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Six New Jersey Democrats Side with Terrorist and Call for ICE Official’s Removal

Bill Pascrell

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paterson NJ, If you can’t will and argument yell “racism” . Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) wrote a letter to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Ronald Vitiello, siding with terrorist demanding the removal of New Jersey ICE office spokesperson Emilio Karim Dabul after what they claim are disturbing news reports surfaced of Dabul’s connections to “Islamophobic groups”.

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New Jersey PBA Condemns NFL for , continuing disrespect for American police officers


Dear Commissioner Goodell,

Your league is at it again. On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), I am writing to you to condemn in the strongest possible terms the continuing disrespect for American police officers evinced by many of the NFL’s players.

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Fed’s Establish Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ,  Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division today announced the formation of the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force (Regional Strike Force), a joint law enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the Health Care Fraud Unit in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division’s Fraud Section (HCF Unit), the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as well as law enforcement partners at the FBI, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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Essex Executive Calls on Murphy to Restore 2 Percent Salary Cap

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ, Essex County Executive Democrat Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. today called upon Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin to work together and re-enact the 2 percent on annual salary increases for police officers and firefighters that are awarded through arbitration. First adopted at the behest of Governor Chris Christie in 2011 and renewed in 2014, it sunset on December 31, 2017.

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Previously Convicted Bank Robber Thwarted By Law Enforcement During Cedar Grove Bank Robbery Attempt



the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Cedar Grove  NJ,  A Hoboken man was arrested today while allegedly trying to rob a Cedar Grove bank, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Frank Meletti, 53, is charged by complaint with one count of attempted bank robbery. He will appear in Newark federal court at a later date.
According to the complaint:

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Trenton Begins To Face The Fiscal Calamity Facing New Jersey


August 10,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  The blue ribbon panel created by the Legislature to develop reforms that address the state’s most challenging fiscal problems issued a series of far-reaching recommendations today that will help to avert crisis conditions, maintain fiscal stability, reduce the costs of government and allow the state to support vital needs and services.

Established under the direction of legislative leaders, the 25-member Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup devoted seven months of focused work that produced the recommended ways to address soaring pension and benefit costs, hold down property taxes, make school districts and government more efficient, assess the equity of the tax structure, and ameliorate the negative impact of the federal tax law, among other needs.

“New Jersey faces a series of fiscal and economic challenges that threaten to undermine our ability to address the needs of our residents and invest in the programs and services that will move the state forward,” said Senator Sweeney, (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It’s no secret that New Jersey continues to struggle with inefficiencies at all levels of government that result in higher costs and reduced services. We confront an unsustainable legacy pension and benefit costs that will make it all but impossible to meet our priorities, including full funding of public schools, expanding preschool and making New Jersey more affordable for families, senior citizens, and businesses. We have to be willing to take the actions needed to maintain fiscal stability and promote economic responsibility.”

Working under the bipartisan leadership of Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, Senator Steve Oroho and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, the group of economists, tax experts and fiscal experts from academia and the public and private sectors, the workgroup’s suggestions cover five categories:

  1. Pension & Benefit Reform
  2. Education Reform at the Administrative Level
  3. County & Municipal Government Reform and Shared Services
  4. State and Local Government Tax Structure
  5. Leveraging Assets to Stabilize the Pension System

“We assembled a group of prominent and accomplished experts who devoted their hard work in developing a series of serious recommendations that are intended to address the state’s fiscal challenges,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen). “The report provides a blueprint of ideas that are intended to be thought provoking. They will be the subject of further discussions, debate and consideration. We will work to determine which ones will best serve the needs of the state and which ones we will follow through on. I thank the members for their important contributions.”

The workgroup reassessed the fairness, adequacy, efficiency and affordability of the state’s current revenue structure across all levels of government and reexamined the delivery of government services to develop its findings and recommendations.

“The problems that New Jersey faces today with unfunded pension liabilities and growing healthcare costs for public employees are no surprise to anyone, with our state’s challenges clearly highlighted by both the Benefits Review Task Force that Phil Murphy chaired in 2005 and by the Byrne/Healey Commission in 2015,” said Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24). “Unfortunately, the modest reforms enacted to date have only slowed the pace of our downward spiral, and we soon face the additional burden of a massive Cadillac tax under the ACA if we do nothing to reduce health benefit costs further. It’s our responsibility to both taxpayers and public employees to address this situation honestly and with political fortitude. It’s clear that bold reforms are necessary to fix the structural deficiencies that threaten the financial future of every New Jerseyan.”

The report’s recommendations, in their entirety, represent the consensus of the assembled experts.

“These recommendations create a path to make New Jersey fiscally responsible,” said former Senator Raymond Lesniak, who served on the panel. “The fiscal crisis facing the state requires a full court press to move forward on the recommendations which will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government.”




