Federal jurors acquitted Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez of corruption charges but convicted a Fairview contractor of offering to bribe him.
Former Guttenberg Councilman Vincent Tabbachino, 69, was found guilty of attempted extortion and bribery after four days of deliberation that also resulted in Suarez’s acquittal.
Federal prosecutors contended that Tabbachino had agreed to arrange for Suarez to receive a $10,000 bribe payment from Solomon Dwek, a convicted thief from the the Jersey Shore who became a government operative — posing as a developer interested in fast-tracking projects — in exchange for leniency for his crimes.
Tabbachino, however, said he gave the money back to Dwek instead of offering it to the mayor.
Suarez was caught up in the same massive July 2009 sting, “Operation Bid Rig,” that led to a 24-month federal prison sentence for former Hoboken Mayor Peter J. Cammarano for taking $25,000 in bribes.
Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell was also pinched, as well as dozens of public servants — the largest public corruption case of its kind in New Jersey.
The undercover FBI investigation also yielded the arrests of several rabbis accused of money laundering, bringing the total number of those charged to 46 — 23 of whom have pleaded guilty or been convicted.
Tabbachino is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 7 by U.S. District Court Judge Jose L. Linares. He still has to stand trial with Dwek in the money-laundering case.
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