Bribery Legal In New Jersey

Today an anti-Christie editorial board demanded that the probe into a pension hedge fund investment involving political contributions be disclosed.  What for?

This type of stuff is legal in New Jersey and it is legal in part because the mainstream media chooses to ignore the shenanigans until such time as it may support some vendetta they develop.

Here is how the pay-to-play process works for New Jersey localities:

You donate, or make it clear that you will donate, $9,300 to the campaigns of the people who will rubber-stamp your hiring to dig a ditch and refill it (or in this case draw up plans to build an exterior stairwell in a courthouse and then scrap those plans).

In 2011 the New Jersey Comptroller put together a report on this system noting:

The weaknesses associated with these vendor-evaluation requirements are compounded by the provision in the pay-to -play law that states that “[t]he decision of a public entity as to what constitutes a fair and open process shall be final.” Through this provision, local governments are granted the exclusive authority to determine whether their own selection process complies with the law. This provision has the effect of rendering a contract award beyond scrutiny or challenge by an aggrieved vendor or local resident, even in a court of law.

If criminals get to interpret the law then there is none.
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Payments to Mast Constructions from Union County check registries: $603,892
mast const
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Campaign contributions by Mast Construction to Union County Democrats: $9,300
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mast contributions

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on September 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    That’s a pretty good return on investment.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tough Love on September 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    INCLUSION of that provision that “[t]he decision of a public entity as to what constitutes a fair and open process shall be final.” is patently absurd.

    Does the legislative history show how it got there ? It would be interesting to know which politically-connected slug put it there.

    But consider …. the built-in INABILITY to address what “constitutes a fair and open process” is quite similar to our BIG problem of NJ judges adjudicating issues that can negatively impact their own pay, pensions, and benefits.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on September 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    The mystery investor status of Mr. Grady, Chairman of the NJ Investment Council should have been noted on his disclosure form. He should have provided the information when Treasury employees vetted him for the voluntary position. CC’ s snippy disclosure of a 40 year friendship gives ethical pause, as well as the acknowledgement of his blindtrusts. Is Mr. Grady his trust advisor, is CC’ s blindtrusts managed by one of Mr. Grady’ s investment concerns. Is not the placing of friend in public positions one controls cronyism, doesn’t the State ethics code address this,there is too much there not to do a ethic cleansing. The NJ Federal Prosecutor might be interested. The NJ Ethic Commission website will helped those struggling to understand the violations committed by Grady and CC, sad, they know better.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on September 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    The NJ Conflict of Interest Law 52: 13D-12 can be found NJ Ethics Commission website, clearly the CC appointed Director must recuse herself for obvious reasons.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on September 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    NJ Ethics Commission. Or The Great Oxymoron Commission.

    Reply

  6. Posted by bpaterson on September 23, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Mast construction can do direct GC work and also construction management of the project although that end of their work is inconsequential. So mast construction was paid $600,000 for what? There was no direct construction done, it was just in the design phase when it was scrapped, so no construction management was involved either. From their sight they list some upfront services they can provide: http://www.mastconstruction.com/services/

    Which could account for moneys but no way $600,000 worth? Who was verifying the expenditures? This then begs the second question of also for this same project Netta Architects getting $1.7 million in fees for something that was then scrapped, so what did netta do for the $1.7 million. Plus Netta does the exact same upfront services that mast supposedly does. A third question if anyone can answer is who are Mast’s principles?

    Knowing union county govt was involved, good chance that area political boss senator Lesniak also may have his fingers in this travesty of over $2 million of wasted tax money. it could be some covert action abusive of tax monies in double-billing for same services or even a possible criminal activity since both netta and mast donate politically. Netta donated $14,000 in 4 years $11,000 to the union county freeholders and senator lesniak. There should be an investigation by state authorities, comptroller, SCI, or attorney general at least to make sure nothing criminal went on.

    Reply

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