Former Deputy Mayor Sentenced to One Year for Extortion

Salahuddin traded contracts for donations to city groups

A former Newark deputy mayor was sentenced to a year and a day in jail Monday for his role in a scheme to award city contracts in exchange for contributions to various Newark organizations with ties to Mayor Cory Booker, the US Attorney’s Office announced.

Beginning shortly after he became deputy mayor in 2006, Ronald Salahuddin, 61, steered demolition work for the city and at the Prudential Center towards contractor Nicholas Mazzocchi in exchange for donations to Newark Now! and Empower Newark, The Star Ledger reported.

The exchanges between Salahuddin and Mazzocchi, who was working as a government witness, were recorded and used at Salahuddin’s trial, which ended in October 2011. 

Mazzocchi was also urged to hire Sonnie Cooper, 69, owner of S. Cooper Brothers Trucking, as a subcontractor. Cooper, who was Salahuddin’s co-defendant, has also been convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.

Salahuddin had a considerable stake in Cooper Trucking, having mortgaged $900,000 of property as collateral for the company and loaning the firm money to make payroll. Salahuddin also received payments from Cooper, the US Attorney’s Office said.


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