Once a leading North Jersey Democrat with nice guy cred who ran on a slogan of “Honesty in Action,” a medical doctor who inspired those seeking an educated and classy leader in the midst of chaos, Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco is in federal court this morning pleading guilty to a charge of bribery, according to sources.
Blanco admitted to taking $110,000 in payments from two developers as a trade for directing federal housing bucks to their projects.
Veteran attorney Joe Hayden represents Blanco in the case.
The mayor is expected to submit a letter of resignation later today, and the council will convene a special meeting this evening to consider how the troubled North Jersey city moves forward.
A special election is expected in May.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer is the city’s council president, and served as acting mayor before, in 2008, when the last mayor (Sammy Rivera) went down on corruption charges.
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Blanco made history in 2008 when he became the first Dominican mayor in the country in the majority Hispanic city.
He ran in a special election in the aftermath of Rivera as a balm to his broken down and corrupt predecessor. Blanco tag teamed with mentor Schaer, who became godfather to one of the mayor’s children.
According to NJ.com, “Judge William J. Martini scheduled Blanco’s sentencing for 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2017.
Blanco faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.”