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Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. addresses search warrants served at home, charges against AC High School principal

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. talks ACPO investigation into family home, local principal
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. talks ACPO investigation into family home, local principal 02:16

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – Four days after search warrants were executed at the home of Marty Small Sr. and his wife and Atlantic City Public Schools Superintendent La'Quetta Small, the Atlantic City mayor spoke out, sharing some details and addressing rumors.

"It's a great day here in the city of Atlantic City because no matter what goes on, it's a great day," Small said.

With his family and supporters by his side, the mayor doubled down saying this is over a "private family matter." Neither he nor his lawyer, Ed Jacobs, would share more details on that situation.

"We're dealing with a challenging time. And if I wasn't Mayor Marty Small or she wasn't the superintendent, you wouldn't hear of this," Small said.

Jacobs added his clients have known about the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office investigation for "three of four months."

"There's no corruption. We don't have Atlantic City Housing Authority money in our house," the mayor said. "We don't have city of Atlantic City money in our house. I didn't steal anything. My wife didn't bring Atlantic City Board of Education money to our house, as alleged."

Later, during the nearly hour-long press conference in City Hall Council Chambers, the mayor said, "Those of you who want to think this is past Atlantic City business as usual, when it's a raid, it's involving corruption, this ain't that."

Last Thursday morning, Jacobs said five search warrants were executed at Small's home and cars. Jacobs added cellphones and laptops were among "a long list" of items seized. Both the mayor and his lawyer said the search was overly aggressive.

"As I turn around every area of my house, 20 law enforcement officials with guns, rifles, battering rams, and more ascend to our proximity," Small said.

On the same day as the search warrants were executed, Atlantic City High School Principal Constance Days-Chapman was charged with failing to report child abuse.

The Atlantic City Prosecutor's Office said Days-Chapman was charged with official misconduct, hindering apprehension of another, disorderly person failure to report child abuse and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors alleged in a press release that in late January, a student told a staff member they were "emotionally and physically abused" by their parents. They said the student reported the abuse to Days-Chapman.

Prosecutors said the staff member spoke with Days-Chapman, who denied ever being told about the abuse previously but told the staffer she would now disclose the matter to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. 

The principal then met with the student's parents at home to discuss the student's disclosure, prosecutors said. A report was never made with DCP&P.

The mayor opened his remarks Monday morning by throwing his support behind Days-Chapman, someone he referred to as a "dear family friend" and former campaign manager, who he calls "Mandy."

The mayor and his lawyer were asked if the searches or members of the Small family had anything to do with Days-Chapman's legal issues. 

"We stand with Mandy and Mandy stands with us," Small said. "She has done absolutely nothing wrong. We have done nothing wrong."

CBS News Philadelphia was unable to reach Days-Chapman for comment.  

Days-Chapman was also the chairperson for the Atlantic City Democrat Committee, according to the mayor. On Facebook, Atlantic County Democrats posted a statement by the organization's chairman, Michael Suleiman, regarding the investigation into Days-Chapman.

Statement from Chairman Suleiman: "The charges against Ms. Chapman-Days are serious and disconcerting. While everyone is...

Posted by Atlantic County Democrats on Thursday, March 28, 2024

Jacobs said he does not expect charges to be brought in this case against the mayor.

"They have done absolutely nothing to obstruct or interfere with that investigation," Jacobs said.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office released the following statement:

"Law enforcement personnel from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office conducted a court approved search of the residence of Mayor Marty Small, Sr. and Dr. Laquetta Small on Thursday, March 28, 2024. The men and women of this office involved in the search conducted themselves in the highest professional manner. Standard operating procedures and protocols in executing residential search warrants were utilized to ensure the safety of all occupants of the residence, neighbors, and law enforcement alike.

These procedures are put in place for safety reasons and these procedures do not deviate regardless of one's political, professional, or social status. Both Mayor Small and Dr. Small were treated with dignity and respect during the entire process. As an example, detectives took great effort to ensure that any juveniles living at the residence were clear of the residence and not present during the execution of the search warrant.

There will be no further statements from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office regarding the execution of these search warrants."

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