PERTH AMBOY – FBI agents raided the homes of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas and his former aide Melvin Ramos on April 23 last week. The agents carried out several boxes from both homes at the end of the multi-hour search.
The scene attracted a small crowd of onlookers who lined the sidewalk across the street.
“It’s a sad day. It’s a very sad day,” said City Councilman Fernando Gonzalez, who lives across the street from the former mayor.
Vas and Ramos were indicted earlier this year on state corruption charges. They pleaded not guilty during their arraignments.
Vas allegedly stole more than $5,000 in goods and services from the city when he was mayor. Ramos allegedly solicited fraudulent contributions for Vas’ unsuccessful 2006 campaign for Congress.
Vas, a Democrat, still represents Carteret, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy and Woodbridge in the state Assembly. After the raids, Democratic leaders renewed calls for Vas to step down.
“He’s not doing any good for the Democratic Party in the city, county or state,” Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Joseph Spicuzzo said.
Following his indictment, Vas was removed from all of his committee assignments. His only remaining role in Trenton is attending voting sessions.
“If you’re not able to participate, you’re not able to do a lot. You have to be in committee meetings to have any input,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex).