Jewish Journal

Rabbis and politicians arrested in New Jersey corruption scandal

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 23, 2009 | 3:04 pm

Did you hear the one about all those New Jersey mayors and rabbis who were arrested today in the Garden State latest corruption scandal involving public figures?

Among those arrested this morning were Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean), Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, all Democrats, authorities said. Several area rabbis and other community leaders and politicians, including Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega, were arrested.

The New York Times, via JTA’s Fundermentalist, tunes us into the Jewish tidbits in this story:

Weysan Dun, special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Newark office, said the rabbis arrested — including the grand rabbi of the Syrian Jewish community in the United States, Saul Kassin — were part a vast money-laundering conspiracy with tentacles in Israel and Switzerland. Another person, Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, of Brooklyn, was accused of being a kidney salesman who enticed vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 and then sold the body parts for $160,000.

Mr. Dun stressed that the case was neither motivated by religion nor by politics — an important point given that the New Jersey governor’s race pits the former United States Attorney, Christopher J. Christie, under whom the investigation began, against a Democratic incumbent, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, whose administration was not spared in Thursday’s arrests.

More from the AP.

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