Ex-Lakewood code inspector faces bribery charges
A former Lakewood electrical code inspector faces possible trial, accused of taking bribes from contractors for favorable treatment.
Mitchell B. Perkins, 67, of Stafford Township, faces six second-degree charges filed by New Jersey prosecutors. Each carries the risk of five to 10 years in prison on conviction, plus five years of parole ineligiblity and a fine of up to $150,000.
According to the office of acting Attorney General Christopher Porrino, Perkins allegedly eased scheduling and sped through inspections in return for payments in a pattern of payoffs that dated back to 1997.
Perkins worked for the township as an electrical sub-code official and electrical inspector until his retirement, subsequent to his arrest September 25, 2015.
Investigators assert that between May 1 and September 30, 2015, Perkins accepted four $300 payments from a contractor who was a cooperating witness for New Jersey State Police.
Perkins allegedly had delayed inspections on the contractor's work sites. Investigators said that he returned the first payment and stepped up his pace, keeping the other three payments, and accepting the final one after approving a job without inspecting it.
"Government inspectors are supposed to safeguard the public from improper work and potential fire hazards, not line their own pockets," Porrino said in prepared remarks.
"When inspectors like Perkins allegedly take bribes, large or small, from contractors for preferential treatment, trust in government is undermined and public safety can be compromised."
Perkins faces one count each of bribery and pattern of official misconduct, and two counts each of official misconduct and acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior.
He will be arraigned in an Ocean County courtroom in Toms River. He has retained the services of Tuckerton attorney M. Joseph Kurzrok.
The Attorney General's office notes that indictments are acculsations, and that defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.