Small Town Mayor Takes Big Bribes
A New Jersey mayor and his city employee wife have been convicted of corruption for accepting thousands of dollars in bribes and gifts from a local bar owner who paid them to keep public inspectors away from her business.
The cash—at least $40,000—was delivered to the couple in envelopes and the bar owner also financed cosmetic breast surgery for the wife, an expensive pure-bread dog for the couple, pet insurance and money to gamble in Atlantic City casinos.
After a four-week trial, a federal jury convicted the disgraced Guttenberg Mayor (David Delle Donna) and his planning board member wife, Anna, of extortion and a pair of federal tax charges. The couple faces up to six years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
At the trial the bar owner testified that she showered the Delle Donna’s with a long list of gifts so that they would keep the local Alcohol Beverage control board from closing her business. The mayor was a member of the beverage board and the wife, a planning board member, was bribed to help the bar owner obtain approval for a proposal to build apartments.
Federal prosecutors originally indicted the corrupt, politically powerful couple last September on charges of using their official positions to benefit a local bar owner in return for cash payments. A subsequent indictment in December charged them with filing the fraudulent tax returns.