Bribes, Payoffs, and Politics

HUMC sale under scrutiny, Ex-Hoboken cop launches lawsuit over blocked records request

A former police officers’ private investigation into the dealings surrounding the hospital sale has come to a screeching halt after he was barred from accessing records from a related agency.

Ex-Hoboken cop Ed Mecka filed a lawsuit in the Hudson County Superior Court last week against Hudson Healthcare, Inc., (HHI) after his request for access to the organization’s records was blocked.

According to the complaint, Mecka filed an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request to obtain materials from a July HHI Board of Directors meeting, including a list of attendees at the meeting, and a resolution passed by the board. Mecka’s request, however, was blocked by the HHI, who, according to the complaint, claimed that it was not a “public agency,” and therefore not subject to the Open Public Records Act.

Conflicts of Interest for Municipal Officials In New Jersey

Some of the requirements of the Local Government Ethics Law, set forth at N.J.S.A. 40A: 9-22.1 et seq., are relatively straightforward and easy to understand. Local public officials must file financial disclosure statements under N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.6, and members of independent authorities cannot do business with or appear before those authorities for a year after they leave the body under N.J.S.A. 40A:9-22.5(b).

However, perhaps the central concept of this law, enacted in 1991 to restore and preserve the public trust in local government, is far less clear. Exactly what type of interest must an official have in a given issue to create a conflict sufficient to prevent him or her from participating in any decisions concerning the matter?

Contractor Charged with Agreeing to Bribe Union City Official for Constuction Approvals

A Union City, New Jersey contractor appeared in court today to face a federal charge that he agreed to give bribes and corrupt payments in connection with a Union City Zoning Board matter, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Bryant Venegas, 26, of Clifton, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of knowingly and corruptly agreeing to give a bribe. Venegas surrendered this morning to the FBI and appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court. He was released on a $50,000 bond.

Jersey Shore’s Hoboken filming request denied, Mayor Zimmer says informal "verbal agreements" were made involving payments to individuals for"unauthorized filming"

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer advised the "Jersey Shore” production company that their request for a Hoboken filming permit has been denied.  Zimmer wrote;

“After careful deliberation, the members of the Film Commission, including representatives from Health & Human Services, Environmental Services, and the Administration, with input from our public safety officials, have determined that in the interest of public safety and quality of life, the permit application for 495 Productions/MTV's production of the Jersey Shore spin-off has been denied.”

Ex-head of Hoboken Parking Utility admits guilt in $600G theft of meter funds, Toms River contractor previously pleaded guilty to theft

The former head of the Hoboken Parking Utility is facing eight years in prison after appearing in Superior Court on Friday to admit his role in the theft of $600,000 from that city’s parking meters.

John P. Corea pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson Jr. to official misconduct, a second-degree crime carrying a potential prison term of 10 years.

In entering his guilty plea, Corea, 45, a Hoboken resident, admitted steering three no-bid contracts to United Textile Fabricators, an arcade game manufacturer headed by a Toms River man, to collect and count coins from Hoboken’s parking meters.

Corea told the judge he made false statements to the Hoboken City Council about the company’s qualifications, and that he came to believe that the head of the company, Brian A. Petaccio, 51, of Toms River, had stolen a substantial amount of the city’s parking revenues.

Hoboken resident one of Fourteen new jersey health care providers arrested, charged with taking cash payments for patient referrals

A Hoboken resident is one of Thirteen New Jersey doctors and a nurse practitioner charged in a cash-for tests referral scheme for allegedly taking illegal kickback payments to refer patients to an Orange, N.J., medical testing facility, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Tom O’Donnell announced.

This morning, more than 65 federal and local agents and officers led by HHS-OIG arrested the 14 health care practitioners, to whom radiology and diagnostic facility Orange Community MRI (“OCM”) allegedly paid monthly cash kickback payments in exchange for their referral of Medicare and Medicaid patients to OCM for testing services.

The defendants arrested this morning are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court. OCM’s executive director, Chirag Patel, 36, of Warren, N.J., was arrested on Dec. 8, 2011, in connection with the scheme. He appeared that day before Judge Arleo and was released on a $750,000 bond.

Helen Hirsch: City’s lack of transparency leaves questions

Mayor Zimmer who, with promises of reform, has waved the banner of openness and integrity, has used every technique and opacity of secrecy in the book to hide the facts concerning the choice of the owners of the Bayonne University Medical Center as the only possible candidates as purchasers of HUMC.

When she became involved in the Hoboken Hospital Authority she did nothing to pull the raps of the organization which was established to outwit the legal requirements of a public body to make operations open to the public. She continues this code of secrecy to this day.

Hoboken University Medical Center Nurse’s Union JNESO Files Objection in Hudson Healthcare Inc Bankruptcy

JNESO, District Council 1, IUOE, AFL-CIO (“JNESO”) , the union representing nurses at Hoboken University Medical Center, filed an Objection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to the two (2) Motions filed by the Debtor,  Hudson Healthcare, Inc. (the “Hudson”)

Hoboken Reporter: Company that wants to buy Hoboken's hospital says mayor 'misrepresented' them by releasing outdated proposal to the public

As the city of Hoboken works out a bankruptcy agreement for Hoboken University Medical Center so that they may sell it to a private company called HUMC Holdco, Mayor Dawn Zimmer's detractors have said that other bidders have given proposals to buy the hospital, and that perhaps they should have been considered.

Yesterday, Mayor Dawn Zimmer released a response, saying that two of the proposals - from Jersey City Medical Center, and from a company called P3 - were not as good as the current bid from HUMC Holdco, for a variety of reasons.

Those proposals are posted on the city website.

When contacted by the Reporter, Jersey City Medical Center declined to comment. But P3 offered a comment late on Thursday afternoon.

They said that the proposal that Zimmer posted was outdated, and that unlike Holdco, they would run the facility as a nonprofit and keep it for health care "in perpetuity." Holdco has given a guarantee for seven years.

For-profit hospitals discussed in Trenton, Hearing draws testimony from Meadowlands CEO; Hoboken head absent

Hudson County hospitals were front and center at a state Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Senate subcommittee meeting on Monday that focused on for-profit hospitals in New Jersey.

The hearing came just days after allegations of bankruptcy fraud were made against Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC), and on the same day it was reported in The Star Ledger that Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus charges up to 3,000 percent higher for certain procedures by using a loophole in the medical system.

In Hudson County and across the country, failing hospitals are being bought by companies that try to turn a profit at these formerly non-profit institutions. But some worry that patient care will suffer as a result.

N.J. lawmakers seek to strengthen law requiring attorney general to oversee transfer of non-profit hospitals

Two key Democratic lawmakers are planning to strengthen a law that requires the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to oversee the transfer of non-profit hospitals.

The move comes after the proposed sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center escaped the stringent review by successfully arguing that its status as a city-run hospital exempts it from the Community Healthcare Assets Protection Act, or CHOPA.

Under the law, the attorney general’s reviews all aspects of the sale of non-profit hospital, including whether the seller is getting fair market value, ensuring conflicts of interest are disclosed, the bidding process is fair and a host of items designed to protect the public. A superior court judge must also give their final opinion on the sale.

One of the major criticisms of the Hoboken sale has been the lack of transparency. Among other items, the public has yet to see the applications of the other bidders beside the successful one — the ownership group of the Bayonne Medical Center. Council members were just provided the financial statements of the hospital Wednesday.

New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority Approves $2.5M loan to Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority

The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority has requested a $2.5 million loan from the Authority to fund the continued operations of the Hoboken University Medical Center (“HUMC”), which is currently owned by HMHA, until the planned sale of HUMC to a company known as HUMC Holdco can be completed. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of September 2011. The loan will be secured by a subordinated pledge of the Revenues of HMHA, including an $11 million State appropriation to HMHA, which will not be available to HMHA until the sale is closed. The loan will be made from the Authority’s fund balance, which is currently over $4 million.

Nurses union JNESO District Council 1 subpoena's documents from Official Committee of Secured Creditors in Hoboken hospital bankruptcy

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, JNESO District Council 1, a union representing several hundred nurses employed by the Hudson Healthcare, Inc. Debtor at the Hoboken University Medical Center, issued a subpoena to Sills Cummis & Gross P.C., counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of the Debtor.

JNESO is seeking copies of all deposition transcripts in the Bankruptcy Case and  all documents produced to the Committee by the Debtor, the Authority, the proposed purchaser of the Hospital, or the City of Hoboken.

CEO of Jersey City Medical Center is willing to buy troubled Hoboken hospital if bankruptcy negotiations collapse

The CEO of the Jersey City Medical Center has reached out to state and local officials to let them know he is still willing to buy the Hoboken University Medical Center if bankruptcy settlement negotiations falter and the proposed sale collapses.

Joe Scott, CEO of Jersey City Medical Center, said he contacted Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the state Department of Health and Senior Services Thursday morning just hours after Hoboken City Council rejected a last-minute effort to salvage negotiations.

Minutes after the vote, Zimmer said the oldest hospital in the state would close and roughly 1,300 people would lose their jobs.

"I let them know we stand ready to do whatever it takes to ensure there is a organized transition with the hospital if this deal falls apart,'' Scott said. "We have a partner willing to buy the hospital and placed a bid…We were going to lease space from them.''

Audio of Senator Weinberg's Hospital Privatization Hearing

On Monday, September 21, 2011, New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37), chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee held a hearing on the growing concerns of Hospital Privatization issues.

After reading press accounts about an attorney working for the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Arthority who said in a filed certification to the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey;

"During the period of retention, which ended on July 15,2011, I was a firsthand witness to apattern of conduct by HMHA members to intimidate, threaten, control, abuse, and attempt to force the CEO of HHI and members of the HHI Board to take actions adverse to its charter and otherwise to violate the laws of the State of New Jersey."

Weinberg requested an investigation by United States Attorney, District of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Attorney General.

U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey on behalf of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority that they are not in bankruptcy and therefore not the Debtor

The U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey on behalf of the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“the Secretary”) submitted a Federal Bankruptcy filing to apprise the Purchaser and other interested parties of the consequences surrounding the Purchaser’s acceptance of the Provider Agreement or,alternatively, the Purchaser’s rejection of any such assignment and the Secretary’s opposition to anyattempt to transfer the Hospital’s Medicare Provider Agreement without successor liability.

"Moreover, because the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (and therefore, not the Debtor) is the holder of the Medicare Provider Agreement and is not in bankruptcy, any transaction regarding the transfer of its Provider Agreement with the Secretary must take place outside the scope of this court’s jurisdiction."

In related events, more than one creditor listed by Hoboken Healthcare, Inc. Debtor have filed OBJECTION TO THE DEBTOR’S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF AN ORDER APPROVING SETTLEMENT AND COMPROMISE claiming they have a valid, binding claim directly against the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, a non-debtor, based upon a contract with the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority. 


Asleep at the switch as Hoboken University Medical Center was spending money it did not have and incorrectly assumed the city would pick up the difference.

The September 19, 2011 published headline said it all “Lawyer from Hoboken Hospital Authority says critics are wrong about events that led to hospital's bankruptcy filing.”

A lawyer with the Hoboken Hospital Authority says critics are purposefully mischaracterizing the events leading up to the bankruptcy of the city’s hospital to further their own agenda.

In the most detailed defense of allegations that the city-backed authority pushed the hospital into bankruptcy, the authority’s attorney Ken Rosen said the hospital was spending money it did not have and incorrectly assumed the city would pick up the difference.

Hoboken University Hospital creditors want more than $10M to allow for its sale

Creditors are seeking more than $10 million from Hoboken University Hospital as a part of a broad bankruptcy settlement that would allow for the sale of the cash-strapped facility, according to sources with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations. 

However, the city is reluctant to pick up the extra costs, inching the hospital closer to shutting it doors, according to sources who asked for anonymity because they did not want to disrupt ongoing negotiations.   

Officials with the creditors committee, the city and its hospital held a seven-hour negotiating session Monday in hopes of settling the bankruptcy dispute before a pivotal hearing on Thursday, according to sources.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg requests investigation of fraud allegations against Hoboken University Hospital

A state senator has asked the U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General to investigate allegations of fraud raised by the former attorney of Hoboken University Hospital before the state decides whether its pending sale can move forward.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) sent letters to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and state Attorney Paula Dow asking them to probe charges by Donald Scarinci, who resigned as the hospital’s attorney two weeks before it filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 1.

In court papers, Scarinci said he quit because the city-backed authority created to oversee the hospital withheld millions in contractual payments to help make it appear it was in duress and push it into bankruptcy. The ultimate goal, he said, was to ensure an investment group that owns the Bayonne Medical Center gets to purchase the hospital. The group wants to buy the hospital for $65 million and convert it to a private facility.

Mayor Zimmer, Criminal Allegations against Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority Require Investigation

Donald Scarinci, Esq.

To be honest, I don't give a flying fcuk who buys Hoboken University Medical Center, nor do I care about the day to day jousting between Mayor Zimmer and the Anti-Zimmer foes. 

But what really gets my attention are allegations of criminal misbehavior made by an “officer” of the Court against the Hoboken Hospital Municipal Authority with respect to their overseeing of the Hoboken University Medical Center.

Court Documents Show "Hoboken University Hospital lawyer resigned because he was afraid city was committing fraud"

The Star Ledger reported that "the attorney for Hoboken University Hospital says he resigned in July because he feared the city was committing fraud by engineering the bankruptcy of its hospital."

"During the period of retention, which ended on July 15,2011, I was a firsthand witness to a pattern of conduct by HMHA members to intimidate, threaten, control, abuse, and attempt to force the CEO of HHI and members of the HHI Board to take actions adverse to its charter and otherwise to violate the laws of the State of New Jersey."

In court documents filed September 13, 2011 by Joseph J. DiPasquale of TRENK, DIPASQUALE, WEBSTER, DELLA FERA & SODONO, P.C., Attorneys for Hudson Healthcare, Inc., Debtor,  claim "the Creditors' Committee and Donald Scarinci, Esq. concede that they met on August 25, 2011 at Scarinci & Hollenbeck's office without any notice to the Debtor and for the sole purpose of obtaining information concerning Scarinci's former client, the Debtor.   Scarinci & Hollenbeck, was the general counsel for the hospital and its board from 2009 until July 16, about two weeks before the facility filed for bankruptcy.

Hoboken University Hospital chief executive received $600K severance package weeks before bankruptcy filing

Less than three weeks before the operator of the city-owned Hoboken University Hospital filed for bankruptcy — putting millions of dollars in taxpayer money and union pension funds at risk — the hospital’s chief executive received a six-figure payout, records show.

Spiros Hatiras, 46, stepped down as chief executive on July 16 after two years on the job with a severance package that includes:

  • $600,000 in compensation,
  • full medical benefits for a year,
  • and stipulated that the hospital authority will pay all of Hatiras’s legal expenses stemming from the agreement.

Hoboken University Medical Center CEO Spiros Hatiras resigns

Spiros Hatiras has stepped down as the chief operating officer at the Hoboken University Medical Center, Hoboken Now has learned.

The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority accepted his resignation last night at a meeting, hospital spokeswoman Joan Quigley said.

Hatiras' resignation comes as the city-owned hospital is in the process of being sold to the owners of the Bayonne Medical Center.

Vinnie Riccitelli, HUMC's chief financial officer, will be interim CEO until the sale is finalized. The sale is valued at $91 million -- $25 million earmarked for capital improvements and the balance going toward paying off the hospital's debt.


The solution is so simple that the stubbornness of the Hudson County freeholders could lead people to believe there is something shady going on with a five-year, $22 million medical services contract for the county jail.

At every level, the courts have instructed the county to rebid the contract, but instead, freeholders are running up taxpayer costs by filing costly (and fruitless) appeals.


Hudson County was defeated twice in court last week over a controversial $22 million medical services contract it gave a politically connected bidder.  Wednesday a two judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division refused the county’s request to stay a previous court decision throwing out an amendment to the awarded contract.   The New Jersey Supreme Court later similarly refused to issue a stay.

Despite the consecutive court rulings, the county continues to appeal.

Real Estate Developer Admits Laundering Money for the Purpose of Making Political Contributions to a Union City Official - Mayor Brian Stack

NEWARK – Real estate developer Shimon Haber pleaded guilty today to conspiring to launder money, admitting he agreed with a cooperating witness and others to launder money for the purpose of making contributions to the political committee of a Union City official in exchange for official approvals to develop certain property in Union City, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

NOTE: The Star Ledger reported "Court filings and campaign finance reports show the money went to an election campaign associated with Mayor Brian Stack. The mayor has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has declined repeated requests to discuss the matter."

Haber, 34, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to a one-count criminal Information charging him with conspiracy to launder money to conceal and promote unlawful activity. Judge Linares continued Haber’s release on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for April 28, 2010 at 11:00a.m.

Union City developer admits money laundering role in N.J. corruption probe

A Union City developer and former partner of FBI informant and admitted scam artist Solomon Dwek admitted today to conspiring to launder money as part of the federal sting operation that led to the arrests of several mayors, rabbis and other officials last July.

Shimon Haber, 34, of Brooklyn, also acknowledged a role in attempting to funnel money into the campaign account of an unnamed Union City elected official as part of an effort to gain approvals on a major real estate project he and Dwek had been pursuing on Palisades Avenue in Union City.

Court filings and campaign finance reports show the money went to an election campaign associated with Mayor Brian Stack. The mayor has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has declined repeated requests to discuss the matter.

In lame-duck appointments, Governor Corzine nominates three Hoboken residents to state commissions, Maurice Fitzgibbons, Michael Cricco, and Scott Kisch. Who is Scott Kisch?

In the waning days of his administration, Governor Jon Corzine's office released more than 180 names for direct appointments and nominations to paid and unpaid posts.

Three Hoboken residents were on the list. 

Former Hudson County Freeholder (District-5, Hoboken) Maurice Fitzgibbons was nominated as a new appointment to the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.

Former Hoboken Councilman Michael T. Cricco was nominated for reappointment to the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.

Scott Kisch was nominated as a new appointment to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

I personally know Fitzgibbons and Cricco, but had no idea who Scott Kisch was until I came accross the following February 28, 2006 NY Times article entitled "Driven to Success."

N.J. corruption case witness joins rogue's gallery

One man ran a Mafia-controlled brokerage that fleeced investors out of millions. Another was an admitted drug user who once ordered a murder. Yet another operated a Ponzi scheme right under the nose of his employer — the U.S. government.

To that rogue's gallery of federal snitches add the name of Solomon Dwek, the failed New Jersey real estate tycoon at the center of the biggest corruption sting in the state's history.

When Dwek takes the witness stand, possibly as early as next month, the success of the government's cases against potentially dozens of defendants will hinge on whether prosecutors can persuade a jury to believe a man who recently pleaded guilty to a $23 million bank fraud.

Ex-Hoboken finance aide pleads guilty to stealing 10G from nonprofit bank account

Kathryn Kinney

Kathryn Kinney, who was employed by Bayonne accounting firm Donohue, Gironda & Doria and assigned "full-time" to the Hoboken Finance Department as a financial specialist, pleaded guilty in Monmouth County Superior Court for stealing more than $10,000 from a nonprofit organization.

Before working for Hoboken, Kinney, 42, was working as the executive director of the Poricy Park Conservancy in Middletown.

NJ Attorney General Indicts Hoboken Parking Utility Official

For Immediate Release: December 11, 2009

Office of The Attorney General
- Anne Milgram, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Director

Former Director of Hoboken Parking Utility Charged with Conspiring with Contractor to Steal More than $600,000 in Parking Meter Funds from City of Hoboken Contractor from Toms River pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.1 million

View indictment pdf

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that John P. Corea, former director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, was indicted today on charges that he conspired to steal more than $600,000 in parking meter revenue that he allegedly split with a Toms River contractor whose company was hired by the City of Hoboken to collect coins from city parking meters.

Former Hoboken Parking Utility Director John Corea indicted on $600K theft

John Corea, former director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, was indicted today on charges that he stole $600,000 from Hoboken. He is shown in January demonstrating parking in the re-opened robotic public parking garage on Garden Street in his own Corvette. The former director of the Hoboken Parking Utility has been indicted on charges he conspired to steal more than $600,000 in parking meter revenue.

State Attorney General Anne Milgram announced the indictment against John Corea, 45 of Hoboken, today.

Ex-Bergen County Democratic chair convicted in corruption trial

NEWARK -- The former chairman of one of New Jersey's most powerful Democratic party machines was convicted today in a federal corruption trial that focused on his role in a consulting business that solicited contracts in towns where he had political influence.

