Dwayne Horner of Little Elm, Texas was indicted by a Monmouth County Grand Jury yesterday. Horner was the campaign manager for Leigh-Ann Bellew of Union Beach in the 2013 Republican Primary challenge to State Senator Joe Kyrillos.
At 4am on June 4, 2013, Republican voters in the 13th legislative district of New Jersey were awakened by a robo call purporting to be from the campaign of Kyrillos and his running mates, Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon. The caller, allegedly Horner, said they were reminding voters that they still had four hours to get to the polls, as if the call was being make at 4pm.
A recording of the call can be heard here. Horner’s voice can be heard on the voice mail greeting of the Bellew campaign here.
The indictment charges that Horner impersonated another person or organization for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or for the purpose of injuring or defrauding another. The fourth degree crime has a potential sentence of 18 months in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
MMM could not find a current phone number for Horner. Bellew could not be reached for comment.
O’Scanlon said,“I’m glad to see that this matter was taken seriously and did not slip through the cracks. Those who would play these types of desperate games during campaigns need to know that there are consequences and they will be mete. It is hard enough to get eligible candidates interested in running without the threat of these juvenile type pranks. This indictment will hopefully be a message to anyone who would attempt it in the future – grow up.”
MMM has learned that at least one individual was indicted by a Monmouth County Grand Jury today in the investigation into the 4am robocall that occurred on the morning of the 2013 Republican Primary in the 13th legislative district on June 4, 2013. The 13th, represented by Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assembly Members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon, is compromised of Middletown, Marlboro, the Bayshore and the Two Rivers area of Monmouth County.
The call, a recording of which can be heard here, was purported to be on behalf of the incumbents Kyrillos, Handlin and O’Scanlon. The caller said that he was reminding voters that they had four hours to get to the polls, as if the call was made at 4pm instead of 4am. The callers voice sounds very much like the recorded voice of the person on the Leigh-Ann Bellew for Senate’s voice mail greeting. That recording can be heard here. Bellew was Kyrillos’s opponent in the primary.
MMM was told that fourth degree identity theft was the charged the grand jury delivered. Fourth degree identity theft is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Charles Webster said he had not yet received a copy of the indictment and that he would provide it promptly upon receiving it from the prosecutor.
“Drew’s Law” is named for 11 year-old Drew Keough Cerrata. The boy was killed in a motor vehicle accident last April
Legislation proposed by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) and Senator Nicholas Sacco (D-Bergen and Hudson), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, would lower speed limits to 15 mph on roads adjacent to or passing through parks when they are open or when children are present. Violators would face fines of between $100 and $400, double the current amount.
Dubbed “Drews Law,” the legislation is named Drew Keough-Cerreta, the 11 year-old Keansburg boy killed last April by a vehicle that was apparently traveling at the 25 mph speed limit.
“The Keansburg community is still reeling from this terrible loss,” said Kyrillos . We must make sure the roadways around parks give our children the utmost safety. The time to do that is now. Slowing traffic is a small price to pay and I thank members of Drew’s family and others for their input on this important measure.”
Joseph W. Pezzano, Drew’s uncle and a 29 year veteran of the Keansburg Police Department, was on duty and answered the call when his nephew was struck.
In a statement issued in support of the legislation, Pezzano said,
Nobody ever felt sorry for a millionaire. At least that’s the principle some Democrats in Trenton are banking on as they resurrect former Gov. Jon Corzine’s “millionaires tax” to close the expected budget gap for fiscal 2015. Proponents of this tax increase promise it will hit only the wealthy, but in fact, poor and middle-class families will ultimately shoulder the burden.
Of course, the term “millionaires tax” is a misnomer. New Jersey already taxes the income of millionaires at one of the highest rates in the nation — higher than 44 other states do. The so-called millionaires tax is just an expired tax increase that raises New Jersey’s top tax rate to about 11 percent, the third-highest in the United States.
Proponents of the millionaires tax imagine that the only reason people could oppose this tax hike is that they’re worried New Jersey’s well-to-do will run low on caviar if it’s passed.
Actually, what we’re worried about is the impact on New Jersey’s working families.
As it turns out, millionaires don’t like paying high taxes any more than the rest of us do. But unlike most of us, they can easily move out of New Jersey to avoid new tax hikes. For many, changing their tax residence is as simple as spending a few more weeks a year at their vacation home in Florida. They can keep a house in New Jersey to spend time with the grandkids, live for six months and one day in the Florida home, and voilà, they are Florida residents who no longer owe a dime in New Jersey taxes. As a bonus, their children will escape paying New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation estate tax.
It’s little wonder that in 2010, the last year we had the old Corzine millionaires tax on the books, 88,000 individuals left New Jersey, taking with them a total annual income of $5.5 billion.
The millionaires tax could be more aptly named the “Goodbye New Jersey Tax.”
A JUNE 10 California court ruling that teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional and violate students’ rights to quality education signals the need for further education reforms in New Jersey and other states across the country.
New Jersey was the first state to pass tenure legislation more than 100 years ago, and despite bipartisan reforms enacted two years ago, many antiquated state education laws still persist.
In 2012, the Legislature and Governor Christie compromised to pass a bipartisan reform law, addressing teacher tenure and the teacher dismissal process. Although it was a good first step, that effort came up short because public teachers’ unions had enough influence over the Legislature to preserve policies such as “last-in, first-out.”
LIFO forces schools to ignore educator effectiveness and lay off high-performing, bright educators, instead of ineffective, more senior ones.
