SECAUCUS – Political operative Ronald Manzo, who testified against former Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell during his bribery case, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday May 1 at 10 a.m. in federal court in Newark, according to news reports.
Manzo pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit extortion and faces up to 18 months in prison.
Federal prosecutors charged that Solomon Dwek, an FBI informant posing as a real estate developer, gave Elwell $10,000 cash, allegedly through Ronald Manzo, in order to get favoritism on development projects.
Manzo sat through lengthy and detailed questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kanefsky in July in regard to his dealings with Dwek. Dwek brought down many politicians as part of the 2009 FBI sting operation that snared 46 politicians and religious leaders.
In his testimony, Manzo admitted to arranging a meeting between Elwell and Dwek at the La Reggia Restaurant in Secaucus to discuss Dwek's interest in a Secaucus property. Manzo reportedly had a 12-year friendship with Elwell, had given him campaign contributions, and provided the township with employee insurance via his insurance company.
Manzo said that at the Secaucus restaurant, he gave Elwell $10,000 in cash that had been handed to him by Dwek outside the restaurant.
Elwell was convicted of bribery in July, 2011, and was sentenced April 6 in Federal Court to 30 months in prison.
Charges stemming from the same FBI sting against Ronald Manzo’s brother, the former assemblyman and Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo, were dismissed earlier this year. – Adriana Rambay Fernandez