Hackett quits Legislature in wake of corruption charges
by Kevin Dilworth and Deborah Howlett
Saturday September 08, 2007, 7:20 AMOne day after being arrested in a federal corruption sting and hours after the state's top Democratic leaders called for him to step down, State Assemblyman Mims Hackett Jr. said he will give up his legislative post immediately.
"I resigned from the Assembly, effective (today), " Hackett (D-Essex) said in a voicemail message left with a Star-Ledger reporter late Friday night. "Also, I wrote a letter to (Essex County Clerk) Chris Durkin, asking him to remove my name from the ballot," in the upcoming November general election.
Hackett made no comment about whether he plans to also step down as the mayor of Orange.
Earlier Friday, at the Democratic State Committee's annual conference in Atlantic City, top party leaders called for Mims and Alfred Steele (D-Passaic), also arrested in the sting on Thursday, to resign their offices and withdraw their names from the November ballot.
Gov. Jon Corzine was joined by Senate President Richard Codey, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and party chairman Joseph Cryan in calling for the two to step down, but Corzine rebuffed as overtly political a Republican demand for a special legislative session to pass ethics reforms.
"I don't think this is an issue of Democrat or Republican, it's a breakdown of character...We have a series of deeply flawed individuals," Corzine told reporters.
Hackett and Steele were arrested Thursday along with nine other officials at various levels of government on charges of taking bribes for public contracts. Corzine said they should all resign from all public offices.
Steele has not responded.
Read more in today's Star-Ledger.