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Former Convergex Global Markets CEO Pleads Guilty For Role In Securities And Wire Fraud Scheme

August 9,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Short Hills NJ, The former Chief Executive Officer of ConvergEx Global Markets Limited (CGM Limited) pleaded guilty this afternoon in Newark federal court for his role in a scheme to commit securities and wire fraud from 2006 through 2011.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito of the District of New Jersey, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) made the announcement.

Anthony Blumberg, 53, of Short Hills, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to Count One of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2018.

According to court documents, CGM Limited was a wholly owned subsidiary of ConvergEx Group LLC (ConvergEx Group). As part of his plea today, Blumberg admitted that clients placed orders to buy or sell securities with G-Trade Services LLC and ConvergEx Limited, subsidiaries of ConvergEx Group that offered global trading services to clients, which in turn routed orders to CGM Limited. Blumberg also admitted that Traders at CGM Limited executed the orders and sometimes added a “spread,” (a mark-down on the sale of a security or a mark-up on the purchase of a security) to the prices they had obtained for non-fiduciary clients.

To hide the fact that spread had been taken, on several occasions from 2007 to 2011, Blumberg and traders acting under his direction, acting in response to requests by clients for information that could reveal the existence of spread, sent false reports (known as “time and sales reports”) to these clients. The false time and sales reports contained fabricated details regarding the individual transactions, or “fills,” executed during the course of a day to complete a client’s orders, including false information concerning the number of shares involved in a fill, the time at which the fill was executed, and the price at which shares were either purchased or sold.

Blumberg also admitted that he and his conspirators agreed to violate a client’s instructions to provide real-time transactional data through an immediate data feed with details of trades that CGM Limited executed for the client by providing “batch fills” that hid the actual information the client sought.

Blumberg is the fourth individual to plead guilty as a result of the investigation into ConvergEx Group and CGM Limited’s practices. On Dec. 18, 2013, CGM Limited pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud before Judge Linares. On the same day, ConvergEx Group entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. Collectively, the two ConvergEx entities paid $43.8 million in criminal penalties and restitution.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Washington, D.C. and New York offices of the USPIS. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Gary A. Winters and Assistant Chief Justin D. Weitz of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark. The Department appreciates the substantial assistance of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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NJ Attorney General Forces Company to Pay Ex-Worker with Sleep Apnea for Failing to Reinstate Him Despite Medical Clearance

August 9,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division on Civil Rights announced today that a New Jersey trucking company must pay an ex-employee with sleep apnea $30,000 to resolve allegations it fired the man despite repeated medical examinations certifying him as fit for duty.

P. Judge & Sons, Inc., a trucking company located in Essex County, must pay former employee R.B. $15,000 to cover lost wages and another $15,000 for alleged pain and suffering. R.B. – the ex-employee’s name is being withheld to protect his medical privacy – worked as a yard switcher at the P. Judge & Sons facility in Port Newark. Among other duties, he conducted vehicle inspections, maintained the yard and emptied containers and trailers from the yard to the loading docks.

“This case should serve as a reminder to employers across New Jersey that our Law Against Discrimination prevents disability discrimination, and we are committed to ensuring those rights are protected,” said Attorney General Grewal. “In the face of repeated certifications of fitness for duty by licensed medical professionals, employers simply do not have authority to impose their own, uninformed biases and terminate a person with a disability.”
In March 2015, R.B. underwent a physical exam required periodically for workers in his job by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The exam resulted in a diagnosis of sleep apnea, and R.B. was placed on medical leave. R.B. then began treatment for his apnea and later underwent a physical examination at Concentra Medical Center – the company’s medical provider – in Newark. As a result of the physical, R.B. was issued a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) clearing him to return to his job. The MEC was valid for one month, and R.B. was instructed to continue treatment for his apnea after resuming work.

Despite the MEC clearing him to return, R.B. was denied reinstatement. Allegedly, his supervisor told R.B. that he needed an MEC valid for at least three months. However, after R.B. underwent a subsequent physical examination and obtained an MEC valid for three months, he was again denied reinstatement.

After seven months of being out of work – and repeated denials of reinstatement despite two MECs declaring him fit – R.B. filed a formal Complaint with the Division on Civil Rights.
During an investigation by the Division, one company official at P. Judge & Sons told investigators that R.B. was not permitted to resume work because he was continuing to receive treatment for his sleep apnea, and the company is “under no obligation to employ individuals whose health is non-compliant.”

Another company official argued that R.B. technically was not terminated. Rather, the official said, R.B. never contacted the company again after being denied reinstatement the last time. The same official contended that reinstating R.B. was a potential liability, because an employee afflicted with sleep apnea “can go to work… three months goes by, then he’s off, has to go to the doctor, and we’re getting charged by Concentra for the medical treatment.”
Division Director Sashihara noted that a Division investigation found nothing in DOT regulations, or in P. Judge & Sons’ own internal policies, to support the suggestion that the company was barred from reinstating R.B. once he presented either the one-month or three-month MEC.

