Thread: Only in NJ

  1. #1
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    Default Only in NJ

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/200...ted_on_br.html


    Got to love it. NJ just can not stay out of trouble.

    11 NJ officials arrested on bribery charges
    by Jeff Whelan
    Thursday September 06, 2007, 4:03 PM


    John O'Boyle/The Star-Ledger
    Agents escort Keith Reid, chief of staff to Newark City Council President Mildred Crump, out of the FBI office in Newark.

    FBI agents this morning rounded up 11 New Jersey public officials on bribery charges related to roofing and insurance contracts following an 18-month operation that swept the state from south to north, authorities said.

    The investigation probed nearly every layer of government, beginning with the Pleasantville school board in Atlantic County, and gradually widening to include state assemblymen, mayors and current and former councilmen from Passaic and Essex counties, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie.



    Star-Ledger File Photos
    Samuel Rivera, Mims Hackett, Jr., and Alfred E. Steele.

    "This pattern of corruption infects every level of government -- from the local school board to the highest levels of state government," Christie said. "The public has had enough."

    Among those charged are Samuel Rivera, the mayor of Passaic; Assemblyman Mims Hackett, Jr., who is also the mayor of Orange; Assemblyman Rev. Alfred E. Steele, who was also a Passaic County undersheriff; and Keith Reid, the chief of staff to Newark City Council President Mildred Crump. All of them are Democrats.

    The probe also netted a current Passaic councilman, a former Passaic councilman and five current and former members of the Pleasantville Board of Education, authorities said.

    The 11 officials are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for agreeing to steer public contracts to companies that offered insurance brokerage or roofing services to school districts and municipalities, according to criminal complaints unsealed with the arrests. The individual payments ranged from $1,500 to $17,500, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Christie and the FBI have made public corruption a top priority in recent years. The investigation leading to today's arrests - headed by FBI Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun - began in mid-2006 as an inquiry into corruption in the Pleasantville School District.

    The FBI set up an undercover insurance brokerage company that included undercover agents and two cooperating witnesses, one of whom had previously operated a roofing business, according to a statement released today by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    The school board members allegedly took bribes from the cooperating witnesses, and the probe widened when school board members directed the cooperating witnesses to officials in north Jersey, authorities said. They, in turn, directed investigators to other public officials, authorities said.

    Trouble has long plagued the schools of Pleasantville, located about five miles west of downtown Atlantic City.

    With 3,600 students, it is an Abbott District that has had 13 superintendents since 1997 -- seven of whom were on the job fewer than six months. In July, a state-appointed monitor began working with the district after years of financial and staffing turmoil. A recent investigation by an independent law firm accused past and present school board members of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

    Today was the first day of school for the district, and although some parents were under the belief there would be an emergency school board meeting tonight, none was scheduled, Pleasantville Assistant Superintendent Gregory Allen said today. He declined to comment on the arrests.

    Among those arrested today are School Board President James Pressley and board member Rafael Velez. The former board members include Jayson Adams, James McCormick and Maurice "Pete" Callaway, the brother of former Atlantic City Councilman Craig Callaway, who is currently in prison for taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent.

    A 12th suspect, Louis Mister, was arrested and charged with accepting two $1,500 bribes on behalf of Callaway, authorities said.

    The suspects from the Passaic City Council are Marcellus Jackson, a Democrat, and former councilman Jonathon Soto, a Republican who lost reelection in May. He teaches social studies at a middle school in Passaic and is a member of the city's redevelopment agency.

    According to the criminal complaint against Jackson, after accepting one of four payments totaling $16,500, Jackson told a secret FBI informant, "I appreciate it, baby. Good things is gonna happen."

    Adams, the former Pleasantville school board president, allegedly accepted a total of $15,000 in corrupt payments to help the insurance brokerage and roofing company obtain contracts from the school board. "We either gonna get this job together or go to jail together," he told a secret FBI informant during one meeting last month, according to his criminal complaint.

    Following the early-morning arrests, Steele, a deputy assembly speaker since 2002, resigned his post as undersheriff as he was about to be suspended by Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale, a sheriff's spokesman said.

