Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James indicted with his “companion”

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HAT TIP: Newark Star-Ledger by Ian T. Shern and John P. Martin

Sharpe James, the legendary former Newark mayor who spent a quarter-century as a dominant force in New Jersey politics, was charged this afternoon with defrauding taxpayers by billing the city for vacations with female friends and arranging lucrative city land deals for a companion.

Ending a nearly three-year FBI investigation, a federal grand jury in Newark indicted James on 33 counts that include conspiracy and mail and wire fraud.

The 86-page indictment said James, 71, arranged for the city to sell municipal real estate at a steep discount to a Newark businesswoman, Tamika Riley, then secretly shared in the profits when Riley sold the parcels to developers.

Prosecutors also accused James of using city-issued credit cards to pay for lavish trips he took with eight women, including Riley, to places including Martha’s Vineyard, Rio de Janeiro, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The credit card charges – hundreds between 2001 and 2006 totaling more than $58,000 – covered hotel rooms and luxury suites, meals and fine dining, airfare, car rentals, tickets to sporting events and other expenses, prosecutors said.

The former mayor maintained his innocence.

In handcuffs and leg irons, James arrived just after 3 p.m. at a hearing before a packed, overflowing courtroom. His wife, Mary, was not present. The 15-minute appearance before a federal magistrate took place in a courthouse two blocks from the City Hall office he occupied for 20 years.

Flanked by their attorneys, James and Riley stood before the judge and were asked a short series of questions. When asked whether he understood the charges against him, the former mayor said “Yes, I do.” He was released on $250,000 bail, while Riley was released on $100,000 bail. Their passports were confiscated and the judge barred them from traveling outside of New Jersey without permission.

This case has undeniable Shades of Bill Campbell written all over it.

15 thoughts on “Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James indicted with his “companion”

  1. rikyrah

    I’m guessing the woman bursting out there is NOT his wife…

    EIGHT WOMEN?

    Uh oh.

    Well, he had to know this was coming. I read a little about some of those real estate deals. It was better than winning the lottery.

  2. Damn, what is with our Black Male elected officials?

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, even if there’s skanks throwing it at you by the truckload. We always get held to a higher standard, and the media already stereotyped us as being so oversexed, that White people are scared of us.

    And, SB, I figured you’d side with the brother, being 71 and all, and still getting his groove on with da ladies.😉

    Cue the Kanye West song:”…Oh, she’s a GOLDIGGER…”

  3. Rick

    the cops picked up the sista sportin’ bullet proof vests!!

    what were they expecting…a shoot-out???

  4. Rick

    “Damn, what is with our Black Male elected officials?

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…We always get held to a higher standard, and the media already stereotyped us as being so oversexed, that White people are scared of us.”

    TPJ – I had the same reaction recently when the Gov. of Mass. was much embarrassed last year for using state taxpayer funds to lease an expensive CADILLAC.

    That didn’t necessarily help the cause. To myself, I was like damn…why are you making it so hard for the rest of us trying??

  5. Y’all,

    I ain’t sided with nobody. I am actually appalled this brotha thought that Newark was some private fiefdom to do with whatever he pleased. Meanwhile, drugs, dealing, and prostitution are claiming our children and destroying our neighborhoods. As we bury our kids, he’s down in Puerto Rico on a taxpayer subsidized holliday-burying somethin else into one of his eight women.

  6. Well, now, dang SB…you had to go THERE😉

    Like Cory Booker has been a major improvement…the jury’s still out on that brotha in more ways than one.

    And Sharpe only spent $58,000 in a five year period. If these brothers are going to party on the goverment dime, at least go for big, “Duke Cunningham” type dollars, jeez.

  7. rikyrah

    TPJ,

    the 58K on travel is smallfry. Have you read the stuff on those real estate deals? I only read about a couple, but when I said that it was like winning the lottery, I wasn’t kidding.

  8. Rikyrah:

    My editor personally knows Sharpe James, and has long since cued me into those “real estate” deals.

    He says that’s why Newark is such a hot mess these days, and that Cory Booker’s agenda is to gentrify everything, including kicking Black folks down to Jersey City.

    If he goes down, he goes down. I’m tired of the “making excuses for a brother” crowd, because we don’t want to call out our own for failing to hold themselves to a higher standard than their white peers.

  9. I wonder if the Clinton’s friends were taken away in leg irons when they got caught in a similar scheme. Scooter Libby? The 240 people ex Pres Bill pardoned for crimes ranging from simple mail fraud, selling stolen property to bank embezellment and drug deals. Power corrupts.

  10. Hello all there, i’m from holland and tjust seen a documentair about the campagne in 2002 about for mayor with sharpe james and/or cary booker. this james is a real asshole .we’ve seen in holland all the lies he did and so much more, i think off him , he’s the biggest smuck there is , what a therable men , bah bah bah , i dont like him, peoples greetings from holland byby

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