Ex-Paterson mayor disqualified from holding public office, AG’s office says

Jose Torres has said he’s exploring a mayoral bid in 2022

By: - September 22, 2021 7:06 pm

Joey Torres resigned in disgrace in 2017 after pleading guilty to a public corruption charge. (Photo by New Jersey Monitor)

Jose Torres, the former Paterson mayor who is exploring another mayoral bid four years after pleading guilty to official misconduct, is ineligible to hold public office, the state Attorney General’s office said.

Torres, who told the Paterson Press this week he’s “testing the waters” on a 2022 mayoral run, signed a court order in 2017 barring him from holding public office as part of his guilty plea.

It’s not clear whether the order also bars Torres from seeking public office.

“The court order that Mr. Torres signed and consented to following his guilty plea forever disqualifies him from holding the office of mayor in Paterson. His disqualification is so clear that we will not comment on a hypothetical question about him running as a candidate,” said Steve Barnes, spokesman for the attorney general.

Attempts to reach Torres on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Torres pleaded guilty in September 2017 to official misconduct after admitting he ordered city employees to do work for a family business while their overtime was paid by the city.

His criminal conviction landed him in state prison for 13 months. He also had to pay the city $10,000 as restitution for the overtime the municipal workers received.

Torres told the newspaper he sees no reason why he can’t run for mayor, and stressed he’d have support from the community.

Torres’ campaign committee, Friends of Mayor Torres, is hosting a $75-a-plate fundraiser on Oct. 28 at The Brownstone catering hall in Paterson.

Torres was first elected mayor in 2002. His final re-election victory came in 2014, when he defeated Andre Sayegh, who was elected mayor in 2018 and is seeking a second term next year.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.

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