    The 12 are charged with either conspiracy to extort corrupt payments or attempting to extort corrupt payments, offenses that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail. The officials are starting to make their first court appearances in Trenton this afternoon.

    They are accused of accepting the following amounts, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office:

    James Pressley - $32,200
    Jayson Adams - $15,000
    Marcellus Jackson - $16,500
    Rafael Velez - $14,000
    Rev. Alfred E. Steele - $14,000
    Maurice "Pete" Callaway - $13,000
    Jonathon Soto - $12,500
    Keith Reid - $10,000
    Mims Hackett, Jr. - $5,000 as an "up-front" payment. Hackett allegedly agreed to accept another $25,000 once Orange approved an insurance brokerage contract.
    Samuel Rivera - $5,000
    James McCormick- $3,500
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    Tell me what state you're in so I can go there since things like that never happen there..I'll stop in Washington,D.C. and pick up Mayor Marion Berry on the way. .ha

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    Tell me what state you're in so I can go there since things like that never happen there..I'll stop in Washington,D.C. and pick up Mayor Marion Berry on the way. .ha
    Np problem brother! Here in NJ FMBA proud!
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    New Jersey: Where politics is a contact sport.

    My very first LE assigment (1984) was in a political corruption unit in Hudson County (Jersey CIty), NJ. One of the things that struck me very early on was how little political corruption bothered private citizens. I spoke with many people who actually believed that it was OK for a politician to get what he could get while he was in office. It also amazed me how many politicos who got caught adamntly believed that they had done nothing wrong.

    US Attorney Chris Christie (Morris County guy) is a good man. But no one except God himself will ever stop political corruption in NJ. It is part of the culture.

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    Lightbulb And...............

    It ain't just Joisey either, NJ just happens to be out in front of everyone right now. Other States (and subdivisions thereof) do a good job of getting in the Political corruption limelight too.
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    Default ANd....AND

    HWoods is right...just take a look at my home state of Georgia....enough said

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    Atlantic City had a councilman indicted recently, and to hear P-Ville had corrupt politicians does not surprise me in the least little bit.
    Jersey politics..........
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWickman View Post
    Np problem brother! Here in NJ FMBA proud!
    . . . . . OK . . .

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    When I think of political corruption the top three places that come to mind are

    1. In New York
    2. In Illinois
    3. In Michigan

    Those don't include the national politicians.

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    From the Record of NJ:

    Corruption on the run in N.J.
    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    By PETER J. SAMPSON
    STAFF WRITER



    KEVIN R. WEXLER / HERALD NEWS
    U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie leaves the Clarkson S. Fisher Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Trenton on Sept. 6.

    The crimes have been outrageous -- like the Port Authority commissioner who admitted trying to silence a witness by setting him up with a prostitute and secretly taping their tryst. Or the judge who traveled to Russia to film himself having sex with a teenage boy.

    They've also been mundane, like the MVC workers who ran their own driver's license mill.

    But the list of government officials and employees arrested by federal agents in New Jersey the past several years shows a spectrum of public servants -- from state senators to building inspectors -- who authorities said were eager to sell their offices for cash.

    For U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, it's a never-ending well.

    "Our approach is that there really is no act of corruption too small," said Christie, in an interview with The Record.

    CHRISTIE'S CATCHES
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    From state Senators to mayors, county executives to council members, the list of public officials and employees arrested by federal authorities in New Jersey is as diverse as it is long.

    The Record has compiled the complete list of corruption cases prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie's office -- including charges, pleas, sentences, fines and restitution.
    Chart: Christie's catches

    BY THE NUMBERS
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Arrested New Jersey public servants, by party:

    Democrats: 40
    Republicans: 20
    Not available: 64

    More than 125 government officials and employees in New Jersey have been charged with corruption-related crimes in the nearly six years since Christie took office.

    The vast majority -- 92 public servants in all -- pleaded guilty. Two of them died before they were sentenced. Ten more went to trial and were convicted. Two died while charges were pending.

    None have been acquitted.