Joseph Ferriero was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the northern New Jersey town of Bergenfield and two counts of mail fraud. He was acquitted on five other mail fraud counts.

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano plans to plead innocent of charge

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano plans to plead innocent of charges

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano walks out of the Federal Courthouse in Newark. Cammarano, 32, a Democrat, is charged along with associate Michael Schaffer, a commissioner on the North Hudson Utilities Authority, with taking three payments of $5,000 each to push through building plans for a high-rise development in Hoboken that was being proposed by a man who turned out to be a cooperating witness for the government.

Theft allegation hits ex-Hoboken finance aide

A woman who worked as a financial specialist for a firm the city used was arrested this week for allegedly stealing more than $10,000 from a nonprofit she worked for in Monmouth County.

Before she worked in Hoboken, Kathryn Kinney, 42, was working as the executive director of the Poricy Park Conservancy in Middletown.

She is charged with stealing $10,219 from the nonprofit organization, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. Kinney allegedly took the money to stall foreclosure proceedings on her home in Bridgewater.

Kinney, 42, is charged with third-degree theft and third-degree misapplication of entrusted property.

Where are investigations heading? Fiscal monitor may stay another year, gives updates on money mistakes

Six months ago, state fiscal monitor Judy Tripodi came to Hoboken to oversee the city’s finances, in the wake of the City Council’s last-minute budget passage. Since then, she has uncovered some problems and errors in City Hall’s financial initiatives that the taxpayers may have to pay for.

As the May mayor/council election approaches and city officials jockey for attention, several city officials said last week that Tripodi may be asked by the state to extend her stay in Hoboken from August 2009 to August of 2010.

City says It was a mistake

An extensive investigation into several current and former city employees who were incorrectly receiving city health benefits has turned up some interesting names and little explanation from the administration.

State-appointed fiscal monitor Judy Tripodi confirmed the names of five individuals – including two former members of the City Council – who were sent letters by the city in October and November stating they would be removed from municipal benefits because they are no longer qualified. The city gave the individuals 30 days to object, and none did.

Both Tripodi and Mayor David Roberts blamed the situation on “oversight,” and Roberts said this sort of thing happens in every city. “One division didn’t know what the other division was doing,” he said. “I don’t want to minimize this. This and every issue will be taken seriously and handled accordingly.”

California challenge to Senator Barack Obama

A new challenge to Senator Barack Obama’s citizenship was filed November 12th in California demanding that the court stop certification of the election results until the state’s secretary of state can ascertain from Senator Obama his legal qualification to be a candidate for President. This 18 page petition is a quick read. It offers a good summary of what is at stake and the questions that surround Senator Obama’s citizenship.

A few points:

Petitioners Ambassador Dr. Alan Keyes, Dr. Wiley S. Drake, Sr., and Markham Robinson, establish their standing to file the petition as members of the American Independent Party, for which Drs. Keyes and Drake were presidential and vice-presidential candidates on California’s ballot, respectfully. (This is a technical point that doomed some other lawsuits.)

Petitioners note that Senator Obama has not provided proof of his citizenship eligibility despite repeated requests during the primary and general election campaigns.

Constitutional crisis looming over Obama's birth location

The California secretary of state should refuse to allow the state's 55 Electoral College votes to be cast in the 2008 presidential election until President-elect Barack Obama verifies his eligibility to hold the office, alleges a California court petition filed on behalf of former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and others.

The legal action today is just the latest is a series of challenges, some of which have gone as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, over the issue of Obama's status as a "natural-born citizen," a requirement set by the U.S. Constitution.

Phil Berg discusses lawsuit against Obama

Hear Savage interview Democrat attorney Philip J. Berg, former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, about his lawsuit demanding Barack Obama present his original birth certificate to prove he was born in the United States and qualified to serve as president.

Obama & DNC Admit All Allegations of Federal Court Lawsuit - Obama

Obama Should Immediately Withdraw his Candidacy for President

Philip J. Berg, Esquire, the Attorney who filed suit against Barack H. Obama challenging Senator Obama’s lack of “qualifications” to serve as President of the United States, announced today that Obama and the DNC “ADMITTED”, by way of failure to timely respond to Requests for Admissions, all of the numerous specific requests in the Federal lawsuit. Obama is “NOT QUALIFIED” to be President and therefore Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President and the DNC shall substitute a qualified candidate. The case is Berg v. Obama, No. 08-cv-04083.

Berg stated that he filed Requests for Admissions on September 15, 2008 with a response by way of answer or objection had to be served within thirty [30] days. No response to the Requests for Admissions was served by way of response or objection. Thus, all of the Admissions directed to Obama and the DNC are deemed “ADMITTED.” Therefore, Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for President.

Does Barack Obama qualify to run for President under the Constitution

Federal lawsuit claims Obama is not a US Citizen.











Plaintiff Philip J. Berg alleged that Defendant Barack Obama is not eligible for the Office of the President because Obama lost his U.S. citizenship when his mother married an Indonesian citizen and naturalized in Indonesia. Plaintiff further alleged that Obama followed her naturalization and failed to take an oath of allegiance when he turned 18 years old to regain his U.S. citizenship status.

Plaintiff:  PHILIP J. BERG 
Case Number:  2:2008cv04083 
Filed:  August 21, 2008 
Court:  Pennsylvania Eastern District Court 
Office:  Other Statutory Actions Office [ Court Info ] 
County:  Montgomery 
Nature of Suit:  Other Statutes - Other Statutory Actions 
Cause:  U.S. Government Defendant 
Jurisdiction:  U.S. Government Defendant 
Jury Demanded By:  28:2201 Injunction 

Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero indicted

Federal authorities indicted Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph Ferriero and the party’s chief counsel, Dennis Oury, today.

A federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment accusing Ferriero and Oury, who was fired as the Bergenfield borough attorney in January, of conspiracy to commit fraud against the borough and mail fraud.

“I am done being surprised in this job,” U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said. “We’ve had these conversations before about others we’ve prosecuted ... for some reason, greed and power seem to corrupt them and overcome what otherwise might be good sense and good decision-making.”

The indictment charges that in December 2001, Ferriero and Oury conceived of a plan to form a company called Government Grants Consulting LLC that would be paid by Bergen County towns to assist them in obtaining state and local grant monies. According to the indictment, Ferriero indicated that Government Grants would be successful because he could use his “influence” to help the municipalities “get a better result.”

Hoboken Titanic hits a financial iceberg, standby as the Administration and City Council rearrange the deck chairs

At the February 20, 2008 City Council Meeting, Hoboken resident/former Hoboken CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Michael Lenz addressed the City Council about the present CFO's duties/responsibilities in comparison to a few years ago when Lenz was the CFO.

Lenz said that in today's Finance Department, much of the financial workload has been contracted out to a private accounting firm.  This has resulted in less work for the present CFO.  The cost of the yearly accounting contract increased this year from $ 300,000.00 to $ 324,000.00 per year to cover the additional cost of managing the Hoboken Parking Utility finances.
In response to Lenz's statements, Hoboken Council President Councilwoman Theresa Castellano made it quite clear that.......  

