OCTOBER 09, 2007
Under federal investigation for lying about his U.S. military service to illegally collect veteransâ?? benefits, the scandal-plagued mayor of Atlantic City New Jersey has disappeared and fellow city officials want him removed from office.
For nearly a year, the first-term Democrat mayor (Robert Levy) of the seaside gambling resort has been under a federal probe for embellishing his Army service in Vietnam. Levyâ??s claims that he was a member of the Army Special Forces were untrue and authorities are looking into whether he collected $25,000 in undeserved military pension benefits.
Now residents, visitors and even city officials in the betting town of about 40,000 residents are wagering on whether the mayor will come back and laying odds on who his successor might be. In the meantime, the mayor, a former longtime beach patrol chief, has vanished and aides claim he may be ill.
Corrupt public officials are nothing new in Atlantic City, which has seen five mayors convicted of crimes in the last four decades. One-third of last yearâ??s nine-member City Council is either in prison or under house arrest and a former council president is in federal prison for accepting bribes.
One councilman was charged with helping frame another councilman by luring him into a hotel room and videotaping him in action with a prostitute. Another was charged with driving a city car intoxicated and, incredibly, all three still serve on the council.
Considering Atlantic Cityâ??s storied political past, itâ??s not surprising that a mayor who is missing in action has not caused much concern in the scandal-plagued municipality. New Jerseyâ??s governor, however, has called it dysfunctional and chaotic.
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