By Art Gallagher
Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, and Senate President Steve Sweeney told The Star Ledger that they are going to investigate the lucrative no-bid state contract that AshBrit received from the Christie Administration for Superstorm Sandy clean up and the well connected lobbyists the company used to sell their premium priced services to municipal officials from Sandy ravaged communities.
“We already had questions about how Sandy relief money was being spent, and these findings raise those questions to a new level,” Prieto told The Star-Ledger. “This money is supposed to be spent properly to benefit New Jersey residents and communities devastated by Sandy, not become a feeding frenzy for lobbyists and an excuse to bypass regulations on business, the environment and pay-to-play.”
As a conservative, it warms my heart to see Democrats fighting wasteful spending. Maybe Trenton really has been turned upside down.
As a skeptic, I expect that whatever hearings the Democrats hold will be done with the intention of denting Governor Christie’s substantial Sandy related armor going into the November election.
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Posted: February 4th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Hurricane Sandy | Tags: Art Gallagher, AshBrit, Barbara Buono, George Gilmore, Jon Bombardieri, Kris Kullari, Maggie Moran, Vicent Prieto | 5 Comments »
Ocean County GOP Chairman Geroge Gilmore is among a handful of connected lobbyists hired by AshBrit, the Florida company that won the sole state contract for Superstorm Sandy clean up, who was making sales calls to municipal officials looking for lucrative non-bid clean up work after then storm, according to an article in The Star Ledger this morning.
MMM was the first to report that former Corzine staffer Maggie Moran and her firm, M Public Affairs, was selling AshBrit’s premium priced services to Sandy ravaged municipalities. The Ledger report expands the list of lobbyists working for AshBrit in New Jersey to Gilmore, former Corzine cabinet member Kris Kullari, and former Assembly Republican director Jon Bombardieri.
AshBrit has been widely praised for the quality of the clean up work it hired subcontractors to perform. Their no-bid pricing is the issue. AshBrit charged $100 per ton for debris removal. Towns that didn’t hire AshBrit got the work done for $26 per ton.
“If this isn’t a classic example of how everything is connected in New Jersey politics, I don’t know what is,” said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who was Corzine’s running mate in 2009 when Moran managed his re-election campaign.
MMM is generally not a fan of Weinberg, but we are with her on this issue. Excess profits paid to AshBrit for making phone calls and signing contracts could have been used to rebuild infrastructure, house the displaced, etc, or not borrowed from China in the first place.
Gilmore got another new job last month. Just as MMM predicted last June during the Monmouth GOP Chairman’s race, Gilmore’s firm was appointed Assistant Monmouth County Counsel by the Board of Freeholders during their reorganization meeting.
Despite his threats to due so, John Bennett has not sued MMM for making that prediction.
Posted: February 3rd, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: George Gilmore, Hurricane Sandy, John Bennett, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: AshBrit, George Gilmore, John Bennett, Jon Bombardieri, Kris Kullari, M Public Affairs, Maggie Moran, Sandy cleanup, Star Ledger | 4 Comments »