Is Union City Mayor Brian Stack the Target of a Federal Criminal Probe????

Is Union City Mayor Brian Stack the Target of a Federal Criminal Probe????

Thursday, October 4, 2007

This just in......

Is Union City Mayor Brian Stack the Target of a Federal Criminal Probe????

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Union City Mayor Brian Stack received a letter from US Attorney General Christopher J. Christie advising that the Mayor was a TARGET of a criminal investigtation.....

Repeat, this is an unconfirmed report from a past reliable source.

More to follow....

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Acording to those who attended this past Thursday nights HCDO fundraiser.....  Stack , the "TARGET LETTER" and Stack's replacement were the hot topic of the night.

Unrelated sources are now saying that Stack received the "TARGET LETTER"......

Is it rumor? Is it wishful thinking by Stack's political enemies? 


 What is a Target Letter and what does it mean????

Corruption on the run in N.J.

The crimes have been outrageous -- like the Port Authority commissioner who admitted trying to silence a witness by setting him up with a prostitute and secretly taping their tryst. Or the judge who traveled to Russia to film himself having sex with a teenage boy.

They've also been mundane, like the MVC workers who ran their own driver's license mill.

But the list of government officials and employees arrested by federal agents in New Jersey the past several years shows a spectrum of public servants -- from state senators to building inspectors -- who authorities said were eager to sell their offices for cash.

For U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, it's a never-ending well.

"Our approach is that there really is no act of corruption too small," said Christie, in an interview with The Record.

Corzine signs bills to clean-up politics

Corzine signs bills to clean-up politics

SEPTEMBER 4, 2007 Star Ledger

Surrounded by applauding members of the Senate and Assmbly, Governor Jon Corzine holds up one of four ethics bills after signing them into law at the Marlboro Public Library this afternoon.

Corzine signs anti-corruption bills amid criticism

Despite claims from critics who said it wasn't tough enough, Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday signed legislation barring lawmakers elected after Feb. 1 from holding more than one elected office in New Jersey.

The bill was among four measures signed by Corzine that Democrats hope will highlight their efforts to combat public corruption. Corzine signed the bills in the 12th Legislative District, a key battleground in this fall's elections.

Democrats are looking to retain legislative control in the fall vote. They control the Assembly 50-30 and the Senate 22-18.

The ban affects only officials elected after Feb. 1, meaning the 17 legislators and other local officials who hold more than one elected office can retain their seats until they either give them up or lose re-election.

"We're reduced to saying it's better than nothing," said Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth. However, Beck said the ban doesn't fix the current "moral and ethical cesspool in Trenton."

Federal probe of Menendez is far from dead

It was nearly a year ago, during the heat of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's election campaign, when federal investigators caused an uproar by issuing a subpoena for records of a real estate deal Menendez made.

The investigation yielded no criminal charges, and by the start of summer Menendez's attorneys asked federal prosecutors to declare him exonerated.

Not only was that request ignored, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting, but in recent weeks new subpoenas went out, delving into other matters involving the Hudson County Democrat.

Lynch sentenced to 39 months in prison

A federal judge this morning sentenced former state Senator John Lynch to 39 months in prison for taking kickbacks from a developer, a move that will put one of the most influential political figures in New Jersey in recent years behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler said he hoped that other public officials in New Jersey "will get the message" as he meted out the punishment in federal court in Newark, three months after the longtime Democratic boss from Middlesex County pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion.

Ex-congressman may go to 'Club Fed' if he's lucky

Trading up to a Rancho Santa Fe mansion helped get former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham into trouble. Now, it looks like he'll have to trade down to a barracks he'll share with 100 other men.

Instead of 10 armoires, Cunningham's belongings will have to fit in a locker.

And he can say goodbye to sleigh beds. In his new residence, he'll have to heave himself onto a thin mattress on the top bunk, where the new guys always get stuck.

State attorney general says rooting out corruption takes time

State Attorney General Stuart Rabner, who has promised to slay the public-corruption dragon, on Wednesday revealed his view of how to snare such targets: "You catch a lot of frogs before you've got a prince."

Rabner, seven weeks and a day into his job, told reporters that indicting public officials takes time, with good and not-so-good leads, followed by investigations and eventual cases.

State Police told to focus on graft

Attorney General Stuart Rabner has asked the State Police to join the fight against public cor ruption by having troopers in their organized crime bureau focus on developing cases, tripling the number of investigators sniffing out crooked pols.

"The key to it all is building a more stable base of leads," Rabner said during a sit-down with reporters yesterday in his Hughes Justice Complex office in Trenton. "The first stop for me ... is the State Police."

Menendez hires top lawyer in rent case Spokesman still says senator 'is not under investigation'

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D- N.J.) has repeatedly denied he is being investigated by federal prosecutors, but yesterday his campaign staff confirmed that a prominent criminal defense lawyer is representing him in an inquiry into a rental property he once owned.

Marc Elias is a Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in criminal defense and election law and has been representing Menen dez's campaign in recent years. After federal investigators subpoeaned records in September re garding a rental deal Menendez had with a nonprofit agency he helped get federal funds, Elias noti fied the U.S. Attorney's Office he was representing the senator in the matter.

Menendez: Lawyer's query to U.S. attorney prompts a new salvo from Kean

Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. yesterday questioned why Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez would enlist the services of one the state's top defense lawyers if he isn't under a federal criminal investigation.

Menendez has said the lawyer, Joseph Hayden, contacted the U.S. attorney around the time a subpoena was issued for records from a federally funded nonprofit agency that paid more than $300,000 to rent a row house that Menendez owned in Union City.

Menendez: Union City doctor alleges Menendez shakedown

Less than two weeks before the election, Union City psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval yesterday filed court papers accusing U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of shaking him down for political contributions and jobs for others in exchange for "protection" of the doctor's county contracts.

The accusations were included in a request to add Menendez as a defendant in Sandoval's countersuit against Hudson County. The county, in a wide-ranging civil complaint filed in January, claims Sandoval received lucrative contracts at the county jail and psychiatric hospital after bribing former County Executive Robert Janis zewski, who is now in prison.

Ethics panel implodes

The first meeting in more than a year of a special committee set up to police ethics in the Legislature collapsed into an eye-gouging, name-calling political brawl this morning.

"This is a dictatorship; this is not a democracy here," Assemblyman Peter Biondi, (R-Somerset) complained as Democrats on the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards pressed forward with a vote to make former state Labor Commissioner Ray Bramucci, chairman.

Let citizens present corruption cases, high court urged They should be allowed to bypass prosecutors, 2 lawyers say

TRENTON — Two public interest lawyers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow ordinary citizens to bypass prosecutors and present evidence of political corruption directly to a grand jury.