    In addition to the public servants -- 22 of whom are still facing indictment or awaiting trial -- two dozen developers, contractors, vendors and political operatives were swept up in the probes.

    Critics, particularly Democrats, have repeatedly accused the Republican appointee of targeting certain officials while attempting to set the stage for a gubernatorial run. Among the elected officials charged by Christie's office, Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1.

    If he were pursuing cases merely to be partisan, Christie responded, there would at least be some acquittals.

    "Corruption is corruption, no matter which party is doing it," he said. "Both have participated in it in this state and both have been brought to task for it by our office."

    At the same time, he quickly noted that more Democrats are currently in office than Republicans, tilting the probability factor.

    Describing municipal and school boards as "farm teams" for higher office, Christie said, "you need to try to nip this stuff in the bud at the local level before they get into positions of greater power where they have the opportunity to steal even more money."

    Although U.S. attorneys are appointed by the president and ordinarily are committed to the administration's general policies, they have the legal authority to set their own course.

    Nationwide, federal prosecutions for drugs, violent crime and certain white-collar offenses have declined in recent years, amid a shift in priorities after 9/11 and budget restraints. The total number of criminal cases brought by U.S. Attorneys' Offices peaked in fiscal 2004 and dropped by 4.5 percent between then and 2006, according to the latest Justice Department data.

    Christie says his office has bucked the trend, in part, thanks to federal agencies "that have continued to be willing to place resources on criminal investigations and not just terrorism."

    A former corporate lawyer, Morris County freeholder and fund-raiser for President Bush, Christie has a staff of 139 lawyers in what is the nation's seventh-largest U.S. Attorney's Office. Its corruption unit had seven attorneys when he arrived. He's more than doubled that to 16.

    The group is led by James Nobile, a 15-year veteran of the office whom Christie calls "one of the finest prosecutors I've ever met. He's creative, he is incredibly detail-oriented, and he works harder than anybody I know."

    The cases are often built by the FBI, IRS and other agencies with the help of cooperators who take investigators inside the conspiracy. They are bolstered by audio and video evidence that leave little wiggle room for targets.

    The latest undercover sting, "Operation Broken Boards," is a case in point.

    Following an alleged trail of corruption from a South Jersey school board, the FBI on Sept. 6 arrested 11 officials, including mayors, councilmen and assemblymen from several North Jersey cities, on charges of trading influence for bribes. Many of them were recorded in the act of taking cash or other gifts, investigators said.

    "If we took the position that looking at one board of education in a relatively small suburb in Atlantic County was not worth our time, we wouldn't have gotten all these public officials," Christie said.

    Having had "a ringside seat" the past six years, Christie said he's come to believe New Jersey's corruption stems from "too much government."

    "When you have 566 municipalities, 612 school boards, 21 county governments and a $34.5 billion state government, that's a lot of government to get honest people to staff and for law enforcement to effectively keep an eye on," he said. "This culture of corruption in New Jersey is a culture of just much-too-much government for anyone to effectively staff or police."

    Citizens "need to become directly involved" in holding public officials accountable, he said, repeating a frequent theme.

    "The public needs to understand it's their democracy," Christie said. "So it's their problem, too."

    E-mail: sampson@northjersey.com

    * * *
    The list of public servants in New Jersey charged with federal crimes in recent years is diverse. North Jersey names are listed.

    17 mayors

    Sammy Rivera (Passaic)
    Martin G. Barnes (Paterson)
    Anthony J. Russo (Hoboken)
    Peter LaVilla (Guttenberg)
    15 council members/ commissioner

    Marcellus Jackson (Passaic)
    Jonathan Soto (Passaic)
    Peter Perez (North Bergen)
    5 state legislators

    Alfred E. Steele (Passaic)
    Sharpe James (Newark)
    Mims Hackett Jr. (Orange)
    2 county executives

    Robert Janiszewski (Hudson)
    James Treffinger (Essex)
    92 guilty pleas

    10 trial convictions

    58 prison sentences

    0 acquittals

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    Thumbs up Hmmmmmm................

