Why Is Tom Moran Flacking For the Sweeney-Norcross Machine (and another question)

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) wants to know and I have a guess.

Tom Moran works for the largest recipient of legal-ad money in the state and State Senate president Stephen Sweeney is in a position to fend off any attempt to rein in this subsidy for newspapers who play the game. The NJEA is looking to punish Sweeney for not doing enough for their bribe money and Moran is defending Sweeney by attacking this ‘lying union’ and the $1.2 million in compensation their head gets.

But there is another question here.

Moran gets his information from the NJEA form 990 for the year ended August 31, 2016 which shows these compensation amounts for NJEA officers:

But the form also reports a substantial net liability of over $82 million:

The largest liabilities relate to Accrued Post Retirement Benefits and Accrued Pension Cost:

Which is a substantial increase from the amounts reported on the prior year form 990:

With the increase ($63 million) being entirely due to those benefit costs. Yet the NJEA Defined Benefit Plan, according to their latest 5500 filing, is 135% funded:

With total compensation for the prior year reported as:

On the NJEA website Ed Richardson responded to criticism of his compensation package:

Drawing on public records detailing the compensation of union officials, [Moran] used a mind-bogglingly dishonest calculation to claim that my compensation is nearly 4 times what it really is. He cannot claim ignorance. He knows that the figures he reported were misleading, but his decades-long crusade to discredit NJEA will not be stopped by anything as inconvenient as facts. That’s par for the course with Tom when he’s in one of his NJEA-induced rages.

…….

That allegiance probably explains how Tom can write a column ostensibly about union officials’ compensation without mentioning the fact that Sweeney’s union compensation, according to the most recent filings by his union, is over $235,000 for what is, presumably a part-time job. Approximately one-third of his work in that job, according to the same filing, is lobbying and political work.

I say that job is presumably part-time, because Sweeney also gets a taxpayer-funded salary of over $65,000 as Senate President, a position widely acknowledged as the second most powerful elected office in New Jersey, with commensurate responsibilities. So the $235,000 he earns from his union for work done in his off hours is a pretty good salary indeed.

Whatever you think of Steve Sweeney earning over $300,000 per year, with the bulk of that coming from his work as a union official, it is revealing that Tom didn’t say a word about it, because he knew about it. Steve Sweeney and I are in the same tax bracket, but you’d never know that from reading Tom’s diatribes.

Likewise, Tom is remarkably silent about the wealth of Sweeney’s primary benefactor, South Jersey political boss George Norcross, who has built a political and business empire that’s made him a multi-millionaire many times over.

Tom’s double standard can only be explained by his single-minded obsession with NJEA. If it means an opportunity to take another public shot at NJEA, Tom will gladly do the bidding of a powerful political machine. Tom’s rants are slowly turning him into the newspaper version of Chris Christie: a one-trick pony whose attacks on NJEA ring more and more hollow every time he goes back to that well.

Moran responded today:

[Form 990] listed [Richardson’s compensation] as $1.2 million in salary and benefits. You can look it up on the union’s 990 tax form, which all non-profits must disclose. It’s on Page 2 of Schedule J, in black and white.

The same page shows that it’s basically a free-for-all at the union’s headquarters in Trenton — compensation for the top five NJEA officers averaged $764,000 in 2015.

Richardson is lying about all this, flat-out, despite the public record that puts any doubt to rest. In a union newsletter, he told his members that he earned about one-quarter the amount he listed on the IRS tax form.

I wanted to ask him about that, but he refused to talk. I tried to lure him out of hiding with an offer to discuss it by e-mail, and a promise to publish the exchange in full for all to see. He turned that down, too.

Even by Jersey standards, this guy has real chutzpah. I hate to admit it, but I almost admire him in a sporting kind of way.

Let’s look at the numbers for Richardson over those two years:

  1. Base compensation from $328,701 to $339,771
  2. Nontaxable benefits from $33,874 to $32,203
  3. Retirement and deferred compensation from $225,450 to $840,651

Other NJEA officers also showed substantial increases in that third item.

Did the NJEA put in a top-hat plan? If so, did they tell anyone about it?

 

 

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on October 8, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Per Attachment to 2015 Schedule SB of Form 5500
    Schedule B, Line 26 – Schedule of Active Participant Data
    New Jersey Education Association Employees’ Retirement Plan
    EIN 21-0524390 / PN 001
    So, there are 256 employees covered by NJEA using its way underfunded resources to keep these 256 employees at full benefits in NJEA Employees’ Retirement Plan?
    Sure is the cart pulling the horse system.

    Reply

    • Another curious aspect when comparing the 990 to the 5500-SF is that the 990 lists 535 and then 583 employees but the 5500 lists those 256 active employees. It could be there are a lot of part-timers or turnover or it could mean not everyone is covered under the DB plan. The NJEA also sponsors a 401(k) plan and that lists 374 active participants.

      https://burypensions.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/njea-401k-5500.pdf

      Reply

      • Posted by skip3house on October 9, 2017 at 2:46 pm

        Question for us all…From all we have read in these blogs by Mr Bury, it sure seems NJ Pensions should be Defined Contributions (DC/401k), not present Defined Benefits (DB/unfunded/abused/$135B debt).
        So, why haven’t candidates pushed this better DC/401k system to show all NJ employees their Pension worth on pay stubs to give piece of mind, and drop NJ unfunded to zero?