The appeal stems from the so-called Palmyra tapes case — allegations of extortion and bribery, raised against South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross and others, by Palmyra Mayor John Gural and Palmyra solicitor Ted Rosenberg.

Gural and Rosenberg joined the appeal that was announced Wednesday.

Bryant: U.S. attorney subpoenas legislative records on Bryant

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The U.S. Attorney's Office has subpoenaed legislative records related to Sen. Wayne Bryant in what appears to be a widening investigation into the influential lawmaker.

Leon Sokol, attorney for the Senate Democrats, said the subpoena was received by the Legislature's Office of Legislative Services.

He confirmed it seeks information on Bryant, but declined to discuss specifics because it involves a grand jury investigation.

The Good Right Arm of Robert Menendez

The Good Right Arm of Robert Menendez
October 12, 2006  Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

In New Jersey's political whirl, one day you're in and the next day you're out. Sometimes it works in reverse-- prison doors swing both ways.

Over the past several years scores of the state's politicians and public contractors have been indicted and/or convicted on corruption charges. Others balance on the edge of legal dodges, insufficient evidence, or are blessed with stellar connections. A consistent theme is graft (either the crass cash-stuffed-envelope variety, or more genteel political contributions) in exchange for career advancement, public contracts, and development deals. The latter often funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Transportation (DOT). Both Democrats and Republicans join in the jamboree. No region of the state, be it urban or suburban, has proved crook-free.

menendez: Embattled Bryant at rally for Menendez. Observer calls it "a huge miscalculation"

CAMDEN — U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez campaigned in Camden on Thursday, sharing the stage with an entourage that included U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat who is a rising star within the national party, and embattled state Sen. Wayne Bryant.

Appearing with Bryant was "a shocking mistake," said Jill Hazelbaker, spokeswoman for Republican candidate Thomas H. Kean Jr.

Menendez has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to provide details of a lease agreement he signed with a nonprofit group that he helped get federal aid.

And Now The Legislature Is Targeted

Bob Ingle Blog
Saturday, October 07, 2006

And Now The Legislature Is Targeted

U. S. Attorney Chris Christie's office has asked the Office of Legislative Services how subpoenaes can properly be served on lawmakers in Trenton. Looks like Christie's net is spreading.

Perhaps he has in mind a RICO indictment for the entire bunch. That would be a perp walk no one would want to miss -- all of 'em led out of the Statehouse in cuffs to the cheers of thousands.
posted by Bob Ingle at 11:04 AM

Ed Mecka Comments:  Earlier today, Bob Ingle's story was confirmed to me by a highly placed state official. 

The NJ State Attorney General and the Federal Attorney General are working together on this corruption investigation.

I have provided a brief overview of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act , also known as R.I.C.O., for educational purposes only.  

Bryant: Federal authorities join state in probe of state senator

Legal scrutiny of state Sen. Wayne Bryant's mixing of business and politics is broadening with new state and federal subpoenas issued this week, according to published reports.

Bryant, a Democrat, resigned his post as chairman of the state Senate's powerful budget committee after a federal monitor's report earlier in the month found that he had held a no-work, $38,000-a-year job for the University of Medicine and Dentistry.

Menendez's building: The story doesn't measure up

A house is the most costly thing that most people will ever buy, so most of us tend to pay close attention to all transactions surrounding homeownership. In 1984, for example, I bought my first house, a bungalow in Toms River. I still recall the purchase price, the initial mortgage payment and the fee I paid my lawyer.

So I find myself wondering how an intelligent person could go through a real-estate transaction of any sort and have no memory of it. Yet that seems to be the case with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. In a recent Star-Ledger article about that Union City rowhouse he once owned and that is now the subject of a federal investigation, a spokesman for the Menendez campaign claimed the senator has no recollection of whether he got a crucial variance in 1988 that would have permitted it to be rented out for commercial rather than residential use.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Two more plead in Atlantic City corruption case

An Atlantic City corruption scandal widened Wednesday as one current and one former city council member each pleaded guilty to attempted extortion.

Councilman Ramon Rosario pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to an attempted extortion charge, admitting he took $14,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as a Wall Street financier and from an FBI informant who wanted to win city contracts.

Gibb Jones, who resigned his city council seat in August, pleaded to similar charges, admitting he took more than $5,000 from unidentified businessmen between 2003 and January 2006 in exchange for help getting city contracts.

Menendez: BOB WIPES MUD OUT OF HIS EYES Rips Kean's 'campaign of smear'

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez slammed the campaign of his Republican challenger, Tom Kean Jr., yesterday for enlisting disgraced former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski in what he called a "campaign of smear."

"I think it speaks volumes of Tom Kean Jr.'s campaign," said Menendez, referring to published reports that a researcher for the Kean campaign struck up a pen-pal relationship with Janiszewski, who's serving time in Kentucky prison for extortion, in the hopes of dredging up dirt about Menendez.

Menendez can do little wrong at home in Hudson, poll shows

The race between Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and Republican challenger Thomas Kean Jr. may be a dead heat across the state, but in Hudson County the hometown favorite is way ahead, according to a recent Jersey Journal/ New Jersey City University poll.

The poll shows Menendez - who grew up in Union City and now lives in Hoboken - with a near 3-to-1 lead in Hudson County over his opponent.

Bryant: Another no-show job for S. Jersey's Bryant? He sent staff from his law firm to argue cases on child support in his stead, court workers say.

New Jersey State Sen. Wayne Bryant, already under federal investigation and accused of holding a no-show job at a state university, is racking up lucrative pension credits for another taxpayer-funded job he doesn't always do.

Bryant earns nearly $60,000 as a lawyer for the Gloucester County Board of Social Services. One of his key responsibilities is to represent the board in child-support cases in Family Court.

Business: Jersey-style

THEY WERE TWO Jersey guys, talking on the phone. Oscar and Donald. Psychiatrist and lawyer. An odd couple if ever there was one.

Oscar begins by asking Donald about a recent vacation trip.

"It was good. It was real nice," Donald says.

He goes on to note that he is "very happy" and "very, very content" -- and then, with a laugh, Donald adds one more thing:

"But I'm back to reality."

The odd reality of psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval and attorney Donald Scarinci, captured on tape in February 1999, may actually determine who New Jersey's next U.S. senator will be.

Bryant: State AG launches inquiry into Bryant and Camden redevelopment aid

The [New Jersey State] Attorney General's Office has opened its own investigation into Sen. Wayne Bryant, the embattled Camden County lawmaker accused by a federal monitor of ordering the state's medical university to give him a no-show job.

State prosecutors sent a subpoena to the city of Camden last Monday seeking the financial records of a neighborhood redevelopment plan for which Bryant helped secure millions of dollars in state funding in 2003.

Bryant: Ex-official: Bryant used weight to get Rutgers job

CAMDEN — State Sen. Wayne R. Bryant, who stepped down Monday from a key legislative post amid an ethics scandal, pressured Rutgers officials for a job and a berth in the university\'s Hall of Distinguished Alumni, a former university board member said.