    As I noted before, Every state has some, including mine (Md.) but, We try to lessen the chance by restricting the opportunities to get on the playing field.

    For Instance, The entire State Of Maryland has only Twenty Five School Boards. There is a State Board of Education, which has some oversight responsibilities at the State Level. The Independent City of Baltimore, (Independent meaning that it is not part of any County) and the Twenty Three Counties each have a School Board. (Baltimore, and each County, is one School district) Most Government Functions are handled at the County Level, and although we don't have Townships (Thank God) we do have some incorporated Towns and Small Cities. They are limited in what authority they can muster, and we like it that way. Fewer Politicians, that's for sure.
    Last edited by hwoods; 09-28-2007 at 05:34 PM.
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    Thumbs up Sounds good to me ...

    Christie says his office has bucked the trend, in part, thanks to federal agencies "that have continued to be willing to place resources on criminal investigations and not just terrorism."
    Hmmmm. It seems likely to me that criminal investigations may lead to, and perhaps result in, uncovering possible terrorist plots.

    Unless I've completely misread this whole situation, it appears that Christie has his act together and is determined to clean things up (and has already made significant progress) in a big way.
    Last edited by RspctFrmCalgary; 09-28-2007 at 11:38 PM. Reason: To add and correct punctuation
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    From the AC Press....

    This is gonna get ugly, fast.......AC is full of corrupt politicians...

    Whelan to Levy: Explain or quit
    Assemblyman says A.C. mayor must address probe speculation
    By DEREK HARPER Staff Writer, (609) 272-7203 and PETER McALEER Statehouse Bureau. (609) 292-4935
    Published: Thursday, September 27, 2007

    ATLANTIC CITY — Assemblyman Jim Whelan on Thursday called on his longtime friend Bob Levy to clear his name or resign as Atlantic City mayor.


    Whelan, D-Atlantic, said he was concerned that speculation about an ongoing federal investigation of Levy could leave city government paralyzed.


    “I think he owes it to the community to tell us what he's done,” said Whelan, a former mayor of Atlantic City. “If he’s done something wrong, he needs to resign.”
    Whelan and Levy, both Democrats, have been friends since their days serving as lifeguards together.


    “My responsibility, his responsibility, as public officials, is to the public,” Whelan said. “He owes the community an explanation as to what the heck is going on here.”
    Asked if he had spoken to Levy, Whelan said, “I'm choosing to go public.”


    Speculation circulated all day in Atlantic City and in Trenton that Levy planned to step down, but by the end of the day Atlantic City Clerk Rosemary Adams said she had not received a resignation letter.


    Rumors of a 1 p.m. resignation announcement Thursday led reporters to gather in the City Hall lobby, only to disperse 40 minutes later.


    City spokesman Nick Morici repeatedly told the media that there was no news conference or plans for resignation. He added there was none scheduled for today or any day in the near future.
    But the rumors spread all the way to the Statehouse.


    “Clearly, something's going on,” said Diane LeGreide, director of Atlantic City projects for the State Office of Economic Growth. “We had heard Levy’s resignation was imminent. But nothing has been confirmed.”


    In January, The Press of Atlantic City first reported on a federal investigation into Levy's military service record.


    The investigation followed Levy's admission that appeared in The Press in November that he had never been a member of the elite Special Forces, despite years of claims that he had been a member of the Green Berets in Vietnam. Materials repeating that claim were part of Levy’s 2005 campaign for mayor.


    Federal investigators probed whether Levy, a decorated 20-year Army veteran, had been properly awarded a Combat Infantryman's Badge, or CIB, and later used that to claim benefits to which he was not entitled.


    Levy could not be located Thursday. He did not return calls to his home or cell phone. His attorney, Ed Jacobs, confirmed Levy was in a hospital but would not say which one or what his condition was.
    At about 1 p.m. Thursday, Levy's Chief of Staff Vanessa King and Assistant City Business Administrator Karen Upshaw, meeting with technology consultant Ernest Muro, said they had neither seen nor heard from the mayor.


