NEWARK - A former Newark mayor returned to City Hall yesterday for the first time since he got out of prison.

City leaders, police, city workers and community activists lined up to shake hands with Sharpe James last night.

James ran Newark for more than 20 years before he was convicted and sent to prison on charges of abusing his office by steering city-owned land to his one-time mistress.

When asked why he was there, James said his wife told him to come and complain about the city's 16 percent property tax increase.

James has been working as an adviser at the Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington.

AP wire services contributed to this report.