“The list of names and titles of those arrested today sounds like a roster for a community leaders meeting," said Weysan Dun, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI in Newark., at the news briefing. “Sadly, these prominent individuals were not in a meeting room but were in the FBI booking room this morning."
Among those arrested this morning were Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean), Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, all Democrats, authorities said. Several area rabbis and other community leaders and politicians, including Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega, were arrested.
The scandal caused New Jersey's Community Affairs Commissioner to resign. Gov. Jon Corzine said he asked Joseph Doria to step down and Doria agreed.
When asked why, Corzine said "Simple: can he be effective in the office that he holds under the conditions that there is a serious investigation going on in the context of this deep vein of corruption that was unveiled today — and the answer is no."
The corruption investigation, which has been ongoing for over ten years according to officials, dovetails with a "high-volume international money-laundering conspiracy."
Officials say separate from the corruption probe, some of the suspects charged today were also connected to an illegal human organ-selling ring. Investigators say some charged would take cash payments to help find organs for sick patients in need of transplants. It's unclear where the body parts might have come from or how many surgeries may have been done.
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