We recently published an article about the 2012 money laundering charges against Marc Macri, the former law and real estate partner of Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who is currently a Commissioner on the Fort Lee Parking Authority. We discussed how Macri was charged by former Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli with aiding drug traffickers in laundering their ill-gotten proceeds and how Molinelli later made the charges, which carried up to 60 years in prison, disappear. Despite the money laundering charges and Macri’s ties to drug traffickers, in March 2016, Sokolich appointed Macri as a Commissioner on the Fort Lee Parking Authority (FLPA).
As it happens, Macri is not just one of five Commissioners on the FLPA, which has a $29 million budget for this year, he has taken charge of the local agency. The minutes of the 2016 and 2017 meetings of the FLPA show that Macri has essentially sidelined the other four FLPA Commissioners and set the agency’s agenda.
On October 25, 2016, after playing a major role in the crafting of the FLPA’s $29 million budget for 2017, Macri voted to approve it. The construction of a new parking garage for $27,000,000 was the largest appropriation in the budget. The FLPA generates approximately $1.5 million every year in revenue from parking fees including meter fees, fines and penalties, and parking permits. Cliffside Park also gives the agency $21,000 according to an agreement with Fort Lee.
At the FLPA’s March 23, 2017 meeting, Macri moved to authorize a bid award for the Guntzer Lot Site Utilities Project, to approve of the minutes of the meeting, approve the resignation of an FLPA employee, and , among other things, approve a voucher for substantial fees. All of Macri’s motions were approved by the FLPA without discussion or debate. The minutes of the meeting, which were approved by Macri himself, are extremely vague. Likely by design.
2012 Money Laundering and Drug Trafficking Charges
In April 2012 Macri, who was then Sokolich’s law and real estate partner, was arrested by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office on charges that he used his law firm to help large scale drug traffickers launder money. The three first-degree money laundering charges against Macri, who was then North Bergen’s municipal prosecutor, carried a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum of 60 years.
At the time of the arrest, Sokolich told reporters, “I’m still in a state of shock,” despite that fact that Sokolich was an original investor and on the board of directors of the bank that Macri used to launder the drug money, the Bank of New Jersey in Fort Lee. Sokolich removed Macri’s name from their joint accounts at the bank two days after Macri’s arrest.
In 2013, Macri’s partners in the “large scale” drug distribution scheme, which distributed over 1000 pounds of marijuana a year, were indicted by then Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli on 25 counts. Macri, however, was not named in the indictment. Molinelli said at the time that Macri’s case was still pending. It remains unknown whether the charges were dismissed or whether Macri was given entry into the Pretrial Intervention program meant for minor offenders like trespassers.
More on how Macri likely bribed Molinelli: https://njcorruption.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/fort-lee-mayor-sokolichs-money-laundering-law-partner-appointed-fort-lee-commissioner-after-bergen-prosecutors-make-charges-disappear/
Fort Lee Parking Authority’s 2017 $29 Million Budget (PDF – 53 pages – 11mb)
Minutes of March 23, 2017 Fort Lee Parking Authority Meeting (PDF – 4 pages)