“We know from our investigation that the company has, in the past, returned employees to work on the basis of a one-month MEC. We know that because company officials who we interviewed told us so,” said Director Sashihara. “Again, the law is the law, and ignorance of it – or disagreement with it – is no excuse. No matter the opinions or intentions behind it, employers and managers with no medical training cannot simply decide to terminate a worker based solely on assumptions, internet articles and the anecdotal experiences related by people they know, which is what we allege took place here.”

In addition to paying R.B. $30,000, P. Judge & Sons is required under the settlement announced today to adopt a variety of workplace policy and training reforms. The company also must submit to State monitoring of its treatment of employees and job applicants with disabilities for the next two years.

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Cardinale Bill to Establish a Permanent NJ Office of International Trade

August 8,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Port Newark NJ, In light of Governor Phil Murphy’s designation of the Office of International Trade and Investment, Senator Gerry Cardinale announced his plans to reintroduce legislation he has long-sponsored that would codify this program, by establishing a permanent global trade division within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJ EDA.)

Senator Cardinale noted his bill would improve upon the steps Governor Murphy took last week to create a new Office of International Trade and Investment. Sen. Cardinale’s legislation is essential to ensuring that this new office continues to operate during future gubernatorial administrations as well.

“Small Businesses owners who are looking to expand abroad often do not have the legal resources to navigate foreign trade laws,” Cardinale (R-39) said. “By fostering partnerships between local mom-and-pop stores and international advocates, we can promote ‘Jersey Made’ products around the world. The future of our state’s economy depends on a permanent Office of International Trade, right here in Garden State.”
Currently, there are 1,100 multi-national businesses and 270 foreign headquarters in New Jersey.

Senator Cardinale’s bill would establish an Office of International Trade and Protocol within the NJ EDA. The division would encourage and assist New Jersey businesses entering into the international market.

The bill will officially be introduced in the Senate at the next Senate Quorum. Cardinale’s district mate, Assemblywoman Holly T. Schepisi, has already introduced an identical version of the legislation in the Assembly.

“It is essential that New Jersey businesses are provided with the right tools to remain competitive in today’s global market,” Cardinale said. “The establishment of an international trade office will spur commercial growth and generate career opportunities for our residents. I am glad to see that Governor Murphy is taking positive steps towards diversifying our economy. I hope that my colleagues in the Legislature will take immediate action to advance my bill, so that future generations of local business owners can benefit from this program as well.”

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Rutgers Blasted for Forcing Students & Taxpayers to Pay for Golden Parachutes


August 7,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog


New Brunswick NJ, Senator Joe Pennacchio blasted Rutgers University for forcing students and New Jersey taxpayers to pick up the tab for more than $11.5 million in settlements, buyouts and golden parachutes for elite employees at the State-funded university. The discovery of the payouts was reported by on August 3, 2018.

“The cost of higher education is skyrocketing in New Jersey and it’s no secret why. It is unconscionable that a State-funded university would have the gall to raise tuition, and then turn right back around and give away millions of dollars to elite employees. These golden parachutes are an outrageous misuse of funds. Rutgers owes students and taxpayers an explanation. After all, they pay their salary,” Senator Pennacchio (R-26) said.
“Our goal is to ensure that students who go to high school in New Jersey, can continue their education at a great in-State college, get great career training, and continue to live and work in the state they call home. How can we expect them to do that if our flagship university refuses to do anything to make higher education more affordable?

“Talk to any college student on campus – they do not want their tuition dollars spent on multi-million dollar payouts to coaches and administrators who make enough money as it is. This fiscally-irresponsible practice must come to an end.”

Senator Pennacchio has been one of the strongest advocates in the Legislature for ensuring tuition and taxpayer dollars are handled responsibly at Rutgers University. In 2013, Senator Pennacchio introduced a budget resolution to dock Rutgers University approximately $2.1 million in state aid in the state’s FY14 budget, and require school officials to provide a report demonstrating how they funded these giveaways out of administrative coffers and not by raising tuition or using state aid. The resolution was introduced in response to reports that Rutgers gave a $475,000 payout to basketball coach Mike Rice; a coach who had repeatedly physically abused and shouted gay slurs at players during practice.

Senator Pennacchio added that he is considering legislative solutions to put a stop to non-contractually obligated and egregious payouts, and curtail the amount of funding Rutgers University receives should the practice continue.
Rutgers University receives more than $400 million in State funding each year.

“The $11.5 million in payouts would cover the cost of tuition and fees for about 800 Rutgers students,” Senator Pennacchio added. “In fact, the payout recently-departed Chancellor Dutta received would pay for about 32 students. Chancellor Dutta spent one year in his current role, and now he’s getting paid half a million dollars to walk away from the job. That’s insane. Tuition dollars should be spent on students, not boat checks for administrators.
“It is completely unfair and unjust to ask taxpayers and students to continue to subsidize this kind of reckless spending. We will continue to work hard to hold Rutgers University accountable for how they handle State resources.”