Davis, you will recall, pleaded guilty in a scheme where the Trenton Water Works employee would do private plumbing work while on the city clock, using city equipment and materials.The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation and sting operation that resulted in an undercover officer paying Davis for doing work on a Home Avenue residence. Davis and two others were arrested in December of 2010. The Grand Jury heard testimony later that month and into January 2011.
Zdan reports that the transcripts of the Grand Jury proceedings reveal the jurors asking questions about the possibility of indicting Mayor Tony Mack, Davis’s half-brother, as part of the case.
Shortly after taking office in July of 2010, Mack made changes to the overtime rules at the water utility that would allow Davis to work more hours and raise his income. This change also provided Davis with the opportunity to access more of these potential installations done on city time with city resources while receiving direct payment from the homeowners.While rumors of this scheme began circulating in the summer of 2010, the Mayor chose to do nothing about it.
At one point, Councilman George Muschal recounted in testimony before the Grand Jury that he approached the Mayor about the allegations against Davis. The Mayor’s reported response was,“George, my brother is a career criminal. If he gets caught, it’s on him. It’s not on me. You got to remember, I’m the mayor of Trenton. I’m Teflon. I can’t be touched.”
With all of this, Assistant Prosecutor Jim Scott warned the jury off of indicting the Mayor.Zdan’s article includes the following quotes from Scott:
“If there are two plausible explanations that could exist, you should give the target of your investigation the benefit of the doubt and not return an indictment” Scott said, according to the transcript from the Jan. 14, 2011 hearing.
“But I would submit to you at this point that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute the mayor at this point,” Scott told the grand jurors.
Scott told the jurors that Mack’s lack of action on those complaints was “the closest call” that could lead to an indictment, but that inaction could be attributed to the “amount of issues that were facing the mayor” shortly after he took office.
“In this particular case, I would submit to you that Mayor Mack has a tremendous amount on his plate,” Scott said, according to the transcript. “He inherited an administration where there was complete turnover. And the budget issues that the city of Trenton faces are enormous.”
INHERITED AN ADMINISTRATION WHERE THERE WAS COMPLETE TURNOVER?!?!?Objection!
Upon taking office on July 1, 2010, Mayor Tony F. Mack knowingly and deliberately dismissed key personnel who had experience in running the city. Even IF, and it is a huge IF, the Mayor was intent on remaking the administration, common sense would call for a gradual transition in order to guarantee the continued smooth operation of city functions.The mayor did not INHERIT a vacant administration. He caused it.
Further, the mayor had at his side a seasoned and knowledgeable acting Business Administrator in the person of William Guhl. Guhl, who was volunteering to help get the Mack administration off on the right foot, left one month into the term. Why? Because the mayor would not heed the sage advice being given to him.For Assistant Prosecutor Scott to suggest that the problem of turnover in the city administration was “inherited” is just plain wrong.