Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) said today that he is asking U.S Attorney Paul Fishman to open criminal investigations into the municipal clients of Redflex Traffic Systems, an Arizona based red light camera company, due to legal claims by a former executive that the company routinely bribed municipal officials in 13 states, including New Jersey, in order to obtain the lucrative contracts to operate camera systems that issue summonses for red light infractions.
Additionally, O’Scanlon is writing to Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski to ask that the committee open an investigation into New Jersey’s red light camera program in light of the recent bribery allegations and scientific proof commissioned by O’Scanlon that red light cameras are a detriment to public safety that are rigged to cheat motorists.
TRENTON — State lawmakers leading the legislative investigation of the George Washington Bridge lane closures today said they plan to proceed with their probes even as the U.S. Attorney is dropping subpoenas in the case. State Assemblyman John Wisniweski…
New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has convicted a trio of Wall Street insiders from New York in what has been called one of the largest and longest-running insider trading frauds ever discovered in the United States. At the same time, he’s corralled…
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked her to stop talking about her allegations that top officials in the Christie Administration told her that Sandy Relief money was contingent upon her approving a development for the Rockefeller Group, according to HudsonCountyTV.
“The US Attorney’s office has asked that we do not conduct additional media interviews and we are respecting their request. I stand by my previous statements and remain willing to testify under oath about all of the facts in this case.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office has not confirmed that they made such a request, or that they have even met with Zimmer.
NEWARK — Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said she met with federal prosecutors today, a day after she alleged members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid from her city if she did not approve a real estate…
What helps a city fight crime? Media attention. Crime fighters don’t wish to be seen losing in the media.
Asbury Park’s gun crimes and murders get less television attention than other cities because it’s small and far from New York and Philadelphia. News 12 has to cover the state. The responsibility for keeping attention on unsolved murders in Asbury Park falls then on the Asbury Park Press.
Regarding Asbury Park killings, we’ve seen the Monmouth County prosecutor blame the city police, the county prosecutor make no progress himself and everyone blame the City Council. It was announced last week that state troopers will patrol the city, but car patrols lend themselves mostly to traffic tickets.
Left out of the conversation thus far is a very important crime fighter — U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. He is a well-schooled, honorable lawyer who has spent his career fighting crime, including a concentration on illegal narcotics, the antecedent problem that leads to gangs and murder.
Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie built a legacy of putting corrupt politicians in jail. Former U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani prosecuted organized crime. Fishman can have a more honorable distinction than both of them — saving young lives and removing fear from a community.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorney’s office has a nearly $2 billion budget, and New Jersey’s district is the fifth largest in America, with 145 lawyers and support staff. Fishman has resources. More importantly, he wields an effective crime-fighting law: The Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations statute (RICO).
The press is vetting Govenor Chris Christie’s nominees to the State Supreme Court.
NJ.com, The Star Ledger’s website, posted an article this morning about the family business of nominee Phillip Kwon. Kwon’s mother owns a liquor store in Mt. Vernon, NY that made a $160,000 settlement with the New York U.S. Attorney’s office over $2,000,000 in allegedly “structured” cash bank deposits. “Structuring” is the practice of spreading out cash deposits in order to avoid the $10,000 trigger that requires the bank to report the deposit to the IRS.
There is no evidence or allegation that Kwon had anything to do with the business or the transactions. There was no admission of liablity in the settlement.
Star Ledger columnist/blogger Paul Mulshine reports that Bruce Harris, the African-American gay Mayor of Chatham that Christie nominatied to the Court along with Kwon this week, wrote an email to state senators, including Joe Pennacchio, asking that they support the same sex marriage bill that was before the Senate during the lame duck session of 2009.
Harris’s email said, in part (with emphasis added):
The New Jersey Supreme court has determined that our relationship is entitled to the equal protection guarantees of the State Constitution. The New jersey Civil Union Review Commission determined that civil unions do not provide the equality the State Constitution mandates.(Please take a few moments and visit www.gardenstateequality.org. which has two short videos that provide sad examples of the failures of the civil union law.)
Mulshine points out that there is no equal protection clause in the State Constitution. Mulshine quotes conservative Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll regarding “originalists” interpretations of the State Constitution:
“No originalist can tell me there’s an equal protection clause in the constitution. No originalist can tell me there’s a right to a thorough and efficient education or a right to affordable housing.”
As much as Christie has done, and is attempting to do, to reform New Jersey’s government, there is nothing more important he can do that make sure conservatives, “orignalists,” are seated on the Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court will be his legacy.
I hope that Christie is not using the same standard that former Governor Christine Todd Whitman used to populate the Court, i.e., appointing friends and senior staffers or making “diversity” appointments for political gain.
The activist State Supreme Court, with the consent of the Legislature and six governors/acting governors, have destroyed New Jersey’s economy over the two decades.
Governor Christie needs to make sure his nominees have the “right stuff.” Hopefully Kwon and Harris do.
Harris said we would recuse himself from cases involving gay marriage. Now that he is going to be a Justice, if confirmed, he needs to brush up on the State Constitution.
As for Kwon, the news of his mother’s business with the feds is interesting but does not qualify him.
The question the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the press, should ask, is what does qualify Kwon and Harris.
Is being the Governor’s long term trusted colleague enough? Is being Black and gay enough?
Maybe it is. But similar standards did not serve us well with Whitman’s Court.
Character, scholarship, temperament and a demonstrated ability to do the job. One would hope that those are the most important qualities our U.S. Senators consider when they participate in the vetting of potential federal judges.
Evidently, who potential judges share their beds and bodies with are a more important consideration to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators; Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez.
Two weeks ago we read the news that Lautenberg passed over candidates expected to be nominated for federal judgeships in New Jersey and “out of nowhere” endorsed New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s brother-in-law to sit on New Jersey’s District Court.
Today we read that Menendez is using senatorial courtesy to block the nomination of U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Shwartz has been in a relationship with James Nobile for two decades, according to The New York Times. Nobile is the head of the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s public corruption unit which investigated Menendez in 2006 while the Hudson County pol was running for his own term as Senator after having been appointed by Governor Jon Corzine.
Menendez was elected despite the news of the investigation. The investigation has been closed with no charges filed.