A resident of Atlantic Highlands, Abby-White has served on Brookdale’s Board for six years. She is a former Atlantic Highlands Councilwoman and served for seven years on the Henry Hudson Regional Board of Education. She began her career as a teacher in the Middletown school system before entering the corporate sector in finance and technology where she continues to excel. She replaces Dr. Carl Guzzo as Chairman.
Guzzo led the college through the difficult process of reform and reorganization after the scandal involving former president Peter Burnham. He is credited with restoring stability to the college and positioning Brookdale for an exciting future serving the students and communities of Monmouth County.
Peter Burnham, the disgraced former president of Brookdale Community College, is out of prison and talking about his mistakes. Burnham spoke last week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Chicago, according to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, an industry publication. “There’s a fine line between confidence and… Read the rest of this entry »
Devoid of ideas of how to improve Monmouth County’s government and running on so called “issues” that have failed in the last few campaigns, the Monmouth County Democratic Freeholder candidates, Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo are apparently hoping they can win in November by mimicking Congressman Frank Pallone’s odd facial expressions. Even their campaign volunteers are doing it.
Luttrell and Grillo have been handing out literature that blame Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich for the misdeeds of Peter Burnham at Brookdale Community College and Andrew Lucas’s alleged misdeeds in the the sale of development rights to a farm that he owns to the farmland preservation program.
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal has threatened the owner of this website, Gallco Media, LLC, with “all legal remedies under law” unless the post, Feds Charge Indian National With Abusive Sexual Contact, is removed from the site. Gopal’s attorney, D. Sam Han, Esq. of Sobel Han, LLP of Englewood Cliffs, further demands that an apology and retraction be posted that clearly denotes the improper usage of Gopal’s picture on this site. The photo in question is posted to the left. Han’s letter can be viewed here.
On behalf of Gallco Media, I consulted with two attorneys to find out what these “legal remedies under law” might be. Both said there aren’t any and that Gopal does not have an actionable claim. Bring it on, Han. Play it again, Sam. You’re not gonna win, Vin.
We really must have gotten under Gopal’s skin. He didn’t threaten legal action against the campaign of Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini in the the 2011 legislative race when they sent the now infamous Joe Vas mailer out against Gopal who was running against them at the time. The mailer was widely criticized in the media and even by many Republicans at the time. MMM didn’t write about the mailer in 2011 because I was in jail on ginned up charges when the controversy broke. I’m particularly sensitive to the consequences of exaggerated allegations made in the media.
Gopal’s gotten a small taste of his own medicine. We hope he’ll alter his conduct, and lead members of party to do the same. It’s not looking too good, so far, but that is what we’re after in our “Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett didnot issue a statement…” posts and our posts calling Gopal on his duplicity.
Their nominating convention is not until March 22 at the IBEW Local 400 union hall in Wall Township, but Monmouth County Democratic freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo are off and running full speed ahead.
Luttrell, the Holmdel attorney who came in last against Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso, as well as his running mate Brian Froelich, after being endorsed by the Asbury Park Press last year, announced he was running again almost immediately after his sad showing.
Grillo is the former Executive Director of the Monmouth Democrats and the municipal chairman of the Asbury Park Democrats. Like Luttrell, he has never held elected office. Grillo was briefly a candidate for the Asbury Park City Council last year, withdrawing from the race prior to the filing deadline. Since leaving his position as ED of the Monmouth Dems, Grillo has worked for his family’s tile company in Howell.
Grillo stepped up his game over the weekend with a fundraising email blast that announced his candidacy. He raised $6,200 online through Sunday. A Democrat who does not want to be known for talking to a Republican leaning site told MMM that Grillo has raised over $20,000 for his campaign including checks collected offline. His stated goal is to raise $50,000 by the June 3rd primary.
Carol Hobbs, 34, of Jackson, was arrested and charged with third degree theft on Thursday following an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Hobbs was responsible for maintaining the cash register in the pro shop, collecting greens fees and managing the schedule of golfers to the starting point to begin their round of golf. The investigation revealed Hobbs would modify a transaction so it appeared the golfer received a refund after the golf course patron paid for a round a golf when they had not asked for or received a refund. After modifying the transaction Hobbs retained the money. An audit revealed Hobbs embezzled over $3,000 from September 2012 through December 2012, according to a statement released by Acting Prosecutor Christopher A. Gramiccioni.