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on October 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm

          lets list some reasons why we don’t have DC Plans for NJ’s Public Sector workers …………..

          (1) The current DB pensions are VERY VERY VERY generous and Public Sector workers (none of them, young or old) want smaller amounts in retirement. If provided (in the same amount) via DC Plans, the VERY high level annual %-of-pay contributions would make it WAY TO CLEAR to Taxpayers how ludicrously generous Public Sector pensions truly are………… something the Public Sector Union/Workers do NOT want Taxpayers to know.

          (2) To fund the CURRENT DB promises for a full career (say 30 years) worker who reaches retirement, would require a level annual TOTAL (EE + ER) contribution of from 30% to 40% of pay for non-safety workers, and from 40% to 50% of pay for Safety workers …………. and considerably higher if COLAs are reinstated. If you subtract the 5% (10% to Safety ?) of pay that the workers actually contribute, the balance is the responsibility of Taxpayers.

          (3) Private Sector workers typically get ……….in retirement security contributions from their employers ………. the employer’s 6.2% of pay into Social Security on their behalf, plus TYPICALLY 2% to 4% of pay into a 401K DC Plan. And RARELY anything towards employer-sponsored retiree healthcare.
          *********************************

          Given the above facts (yes FACTS, SMH), Public Sector workers aren’t about to agree to DC Plans in an amount (or generosity level) anywhere near what Private Sector workers typically get from their employers.

          Insatiable greed and a to-hell-with-the-taxpayers attitude is the only way to describe it.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on October 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm

            Lol, I left out the obvious biggie ………….

            We don’t have DC Plans for Public Sector workers because any anyone now in or running for Elected Office would experience the extreme wrath of the Public Sector Unions for proposing such a DB to DC change.

  2. Posted by Lance on October 8, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Nj.com aka SJ news sold out to Norcross and Sweeney years ago and so did Patch media; courier Post/Gannett. Norcross uses the online digital media to defame, smear and character assassinate people with his orchestrated stories he has manufactured by corrupt police departments; judges and political operatives.

    Norcross tried to do this at Philly.com but lost the bid to Mr. Lewis Katz who was on to the nightmarish Norcross behavior and had reported his intentions. Unfortunately Norcross had Katz and the people on the plane killed. NTSB “was probably mircross’s and Christies inside friends who gave a BS” report of Pilot error. Christie was the former US AG and Chertofff former head of homeland security. Who also has a cyber security company with Norcross. Connect the dots and Go figure

    Norcross uses his manufactured online media stories on nj.com; wn.com; and troll farms to keep stories SEO optimiz d and page parked
    had someone tamper with Katz plan and killed everyone onboard. Katz kept Norcross out of Philly.com. Katz knew on news stories. He know what Norcross was doing.

    They allowed Norcross to create negative manufactured stories; obstructing justice and using law enforcement to violate the color of law and civil rights violations.

    and give to his trolls factories to keep page parked at the top of google via keyworded name and title. It’s already been sent to

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tough Love on October 8, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Looks like Moran is being more forthright because Richardson made absolutely ZERO attempt to explain what the $840,651 in the above Form 990, Sch J, line 4, column C, was for, if not as labeled ….”Retirement and other Deferred Compensation”

    Reply

  4. Posted by MJ on October 9, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    If memory serves me correctly, wasn’t Sweeney the one many years ago sounding the alarm about these unsustainable pensions and trying to put through some changes so that the pensions mirrored the Ironworkers’ pension plan? Of course he was poo pooed and now here we are with the state in the tank……….I don’t understand how the NJEA is not a political cartel and that members allow their dues money to be spent in such a generous fashion. Perhaps this is one reason why teachers and school employees expect so much in their retirements……

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on October 9, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Quoting MJ ………….

      “I don’t understand how the NJEA is not a political cartel and that members allow their dues money to be spent in such a generous fashion.”

      I’ve been saying that for years but with slightly different words, such as ………………….

      The unholy alliance between our Public Sector Union and our Elected Officials, with the former BUYING the favorable votes of the latter (on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits) with BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions and Election support. In any other venue it would be bribery and racketeering.
      ******************************************************

      A justifiable basis for Taxpayers to renege on the 50+% of these ludicrously excessive pension (AND benefit) “promises” that assuredly would NOT have been granted in the absence of that collusion.

      Reply

  5. Posted by bpaterson on October 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

    this brouhaha just shows what the NJ power system is all about. All these higher ups, power brokers, movers and shakers, media moguls, probably even the judges all have skeletons in their closets and know that other mover and shakers know. Therefore, it ends up as one big rumba line, toeing the line of the corrupted political system and the self-sealing. If someone steps out of line, they will have their skeletons exposed to force them back in line. This is the reason behind the rampant corruption in NJ. Moran was just waiting for the NJEA to back a republican so he “suddenly” could attack with his pre-written tirade to get them back in the rumba line of NJ corruption.. (now you know why the politically connected get off pretty scott-free if they do something wrong-it just goes into the secret “dossier” to hang over their head”).

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on October 10, 2017 at 11:22 am

      On top of this, add the book ‘Soft Corruption’, by gerrymandered out former NJ State Senator William E Schluter (2017…Rutgers University Press)

      Reply

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