Van Pelt resigns

Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean Twp), the lone Republican arrested in last week’s corruption bust, resigned today at a press conference in Toms River.

The Press of Atlantic City was there.

“While I have an unblemished record of over 20 years of public service, I fully understand the outrage that accompanied these accusations and I recognize the public has its right to its reaction," the paper quotes Van Pelt saying. He was accompanied by his attorney and took no questions from the press.

Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore told last week that his organization would move quickly to replace Van Pelt both in office and on the ballot when he resigned.

Van Pelt is charged with taking a $10,000 bribe from an FBI informant.

“It was the correct move," said Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany). "There was no way he could properly represent the people of the 9th District with these criminal allegations hovering over him."

DeCroce said the allegations against Van Pelt "broke the bond of trust between him and his constituents."

"Public confidence deteriorates more and more with every corruption scandal. People must feel secure that those elected to serve their interests are beyond reproach and are not placing their own personal interests above their own," DeCroce said.

Two other Assemblymen under indictment, Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) and L. Harvey Smith (D-Jersey City), have not resigned despite the urgings of the Democratic leadership.

Van Pelt resigns