Sudhan Thomas, the incumbent Jersey City School Board President, was charged December 19, 2019 with taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a cooperating witness in the form of campaign contributions.
New Jersey Indian, Sudhan Thomas was charged with bribery along with four other New Jersey state public officials.
The other New Jersey public officials are:
- Jason O’Donnell – Former State Assemblyman and former Bayonne Mayoral candidate
- John Cesaro – Former Morris county freeholder
- John Windish – Former Mount Arlington council member
- Mary Dougherty – Former Morris county freeholder candidate
The criminal charges against Sudhan Thomas and others were announced by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal after an investigation of political corruption in Hudson and Morris counties conducted by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA)
According to the statement by New Jersey AG’s office, in return to the bribes:
..the defendants allegedly promised the cooperating witness, who is a tax attorney, that they would vote or use their official authority or influence to hire or continue to hire his law firm for lucrative government legal work. Envelopes and paper bags filled with cash – and even a coffee cup stuffed with cash – were delivered to the defendants by the cooperating witness at restaurants, parking lots, a political fundraiser, and a campaign headquarters. Other times the cooperating witness offered checks from illegal “straw donors” – individuals reimbursed to write checks to the defendant’s campaign in amounts that complied with the legal limit on individual donations.
Charges Against Sudhan Thomas
New Jersey Indian Sudhan Thomas was charged with accepting $35,000 in cash bribes, $10,000 delivered on one date and $25,000 delivered on a second date.
At the time of alleged acceptance of bribes, Sudhan Thomas was preparing to run for Jersey City Councilman in 2021.
According to the New Jersey AG’s office statement:
Thomas allegedly agreed, in return for the cash payments, to arrange for the cooperating witness to be hired as a special counsel for the Jersey City Board of Education. Thomas and the cooperating witness allegedly discussed specific work projects that the cooperating witness would receive from the board of education.
During a conversation about the cash payments before they were delivered, the cooperating witness (CW) and Thomas had the following exchange:
CW: Make me special counsel for …
Thomas: Real estate.
CW: Yeah, real estate… that’s perfect.
Thomas: Yeah, nobody questions anything… nobody questions all of that stuff.
The alleged criminal conduct occurred between May and July 2019.
New Jersey Indian Sudhan Thomas lost his bid for re-election to the Jersey City School Board in November, and his term on the Board ends at the end of December, 2019.