Hobbs was not charged with Official Misconduct, a second degree crime if the benefit of the infraction exceeds $200, that carries up to a 10 year prison sentence upon conviction, according to attorney Matheu D. Nunn:
Under New Jersey’s Official Misconduct law, N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2, a public servant can be prosecuted for acts committed in their official capacity and, if convicted, imprisoned for up to ten years.
A public servant includes any officer or employee of government including legislators and judges as well as any person participating as a juror, advisor, consultant or otherwise, in performing a government function; it does not include a witness. The test is whether the person is performing a “government function.”
Under New Jersey Official Misconduct law the public servant’s action or omission must be coupled “with a purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another” or a purpose to injure another or deprive another of a benefit….
…Here is the scary part–Official Misconduct is a crime of the second degree. As a result, the official faces up to 10 years in state prison if the benefit involved exceeded $200 in value. If the benefit is less than $200 in value it is a crime of the third degree and the official faces a term of imprisonment up to 5 years.
If the purpose is to injure another it will be a crime of the second degree no matter how slight the injury.
And, unlike many other “non-violent” crimes, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.5, a person convicted of Official Misconduct:
“shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment without eligibility for parole as follows: for a crime of the fourth degree, the mandatory minimum term shall be one year; for a crime of the third degree, two years; for a crime of the second degree, five years; and for a crime of the first degree, 10 years; unless the provisions of any other law provide for a higher mandatory minimum term.”
Former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham is serving at least two years of a five year prison sentence due to his guilty plea to Official Misconduct.
Gramiccioni declined to say why Hobbs was not charged with Official Misconduct, citing work product confidentiality.
Last November I wrote Strange Justice, a piece about my observations of the criminal sentencings of former Brookdale Community Community College President Peter Burnham and former Eatontown Detective Philip Emanulle.
Both men were charged with Official Misconduct. Burnham pled guilty to the Official Misconduct Charge and to Theft. He charged $24,000 on the college’s credit cards for personal expenses over an eight year period and used a $20,000 federal grant for his son’s tuition at Monmouth University for personal use after Brookdale had already paid the tuition. In addition to Official Misconduct, Emanuelle was charged with Sexual Assault, Criminal Coercion and Tampering with Evidence. The Sexual Assault and Official Misconduct charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Emanuelle pled guilty to Coercion and Tampering. Emanulle got five years probation. Burnham was sentenced to five years in prison with the stipulation that he serve at least two years before he is eligible for release.
Burnham is in State Prison now. A mutual friend tells me prison has not been easy for Burnham. That is an understatement. It hasn’t been easy for his family either. Burnham had already lost his job and pension. What was unexpected by his family is that he also lost his Social Security Benefits as a result of his conviction.
On January 8, Marlboro resident Mark Trawinski was sentenced to five months in prison for tax evasion. Between 2002 and 2008, Trawinski didn’t pay the employment taxes withheld from his employees wages or the business’s employment taxes. He beat the government for $713,759 and used the money in part to purchase a $1 million home in Florida that he tried to hide from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the IRS. In addition to his five months in prison, after Trawinski is released this spring he will be confined to his home for five months and he will undergo three years of supervised release. He must also pay back the $713,759 to the IRS.
Why is Burnham doing two years hard time for stealing $44,000 while Emanulle got off with probation for Sexual Assault and and Trawinski got five months for stealing $713,759? Official Misconduct.
Two former public servants were in Judge Thomas F. Scully’s courtroom this morning to be sentenced for crimes to which they had negotiated plea bargains.
The courtroom was crowded for former Eatontown detective Philip Emanuelle’s sentencing. On one side of the gallery were Emanuelle’s wife, and many supporters. On the other side was the 25 year old woman who said she was raped by Emanuelle while he was armed, the woman’s family and many supporters. The tearful and tragic emotion in the room was raw.
Emanuelle, 33, of Brick Township, served in the Eatontown Police Department for eight years. He was charged with one count of Sexual Assault, two counts of Official Misconduct, a count of third degree Criminal Coercion and a fourth degree count of Tampering with Physical Evidence.
The Sexual Assault charge and the Official Misconduct charges were dismissed as part of his plea agreement. He was sentenced to five years probation, the loss of his job, and prohibited from public employment for life for the Criminal Coercion and the Tampering with Physical Evidence charges. Emanuelle left the courthouse with his family and friends.
A different and smaller crowd was in the courtroom a short while later. There were no tears shed by former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham or his family. Burham quoted Kipling’s The Road Less Traveled, while pleading with Scully to give him a lesser sentence than the one to which he had already agreed to serve.
