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Atlantic City mayor says home search tied to ‘family matter’

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. (left) with his attorney, Ed Jacobs, addressing reporters during a press conference on April 1, 2024.
P. Kenneth Burns
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. (left) with his attorney, Ed Jacobs, addressing reporters during a press conference on April 1, 2024.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. and his attorney, Ed Jacobs, addressed the media on Monday about search warrants served on the mayor and his wife, Atlantic City Schools Superintendent Dr. La’Quetta Small, late last week.

Jacobs said they were aware the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office had been investigating for at least three months, and it stemmed from “a personal and emotional family matter within the Small household.”“It is very, very, very unusual to see search warrants issued in family matters. But it was done here,” said Jacobs. “Mayor Small and his wife La’Quetta indeed have high public profiles, deservedly so, but they have the same private lives and challenges as every other ordinary parent.”

During the conference, Small addressed rumors concerning his daughter being pregnant, and allegations that he “beat the sh** out of her so bad” that she lost the pregnancy.“My daughter is not pregnant. My daughter has never been pregnant,” the mayor said. “We happen to have information on individuals who spread those horrific rumors on my child. And you'll be getting a visit from Mr. Jacobs soon and very soon. No need to delete it. We got the screenshot and we know who you are.”

Small was combative and frustrated at times when asked for details. He asked reporters, “Would you be able to deal with this if someone was spreading rumors on your child and or your family member? I think not.”

Jacobs said they were not ruling out whether the investigation was politically or racially motivated. In his remarks, Small mentioned subpoenas were served on his office earlier this year after he heralded the hiring of two people to run the city’s reentry services program.

“What I said then [is] that it is political and it's racial,” he said. “Because people don't like the fact that this mayor has given minorities opportunities that they've never had in City Hall ever before. And I'm unapologetically going to continue to do that.”

5 search warrants were served

Jacobs said warrants were executed upon Small, his wife, their vehicles and the home they share with their children and his mother-in-law.“This was done in a very aggressive and a very public manner,” Jacobs said, who added that search warrants are easy for law enforcement to obtain. “When search warrants are executed upon prominent public figures, as was done here, that understandably creates speculation in the community.”

No crimes have been alleged involving Small’s duties as mayor, and he doesn’t expect any charges to be filed, Jacobs said.

According to the mayor, investigators visited his home Thursday morning as he was helping his mother-in-law get in his truck for a medical appointment.

“They said, ‘Mr. mayor, we want to give you a search warrant.’ And based on my previous experience with law enforcement, telling lies, and conjuring up stories, my attorney told me to never talk to law enforcement,” Small said. “So, I eloquently said, ‘I ain't taking bleep. You know who my attorney is, you go give it to him.’”

Small said officers did not honor his request to let his mother-in-law get to her appointment and accused one of them of sarcastically saying, “Well, we can get you an ambulance.”

“As I turn around every area of my house [there were] 20 … 20 law enforcement officials with guns, rifles, battering rams and more are sent to our proximity,” the mayor said. “I say to the guy who was talking to me … ‘Did someone say that I'm armed and dangerous, or something that if you approach me, it's going to be this?’”

A statement posted to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office’s website said those involved in the search “conducted themselves in the highest professional manner.”

“Both Mayor Small and Dr. Small were treated with dignity and respect during the entire process,” the statement read. “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.”

More than a decade ago, Small and others were charged with tampering with ballots during the Democratic primary for Atlantic City mayor. They were later acquitted.