The Camden County Democrat, an alumnus of the School of Law at Rutgers-Camden, was hired by the university in 2002 and inducted as a distinguished alumnus in 2005.

Corzine asks CRDA to oust its attorney

TRENTON:  Gov. Jon S. Corzine wants the man [Scarinci] at the center of the latest scandal involving U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to step down from his role as attorney for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Donald Scarinci, a longtime fundraiser and ally to Menendez, was caught on tape telling a psychiatrist that Menendez would afford him protection if he rehired a doctor he had fired a year before. The psychiatrist, FBI informant Oscar Sandoval, claims the 1999 conversation intended to send a message ”delivered on behalf of Menendez that Sandoval would lose his government contracts if he did not rehire the doctor.

Menendez: Discord over secret tape growing in Senate race

Partisan opponents in the U.S. Senate race escalated their charges Friday as the race continued veering toward the negative some five weeks before Election Day.

Democratic supporters of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez accused Republicans of engaging in an unabashed campaign of "mudslinging" to avoid discussing serious national issues.

Republican backers of GOP challenger Tom Kean Jr. asked the state Attorney General's Office to investigate the connection between Menendez and a powerful North Jersey attorney, two days after the release of secretly taped conversations that have rocked the campaign.

FBI INFORMANT: Lobs 1999 ethics accusation at Sen. Menendez RACE GETS ROUGHER

TRENTON — The campaign of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., was once again dogged by ethics accusations Thursday after an FBI informant released audiotapes of Menendez adviser Donald Scarinci pressuring the informant — in Menendez's name — to rehire a former employee or risk losing $1 million in Hudson County contracts.

Union City psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval, 55, says he was pressured in 1999 by Scarinci to hire a doctor, Vicente Ruiz. In a recorded conversation, Scarinci told Sandoval that Menendez, then a congressman representing Hudson County, would consider it "a favor." Failure to do so would result in "the law of the jungle" prevailing, Scarinci said.

• Sandoval Speaks For Himself


Menendez uproar stirs speculation As the senator's backers lash at critics, the GOP suggests he'll leave race

For the second time this month, ethical questions rocked the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, as Democrats rolled out the Gatling guns to take aim at critics of Sen. Robert Menendez and Republicans fanned talk of the senator dropping out of the race.

The frenetic state of the campaign came after yesterday's disclosure that Menendez's longtime friend and fund-raiser Donald Scarinci was secretly taped asking a psychiatrist with government contracts in Hudson County to hire a doctor as a "favor" to Menendez.

Menendez linked on tape to gov't contracts scheme

WASHINGTON (AP) — A childhood friend and close political adviser of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez used the senator's name to pressure a doctor to share his county government contract, and the doctor believed some of the money would be kicked back to Menendez, according to a transcript of the telephone call and court documents. Menendez campaign spokesman Matthew Miller called the allegations "completely false."

The transcript of the 1999 conversation, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, depicts an expletive- and chuckle-laden chat between Donald Scarinci, Menendez's friend and adviser, and Oscar Sandoval, a psychiatrist who taped the exchange as part of his work as an FBI informant in a criminal investigation of several northern New Jersey politicians.

Menendez: Audio: Tape adds to Menendez ethics debate

The following conversation was tape recorded by Dr. Oscar Sandoval, a North Jersey psychiatrist and former FBI informant, with lawyer Donald Scarinci in early 1999.

In it, Scarinci tells Sandoval that then U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez, now a member of the U.S. Senate, wanted him to hire a psychiatrist named Vicente Ruiz. Sandoval said the conversation amounted to a veiled threat. The implication was that he might lose his county contracts if he did not go along.

He also tells Sandoval that Hudson County government will not increase payments to cover the new position.

In this excerpt, Scarinci tells Sandoval that Menendez would consider it a favor if he hired Ruiz.

Scarinci says he got involved in the matter at Menendez's request.

Scarinci tells Sandoval that hiring the doctor will afford "protection." Sandoval has said that Scarinci was implying that he could protect his contracts with Hudson County if he hired the doctor.

Listening notes: To listen to this clip, you'll need one of these media players installed on your computer:

(free download)

Windows Media Player
(free download)

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer  9/27/06

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Tapes could be trouble for Menendez

The psychiatrist at the center of recent Hudson County corruption cases recorded U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez's close ally invoking the powerful Democrat's name while pressuring the doctor to divvy up county contracts, he and several others said Wednesday.

Dr. Oscar Sandoval, who bribed and then helped imprison a former county executive, said he made tapes that back up his earlier allegations that attorney and Menendez friend Donald Scarinci ordered him to share his county jail contracts with another physician, or else lose them.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Menendez dumps key adviser caught on tape seeking 'favors'

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's closest political adviser was secretly recorded seven years ago boasting of political power and urging a Hudson county contractor to hire somone as a favor to Menendez, according to a transcript obtained by The Star-Ledger.

Menendez's campaign said last night he had severed his ties with the adviser, Donald Scarinci, after learning of the taped conversation. The two men were childhood friends and Scarinci, a prominent attorney with extensive contracts in state and local governments, has been a key fundraiser for the senator throughout his long political career.

Corzine reins in state's agencies. GOP urges vote on ethics reforms

With ethics clouds swirling once again over New Jersey's political scene, Gov. Corzine signed an executive order Monday to reform the state's independent authorities, which he said make up an "invisible government" that spends billions of dollars each year with little oversight.

Meanwhile, Assembly Republicans reiterated their 11-point ethics reform plan and called for support from the Democratic Party majority that controls the Legislature.


Jim McGreevey may have blabbed too much in his tell-all autobiography - and not just about his sex life.

It's "not inconceivable" that the gay former gov's confessions about New Jersey's notorious "pay-to-play" politics and his ties to a parade of corrupt power players could get him criminally prosecuted, a corruption expert told The Post.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Bryant out as budget chairman over ethics concerns

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Influential state Sen. Wayne Bryant, accused of having a no-work job with a state medical school he helped get millions in taxpayer dollars, has stepped down as chair of the Senate budget committee amid increasing pressure from Legislative leaders.

Senate President Richard J. Codey announced Bryant\'s removal early Monday afternoon, a week after a federal monitor appointed to look into possible Medicare and Medicaid fraud at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found the school created a job for Bryant in 2003.

All Trenton is shocked (Shocked!) at Bryant

Maybe Sen. Gerald Cardinale was joking this week when he demanded that Democrats convene the Legislature's ethics committee to investigate Sen. Wayne Bryant's no-show job.

That committee has not met once this year. It has no chairman. It has no schedule. It is a tired old watchdog that snores while burglars climb in the window.

A statewide ethics standard The Legislature must make sure stringent rules apply at every level of government

The screaming headlines of political corruption, using public office for private gain, and campaign mudslinging that plays the ethics card for political gain make plain yet again that ethics reform must remain the cornerstone of any hope for restoring the public trust.

