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NJ Assemblymen in probe lose salary

July 29, 2009 12:52:46 PM PDT
Three members of the New Jersey Assembly facing corruption charges are being stripped of their legislative salary and benefits.Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. announced the pay and benefits suspension Wednesday, following an opinion from legislative lawyers.

VOTE: Do you think all public officials arrested in the NJ corruption sweep should resign?

Roberts had already removed Assemblymen L. Harvey Smith, Joseph Vas and Daniel Van Pelt from their committee posts. Smith and Van Pelt were arrested in last week's federal corruption sting. Vas was charged in an earlier, unrelated case.

Roberts says "taxpayers should not be on the hook for services that cannot be effectively rendered."

Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce, meanwhile, called on Gov. Jon Corzine to order a special session of the Legislature to pass a tougher ethics law.

Also Wednesday, the Jersey City Council rejected a resolution that called for council member Mariano Vega to resign following his arrest.

The measure was defeated by a 7-1 vote, defying the sentiments of a large group of residents in attendance.

Prior to the vote Wednesday afternoon, a long line of residents took turns denouncing Vega for refusing to step down.

Some held signs saying "Shame" and "Thieves and Crooks Must Go." Others shouted "Resign!"

Meanwhile, authorities are investigating the death of the political consultant who was arrested in last week's federal corruption sweep in New Jersey.

Jack Shaw was found dead in his Jersey City apartment Tuesday evening.

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday. Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio says it may take weeks to determine a cause of death if toxicological tests are required.

DeFazio says the 61-year-old was found by his girlfriend lying on the floor of the apartment near a desk.

The prosecutor says Shaw's death doesn't appear to be a homicide. Prescription drugs were found at the scene, but DeFazio says Shaw was suffering from an undisclosed illness.

Shaw was accused of taking $10,000 in bribes from a government informant posing as a developer.


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