Trenton Makes, Mayor Mack Takes (or tries to, anyway)

Local papers are ablaze with the arrest of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and his brother Ralphiel Mack, who are charged with extortion of bribes, including $119K in cash payments, for conspiring to build a parking garage on East State St. The middleman was Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni, owner of JoJo’s Steakhouse, who told an FBI informant, “One thing about the Mack administration, when I say that, it’s me and Mack, we’re not greedy. We’re corruptible. We want anyone to make a buck."

Giorgianno has a previous arrest record for molestation and served jail time. Ralphiel Mack, the Mayor’s brother, is head coach of the Trenton High School football team.

Last year I reported that the Trenton City Council made a list of priorities for renovation to some of Trenton Public Schools’ deteriorating school buildings. One item deemed insignificant was a new artificial turf field for the football team. Mayor Mack overrode the priority list and placed the football field, valued at $1.4 million, at the top of the list. Nothing like brotherly love.

Prioritizing sports facilities over rotting classrooms is not Mack's only educational pursuit. This past year he attempted to pressure Trenton School Board members to choose his favorite superintendent candidate over one deemed more qualified (Francisco Duran, now Trenton's superintendent) because his favorite was Black and not, like the Board's choice, Hispanic.

Mack also fought Trenton's inclusion in the Urban Hope Act, which allows non-profit entities to build and operate failing public schools in three cities, including Trenton. Here's the golden-throated mayor's statement:
After carefully reviewing information provided by the Trenton Education Association, which is included generally in this press release; [sic]the administration is opposed to this initiative. First, limited school funding will follow the participating students to the proposed renaissance schools. Leaving many Trenton residents without guaranteed employment, the renaissance schools will promote the privatization of workforce.