The Democratic mayor of a northern New Jersey town has resigned amid an election violation charge.
The Bergen County prosecutor’s office said Monday that former Elmwood Park Mayor Francesco Caramagna faces a charge of interfering with the secrecy of the election process.
Francesco Caramagna, the former mayor of Elmwood Park, stepped down after a complaint was filed earlier this month, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release.
“It has come to my attention that I am the subject of an investigation into what have been described to me as technical violations of the election laws regarding absentee ballots. While I maintain my complete innocence and regard these allegations as being politically motivated, I have nonetheless discussed and considered my options with my family and friends, and have sought the advice of legal counsel,” Caramagna said. “I want and need to put the interests of others first: the Borough of Elmwood Park and its citizens, my family, and those dear friends and supporters of mine whose votes were cast by absentee ballot. I have therefore decided to tender, with sadness and a heavy heart, my resignation as Mayor of this great Borough of Elmwood Park, effective at 12:00 midnight on this date.”
Caramagna maintained that his resignation was “to minimize any embarrassment to my family, friends and supporters as I defend against whatever accusations might ultimately be made against me.”
“I do so also to prevent the use of this investigation by my political opponents to smear the good reputation of the democratic candidates running for re-election in November, whom I will continue to support for the good of Elmwood Park,” he said.
Caramagna, who resigned Sunday, is accused of filling out some portions of mail-in ballots and primary election ballot certifications.
Prosecutors are alleging that he interfered with three elections: the June 2017 Democratic primary, the November 2017 general election, and the November 2018 general election.
Council president Daniel Golabek, a 24-year-old law student, will become the acting mayor until Democrats pick a new mayor to fill the remaining seven months of Caramagna’s term.
The 74-year-old, who was elected in November 2017, is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on May 22.
Calls to attorneys who may represent Caramagna and to a number listed in his name weren’t immediately returned Monday.