    For most of the summer, Levy's city-issued Dodge Durango has sat in his mayoral parking space at City Hall. That was gone Thursday.
    It is unclear if Levy's hospitalization is related to his recent medical problems.


    On June 21, Levy underwent back surgery to correct a chronic condition. He returned July 17, complaining of severe pain and suffering from blood clots in his lungs. He remained hospitalized until Aug. 3. Since then, he said he was getting stronger.


    About 75 people from the group that is seeking to recall Levy were happy as they met for a $20 buffet fundraiser at Atlantic City's Flying Cloud restaurant Thursday night. They said they were convinced that Levy was all but out of office.


    “It's just a matter of time before he has to step down,” petition group member Warren Massey said.


    Former Mayor Lorenzo Langford, whom Levy beat in the 2005 Democratic primary, attended but declined comment.


    Levy handily beat city employee Joseph Polillo, an independent candidate, in the November 2005 election. “I'd like to see a new [election] contest,” Polillo said at the fundraiser.
    Levy's alleged troubles could end up affecting the race for state Senate. Republicans were quick to assail Whelan for his relationship with Levy.


    “Jim Whelan created Bob Levy,” Atlantic County Republican Party Chairman Keith Davis said Thursday night. “He had him heading up the lifeguards and the office of emergency management at the same time. For him to run away from Levy now I think is a day late and a dollar short. He's a guy who put Bob Levy into prominence.”


    Whelan, as mayor of Atlantic City, appointed Levy to head the office of emergency management. His predecessor, Mayor James Usry, appointed Levy to head the beach patrol.
    Whelan declined to respond to Davis' comments, but said Levy needs to speak up soon.


    “We keep hearing a steady stream of rumors and I think the last year has taught us we can't discount them,” Whelan said. “I remember the persistent rumors in the ’80s, (when Whelan served on City Council) with the denials and recalls, and it just paralyzed city government. From the development side, it didn’t matter that much back then because casinos were a monopoly, but that’s not the case today. You can’t have a city government paralyzed at this juncture. I have had major developers say to me, 'Who do we talk to?’ as a rhetorical question. That’s not how you attract development.”

    “He needs to stop hiding out,” Whelan added. “He needs to come and tell the community what's going on.”

    - Derek Harper & Pete McAleer, Staff Writers

    To e-mail Pete McAleer at The Press:PMcAleer@pressofac.com

    To e-mail Derek Harper at The PressHarper@pressofac.com
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    You expect something different from a state that can't legally make a left turn......lol OR pump there own gas?!...lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by RspctFrmCalgary View Post
    Hmmmm. It seems likely to me that criminal investigations may lead to, and perhaps result in, uncovering possible terrorist plots.

    Unless I've completely misread this whole situation, it appears that Christie has his act together and is determined to clean things up (and has already made significant progress) in a big way.
    You have, from across the continent, read this situation perfectly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffscm72 View Post
    You expect something different from a state that can't legally make a left turn......lol OR pump there own gas?!...lol
    Just remember, you pay more than we do for it and you still have to pump your own gas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Just remember, you pay more than we do for it and you still have to pump your own gas.
    touche'!
    "Courage is the resistance to fear, the mastery of fear, not the lack of fear." Mark Twain
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    It never ends.........

    Does Bergen official have mob ties?
    Council members say they didn't know before they hired him

    HACKENSACK (AP) -- Members of the Paramus Borough Council say that even if they had known of Anthony Iacono's possible mob links, they still would have selected him as the new borough administrator.

    "He's been good. Hopefully, he'll stay around Paramus for a long time," Councilman Richard LaBarbiera, who also served on the search committee, told The Record of Bergen County in Friday's editions. The post had been unfilled for about 10 years.

    The council in August unanimously approved Iacono, who had been town administrator in Secaucus. Iacono is paid $135,000.

    In 2002, a federal monitor permanently barred Iacono from a labor union, citing his connection to a reputed Genovese crime family associate, John Agathos Sr. Iacono gave Agathos a cell phone, the monitor found.

    The monitor in 1996 removed Agathos as president of Local 69 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union in Secaucus, asserting that he maintained mob ties and embezzled funds.

