TOTOWA-When Jackson Township hired former Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in 2010 to succeed Phil Del Turco as business administrator, everyone in the township knew is it was a mistake, except for the governing body. Appointed by Mayor Michael Reina with a stunning referral from then township attorney George Gilmore, the township council approved the appointment, despite Torres being legally qualified for the position.
In the all-or-nothing effort to appoint Torres, notorious for political backroom wheeling and dealing, Councilman Scott Martin suggested the township change their legal code to allow Torres in. In Torres’ tumultuous time in Jackson, the township furloughed DPW workers, threatened police department layoffs and many other negative impacts to the township as Torres used the position simply as a holdover until he ran for mayor in Paterson in 2014, after being deposed in his hometown a year earlier.
One of Torres’ most damaging and notorious backroom deals was the agreement he made with a local landscaper, in which township resources were used to provide a political ally with with tons of leaves, free of charge, which the landscaper then was given authority by Torres to convert the leaves into mulch for commercial resale.
That agreement led to years of complaints from local residents and an eventual lawsuit in which the town was forced to sue the landscaper, costing taxpayers nearly $250,000 in legal and professional fees during the investigation and subsequent lawsuit.
Now, Torres, might finally be heading to jail as he was indicted on political corruption charges in Paterson. He turned himself into authorities earlier this week.
Earlier this month, federal authorities raided Torres’ offices as part of an unrelated investigation. Subpoenas were also sent to multiple Ocean County town halls, including Jackson related to that second investigation.
Below is a report from the Star Ledger:
TOTOWA – Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres turned himself in to the State Police on Monday after being indicted last week on corruption charges. Torres, 58 of Paterson, walked into the State Police barracks in Totowa to answer charges that he conspired to have work performed on a property connected to one of his family members.…