O’Toole Calls for Attorney General, U.S. Attorney to Probe Passaic Water Commission

19 09 2007
Assemblyman Kevin J. O’Toole today called on state Attorney General Anne Milgram, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s office, to probe possible criminal activity within the Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC) and the Passaic City Council following alleged boasts by Passaic Mayor Samuel Rivera of his influence over both entities.

Rivera was arrested with 10 other public officials earlier this month and charged with bribery following an 18-month federal sting operation.In a sworn affidavit by an FBI agent involved in the investigation, Rivera boasted of being able to easily obtain the necessary votes by members of the PVCW and City Council in order to secure business in exchange for cash for what turned out to be an insurance brokerage firm set up by federal law enforcement officials.

“These are extremely disturbing and serious claims of influence by Mr. Rivera over two government bodies that cannot and must not be overlooked,” said O’Toole, R-Bergen, Essex, Passaic. “Therefore, I am calling on State Attorney General Milgram to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s office to fully examine these allegations. No stone should be left unturned if we are to stem this tide of corruption that seems to permeate every level of government in our state.

According to the criminal complaint filed on September 5, 2007 in U.S. District Court, the FBI agent testified that, “…[D]efendant Rivera touted his influence over a majority of the seven-member Passaic City Council, stating ‘I can get four votes easy, easy, easy.’ When CW-2 (an unidentified cooperating witness) confirmed that only four of seven votes of the Council was needed, defendant Rivera replied, “and I got ‘em easy.

‘”In addition, Rivera stated that he “would be able to control five of the seven commissioners of the Passaic Valley Water Commission.” The PVWC was managed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners, who were appointed by, among others, Rivera.

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