NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Former Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph C. Spicuzzo submitted his resignation as a commissioner for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority to the office of Gov. Chris Christie immediately after being arrested on corruption charges, according to nj.com.
Spicuzzo was charged Mar. 7 with demanding bribes in exchange for jobs and promotions in the sheriff’s department, which he headed for nearly 30 years.
After being charged, he also resigned his chairmanship of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization. Sean Conner, a spokesman for the governor's office, confirmed that Gov. Chris Christie had received Spicuzzo's resignation, which arrived in the mail on his desk on Mar. 11.
Spicuzzo was named to an unpaid commission seat on the Sports and Exposition Authority by Gov. Jon Corzine in December 2009.
The 16-member commission includes one member appointed by the state Senate President, one appointed by the Assembly Speaker, and 11 named by sitting governors and serving staggered terms, according to John Samerjan, vice president of public affairs for the authority.
Serving as ex-officio members are the state Treasurer, the president and CEO of the sports authority, and the president of the Meadowlands.
Members serve four-year terms. Spicuzzo’s term was to expire January 2013, Samerjan said.
While most commission members serve on committees that make decisions on everything from the state's racetracks, to human resources issues, to construction projects, Spicuzzo did not, he said.
Spicuzzo’s replacement will be named by Christie, who is still awaiting Senate confirmation of nominees for five seats that opened in January, Samerjan said.
Spicuzzo, 65, of Helmetta, is accused of demanding bribes of up to $25,000 from individuals seeking employment or promotions in the sheriff’s office.
He is charged with official misconduct and bribery and faces between five and 10 years in prison.
Authorities allege Spicuzzo demanded that individuals pay him bribes in return for appointments as sheriff’s investigators or for promotions within the department.
Spicuzzo also solicited and accepted individual bribes of up to $25,000 from new hires for investigator positions and took bribes totaling at least $50,000, authorities allege.