    Iacono, 45, told the newspaper that he did not give Agathos a cell phone and denied he was involved with organized crime.

    "Nobody has anything on me," he said. "There's no law that says who you can or can't be friends with," he said.

    He has been friendly with the Agathos family for over two decades. That connection led to part-time jobs as maitre d' for the Pegasus restaurant and the Stadium Club at the Meadowlands sports complex, Iacono said.

    He still holds those jobs, despite resigning from Local 69 in 2002 to avoid speaking to an investigator working for the monitor, according to a report by the union's public review board.

    Paramus Mayor James Tedesco said he had been aware Iacono's history. "He had made me comfortable that this was in the past and didn't affect his job," Tedesco said. "As far as Paramus is concerned, it's not an issue."

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    You are right George, it just don't end....

    I took bribes, Pleasantville official says in court
    By SHAWN HARDIE Staff Writer, 609-272-7227
    Published: Friday, November 2, 2007
    Click to read "Where the Callaways are Now"

    CAMDEN - Pleasantville City Councilman Maurice "Pete" Callaway pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to accepting bribes as a member of the Pleasantville Board of Education.

    Callaway pleaded guilty to attempted extortion under color of official right, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Under sentencing guidelines, Callaway most likely will receive a sentence of three to four years in federal prison, although Judge Jerome B. Simandle can order less or more prison time when he sentences Callaway on Feb. 15.

    Dressed in a dark suit, Callaway spoke in a low, reserved tone as he accepted responsibility for his role in a corruption scandal that rocked the state. He hesitated slightly before answering Simandle's questions regarding his transgressions, which included receiving a $10,000 payment in May 2006 and instructing Pleasantville resident Louis Mister to accept two payments of $1,500 each on his behalf about a month later. Callaway will have to repay the $13,000 to the federal government.

    On Sept. 17, Callaway addressed Pleasantville City Council, saying, "Everyone in America is entitled to a fair trial, and as of right now, I am just as innocent (as anyone else)."

    On Thursday, when Simandle asked Callaway if he committed these acts knowingly and willfully, the city councilman made a lengthy pause before saying yes.

    Callaway and his attorneys, Francis and Katherine Hartman, had no comment as they left the Mitchell H. Cohen Courthouse in Camden.

    "We're just trying to do the best we can to represent taxpayers in New Jersey and ensure that there's as much integrity as possible," Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Gramiccioni said.

    Callaway admitted taking the bribes in exchange for his assistance in obtaining contracts for an insurance brokerage firm and a roofing company. An employee for the insurance company, John D'Angelo of RSC Financial Services, was a cooperating witness for the FBI, while the roofing company, Coastal Solutions, was a phony business set up by the federal government.

    Callaway's guilty plea is the third by a former Pleasantville school board member in the past 10 days. Former school board president Jayson G. Adams and recently resigned school board member Rafael Velez pleaded guilty to the same charge Oct. 23.

    "As this case moves forward, it is plainly clear that the Pleasantville Board of Education was about as corrupt a government body as I've ever seen," said U.S. Attorney Chistopher J. Christie, whose office is responsible for the prosecution of federal criminal statutes for New Jersey.

    Eleven public officials and Mister were arrested Sept. 6 by federal agents for accepting bribes; six were from Pleasantville. Mister, former board member James T. McCormick and current board President James A. Pressley have not pleaded guilty.

    Pressley said Callaway treated him like a son and that Pleasantville residents would be hurt by the news, but "time will heal the pain." He also called for residents to move forward to restore the image of a city that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

    "The true focus of the city of Pleasantville should not be on the guilty plea, but instead all time and energy should be spent on a strategic plan to rehabilitate the Board of Education and City Council," Pressley said. "The remaining members of both governing bodies will need a great deal of support to move forward."

    Calls to Mayor Ralph Petersen and City Council President Jesse Tweedle were not returned Thursday.

    To e-mail Shawn Hardie at The Press:
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  20. #20
    makes good girls go bad
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    And then.........

