NJ Councilman Faces Charges After FOX 29 Investigates Report

A FOX 29 Investigation leads to charges against a New Jersey councilman. But it's not the police who bring the complaints. It's a local whistleblower.

FOX 29's Jeff Cole shows us what's next for the Penns Grove councilman.

It's a Friday afternoon in early April, and we've got our eye on the man behind the wheel of a blue Ford.

He's not just anybody. He's Carl Washington, a sitting member of the borough council in tiny Penns Grove.

We watched as he drove from his neighborhood and entered city hall.

But as FOX 29 Investigates revealed last month, Washington was not supposed to be driving. His license was suspended.

When we tried to ask questions, he walked us right into Borough Hall and locked himself in the clerk's office.

"No, you don't have to show me," Washington said, as he shut the door to the borough clerk's office.

"Councilman? Councilman, seriously, man, come on, this is a serious issue, right?" Cole asked, as he knocked for Washington. "Councilman? I've got you suspended as of last year."

"And your point?" Washington asked.

"Why would you drive a car if you're suspended?" Cole asked.

"Have you seen me driving?" Washington asked.

"Yes, sir, four or five times," Cole answered.

"Oh, OK," Washington said.

We saw Washington drive a total of 4 times throughout April, despite his long and troubled driving history.

Records show his license was pulled back in the spring of 2014.

Now, a state judge has found "probable cause" to charge Councilman Washington with four counts of driving while revoked – one count for each day FOX 29 Investigates saw him drive.

Community activist Walter Hudson filed the complaints because he says he believed the police wouldn't.

Hudson, a school board member, is facing criminal charges for allegedly brawling with police.

"What should have happened?" Cole asked.

"What should have happened is accountability – should have held Councilman Washington accountable for his actions, just like I would be," Hudson replied.

Washington sits on the council committee that oversees the borough's police department.

Asked on the phone why police didn't bring charges, Penns Grove Police Chief Gary Doubledee said he knew Hudson was doing it.

He claims he has alerted his officers to stop the councilman if he's seen driving.

On the phone, Washington told FOX 29 Investigates he won't comment now that charges have been filed.

He didn't have much to say a few weeks back, either, through that clerk's office door.

"OK, well, can I show you the transcript then?" Cole asked.

"No, sir," said the councilman.

"Oh, sure, well, listen, 5/25/14, non-payment insurance surcharge, suspended – right?" Cole asked. "Councilman? Did you lock the door?"

Washington told a reporter following-up on our story, he didn't realize his license was revoked until he saw our broadcast. Because he's a councilman, his case has been moved to Washington Township, Cole reported.