Peter Cammarano resigned as mayor of Hoboken this morning, one day short of a month since he took office, following his arrest last week on bribery charges. “Regrettably, it has turned out that the controversy surrounding the charges against me has become a distraction to me and an impediment to the functioning of Hoboken government,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
“I would like to reiterate that I am innocent of any criminal charges and I intend to fight the allegations against me,” the letter says. “I apologize to the residents of Hoboken for the disruption and disappointment this case has caused.”
Council President Dawn Zimmer, who lost a June 10 runoff to Cammarano by 161 votes, was sworn in as acting mayor at noon, when the former mayor’s resignation took effect. A special election will be held in November to fill the remainder of his term.
“I recognize the traumatic experience this has been for many Hoboken residents and city employees,” Zimmer said. “I want everyone to know I am committed to open, honest and accountable government.”
Over the past week, Gov. Jon Corzine, along with Cammarano’s fellow council members, several residents and others pushed him to quit. But he held fast, even as Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell stepped down days ago. The lone holdout of the three mayors arrested now is Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez.
The 32-year-old Cammaranot had been mayor all of three weeks when FBI agents arrested him and Schaffer this morning on charges of pocketing $25,000 in bribes.
The payoffs began back in April, authorites said, and continued with a $10,000 handoff two weeks ago after Cammarano complained that his “street money” was light by about $19,000.
Another meeting was scheduled for last Thursday. But the government rendered that point moot with a massive sweep, rounding up 44 people on various corruption and money-laundering charges.
For the full story on Cammarano, including conversations secretly recorded during the FBI sting, click: For upstart mayor, it all began at the Malibu Diner.
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