Michael Matthews, the first popularly elected mayor of Atlantic City, died Thursday in his Linwood home at age 79.

Matthews won a runoff election over James Usry in 1982 to become the first elected mayor after Atlantic city changed from the city commission form of government where the mayor was appointed.

 

Less than two years into his term as mayor, however, he was arrested by the FBI for accepting a $10,000 bribe from an undercover agent and for reportedly accepting money from the mob in return for influence in the city.

Matthews pleaded guilty to extortion in 1984 and was recalled by voters.  In 1985, He was sentenced to 15 years federal prison.  He was paroled in 1990.

Matthews is also remembered for helping to get Atlantic City's casino referendum passed and for advocating for the rights of senior citizens.

Matthews is survived by his ex-wife, six children and 16 grandchildren.

A celebration of life service will be held Tuesday, January 7th at 11a.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Linwood.