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One Councilman Guilty, Others Cleared In Atlantic City Corruption Case

July 2, 1991

MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) _ Atlantic City Councilman Gene Dorn was found guilty today of official misconduct and other charges while three other men were acquitted in a corruption case that originally had eight defendants.

A Superior Court jury found Dorn guilty of official misconduct, conspiracy to commit official misconduct and three counts of campaign contribution violations.

Atlantic City Councilman Walter Collette was found innocent of official misconduct and conspiracy to commit official misconduct.

Former city Housing Director W. Oscar Harris Jr. was found innocent of conspiracy to commit bribery and attempted theft by extortion. Harris’ business partner, Robert McCurdy, was found innocent of the same charges.

Four other defendants had all their charges dismissed earlier in the trial.

As the verdicts were read, Collette happily shook Jacobs’ hand. Dorn showed little reaction.

″I would never run for public office after seeing this case,″ said Edwin Jacobs, attorney for Collette. ″It’s an impediment to people running for public office and people trying to do their job. ... It’s a tragedy.″

Jacobs called for an investigation into the state’s prosecution of the case. Deputy Attorney General Charles Waldron declined to comment on the verdict or the investigation.

Dorn is scheduled to be sentenced July 25 and faces a maximum 13 years in prison and fines totaling $115,000. The verdict came in the fourth full day of jury deliberations following an 11-week trial.

Judge Manuel Greenberg previously dismissed all charges against four defendants - two former city councilmen, a former zoning board chairman and a business consultant. He also dismissed most charges against the remaining four defendants, including the most serious allegations of racketeering.

The judge said prosecutors had failed to present enough evidence on the dismissed charges for a jury to return convictions.

During the trial, Deputy Attorney General Lawrence Welle said tapes secretly recorded from November 1988 through July 1989 showed that Collette and Dorn accepted cash from undercover informant Al Black in exchange for political favors on the zoning board.

Dorn contended the money was for a legal fund-raiser, Collette said that what Black gave him was a written projection of profits on a project.

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