Former Paterson Mayor Joey Torres indicted for trying to run for office again despite public office ban
Former Paterson Mayor Joey Torres faces a new criminal charge after allegedly launching a new bid in 2022 to be the city's mayor, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced. This was in violation of a court order six years ago banning Torres, 64, from running for office.
A state grand jury in Trenton voted Tuesday to file a new charge of criminal contempt against Torres on his 2022 campaign to retake the mayor’s seat, despite the ban imposed after he pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy to commit official misconduct.
Torres entered a guilty plea in 2017 after directing, while serving as mayor, that city employees perform work at a private warehouse leased by his daughter and nephew for a liquor distribution business, while the employees’ overtime pay was covered by city taxpayers. Torres was sentenced to five years in state prison in that case.
As a result of the plea, a state Superior Court Judge entered a forfeiture order in 2017 which was signed and agreed to by Torres. This order permanently barred Torres, pursuant to state law, from holding any public office or employment in New Jersey. The order specifically states that if Torres makes any application for public employment in violation of the order, he would be subject to a charge of criminal contempt.
“It takes remarkable brashness to flout a state court order and then attempt to strong-arm the city clerk, via civil litigation, into allowing an impermissible campaign to proceed,” Platkin said in a statement. “That is bold. And, according to the grand jury, it is also indictable.”
Fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.