Wednesday, October 16, 2019

    Next Atlantic City mayor waits in wings after latest scandal

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    The Associated Press
    FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2016 file photo, Atlantic City, N.J., City Council President Marty Small speaks at a news conference in his city against a proposed state takeover of its finances. Atlantic City will get a new mayor on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in the wake of yet another corruption scandal. City Council President Small, a Democrat, will be sworn in as mayor at noon. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

    Atlantic City will get a new mayor Friday in the wake of yet another scandal in the seaside gambling resort with a history of political corruption that inspired an award-winning TV series on HBO.

    City Council President Marty Small, a Democrat, will be sworn in as mayor at noon.

    It comes a day after fellow Democrat Frank Gilliam Jr. pleaded guilty to stealing $87,000 from a youth basketball club he founded, and resigned.

    Gilliam pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden to stealing money that was purportedly for the basketball team and for school supplies for poor children. But prosecutors say he used it on himself — for trips, fancy clothes and other personal expenses.

    Gilliam apologized to residents in a letter Thursday afternoon.

    “It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation as the Mayor of the City of Atlantic City, effective immediately,” Gilliam wrote in a letter filed with the city clerk. “My sincere apologies to each constituent that voted for me and had high hopes in my tenure.”

    Yet his lawyer issued a statement trying to lessen the perceived severity of the crime, noting that Gilliam stole private money, not public funds.

    Gilliam stepped down shortly after New Jersey’s attorney general filed court papers seeking his ouster under New Jersey’s Forfeiture of Public Office law.

    Small has run several times for mayor, and lost a primary to Gilliam in 2017.

    Small himself has been charged twice — and acquitted twice — of election-related fraud in cases he maintains were politically motivated.

    The city has a long, colorful history of corruption among its elected officials dating back to the turn of the century, whose malfeasance was chronicled in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

    Gilliam could face 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 7.

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    Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

    This article was syndicated from abcnews