Ward chief Matos jailed

Carlos Matos, Democratic leader of the 19th Ward in North Philadelphia, was sentenced yesterday to 60 days in jail for driving with a suspended license.

Matos apparently smirked during the close of the court proceeding, drawing the ire of Senior Common Pleas Judge Ward F. Clark, of Bucks County, who was hearing the case in a Philadelphia courtroom.

Matos was caught in the act of driving with his license suspended last year by Fox 29 undercover reporter Jeff Cole, who was called to testify yesterday.

Matos' license was suspended after a 2002 DUI charge in New Jersey.

Matos complained in February 2006 to the Daily News that the televised investigation had been prompted by state Rep. Angel Cruz, who leads a neighboring ward and has been feuding with Matos. The two scuffled at a June 2006 political meeting but no criminal charges were filed.

Cruz, who denies dropping the dime on Matos, yesterday lamented that the conviction and jail term was a "slap in the face" of the Hispanic community.

"Every time the Hispanic community takes two steps forward, we take four steps back," Cruz said. "It's a shame. He's a Democratic ward leader. People depend on us to lead."

Matos and his wife, chief Deputy City Commissioner Renee Tartaglione, were unavailable for comment yesterday. *