Tony Mack arrived at the federal courthouse shortly after being arrested on federal corruption charges.
Prosecutors say the Trenton mayor, his brother and an associate conspired to take bribes in return for selling city property.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said “time and again we have seen public officials in New Jersey who are all too willing to sell their power and betray the public’s trust. Here the complain charges that Mayor Mack and co-conspirators were willing to let city property go for a fraction of its value.”
Mack, his brother Ralphiel and Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni allegedly set up a scheme to collect bribes in return for allowing the building of a parking garage on the East State Street parking lot near city hall. Separately, Giorgianni is also charged with running an oxycodone ring.
Federal prosecutors say Mack offered to sell the lot, which was assessed at a value of $270,000 for just $100,000.
FBI agents say Mack and his associates liked to think of themselves as a modern day Boss Tweed, the corrupt nineteenth-century party leader.
Mack’s arrest followed the raiding of his home by agents earlier this summer. Prosecutors say they built their case through cooperating witnesses who pretended to be interested in building the parking garage.
Calls for Mack to step down have come quickly. Mercer County Democratic Committee chair Elizabeth Muolo says Mack should step down immediately..
Others, including his former campaign manager, agree.
Mack was released on bail in the afternoon. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Andrew Schmertz reports from Trenton.