Former assembly candidate pleads guilty to accepting bribes

Former Paterson school board member and assembly candidate Chauncey Brown III pleaded guilty today to taking $13,000 in bribes after being netted in the same sting that took down his one-time opponent, former Assemblyman Al Steele, last year.

Brown admitted taking the money in late 2006 from a shell insurance company set up by the FBI to steer the board of education’s business to the company.

In 2007, Brown was the sole Republican assembly candidate in the heavily Democratic 35th district against Democratic incumbents Al Steele and Nellie Pou. After Steele’s arrest as part of the sting that the FBI dubbed “Operation Broken Records,” Brown told PolitickerNJ that he was "just taken back in shock” and “totally caught off guard.”

“Al Steele’s a great guy. Every person is innocent until proven guilty, and my prayers are with his family,” he said at the time.

Brown’s arrest in August grew directly out of “Operation Broken Records.”

Steele eventually dropped out and was replaced by then-Freeholder Elease Evans. Brown got 6,730 votes to Evans’ 11,749 Pou’s 11,784.

Brown faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although a judge may impose a much more lenient sentence. Former assembly candidate pleads guilty to accepting bribes