The most infamous event ever in each of N.J.’s 21 counties

The most infamous event ever in each of N.J.'s 21 counties

A legendary radio hoax, the attacks that inspired "Jaws" and a kidnapping that gripped the world: These are just a few of the most infamous moments in New Jersey's history.

15 Mart 2018 - 02:00

A legendary radio hoax, the attacks that inspired "Jaws" and a kidnapping that gripped the world: These are just a few of the most infamous moments in New Jersey's history.

Nor is infamy exclusive to one corner of the state -- each of New Jersey's 21 counties has had its share of ignominious moments. Here are our picks for the most infamous event to take place in each of those counties, along with a list of runners-up for each.

Of course, everyone's definition of infamy is a little different, but we mostly focused on those situations that involved illegality, bad judgment, and sheer tastelessness. A few legendary Jersey stories made the list, but you won't find any disasters -- natural or man-made -- here. (We're saving those for another post.)

Atlantic County - The most corrupt Mayor ever?
Spencer Kent | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Atlantic County - The most corrupt Mayor ever?

Whereas Nucky Johnson was a king, Michael Matthews was a pawn. The Philadelphia mob ran Atlantic City in the 1970s, as boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo funneled money to Matthews in exchange for city contracts and approvals from the city's planning and zoning boards.

Matthews was elected as mayor in 1982. He was caught after taking a $10,000 bribe from a federal agent who was undercover as a developer with ties to Scarfo. Matthews was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his acts; he served five before being paroled. Matthews died in 2014 at the age of 79.

Atlantic County runners-up
Photo from the Alfred M. Heston Collection of the Atlantic City Free Public Library
Atlantic County runners-up

The Boardwalk Empire: Before there was Michael Matthews, there was Nucky Johnson. Though Johnson (pictured above) never served as mayor, he was the boss of a political machine that ran Atlantic City from the 1910s until his conviction in 1941. His rule over the city inspired the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire."

Corzine's crash: In 2007, Governor Jon Corzine was rushing from a conference in Atlantic City to Princeton, for a meeting at the governor's mansion between the Rutgers women's basketball team and Don Imus, when his state-trooper SUV hit a guardrail on the Garden State Parkway at 91 mph. Corzine wasn't wearing a seat-belt; he had to be helicoptered to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he spent 18 days in treatment.

Bergen County - Bridgegate

In 2013, members of Governor Chris Christie's administration decided it was "time for some traffic problems."

Surprise lane closings on the George Washington Bridge for a local street entrance in Fort Lee caused havoc on the town's traffic. The gridlock was so bad that a threat to public safety was declared in the town before the lanes were reopened.

The reason for the closures? Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich refused to endorse Christie during his re-election campaign.

Bergen County runners-up
Robert Eberle | The Star-Ledger
Bergen County runners-up

North Jersey ninja killer: In 1991, Joseph Harris (pictured above) killed his former supervisor in Wayne with a samurai sword before driving to the Ridgewood to shoot up the post office he used to work at. It was the second time he'd killed.

Baylor massacre: On September 28, 1778, 15 American patriots were killed and 33 more were taken prisoner when they were attacked in their sleep by British troops in River Vale. The Americans had been betrayed by a British loyalist who was hosting them that night.

DiGilio found in a bag: In 1988, John DiGilio was a leader of the Genovese crime family (he was also a middleweight boxer). He had just been acquitted in a racketeering trial when his wife reported him missing. His body was found in a mortician's bag in the Hackensack River in Carlstadt; there were two bullet holes in his head.


Kaynak:Nj.com

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