By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
This time it’s Bloomfield Councilman Elias N. Chalet, Save Jerseyans, who was arrested and charged on Wednesday for allegedly both soliciting and accepting a $15,000 bribe from a business owner:
Chalet initially met with the business owner on Oct. 8 in front of Chalet’s real estate office on Broad Street in Bloomfield. Chalet allegedly told the business owner that the township’s planned purchase of his commercial property would only go through if the owner gave Chalet $15,000 in cash. In a subsequent meeting on Oct. 21 at Chalet’s real estate office, Chalet allegedly discussed again that the business owner would pay $15,000 in return for Chalet making sure that the property would be purchased by the township. That meeting was recorded. Chalet and the business owner agreed that the business owner would make an initial payment of $10,000, with the balance of $5,000 to be paid after the township purchased the property. While Chalet initially asked that the business owner pay the cash through a middle man, both ultimately agreed that the payments would instead be made directly to Chalet. Chalet allegedly accepted the first cash payment of $10,000 from the business owner on Oct. 23 at Chalet’s real estate office. Chalet was arrested Monday at his real estate office after he allegedly accepted the remaining $5,000 in cash from the business owner. Those meetings also were recorded.”
“We charge that Chalet crookedly put the authority entrusted to him as an elected official up for sale for his own personal enrichment,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in a press release. “When officials start selling favors, as alleged here, it undermines the integrity and fair administration of government.”
“We will aggressively prosecute any officials who break the law and corruptly put their personal interests ahead of the public interest,” added Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Fortunately, the State Police were alerted in this case regarding Chalet’s alleged solicitation of a bribe, so we were able to investigate fully. We urge anyone with information about government corruption to contact us confidentially.”
In New Jersey, a second-degree bribery charge can result in a prison sentence of 5-to-10 years and a fine of up to $150,000.