Wildwood, New Jersey Mayor Pete Byron suddenly resigns

Thursday, September 21, 2023
Wildwood, New Jersey Mayor Pete Byron suddenly resigns
Wildwood, New Jersey Mayor Pete Byron suddenly resigns

WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron resigned on Thursday after pleading guilty to federal charges earlier this summer.

"I was put in a situation, between a rock and a hard place. I had to make a decision that I felt was best for my family as well as the city of Wildwood," said Byron.

Action News spoke with Byron at Wildwood City Hall hours after the announcement that he had resigned.

Last month, he was sentenced to probation in federal court after admitting to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

Additionally, a state grand jury has indicted Byron, former Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr., and current City Commissioner Steve Mikulski of official misconduct, theft and other charges, accusing them of accepting State Health Benefits they weren't entitled to.

"Everything isn't always as you read," said Byron. "Sometimes you're put in a situation where you have to make decisions. Unfortunately, I don't have the wherewithal that someone like former President Trump has to fight some of these charges."

The Office of the Attorney General said the following in a statement to Action News on Thursday:

"The forfeiture-of-office motion was filed with the Superior Court on August 15, 2023, and served on the mayor, following his federal conviction for willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent federal tax returns.

The return date for the motion to proceed summarily on that complaint is September 22, 2023."

Now, commissioner and Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons will take over.

"It's a little bit of a dark day for Wildwood, however I'm so confident that we're going to -- along with our staff here, the professionals that we've hired -- we have a really great team and together as a team we're going to get through this," said Fitzsimons.

We spoke to residents who had just heard about the mayor's sudden resignation.

"I think it's a good thing actually. It was either resign or get tossed out," said Patrick Kennedy of Wildwood.

Byron had already filed paperwork to run for reelection this November.

We asked him if he still intended to run, he says he hasn't decided yet.