    Former Atlantic City Mayor Levy admits guilt in federal court
    A.C.'s ex-mayor to be sentenced Feb. 15; attorney says probation likely
    By DEREK HARPER
    Published: Friday, November 2, 2007
    CAMDEN - Former Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy admitted Thursday afternoon that he lied about his military record to government officials in order to receive almost $25,000 in benefits.

    Levy, the 60-year-old former Beach Patrol chief, could face as many as five years in prison, plus three years' probation and a $250,000 fine, when U.S. District Court Judge Jerome B. Simandle sentences him Feb. 15.

    Sentencing guidelines suggest zero to six months in prison, but Levy's attorney Edwin J. Jacobs said probation was more likely.

    Levy's plea agreement says he will have to repay the benefits plus a $100 special assessment.

    "Bob Levy did an awful lot of right things in his life, but he admitted doing wrong things today," Jacobs said after the court appearance.

    "As a Vietnam veteran, Mr. Levy must have recognized the dishonor his fraudulent actions would bring upon himself," U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said in a prepared release. "It is a sad turn of events for someone who seems to have otherwise honorably served his country and community."

    In court, Levy acknowledged in a low voice that he lied about receiving the Combat Infantryman's Badge, or CIB, and the Parachutist Badge, better known as "jump wings."

    The CIB is generally awarded to infantrymen or Special Forces soldiers who spend at least a month under fire in combat. Jump wings go to those who either complete paratrooper train- ing or participate in at least one combat parachute jump.

    Levy also agreed when Simandle asked him if he "falsely and fraudulently stated that:

    •"during the course of his military service he successfully parachuted up to 100 times;

    •"during the Vietnam War, he was twice abandoned during battle by Vietnamese troops and left alone in the jungle for several weeks before being rescued, causing him to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder."

    •"he injured his shoulder during Airborne School and while participating in military operations;

    In fact, Levy admitted he was assigned to a support unit, never completed Airborne School and never parachuted from a plane while in the military.

    Court filings show Levy's lies and exaggerations allowed him to obtain benefits he would not have been entitled to totaling $24,683.

    Levy left Atlantic City High School and joined the Army in May 1964. He served for 20 years, honorably discharged as a First Sergeant. He twice went to Vietnam, where the Army awarded him two Bronze Stars, the military's fourth-highest decoration.

    Levy had initially filed for military benefits with the Veterans Benefits Administration when he left the Army, said Jeffery G. Hughes, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Veteran's Affairs, Office of Inspector General's North East Field Office in Newark, who directed the investigation.

    Levy initially claimed arthritis and fainting as he filed for 30 percent disability.

    He refiled for additional benefits in January 2003, claiming 60 percent disability, Hughes said.

    The claim was based on the lies embedded in Levy's military record that he acknowledged in court Thursday. It is not clear how they got there.

    Investigators and Jacobs said Levy knew his application and record was false but did nothing to change it.

    Jacobs indicated that Levy's record may have been innocently changed.

    "This happened 40 years ago in a war," Jacobs said. "There was a lot of uncertainty."

    But Hughes and David Spilker, a fellow VA Special Agent, said members of the military during that time would have been given their military file as they moved from one posting to another.

    "It's generally done by people for monetary gain or personal gratification - more or less for ego," Hughes said.

    Investigators only began probing Levy's record once he admitted to The Press of Atlantic City last November that he had never been a member of the Army's elite Special Forces, generally known as the Green Berets. He had claimed membership for years, including on his 2005 mayoral campaign materials.

    In January, The Press reported the investigation included his CIB.

    The plea makes Levy the latest resort politician to leave office in disgrace. Four of the last eight resort mayors have been at least arrested for bribery.

    Three of the nine people who served on last year's City Council are now serving federal sentences for taking bribes, while another city councilman is under indictment.

    Thursday also marked Levy's first public appearance since Jacobs checked him into Belle Meade's Carrier Clinic to detox from overprescribed psychiatric and pain medication.

    The city officials to whom Levy turned over power refused to divulge his location for two weeks, and the resort turned into an international punch line and Levy became the so-called "missing mayor."

