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Hoboken Activists Rally Against Menendez Corruption

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hoboken NJ,  Calling him the disgrace of the Democratic Party, good government activists gathered Sunday, November 4, at 11:30am to rally in protest of the visit by formerly indicted Senator Menendez. Menendez who was unanimously admonished by the Senate Ethic Committee for bribery, fraud, and corruption was inexplicably chosen by the NJ Democratic Party to run for Senate. Perennial candidate for higher office, Senator Booker, who recently pressured Democratic law makers to change state law allowing him to run for re-election and president simultaneously in 2020, stumped for the embattled and morally corrupt Menendez.

Continue reading Hoboken Activists Rally Against Menendez Corruption

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Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi plans to introduce legislation banning public officials convicted of corruption from holding jobs with state and local governments

Phill Murphy -Sara Medina del Castillo

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi said today she plans to introduce legislation banning public officials convicted of corruption from holding jobs with state and local governments.

“I believe in second chances, but not when it comes to putting corrupt politicians in positions of public trust,” said Schepisi. “This is a case about public bribery.”

Reports yesterday uncovered that the Murphy administration hired a former Passaic City councilman who served time in prison for taking bribes from undercover FBI agents. Marcellus Jackson was hired to work in the Department of Education with an annual salary of $70,000 over the summer.

Continue reading Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi plans to introduce legislation banning public officials convicted of corruption from holding jobs with state and local governments

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Guadagno Proposes Full-Scale Audit on New Jersey’s Finanaces

Kim Guadagno

October 24,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Kim Guadagno the Republican candidate for governor has proposed conducting a full state audit of New Jersey’s finances or lack there of  as part of her 8 point plan to right a sinking ship . Neighbors are fleeing New Jersey because of excessive taxes and the sky high cost of living, yet Trenton dose not seem to understand how dire the situation is for New Jersey families.

1)Conduct Full-Scale Audit
On day one, Kim will order a complete audit of state government finances, operations and programs to root out waste, abuse and inefficiencies in all areas of state government. Savings realized from the “Audit Trenton” initiative will be given back to the taxpayers in the form of property tax relief.

2) Support An Independently Elected Attorney General
New Jersey is one of only a handful of states that allows the governor to appoint its top law enforcement official. A Guadagno administration would support a proposal to establish an independently-elected attorney general, or commission an independent special prosector in the event the governor or lieutenant governor is under investigation. This will ensure the state’s top law enforcement agency in the state is accountable only to the people of New Jersey to root out potential corruption and abuse.

3) Use Zero-based Budgeting
The first budget proposal presented by the Guadagno administration will utilize “zero-based budgeting” techniques, forcing all state spending to be justified based upon need and cost. Kim will also nominate Cabinet officials who understand that finding savings for taxpayers ranks second only to protecting our citizens’ health, safety, and welfare.

4) Ensure Education Dollars Get To Classrooms
New Jersey taxpayers currently spend an average of $19,600 per student, but that amount varies widely district to district and a large portion never gets to the classroom. Before we can ask taxpayers to fork over another penny for schools, we must ensure that the education funding formula is fair and our tax dollars are actually being used to improve student performance. That’s why a Guadagno administration will immediately call on the State Department of Education to conduct an audit of the state’s 586 school districts to ensure we’re spending the money on improving educational outcomes for students.

4) Fix School Procurement And Construction
School district procurement rules and practices often get in the way of getting the best product at the lowest price. We must review and change these rules and develop benchmarks for districts regarding smart purchasing practices. Like collective bargaining, we should establish a uniform, statewide procurement policy and system that will allow for the leveraging of statewide bargaining power to secure the best possible price for school goods. New Jersey must also bring fairness to school construction by requiring the SDA districts to pay the same percentage on capital improvements as they do for their entire district budget.

5) Sell Surplus State Assets
A Guadagno administration would sell buildings and other assets no longer needed by the state. This would yield the two-fold benefit of producing income that could be used to reduce debt and would put these properties back on the local tax rolls to help municipalities reduce property taxes. This proposal would not affect parks, beaches or environmentally sensitive properties owned by the state.

