Angelo Errichetti

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Angelo Errichetti
Mayor of Camden, New Jersey
In office
1973–1981
Preceded by Joseph M. Nardi, Jr.
Succeeded by Randy Primas
Personal details
Born Angelo Joseph Errichetti
(1928-09-29)September 29, 1928
Camden, New Jersey[1]
Died May 16, 2013(2013-05-16) (aged 84)
Ventnor City, New Jersey
Political party Democratic

Angelo Joseph Errichetti (September 29, 1928 – May 16, 2013) was an American Democratic Party politician who served as Mayor of Camden, New Jersey and in the New Jersey Senate before being indicted during Abscam.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Angelo Joseph Errichetti grew up in poverty in Camden, the sixth of seven children of immigrants from Italy. His father, from Naples, worked stoking coal. The 5-foot, 9-inch Errichetti was a football standout at Camden High School and, after graduating went to West Nottingham Academy and briefly took night classes at Rutgers University.[1][3][4] After working for a time in his brother's in dry cleaning business and working in insurance, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard.[4]

Career[edit]

Errichetti went into politics in 1961 as administrative assistant to Mayor Alfred R. Pierce and was named as Camden's purchasing agent and later as head of its Department of Public Works. He was first elected as Mayor in 1973 and was chosen in 1976 to fill a vacancy in the New Jersey Senate. In 1977 he was re-elected as mayor with 88% of the vote and won election to a full term in the State Senate.[5]

As Mayor of Camden, Errichetti put in 12-hour days, working to improve the economy of the struggling city. He exercised substantial control over the city's operation, and he had submitted seven budgets without tax increases that were passed with little oversight.[3] The City Council first scheduled hearings for his budget submitted in 1980. Despite changes made by the Council, Errichetti was able to get his budget passed as is by a vote of 5–2.[citation needed]

Abscam involvement[edit]

In the Abscam case, Errichetti was charged with arranging for undercover agents to meet with several politicians who would end up accepting bribes to help use their influence on behalf of individuals posing as Arab investors, with Errichetti taking his share of the bribes. In 1981, despite his representation by attorney Raymond A. Brown,[6] Errichetti was convicted on the federal bribery charges, for which he served about three years in prison.[7] U.S. Senator Harrison A. Williams had claimed that he was improperly lured to accept bribes, to which Federal District Judge George C. Pratt responded that Williams had selected himself when he accepted Errichetti's offer to meet with the undercover agents and that it was Errichetti who was "standing in the center of a cesspool of corruption".[8]

After his indictment, he emphatically denied the allegations filed against him and refused to consider demands that he resign from his two elected positions. His grip on local politics started to fade, with his three-member slate for the Camden Board of Education all losing in elections, though he was able to get all of his Democratic City Committee candidates elected in June 1980.[5] In May 1981, Errichetti was indicted on charges of bribery related to federally subsidized sewer projects, in which Errichetti was said to have received $10,000 in cash to steer engineering projects.[9]

Death[edit]

A resident of Ventnor City, New Jersey, Errichetti died on May 16, 2013 at his home there.[10] Camden mayor Dana L. Redd ordered that flags at Camden's municipal buildings should be flown at half staff during the day that his funeral was held.[3] He was predeceased by his wife Dolores and survived by his daughter, Michele.[11]

Positions held[edit]

  • Seaman, United States Coast Guard.
  • City Purchasing Agent (1961–1965), Camden, New Jersey.
  • Democratic Municipal Chairman (1965–1981), Camden, New Jersey.
  • Mayor (1973–1981), Camden, New Jersey.
  • State Senator (1976–1981), New Jersey (resigned after being sentenced on bribery charges).

In popular culture[edit]

The character Carmine Polito (played by Jeremy Renner) in David O. Russell's 2013 film American Hustle is based on Errichetti.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, Volume 198, Parts 1-2; Volume 199, Parts 1-2, p. 193. J.A. Fitzgerald, 1978. Accessed May 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Maitland, Leslie. "Congressman, Mayor of Camden And 2 Indicted in Abscam Inquiry; Other Indictments Expected Congressman, Mayor and 2 Indicted in Abscam Inquiry Vital Tool in Staying Deportation Money Allegedly Divided Errichetti Denies Charges Penalties for Crimes". The New York Times. May 28, 1980. Accessed May 20, 2013. "The indictment also charged Mayor Angelo J. Errichetti of Camden and two lawyers in Philadelphia, Howard L. Criden and Louis C. Johanson..."
  3. ^ a b c d Colimore, Edward. "Angelo Errichetti dies; ex-Camden mayor was Abscam figure", The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 19, 2013. Accessed January 19, 2014. "Angelo J. Errichetti, 84, a former Camden mayor and state senator who was South Jersey's premier Democratic power broker in the decade before his 1981 bribery conviction in the Abscam scandal, has died after a long illness. He had been living in Ventnor, N.J."
  4. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (May 28, 2013). "Angelo J. Errichetti, 84, Camden Mayor Convicted of Bribery, Dies". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Janson, Donald. "It's Business as Usual; at Camden's City Hall". The New York Times. June 8, 1980. Accessed October 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Berger, Joseph. "Raymond A. Brown, Civil Rights Lawyer, Dies at 94". The New York Times. October 11, 2009. Accessed October 12, 2009.
  7. ^ Schurr, Brendan via Associated Press. "Jury convicts Camden mayor of corruption", The Star-Ledger, December 22, 2001. Accessed May 20, 2013. "Angelo Errichetti, who was mayor from 1973 to 1981, spent nearly three years in prison after being convicted in the Abscam scandal. Errichetti accepted a $50,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent."
  8. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. "ETHICS CHIEF SAYS ROLE OF WILLIAMS, NOT F.B.I., IS ISSUE". The New York Times. March 9, 1982. Accessed October 13, 2009.
  9. ^ Staff. "Errichetti Indicted In 2d Bribery Case". The New York Times. May 22, 1981. Accessed October 13, 2009.
  10. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/nyregion/angelo-j-errichetti-camden-mayor-convicted-in-abscam-case-dies-at-84.html
  11. ^ Colimore, Edward; Tinney, Kathleen (May 19, 2013). "Angelo Errichetti dies; ex-Camden mayor was Abscam figure". philly.com.
  12. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff. "'Hustle' casts spotlight on real mayor", The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 27, 2013. Accessed February 17, 2014. "In the film, which opened Friday, Camden Mayor Carmine Polito turns down a briefcase full of money when he is first offered a bribe. The character, based on real-life Mayor Angelo Errichetti and played by Jeremy Renner, later agrees to accept the money because he believes doing so would lead to jobs for residents."