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NEWARK, N.J. – A member of the New Jersey governor's cabinet has resigned amid a sweeping corruption investigation that has ensnared three mayors, two state legislators and several rabbis.
Speaking Thursday at a news conference, Gov. Jon Corzine said he asked Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria to step down and that Doria agreed to leave office.
Among the 44 people arrested Thursday were the mayors of Hoboken, Ridgefield and Secaucus.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The mayors of three New Jersey cities, two state legislators and several rabbis were among more than 40 people arrested Thursday in a sweeping corruption investigation that began as a probe into an international money laundering ring that trafficked in goods as diverse as human organs and fake designer handbags.
"New Jersey's corruption problem is one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation," said Ed Kahrer, who heads the FBI's white collar and public corruption investigation division. "Corruption is a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state."
Gov. Jon Corzine reacted to the probe Thursday morning by saying, "any corruption is unacceptable — anywhere, anytime, by anybody. The scale of corruption we're seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated."
Van Pelt is accused of accepting $10,000 from a cooperating government witness posing as a developer who sought help in getting permits for a project in Ocean County.
Smith, the Jersey City Council President, and several other current and former Jersey City public officials also are accused of accepting money to help the fake developer gain permits and approvals.
Beldini, 74, is charged with conspiracy to commit extortion by taking $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions. Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said Thursday the charges were "a little shocking."