Newark Inspector General reveals “Operation Clean Sweep”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Inspector General James Wright, and Police Director Garry F. McCarthy today announced the arrest of a number of municipal employees, on charges of theft and official misconduct, according to a release issued by the mayor's office.

According to the mayor’s office, "Operation Clean Sweep, cracked an alleged group of five Sanitation and Parks and Grounds workers who used other employees’ gasoline ID cards to fill their private vehicles from municipal pumps at the Newark Street fuel point for nearly 12 months, pouring an estimated 30,000 gallons worth $65,000 into their tanks. Information on the thefts was developed from Inspector General interviews with the suspects, videotapes, and reviews of fuel pump records," according to the release.

Rahman Smalls, Paul Drayton, Michael Payton, Eric Brown, and David Green are charged with theft and official misconduct.

According to the release, Brown is accused of stealing $15,302 gallons of gas, worth $45,000. Payton is accused of stealing 352 gallons of gas, worth $1,500. Drayton is charged with stealing 384 gallons of gas, while Smalls is accused of stealing 35 gallons. The investigation is ongoing, and Director General Wright noted that the action against these suspects may have saved the City more than $100,000 in payments for gasoline, as well as the actual fuel.

Keona Henderson, a temporary employee with the Department of Child and Family Well-Being stands charged with six counts of Identity Theft and Official Misconduct, for using her position as a secretary in that office to gain access to co-workers’ identities, and then making fraudulent loan applications and purchases from her office computer. Among the identities she tried to steal was that of the Director of Child and Family Well-Being, Maria Vizcarrondo. According to Inspector General Wright, Ms. Henderson confessed her illegal acts.

Jeffrey Bacon of the Division of Traffic and Signals is charged with Official Misconduct and Theft in connection with the theft of a Breast Cancer donation’s can and its contents from his workplace. This theft was recorded on video, Inspector General Wright said.

Charles Brooks, a Sanitation supervisor and 31-year city employee, is facing action for Official Misconduct, Weapons Possession, and Making Terroristic Threats to a co-worker.

"The vast majority of Newark’s municipal employees do their jobs," said Wright."Our task is to deal with the small minority that abuse their positions, the public dollar, and the public trust. In this case, these individuals were abusing their power and position, and we moved against them actively and in a professional manner. I am proud of the investigators who worked long hours to pursue and develop these cases, as well as my municipal co-workers that came forward to expose these incidences and assist in our investigation. Most importantly we thank the many co-workers who do an honest day’s job for an honest day’s pay every day."

Newark Inspector General reveals “Operation Clean Sweep”