6) Take The Politics Out Of Road Building
In New Jersey, it is no secret that it costs too much and takes too long to build roads and other infrastructure projects. Yet instead of fixing the problems, Trenton insiders created a politically-appointed panel of four to control how our transportation dollars are spent and demand everyday New Jerseyans pay more at the pump through higher gas taxes. A Guadagno administration will demand better and work to bring efficiency and common sense to road construction. This includes auditing the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), eliminating political appointees, disbanding the panel of four politically appointed bureaucrats and ensuring infrastructure projects are funded based upon need, congestion and economic impact.

7) Oppose New Long-Term Debt
New Jersey’s state debt is about twice the national average and threatens to further erode the state’s declining credit rating. As governor, Kim will close the loophole that allows New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority to take on new debt without voter approval. In fact, Kim will oppose any plan that adds additional long term debt to the state’s balance sheet without getting voter approval via a referendum.

8) Scrap Plans To Build ‘The Palace Of Versailles’
At a time when we have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, New Jersey cannot afford to turn the State House into the Palace of Versailles. Instead of spending $300 million on renovating the State House, Kim believes we should set up a charitable foundation to raise funds from private sources to make any necessary repairs to the aging building. This effort can be assisted by making charitable contributions tax deductible.

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Former Deputy Director of Public Works in North Bergen Pleads Guilty to Ordering Municipal Employees to Perform Political Errands Using Township Vehicles While Being Paid by the Township

Timothy-Grossi[1]

October 23,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

North Bergen NJ,  Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that Timothy Grossi, former deputy director of the North Bergen Department of Public Works (DPW), pleaded guilty today to a charge that he ordered subordinate employees to run political errands while they were on duty and being paid by the township.

Grossi, 77, of Jersey City, N.J., pleaded guilty today to a charge of third-degree misapplication of entrusted property and property of government before Superior Court Judge Margaret M. Foti in Bergen County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Grossi be sentenced to five years in state prison. However, the judge indicated on the record in court that she intends to suspend the sentence because of the condition of Grossi’s health. Grossi will be permanently barred from public office or employment in New Jersey. He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 8.

In pleading guilty, Grossi admitted that he directed on-duty DPW workers using township vehicles to go to the county clerk’s office to perform errands related to his personal political activity in the township – and unrelated to township business – including picking up and dropping off challenger badges.

Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Vazquez and Charles Wright prosecuted Grossi and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice. Grossi is the fourth supervisor from the North Bergen DPW to plead guilty or be found guilty at trial in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau into abuses involving DPW employees being paid by North Bergen Township for work unrelated to DPW functions. On Sept. 11, 2012, former DPW Superintendent James Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct, admitting he directed DPW employees to perform hundreds of hours of chores at his home and to work on campaigns while being paid by the township. He is awaiting sentencing. In 2015, former DPW supervisors Troy Bunero and Francis Longo were convicted at trial of second-degree charges of conspiracy and official misconduct for assigning municipal employees to work on election campaigns and complete personal chores or projects for them or their boss, Wiley. Bunero and Longo were each sentenced to five years in state prison.

“Grossi was one of the top officials in the North Bergen Department of Public Works, but this guilty plea will make him a convicted felon, just like the three supervisors under him who previously pled guilty or were convicted at trial,” said Attorney General Porrino. “By arrogantly abusing the power entrusted to him and exploiting public workers for political purposes, Grossi promoted a culture of corruption within his department, a culture we exposed through our investigation.”

“North Bergen residents pay taxes to fund essential government services, not to fund officials who misuse public resources for personal gain or political advantage,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to protect public assets by aggressively investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials like Grossi.”

Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free Corruption Tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities confidentially. The public can also log on to the Division webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially

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Over A Dozen N.J. mayors were forced from office over criminal charges in the Last Decade

October 1,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, New Jersey has a long and proud history of public corruption.  A dozen Garden State mayors who have been forced to resign over the past decade due to criminal convictions. Mostly Democrats (10) ,but a few Republicans trying to get in on the action .

Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, a Democrat, pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit official misconduct for having employees with the Department of Public Works perform work for the mayor and his family members while bilking the city out of overtime. Torres follows a long line of Mayoral criminality .

Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco, a Democrat, was sentenced in April to more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge for soliciting $110,000 in bribes from developers in exchange for sending federal housing funds their way.

Passaic Mayor Samuel “Sammy” Rivera, a Democrat, pleaded guilty in 2008 to extortion for accepting $5,000 in cash from an insurance brokerage firm. Rivera, who was among 11 public officials swept up in a statewide FBI sting, was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Newark Mayor Sharpe James, a Democrat, was convicted in 2008 on federal fraud and conspiracy charges for helping a woman described as his mistress buy nine plots in a city redevelopment zone, among other acts of wrongdoing. James was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, a Democrat, was sentenced in May 2014 to nearly five years in prison in connection with a $119,000 bribery scheme linked to a parking garage project operated by FBI informants.

Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo, a Democrat, was released from prison in December 2014 after serving more than 18 months in federal prison. He was sentenced to 38 months in prison for accepting $12,400 in bribes from Marliese Ljuba, a close friend and health insurance broker for the school district.

Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammaranno, a Democrat, was among 44 people swept up in Operation Bid Rig. Cammarano, who’d been in office for only 22 days before his arrest, was sentenced in August 2010 to two years in prison, and later disbarred.

Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, a Democrat, was sentenced in April 2012 to two-and-a-half years in prison after he was convicted of accepting $10,000 in cash through a middleman from Solomon Dwek, as part of Operation Bid Rig. Elwell, who resigned from his position shortly after his arrest, later lost an appeal challenging his conviction.

Northvale Mayor Paul Bazela, a Democrat and a former foreman for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, pleaded guilty to theft in March 2016 to having his workers perform renovations at the home of the commission’s former superintendent, Kevin Keogh, while on agency time. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna, a Democrat, and his wife were each sentenced in 2008 to more than four years in prison for accepting more than $40,000 in gifts and cash campaign contributions from a local bar owner.

Of coarse Democrats don’t have all the fun ;

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas, a Republican, was sentenced to five years in prison for fraud in connection with a $1.2 million farm deal. Convicted on charges of wire fraud, an illegal monetary transaction, loan application fraud, false statements to the IRS, aggravated identity theft, obstruction of a grand jury investigation and falsification of records in a federal investigation.

Chesterfield Mayor Lawrence Durr, a Republican, was sentenced in April 2016 to four years probation after he admitted to filing false ethics disclosure forms that failed to disclose his financial relationship with a real estate developer. Durr was accused in an indictment of selling development rights on his farm to Renaissance Properties at a profit and then using his official positions to advance the company’s interests in Chesterfield.

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The Bob Menendez trial: He may be a sleaze, but he’s our sleaze | Mulshine

menednez_ridgewood trainstation_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

Updated on September 21, 2017 at 7:39 AM Posted on September 21, 2017 at 6:27 AM

By Paul Mulshine

Columnist, The Star-Ledger

On the drive up to Newark to view the trial of our senior senator on corruption charges, I heard a radio talker complain that the media are ignoring the proceedings because Bob Menendez is a Democrat.

I wanted to discuss that with the guy who’s been sitting next to me for the past few days of the trial.

Unfortunately, he fell asleep.

When I saw  him in the hall during a break, I mentioned that to him. He replied, “Poke me if I start to snore.”

I could sympathize. The trial has become a war of attrition between the prosecution and defense.

