Angelo Errichetti

Last updated
Angelo Errichetti
Mayor of Camden, New Jersey
In office
Preceded byJoseph M. Nardi, Jr.
Succeeded by Randy Primas
Personal details
Angelo Joseph Errichetti

(1928-09-29)September 29, 1928
Camden, New Jersey [1]
DiedMay 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]

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. The Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, and leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has also promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice.

New Jersey Senate

The New Jersey Senate was established as the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature by the Constitution of 1844, replacing the Legislative Council. There are 40 legislative districts, representing districts with average populations of 210,359. Each district has one senator and two members of the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the legislature. Prior to the election in which they are chosen, senators must be a minimum of 30 years old and a resident of the state for four years to be eligible to serve in office.

Abscam was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to the convictions of seven members of the United States Congress, among others. The two-year investigation initially targeted trafficking in stolen property and corruption of prestigious businessmen, but was later converted to a public corruption investigation. The FBI was aided by the Justice Department and a convicted con-man in videotaping politicians accepting bribes from a fictitious Arabian company in return for various political favors.


Early life

Angelo Joseph Errichetti grew up in poverty in Camden, the sixth of seven children of immigrants from Italy. His father, from Ruoti, Italy, 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 dry cleaning business and working in insurance, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. [4]

Ruoti Comune in Basilicata, Italy

Ruoti is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the Basilicata region of southern Italy.

Camden High School (New Jersey)

Camden High School is a four-year comprehensive community public high school that serves students between ninth grade and twelfth grade from the city of Camden, in Camden County, New Jersey, United States. The school is part of the Camden City Public Schools, which is classified as an Abbott District. The school, established in 1891, celebrated its centennial in 1991. The school was originally known as the Camden Manual Training and High School, admitting its first class of 48 boys in 1891, with girls entering the school three years later. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1929.

West Nottingham Academy was founded in 1744 by the Presbyterian preacher Samuel Finley, who later became President of Princeton College. Today, the independent co-ed school serves both boarding and day students in grades 9-12. The 124-acre (0.50 km2), tree-lined campus is located in Colora, Cecil County, Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay – an hour and a half south of Philadelphia and fifty minutes north of Baltimore.


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 52.[ citation needed ]

Abscam conviction

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]

Raymond A. Brown was an African-American criminal defense lawyer who represented a wide variety of high-profile clients, ranging from politicians to accused spies, including New Jersey state senator Angelo Errichetti, boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and "Dr. X" physician Mario Jascalevich.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Harrison A. Williams United States Senator forced to resign based on his Abscam conviction

Harrison Arlington "Pete" Williams Jr. was a Democrat who represented New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives (1953–1957) and the United States Senate (1959–1982). Williams was convicted on May 1, 1981, for taking bribes in the Abscam sting operation, and resigned from the U.S. Senate in 1982 before a planned expulsion vote.

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] Errichetti was convicted of bribery and conspiracy charges, and was sentenced to six years in prison, of which he served 32 months. [10]


A resident of Ventnor City, New Jersey, Errichetti died on May 16, 2013, at his home there. [11] 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. [12]

Positions held

The character Carmine Polito (played by Jeremy Renner) in David O. Russell's 2013 film American Hustle is based on Errichetti. [13]

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  1. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 Weber, Bruce (May 28, 2013). "Angelo J. Errichetti, 84, Camden Mayor Convicted of Bribery, Dies". The New York Times.
  5. 1 2 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. Weber, Bruce. "Angelo J. Errichetti, 84, Camden Mayor Convicted of Bribery, Dies". The New York Times. May 28, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2016.
  12. Colimore, Edward; Tinney, Kathleen (May 19, 2013). "Angelo Errichetti dies; ex-Camden mayor was Abscam figure".
  13. 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."