New Jersey Defines Corruption

All campaign contributions are bribes and it shames both the bribetakers who couldn’t get elected on their records alone and the bribers who couldn’t get hired on their ability alone.  New Jersey has defined pay-to-play and because of the character of our political class anyone who wants to make big money off of government work has to pay for the privilege – within limits defined by that same political class.  Occasionally someone steps over the line as drawn by the people currently in power and gets slapped hard.  That’s the Birdsall story that played out this past week:

Birdsall Services Group has been, along with the law firm of DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick and Netta Architects, a major beneficiary of virtual, if not actual,  no-bid contracts with Union County and the UCWA has chronicled their activities over the years on the pay-to-play front. On March 26, 2013 Birdsall Services Group was indicted by the State of New Jersey which charged that:

“between on or about January 1, 2006 and on or about May 31, 2012, at diverse locations, in the Counties of Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Middlesex and Bergen, elsewhere, and within the jurisdiction of this court, with the purpose of promoting or facilitating the commission of the crimes of False Representation for a Government Contract, Misconduct by a Corporate Official, Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, Tampering With Public Records or Information, Falsifying or Tampering with Records, Corporation, labor Organization Contributions through Employees, Prohibited, or Concealment or Misrepresentation of Contributions or Expenditures”

Massive campaign donor, according to NJELEC records, the last donation they will ever make was $7,800 on October 22, 2012 to:


Birdsall Services Group after acquiring PMK in mid-2009 has been paid $1,044,443.65 through the UCIA. and $2,890,713.68 by Union County.

They are a major player in Union County’s Solar Panel boondoggle.

July 14, 2011: In one of his last acts as county manager George Devanney recuses himself from dealings with Birdsall and the UCWA covers it.

May 2,2012: Birdsall offices raided and UCWA covers it.

March 27, 2013: Birdsall assets seized by New Jersey.

March 30, 2013: Birdsall files for bankruptcy.

Major media, reacting instead of probing, expects the scandal to grow though they don’t reveal what they know, if anything, either now or during all the time that Birdsall was committing indictable offenses.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on March 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    The problems are far greater than (per your 1-st sentence) ….. the bribe-takers not getting elected and the bribers not getting hired on their ability alone.

    The bribe-takers put their relatives on the payroll, support contracts to friends, relatives and contributors even if not qualified or charging more than necessary, work all loopholes to their personal advantage ( e.g. 22 years as part time council type followed by 3 years full time to get a pension as thought a full time career worker), all but ignore their primary obligation to represent TAXPAYER interests, and ROUTINELY support excessive Public Sector compensation, pensions and benefits for the block votes (and money) of the Unions.

    The Bribers seek unjust advantage often with a Taxpayer-be-damned attitude. The insatiable greed of Public Sector workers (as well as that of the connected lawyers, engineers, actuaries, and consultants) certainly fall in this category.


  2. Posted by Javagold on April 1, 2013 at 12:00 am

    They really need to Name the names of the bribe TAKERS. Time to take this entire corrupt cesspool down.


  3. John ,do you believe this Stockton bankruptcy ruling is any type of game changer for N J …..down the road anyway?


    • Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Probably not immediately since NJ cities aren’t toppling into bankruptcy yet and even if Stockton gets to scale back on their contributions to CALPERS there’s still the issue of whether CALPERS will adjust any benefits attributed to employment with Stockton. How the Stockton case plays out will have much more of an impact on what other CA cities do. If Stockton can get out from under those massive pension obligations without too much screaming then they’re a road map for the rest of CA.

      California (like New York) is in a separate category than NJ or Illinois. The former appear to be trying to pay for pension costs and squeezing taxpayers thus forcing the hand of municipalities while the latter are denying those costs as much as they can.


      • Posted by Tough Love on April 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

        But “eventually”, when the plans run dry, the Sh** will hit the fan in NJ . Will Taxpayers pay the HUGE tax increases to support a pay-as-you-go-pension-system ?

        Hopefully, a Bankruptcy Court decision allowing a reduction in promised pensions will give Taxpayers the financially viable option to reduce these promised pensions to the level (50+% less) typically granted Private Sector retirees.


    • Posted by Tough Love on April 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

      As stated in a California Sacbee article the REAL Court decision is yet to come (quoting):

      “Legal observers expect the creditors to aggressively challenge the repayment plan presented by Stockton in the next phase of the process. “That’s where it will be precedent-setting,” said Karol Denniston, a municipal restructuring expert who monitored the trial. “Does bankruptcy code apply to CalPERS or not? If bankruptcy code trumps state law, then that’s huge and it has huge implications in terms of what happens next for other municipalities across California.”

      If the Courts rule that Pensions CAN be reduced in Bankruptcy, cities, towns, (and perhaps even entire States at some point) will finally have (and likely exercise) an EFFECTIVE option to reverse the financial rape that has been perpetrated upon it’s Taxpayers (by the Public Sector Unions and cooperating politicians) for several decades.

      And if it goes the other way, the MATH and REALITY will cause the slow painful death of many Plans anyway.


  4. Posted by muni-man on April 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    One thing is almost certain – if Stockton or another gooberment entity is allowed to blow off their bondholders in favor of pensioners, then they can effectively forget about tapping the capital markets ever again. Maybe their local payday-loan emporiums will extend them some dough, or maybe the pension funds themselves or the state, but they’ll be regarded as permanent toxic waste by the financial markets.


    • Posted by Tough Love on April 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      If it comes as a Supreme court decision (that cutting the Public Sector pensions iis not an option in bankruptcy), the municipal bond market is toast, and not just in CA ………… and Civil War / Greece is assured.


      • Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        I thought that the bond markets and Wall Street made out well with brokering municipal deals. That’s where the money is or should I say where theoney used to be. The Wall Street pigs take their cut off the top so what do they care?


        • Posted by Tough Love on April 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm

          If screwing the Bondholders is the only via option in Bankruptcy, who would be willing to buy Municipal Bonds, other than with an interest rate they Cities couldn’t afford ?


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