The prosecution seeks to pound into the heads of the juries all of the instances in which the senator got treatment that few of us will ever experience. All came courtesy of  his friendship with a Florida eye doctor who was found guilty last spring of 67 counts of defrauding Medicare of $105 million.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/09/the_bob_menendez_trial_he_may_be_a_sleaze_but_hes.html#incart_river_home_pop

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Corruption Trial Witness Say Democrat Senator Menendez Lived large Dominican Republic

menednez_ridgewood trainstation_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

September 19,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to a resort executive Andres Pichardo Rosenberg , Democrat Senator Menendez’s stays at the luxurious Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic gave him access to white-sand beaches, a marina filled with expensive yachts and five golf courses. The seven-acre gated community on the Caribbean also boasts the top-rated golf course in the Dominican Republic, six international restaurants, a security staff of 800, and access to elite sports like pheasant shooting. Pheasant shooting in Dominican Republic you ask, yes according to testimony eggs are imported and the birds are bred for sport .

Opthalmologist , Dr. Salomon Melgen, who owns a home that the Senator stayed in Casa de Campo. has denied that the home was a bribe, describing it as a modest getaway for the doctor and his close friends and family. Rosenberg  stated that there are 1,850 private houses on the resort some costing over $10 million. Rosenberg estimated that homes in Melgen’s neighborhood are worth up to $2.5 million.

NJ Senator Menendez, 63, is accused of accepting lavish gifts from Melgen, including stays at the villa and flights on private jets, in exchange for helping the married eye doctor obtaining visas for his three foreign girlfriends and straightening out an $8.9 million tab for overbilling Medicare.

Recent testimony suggests that Menendez lived the life in Dominican Republic  , also staying at the exclusive $765 per night Tortuga Bay Hotel and Punta Cana Resort & Club where Melgen shelled out another $766 for other amenities, including golf, bars and restaurants. Mind you this Dominican Republic where the GDP per Capita $6,733 per year

Melgen also footed the bill of $875 per hour for an 8 hour pick up in a chauffeured car for Menendez in Hoboken ,credit car receipts confirm that Menendez was brought to an upscale Chinese restaurant where Melgen was waiting for both him and the vehicle.

Testimony also revealed that Immediately after the FBI raided Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen’s West Palm Beach offices, Melgen’s son-in-law contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to block the public from tracking his private jet. Melgen’s private jet had been used several times to fly Menendez between New Jersey and Melgen’s vacation home in the Dominican Republic ,these flights prosecutors charge were bribes Melgen paid Menendez in exchange for official favors.

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Why an N.J. trial could make American politics even crazier

menednez_ridgewood trainstation_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

By James Pindell Globe Staff  September 08, 2017

Amid the news coverage of hurricanes and all things President Trump, one could be forgiven for barely noticing that a corruption trial involving a sitting US senator began in New Jersey this week. In a few months, however, it might be the biggest thing we’re talking about — at least when it comes to politics.

That’s because the implications of the bribery case facing Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez could extend far beyond New Jersey. Why, you ask? Because it could ultimately affect the balance of power in Washington. Even stranger, it could lay the groundwork for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — the least popular governor in America — to appoint himself to the Senate.

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Of course, many things could affect the balance of power in the Senate. The difference is this one could happen in a matter of weeks.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/09/08/why-trial-could-make-american-politics-even-crazier/6SSTruVN1UIhl95QfHAqwL/story.html

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When Is A Scandal Not A Scandal? When There’s A Democrat Involved

menendez_at_REORG_theridgewoodblog

Corruption: A sitting U.S. Senator is currently on trial for bribery, and if he’s found guilty it could have major political ramifications. Haven’t heard about this case? That’s because the Senator in question is a Democrat.

A CNN story this week about the opening of the trial against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez noted that “Democrats are eager to avoid the subject of Menendez’s bribery trial.”

That headline would have been just as accurate if it said “Reporters” instead of “Democrats.”

Menendez in on trial for allegedly having sold his office in exchange for luxury vacations, private flights, and piles of campaign cash. In his opening remarks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Koski said “this case is about a corrupt politician who sold his Senate office for a life of luxury he couldn’t afford and a greedy doctor who put that senator on his payroll. … The defendants didn’t just trade money for power, they also tried to cover it up.”

It’s the first time in 36 years that a sitting U.S. senator has been on trial for bribery, which you’d think would make it front page news.

When Is A Scandal Not A Scandal? When There’s A Democrat Involved