Archive for the ‘Pay-to-play’ Category

UCCF 12/21/17: Bribes for Grants

Per Assemblyman Jamel Holley’s financial disclosure form for 2016:

Resolutions passed (almost unanimously):

2017·1102: Authorizing the County Manager to enter into an agreement with: Millennium Strategies, Morristown, NJ, for the purpose of providing grant writing and procurement services to the County of Union for the period of January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 in an amount not to exceed $36,000.
2017-1103: Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract to Winning Strategies, Washington/Hoboken Strategy Group, Washington DC, by way of RFP (Request for Proposal), to provide  Comprehensive Federal Government Relations/Lobbying services to the County of Union for the period of January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 in an amount not to exceed $300,000.


Prior coverage:

DeCotiis Out; Symcon In

For a quarter of a century Union County Democrats could count on various incarnations of the DeCotiis law firm and the lawyers working there to make campaign donations. According to the NJELEC website it came to $549,376 out of a total to all politicians of $3,615,540. But after being cut off as lawyers for the Union County Improvement Authority earlier this year it appears that Decotiis has also cut off Union County politicians.

However, there is no shortage of donors to replace the DeCotiis money as a new one seems to be Symcon Enterprises, Inc of Matawan which has been sowing some seeds lately.

The internet does not have much information on Symcon Enterprises, Inc. but it is a safe bet that, whatever their services are, the Roselle Mind & Body Complex will somehow be in need of them.

Paying to Lawyer in Roselle

Rachel M Caruso, Esq. serves as the Roselle borough attorney, though not with the wholehearted backing of the mayor.

Dansereau also wants to replace Roselle Borough Attorney Rachel Caruso with Tracy Cosby. The mayor’s plan prompted Shaw to question Dansereau’s motivation. “Has anyone heard of any problems with the current borough attorney?” she asked. “How was the new attorney vetted?”

Dansereau said she no longer trusts Caruso. “The borough attorney works for the mayor,” she said. “I have to trust their legal advice. She represents me. The current attorney does excellent work, but the trust was lost. The lines got blurred between friendship and legal. There are reasons that I’m not at liberty to discuss. There are issues outside the borough of taking direction from someone outside.”

She is also a partner at Roth D’Aquanni, the attorneys for the Roselle Board of Education.

According to the NJELEC website Rachel Caruso individually has made $6,650 in campaign contributions:

Contributions linked to the name Roth Daquanni alone totaled $117,079.

Any conflicts here? Not according to Rachel Caruso:

2017 Union County Election Donors

Now that the data has been uploaded to the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission website we can see how much these votes cost each party:

Dem – Peter CORVELLI 71,036
Rep – Marc A. KRAUSS 36,052
Personal Choice 41

Dem – Angel ESTRADA 68,884
Dem – Christopher HUDAK 67,960
Dem – Angela R. GARRETSON 67,054
Rep – Patricia QUATTROCCHI 37,055
Rep – P. Mark MARTINI 36,982
Rep – Peter B. LIJOI 36,359
Personal Choice 96

On average for the entire 2017 election cycle Democrats got $8.50 for each vote. Republicans got a quarter. Not a quarter of what the Democrats got but literally 25 cents for each vote.

Here are the details with  spreadsheets  sorted by donor:

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Roselle Aware

The site of the proposed Roselle Mind and Body Company pay-to-play boondoggle remains dormant:

But those opposing the project have been active putting up a helpful website that targets the prime beneficiaries who all happen to be major players in past Union County fiascoes worth exploring.

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UCCF 10/12/17: More Pay-To-Play

2017-825: Amending Resolution Number 2017-296, a Professional Engineering Service Contract with T&M Associates of Middletown, New Jersey to provide additional engineering services associated with the Groundwater Remediation and Monitoring at the Venneri Complex, Westfield, New Jersey in an amount not to exceed $112,500.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $295,160.00. (Union County Engineering Project #2011-031)

2017-827: Amending Resolution Number 2017-70, a Professional On Call Environmental Engineering Service Contract with CME Associates of Parlin, New Jersey to provide additional services for the County of Union in an amount not to exceed $20,000.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $40,000.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2016-047)


New Bond Counsel?

Tonight’s freeholder meeting has on the agenda a resolution introducing a new pay-to-player in the Roselle Mind & Body Complex saga:

2017-813: Resolution appointing Parker McCay to serve as Bond Counsel and provide bond counsel services in connection with the Borough of Roselle Community and Library Project and Roselle Board of Education Early Childhood Learning Center Project.

By way of background, at the beginning of the year we had this resolution:

2017-11: Awarding a contract to Rogut McCarthy, LLC, Cranford, New Jersey to provide specialized counsel services in connection with the issuance of bonds, or notes by the County of Union from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

For some perspective, Rogut McCarthy, LLC has been paid $1,004,600 from 2004 through 2016 by Union County and has donated $249,305 to all politicians of which $148,48o went to Union County politicians. Parker McCay is a bigger fish having donated $2,752,859 to a lot more politicians with only $10,400 to those in Union County.

Does this mean that Rogut McCarthy, LLC is out or is Parker McCray only coming in for this Roselle project? That will be my question tonight.