New $17,000 sign in Trenton coming down

TRENTON, N.J. - August 17, 2012

It seems the city never got a permit from state and local preservationists to erect the sign, reminiscent of the "Trenton Makes" bridge and with Mayor Tony Mack's name featured prominently on the bottom.

Design approval is needed because the park is on both the state and national registers of historic places.

The artist who created the sign, George Zienowicz, says he raised questions about that right from the beginning.

"They just said 'No, this is what the mayor wants,'" Zienowicz said.

So now, in addition to the $17,000 cost to have it made, the city has to spend another $1,500 to take it down.

"It's a waste of money," said resident Monica Lester. "Everybody knows he's the mayor. We don't need a sign like that. We need things for kids, we have to stop the guns, control the killing."

Now it's the taxpayers who are going to foot the bill.

Councilman George Muschal says the sign is an example of expenditures being made by Mayor Mack's administration that council knows nothing about.

Since FBI agents raided the mayor's home and city hall last month in a corruption probe, council members have started reviewing all the city's invoices.

Muschal says one vendor said publicly he was paid $16,000 to install carpet, but council was only shown an invoice for $8,600.

"Where' he get paid from? Nobody's giving us an invoice, which is a red flag," Muschal said. "That's a problem for me. There's $7,400 missing. Where'd he get paid from?"

Meanwhile, at this point, the artist who made the sign has not been fully paid for his work.

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