President Barack Obama announced that he is diverting nearly $1 billion in Hurricane Sandy recovery funds away from New Jersey and New York to fund a nationwide resiliency competition that will ostensibly help the winning communities build infrastructure to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Obama announced the competition last weekend at the University of California Irvine’s commencement, according to The Star Ledger.
“In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts and fires and storms and floods are going to get … harsher and they’re going to get costlier,” Obama said during the speech. “That’s why today I’m announcing a new one billion dollar competitive fund to help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and build more resilient infrastructure across the country.”
State Senators Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth)and Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean)l condemned the diversion of recovery funds away from their constituents.
Sen. Joe Kyrillos and Mayor Fred Rast greeting voters in Atlantic Highlands last year. photo by Art Gallagher
Several MMM readers have asked me to endorse of a U.S. Senate candidate to take on Senator Cory Booker. I can’t endorse, or vote for, any of the four candidates who are on the ballot this Tuesday.
I’m writing in Joe Kyrillos on Tuesday. If this post goes viral, Joe Kryillos could be the U.S. Senate Republican nominee on Tuesday night. That’s how bad the U.S. Senate primary campaign has been. Booker would then have a fight on his hands. Share this post.
None of the four candidates on the ballot can make Booker break a sweat this fall.
None of the candidates on the ballot have raised enough money for a county freeholder race, never mind a statewide race for U.S. Senate. Booker has spent over $12 million on his re-election bid since the first of the year. He had $2.9 million in cash on hand as of May 14.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in 2012, has refunded more money to his federal donors this year that any of the current Republican candidates have raised.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos came out swinging this afternoon regarding the news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development denied the Christie Administration’s request to allow victims of Superstorm Sandy to continue to rebuild their homes while they are applying for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grants.
Kyrillos implored HUD officials and New Jersey’s congressional delegation to do whatever is necessary to allow Sandy devastated residents to rebuild their lives.
“It’s ridiculous, to say the least, that the people of New Jersey are being denied access to grant money because they are trying to rebuild their lives after the worst storm ever,” Kyrillos said. “The people of my district and the surrounding areas were some of the hardest hit and their federal government should not be hindering their recovery. Our home owners should be able to rebuild as they apply for grant money and I urge our congressional delegation to get to work immediately”
Senator Kyrillos added that the people deserve a reasonable return on their federal tax dollars in the form of Sandy grants.
“A lot of good has come out of the $1.83 billion in initial aid to New Jerseyans, but the reality is that more resources are needed for this state to recover from nearly $37 billion in damages,” Kyrillos said. “New York has received about $4 billion more, so the time is now for HUD officials and our congressmen to turn their eyes to our state.”
The Associated Press reported today that HUD denied a Christie Administration request to waive a rule that all reconstruction work must stop when a property owner applies for RREM grants. The federal government wants be sure that historical structures are protected and that the properties are rebuilt to the new elevation standards. No work that is completed prior to a HUD approval of the plans will be reimbursed with RREM grants, even if the work complies with the standards.
With bi-partisan fanfare, Governor Chris Christie signed the Economic Opportunity Act yesterday afternoon. The new law,which Christie reshaped with his conditional veto, is far-reaching legislation designed to make New Jersey more competitive in economic development and job creation.
Economic incentives for business and development will now be more generous and easier to obtain.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos, a primary sponsor of the bill, celebrated the enactment of the legislation and called for more comprehensive tax reform.
“We got this done to boost New Jersey’s private-sector economy, because many Republicans and Democrats realize that this legislature desperately needs to do more to attract and retain job creators,” said Kyrillos (R-Monmouth). “We came together; we compromised to create more opportunities for New Jersey families. This should be the bridge to comprehensive tax reform that New Jerseyans have been waiting on for far too long.”
“It is encouraging that Democratic prime sponsor Senator Lesniak acknowledged the following during Thursday’s session: ‘We know that New Jersey cannot compete not only with our surrounding states but we can’t compete internationally because of the cost of doing business here we know is high,’” Kyrillos added. “This is a problem that Senate Republicans have tried to permanently address for years. With more Democrats now realizing the issue, the chances that this legislature will finally fix this state’s non-competitive tax structure are much better. When we get this done, residents won’t have fear that our sons and daughters will be forced to flee this costly state to start their families elsewhere, or that they won’t be able to find solid jobs because employers can’t afford to operate here.”
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker has not released his tax returns, despite a promise to do so, according to the New York Post.
“We will release his tax returns,” vowed Booker campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis more than two weeks ago, yesterday claiming Booker “will continue to raise the bar on transparency — both in this election, and if elected, in the US Senate.”
GOP nominee Steve Lonegan provided three years of returns exclusively to The Post. The paper said that Lonegan earned $515,280 in 2012, mostly from property sales, and paid nearly $100,000 in federal taxes.
Lonegan said Booker is refusing to release his returns because he used his office, Newark Mayor, to accumulate personal wealth.
“It’s indicative of the fact that he’s got something to hide,” Lonegan told The Post. “It’s clear to me that Booker leveraged the office of mayor . . . to gain wealth.”
The Post has previously reported that Booker received an undisclosed amount in an equity payout from the law firm he was a partner in before being elected mayor. The payout was made from 2007 through 2011. During that time the firm, Trenk DiPasquale, collected more than $2 million in fees from local agencies that Booker has direct influence over.
The New York Times reported in May that Booker has earned $1.3 million in speaking fees since becoming mayor and that his Newark home is assessed at $406,000. He earns a salary of $174,496 as mayor.