    Jacobs read Levy's resignation letter Oct. 10 and acting Mayor William "Speedy" Marsh took office hours later.

    Levy arrived in court with Jacobs about 20 minutes late. He wore a brown pinstriped shirt with a small American flag pin attached to his suit's left lapel.

    Levy said little during the 43-minute proceeding. When Simandle asked his physical condition, he said "Nervous. Other than that, I'm in good health." Levy said he was taking medication for depression and anxiety, as well as the blood-thinner Coumadin following complications from June back surgery.

    By pleading guilty, Simandle told Levy he will lose the right to vote, he can be banned from holding public office and he may lose other pensions.

    Asked if he understood, Levy turned to Jacobs, then said barely above a whisper "Yes, your honor."

    Simandle released Levy on $25,000 bail, ordering he remain in New Jersey, Philadelphia or New York City before sentencing.

    He required Levy to continue undergoing mental-health treatment, told him to avoid excessive use of alcohol and compelled Levy to undergo testing and treatment for alcohol abuse.

    Told he would have to surrender his passport, Levy withdrew it from his jacket pocket and handed it to Jacobs.

    The proceeding ended shortly afterwards, and the two dozen reporters and onlookers filed out into the hallway. Levy was left sitting at the defense table, while Jacobs and court staff handed him papers for his signature.

    Jacobs and Levy left the courthouse about an hour later.

    Asked if he had anything to say to resort residents, Levy, appearing weary and haggard, kept walking. In a barely audible voice he said "I have no further comments."

    Jacobs repeatedly said there was nothing further.

    They walked to a nearby silver Jaguar. Jacobs unlocked the doors, Levy climbed in, and Jacobs drove the man who for 22 months served as Atlantic City's mayor away from federal court.

    To e-mail Derek Harper at The Press:
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  21. #21
    makes good girls go bad
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    This kinda goes under the "no *****" catagory, doesn't it?

    ATLANTIC CITY -- U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie has some helpful advice for New Jersey's municipal officials.

    Don't take any bribes.

    Christie made the reminder today during a convention of municipal officials Wednesday in Atlantic City.

    The yearly gathering is sponsored by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

    And the session with Christie was meant, according to the program of events, to "explore ways to create an ethical culture
    in New Jersey municipal government."

    Christie, whose office has convicted more than 100 public officials on corruption charges in the past six years, seemed bemused by the session's premise.

    He told attendees, "I'm not here to educate you about what you can and can't do as an elected officials. You know that."
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    This kinda goes under the "no *****" catagory, doesn't it?

    ATLANTIC CITY -- U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie has some helpful advice for New Jersey's municipal officials.

    Don't take any bribes.

    Christie made the reminder today during a convention of municipal officials Wednesday in Atlantic City.

    The yearly gathering is sponsored by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

    And the session with Christie was meant, according to the program of events, to "explore ways to create an ethical culture
    in New Jersey municipal government."

    Christie, whose office has convicted more than 100 public officials on corruption charges in the past six years, seemed bemused by the session's premise.

    He told attendees, "I'm not here to educate you about what you can and can't do as an elected officials. You know that."
    I've met and spoke with Chris Christie. He is a young, energetic, charismatic, passionate [ublic servant. Do not be surprised to see him sitting in the Governor's seat one day.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  23. #23
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    Looking at the history of the state...."young, energetic, charismatic, passionate public servant" does not quite describe any of our Governors.

    It sure would be a nice change.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Looking at the history of the state...."young, energetic, charismatic, passionate public servant" does not quite describe any of our Governors.
    No.. flamboyant is more... appropriate.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

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    Town official gets new car without approval
    Monday, December 24, 2007

    FAIR LAWN, N.J. (AP) -- Some members of the borough council in Fair Lawn are upset that the borough manager used taxpayers money for a car for his own use — without the council's permission.

    Manager Tom Metzler told the council that he bought the $19,000 car with money left over from a bond used to buy five new police cars. He says he should have run it by the council, but that there was nothing wrong with the purchase.

    The council says it will investigate further.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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