"If [federal authorities] wanted to arrest me as one of the 44, they would have done so already," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy on Saturday, two days after 16 Jersey City-based officials and political consultants were arrested in connection with a statewide corruption sting. Many of those were charged with allegedly accepting bribes for political campaigns. A few of those arrested were, according to the FBI, affiliated with the Healy campaign.
But did Healy himself know what was going on? Many residents have been asking this weekend if Healy has been -- or will be -- arrested.
Healy was referred to in FBI papers as "Jersey City Public Official No. 4," in terms of other officials accepting money on behalf of his campaign. But as of this past weekend he had not been arrested.
In a news report Friday night, one law enforcement official said that the fact that someone is not referred to by name may mean that they are not considered guilty in the investigation -- or that they are still being investigated.
The FBI complaints about Leona Beldini, Jack Shaw and Edward Cheatam listed Jersey City Public Official No. 4. Beldini is the city's deputy mayor, Shaw is a political consultant, and Cheatam is an unpaid commissioner at the Jersey City Housing Authority.
The arrest rumors were especially strong on Saturday when people were looking for Healy to make an appearance during the city's annual West Indian Parade.
Healy said Saturday that he had made appearances at two events in Jersey City that morning -- a memorial breakfast for Tom Taylor, who was the city's first African-American firefighter, and the memorial service for the boxer and former Jersey City resident Arturo Gatti, who died on July 11 -- before he left town to attend a relative's party.
When interviewed Healy sounded tired yet unfazed by the attention. -- Ricardo Kaulessar