Burnham, who presided over Brookdale for more than two decades, pled guilty to stealing roughly $44,000 from Monmouth County’s community college; $24,000 in charges for personal expenses to the college’s credit cards over an 8 year period and $20,000 in tuition reimbursement for his son that had already been paid for by the federal government. He was sentenced to five years in State Prison with no eligibility for parole for the first two years. Burnham was taken into custody after sentencing.
Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor, Christopher J. Gramiccioni, described Burnhman as “a king who ruled Brookdale with an iron fist,” a greedy arrogant man compensated very generously with a pay package worth over $300,000 per year who still betrayed the public trust by stealing $44,000.
In contrast, Emmanuelle’s victim graphically described being forcibly raped after she declined to perform oral sex on the detective who was still wearing his gun during the act. She said another victim had come forth. Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Schweers told Scully that his office did not believe they had sufficient evidence to prosecute Emanuelle for the other woman’s allegations.
The victim asked Scully to disregard the plea bargain that she agreed to and send Emanuelle to prison.
Scully told Emanuelle that his actions were “utterly hideous.” The judge repeatedly expressed his shock at the high level of support Emanuelle was receiving from his wife, family and friends. Then Scully gave Emanuelle a longer probationary term than callled for in the plea agreement.
Burnham went to jail today. Emmanuelle went home.
The fact that these two sentencing hearings occurred back to back is legally irrelevant. While they occurred moments apart, they seemed like alternate realities playing out on the same stage after a brief intermission.
Each case was probably disposed of justly on its own merits. But viewed together, back to back, by a layman, it seemed that the cop got away with rape while the college president went to jail for a relatively minor infraction. Burnham’s infraction seemed very minor compared to Emanuelle’s crime. Yet Burnham’s next five years will be much harsher than Emanuelle’s.
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal released the following statement yesterday afternoon after former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham pled guilty to theft by deception and official misconduct:
“Earlier today, Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham pled guilty of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. The web of corruption surrounding this case is just another example of Monmouth County Republican cronies profiting at the taxpayers’ expense.”
“Mr. Burnham, along with Brookdale Community College’s then Board President Howard Birsdall and Brookdale’s Board Attorney John Cantalupo were all close allies and major political supporters of the Republican Party establishment here in Monmouth County. Mr. Cantalupo served as Freeholder Lillian Burry’s close confidant and official Campaign Treasurer in her 2005 and 2008 Freeholder campaigns. In this same time period, Mr. Cantalupo negotiated the terms of Peter Burnham’s lavish Brookdale contracts. This represents a clear conflict of interest, given that Mr. Cantalupo was Freeholder Burry’s right hand man. Perhaps this is why Freeholder Burry sat silently on the sidelines as the truth about Mr. Burnhams theft was being exposed.”
“As a result of the Republican-controlled Freeholder Board’s lack of oversight, student tuition increased at Brookdale Community College while their college president profited immensely. This is what happens when a chief advisor for the Republican Freeholders is negotiating salary contracts on behalf of a College President that is funded by these same Republican Freeholders. It is time for Monmouth County taxpayers to unite against the Good Ol’ Boys Network here in Monmouth County”
Prosecutor: The Brookdale investigation is ongoing
Curley calls for resignation of Trustees
Former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham, 68, pleaded guilty to one count of third degree theft by deception and two counts of second degree official misconduct today before Judge Thomas F. Scully in Monmouth County Court, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosectuor Christopher Gramiccioni.
In a plea agreement, Burnham accepted a five year prison term. During the first two years he will be ineligible for parole. Gramiccioni said the parole leniency is in consideration for Burnham’s cooperation with the investigation into Brookdale which is ongoing. The prosecutor said he expects Burnham, who was released on his own recognisance today, will serve two years after he is sentenced on September 21st.
Gramiccioni said the Brookdale investigation has been going on for the last 15 months. He declined to say who else at the college is being investigated.
Burnham admitted using college credit cards for more than $24,000 in personal expenses and to defrauding Brookdale and the federal government of $20,398 in funds intended for his son’s college tuition. Both Brookdale and the federal government paid the young Burnham’s tuition at Monmouth University. Monmouth later cut a refund check to Burnham for $20,398. He kept the money.
Freeholder Director John Curley, the “whistle blower” on the Brookdale scandal, today called upon those members of the college’s Board of Trustees who served during Burnham’s tenure as president to immediately resign.
Curley said that two Trustees have been replaced sense Burnham’s resignation. He wants all but the two replacements to resign today. Curley first shed light on Burnham’s spending irregularities in a statement issued to MMM in February of 2011.