The Asbury Park Press reported today that 11 county officials were arrested this morning in a bribery sting. Those arrested included three local mayors and eight other local officials, including former Middletown mayor Ray O'Grady. Holy effing schnikies Batman!
The AH Herald has many more details here.
Here's just a taste: former Middletown Mayor Ray O'Grady allegedly took two payments totaling $6,000 for awarding work to a certain contractor (in this case a contractor who was working for the FBI). When undercover agents asked O'Grady if he was scared of getting caught he said "he could smell a cop a mile away." HA!
This is truly unbelievable - or sadly, perhaps it's not at all that unbelievable. I have to imagine that when each of the 11 people arrested today started their career in government, they did so with a purpose to change things for the better. I doubt any of them would have imagined that 10 or 20 years down the road they would be accepting illegal cash gifts in restaurants, acting like the crooked politicians and mobsters you see in movies. Just what in the hell happens to people?
In October 2002 O'Grady said "I’ve always felt it’s very important to pay back the community in which you live with kindness" (The Independent). He sure has a funny way of showing it.
I'll continue to follow the story as it develops, needless to say this will have an enormous impact on the county and subsequently, Atlantic Highlands.
In the meantime, check out the New Jersey Politicians Hall of Shame.