The arrest today of three-term Assemblyman and three-term Oange Mayor Mims Hackett, Jr., caught at least one member of the Orange City Council unawares.
"I just saw him at a city council meeting on Tuesday night," said West Ward Councilman Hassan Abdul-Rasheen. "Are you kidding, or something?"
On Tuesday night the council signed off on a two piece, $115 million condominium development proposal that it had been assessing for months, and Hackett was there at Orange City Hall.
The specific details of Hackett’s role in the 11-person, north-south Jersey bribery sting initiated by the office of U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie are not clear. Running for re-election to the Assembly in district 27 on Nov. 6th, Hackett’s term as mayor was due to come to an end next year. It was widely understood that he would pursue re-election as mayor of the Essex county town of nearly 33,000 on May 8th.
Abdul-Rasheen said he was hearing the news about Hackett’s arrest for the first time Thursday morning and still couldn’t believe it was "his mayor" who had been charged with corruption.
"It’s not a good day for Orange but everyone is innocent until proven guilty," the councilman said.