A recorded meeting last year between the Hamilton (Mercer) mayor and a cooperating witness details some of the bribery scheme allegations for which the mayor was charged today.
According to the complaint and affidavit against Mayor John Bencivengo, on June 29, 2011, he told the witness he was having trouble paying taxes and bills.
When the witness asked Bencivengo what was going to happen, Bencivengo said, “You’re probably going to have to help me,” according to the affidavit.
The witness then asked for Bencivengo’s help with a school board member, the affidavit states, and Bencivengo replied, “I’m helping you as much as I can. I’ve helped you so far.’’
Bencivengo is to appear this morning in federal court on bribery scheme charges that he took over $12,000 in exchange for using his influence regarding a school district insurance brokerage contract.
The affidavit states that on July 20, 2011, Bencivengo and the witness met again and the mayor said he needed $7,400 to pay taxes.
The witness replied, “$7,400 is definitely doable, as long as you got my back with (school board member),’’ the affidavit states.
Bencivengo replied, “When have I ever not had your back,’’ according to the affidavit.
The witness then said, “Come January, the (school board member) is definitely wanna go out for bid. You gotta definitely get to (the school board member).
The affidavit states that Bencivengo replied, “I’m gonna.”
On July 21, Bencivengo accepted $2,400 of the $7,400 from the witness, the affidavit states.
Then on July 29 they met in Atlantic City when the remaining $5,000 payment was made, according to the affidavit.