WOOING HUDSON McGreevey's 'Confession' paints colorful pictures of Janiszewski, Byrne

Instead a wearing a wire taped to his body, Hudson County's disgraced former county executive, Robert Janiszewski, carried a tape recorder for federal agents in his Doberman pinscher's collar.

Janiszewski's best friend and bagman, the late Paul Byrne, spent his 50th birthday in the Dominican Republic, where his friends rented him an entire whorehouse.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Westlake to quit after guilty plea, Facing prison sentence for tax evasion,

DEVELOPER: Facing prison sentence for tax evasion, he's giving up tax board post, paying to retain health insurance.  On Friday, Westlake admitted that in 2000 he took $350,000 in payments from his company, Alma Ltd. in Tinton Falls, but did not declare the money on his federal taxes. He is expected to be sentenced Dec. 19 to 10 to 16 months in prison as part of a plea agreement.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Governor to Bryant: Step aside

Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday called for Sen. Wayne Bryant to step down as head of the powerful Budget and Appropriations Committee, amid charges that the influential South Jersey legislator steered millions in funding to the state's scandal-ridden medical university after he was given a no-show job.

New Jersey Limits Ticket Appeals by Not Answering Phone

Bergen County, New Jersey has come up with a new way to win parking ticket appeals -- the courthouse just doesn't answer the phone. Callers to the Central Municipal Court, which rakes in $4 million a year in parking fines, are greeted with an automated menu. Those who press "1" to speak to someone about fighting a ticket hear a recording telling them the website where the ticket can be paid. Then, after the phone rings a few times, another automated message says:

"Due to the high volume of calls, all our lines are presently busy. Please call back."

GOP and governor decry 'culture of corruption' 'Deeply disturbed' Corzine says 'we need to get our house in order'

The fall of a one-time Senate president and longtime Democratic powerbroker rocked New Jersey's political establishment yesterday and brought calls from Republican leaders and the Democratic governor for cleaning up a "culture of corruption."

Shortly after John Lynch pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to fraud and tax evasion, Gov. Jon Corzine said he was "deeply disturbed by the breach of public faith, public trust."

"We need to get our house in order," the governor said. "This is a pretty positive step in that direction."

NJ Corruption Glance

The guilty pleas to tax evasion and fraud Friday of former state Senate President John Lynch are just the latest instances of corruption to hit New Jersey, a state that has had more than a few high-profile officials and others disgraced in recent years, including the mayors of Camden and Paterson. A partial list:

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Power broker Lynch to admit corruption Guilty plea by ex-Senate president expected to short-circuit federal graft probe

Former state Sen. John Lynch, the brash legislator who for two decades was a dominant force in New Jersey politics, is scheduled to plead guilty this morning to federal corruption charges, according to a knowledgeable source who has been briefed on the planned proceeding.

Such a plea would bring a sudden and extraordinary halt to an 18-month investigation just days before prosecutors were expected to seek an indictment against the Democratic Party leader and onetime Senate president.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: Sources: Democratic Party boss John Lynch to plead guilty to corruption charges in federal court

The Beginning of the End....

Democratic Party boss John Lynch to plead guilty to corruption charges in federal court

Democratic Party boss John Lynch is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court, Newark tomorrow apparently to plead guilty to corruption charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark tonight issued a terse statement saying a "political figure'' would appear before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler at 11 a.m. and that the figure was of statewide interest. But the same memo said no comments would be issued on that person's identity.

WNBC television in New York on its Web site tonight said Lynch, a former state Senate president, is about to plead guilty to corruption charges and his lawyers are working on a deal for Lynch.

A source with close knowledge of the investigation confirmed that report.

Christie calls Lynch plea end of era

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie called the guilty plea of former state Sen. John Lynch the end of an era.

At a press conference earlier today after Lynch pled guilty to corruption charges, Christie praised prosecutors and FBI and IRS agents for their work in the investigation that brought down one of the state's best-known political power brokers.

"Today, an era of corruption and influence peddling for personal profit has been put to an end," he said.

New Jersey Switcheroo

For pure entertainment value, not much can compete with the blood sport of New Jersey politics. Last week federal investigators launched a probe into whether U.S. Senator Robert Menendez illegally benefited to the tune of more than $300,000 from a rental-income deal he had with a nonprofit agency that received millions of dollars in federal contracts. Even liberal good government groups agree that the relationship may have violated congressional conflict-of-interest rules.

Menendez: Menendez faces complaint about actions as a shareholder

Two Republican state lawmakers filed a formal ethics complaint yesterday, accusing U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of using his previous seat in Congress to protect the value of a stock he owned.

Federal "Target of Investigation" Letter

Caution: The following is provided for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.

Sample Federal Target Letter

This letter is supplied to a witness scheduled to appear before the federal Grand Jury . Here is some helpful background information about the Grand Jury process.

The Grand Jury consists of from sixteen to twenty-three persons from the District of New Jersey. It is their responsibility to inquire into federal crimes which may have been committed in this District.

As a Grand Jury witness you will be asked to testify and answer questions, and to produce records and documents. Only the members of the Grand Jury, attorneys for the United States and a stenographer are permitted in the Grand Jury room while you testify.

Menendez defends himself, denounces timing of probe. Democrat sees 'orchestrated' smear campaign

Facing a federal investigation just two months before his election, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez offered a fiery defense of his honor yesterday and accused the U.S. Attorney of engaging in an "orchestrated" smear campaign to destroy him.

Menendez also faced new questions about the rental deal that triggered the investigation. He has said the House Ethics Committee gave him verbal clearance for the arrangement in 1994, but that there is no written record of the conversation. Yesterday, for the first time, he offered the name of the lawyer he said he consulted: Mark Davis.

However, according to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill publication, Davis left the ethics committee in 1993. Davis died last year.

Bribes, Payoffs, Politics: GOP state senator alleges Menendez violated House ethics rule

TRENTON, N.J. - A Republican state lawmaker alleged Thursday that Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez violated ethics rules by trying to block a merger involving a company in which he holds stock.

State Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington, said she planned to file a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee early next week. Menendez served in the House for 14 years before being appointed in January by Gov. Jon Corzine to serve out the remaining year of his Senate term.

Bribes, Payoffs, and Politics: Feds subpoena records of Menendez rental deal

Federal investigators have subpoenaed records of a rental deal between U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and a non-profit agency in Union City, launching a criminal investigation that is sure to rock New Jersey’s hotly contested Senate race.

Senator uses forum to grill schools chief. Cardinale asks about political patronage in Union City

The Union City schools superintendent expected laudatory questions from a property tax committee Tuesday about his model of an urban school district, but instead he found himself insulated from questions about whether there is political patronage spending in the school system.

Union City Superintendent Stanley M. Sanger told the property tax committee looking at school funding how Abbott vs. Burke aid has helped his district improve test scores, hire more staff and transform itself from being on the verge of a state takeover to receiving widespread accolades.

Shortly afterward, committee member state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, fired off questions about whether Sanger has hired those with political connections in a district that receives at least 75 percent of its $187 million budget from the state.