Paterson, won his first term in 2002 as a Democrat and was re-elected in 2006. His predecessor, Martin Barnes, also was indicted in 2002 while he was in office. He fought the indictment and unsuccessfully sought re-election that year, losing to Torres. Barnes later pleaded guilty and served more than two years in federal prison.