James P. King of New Jersey, a former Jersey City council candidate, admitted today to accepting illegal donations from a former real estate investor in exchange for his future official assistance.
King, 69 pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
According to court documents, King ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Ward C city council seat from March to May 2009. The ticket included a slate of other candidates for public office who joined together to raise funds for their campaigns. King also established a separate campaign committee called "Friends of Jimmy King for Council 2009."
While working on his campaign, King accepted approximately $7,500 in contributions from Solomon Dwek, a Monmouth County real estate developer. The money, prosecutors said, was accepted in exchange for King's future assistance in obtaining development approvals for Dwek for a purported property on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City.
King intentionally concealed his receipt of the contributions from the campaign committees and their treasurers, and $5,000 of the funds were never deposited in the campaign bank accounts or accounted for in the committees' records. King diverted that $5,000, using some of the money to pay his campaign expenses and keeping the rest for his personal use. King then signed a false report with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
King's guilty plea stems from a two-track undercover FBI investigation into political corruption and international money laundering which resulted in the charging of 44 individuals via criminal complaints on July 23, 2009.
In October 2009, Dwek, who ran a real estate empire based on a pyramid scheme, pled guilty to federal bank fraud charges in U.S. District Court and to misconduct by a corporate official in New Jersey Superior Court. He is currently free on bail and acting as a government witness while he awaits sentencing.
In exchange for King's guilty plea today, a charge of conspiracy to commit extortion was dismissed.
King is the former executive director of the Jersey City Parking Authority, former chairman of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority and a former Hudson County undersheriff, will be sentenced on November 17.