Documents in New Jersey Bridge Scandal Set to Start Pouring In

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Newark mayoral candidates snipe over campaign fundraising reports

By Mark Bonamo | January 30th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Three of four Newark mayoral candidates argued over the most recent results of New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) campaign funding reports, each asserting that their candidate has the truest local base.

The campaign of South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka pointed to the mid-January ELEC reports to make the case that former Assistant Attorney General and mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries does not have grass-roots support in Newark.

"The January ELEC reports show that only four contributors comprised an astounding 80 percent of the $137,239 raised by mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries over the past three months and that more than 60 percent that money (82,000) came from the financial services industry," said Baraka campaign communications director Frank Baraff in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

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How Pressure Mounted for Development in Hoboken

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FDU Poll: 67% do not see 'Bridgegate' as business as usual

By PolitickerNJ Staff | January 29th, 2014

At the heart of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal are charges of corruption by public officials accused of using unsuspecting motorists as political pawns. A new survey of New Jersey registered voters from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds that two-thirds (67%) believe this type of behavior is beyond the pale. Only a quarter (23%) believe “Bridgegate,” as it’s been dubbed by the media, is behavior that’s par for the course in politics these days.

“Even the casual observer of New Jersey politics would note the rough and tumble nature of the state’s political process,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “The fact that the lanes were closed for reasons other than safety heightens the behavior’s seriousness in the eyes of voters.”

Partisans understand the issue differently, however. Republicans are considerably more likely to count the lane closures for political reasons as a fact of life in New Jersey (30%), whereas Democrats are far less sanguine when it comes to this type of behavior (18%). Democrats (73%) and independents (68%) consider “Bridgegate” as a more serious affair than do Republicans (59%).  

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For Christie, Politics Team Kept a Focus on Two Bids

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Christie used Sandy funds for senior complex in town where mayor endorsed him

By Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger
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on January 28, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie, shown at his inauguration, used Sandy funds to help kick start an affordable housing project for seniors in Belleville.

 

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie helped channel $6 million in federal Hurricane Sandy recovery dollars to a project conceived years before the storm struck, in an Essex County town that was not particularly hard hit, records show.

The funding, pushed for personally by the Republican governor, was announced less than two weeks before the town’s Democratic mayor formally endorsed him for reelection.

The development is an $18 million senior center and housing complex in Belleville called Franklin Manor. One third of the cost — $6 million — is being paid for by a $1.8 billion pot of federally funded Community Development Block Grants to help the state recover from Sandy.

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Ramos gains more labor endorsements in Newark mayoral race, says "I'm running, and I'm winning"

By Mark Bonamo | January 27th, 2014

 

WEST CALDWELL - In a white-walled work room, Newark mayoral candidate Anibal Ramos, Jr. stood before roughly a dozen members of Plumbers Local Union No. 24 on Monday, getting more needed labor endorsements.

In front of several pipe threader machines, Ramos weaved together a narrative of a candidate determined to gain critical labor support and to stay in the race to the end, come what may.

"Other candidates in this race for mayor talk about their support for organized labor, I have a track record of supporting organized labor," said Ramos, 38, slapping at Newark's other mayoral candidates, former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries and councilmen Darrin Sharif and Ras Baraka, despite Baraka having received several labor endorsements.

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Fonseca holds court as Latino PAC looks to help pick new Newark king

By Mark Bonamo | January 27th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Amidst clouds of cigar smoke at a Thursday night fundraiser, Pablo Fonseca, former chief of staff to then Newark mayor and now U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, denied he'd ever been gone from the Brick City political scene.

"I've been in a foxhole," said Fonseca, now a campaign consultant, who worked on winning campaigns for Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson, state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20), Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage and West New York Mayor Felix Roque in recent years. "But I've never left Newark."

Fonseca was certainly in evidence at the Latino Political Action Committee fundraiser held at Jimenez Tobacco, close to the Prudential Center. As women in tight black dresses kept everyone's cigar lit, Fonseca emceed an event attended by Newark councilman and mayoral candidate Ras Baraka and attorney Elnardo Webster, a close friend, political ally and former law partner of Booker.

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U.S. Attorney Subpoenas Christie’s Campaign and New Jersey G.O.P.

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Christie administration ends contract with firm distributing Sandy grants

By Erin O'Neill/The Star-Ledger
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on January 23, 2014

October 2012: High surf and heavy flooding from Hurricane Sandy left a home on an island, literally, at the base of the Mantoloking Bridge after the ocean cut a breached the barrier island and met Barnegat Bay.

 

After months of complaints from homeowners about inept management, poor communication and long delays, the state said today it has severed ties with a Louisiana firm hired to handle New Jersey’s nearly $1 billion Hurricane Sandy housing recovery programs.

It remains unclear who is administering the federally funded programs.

The three-year contract the state signed last spring with Hammerman & Gainer Inc., or HGI, ended this week. Both sides agreed last month to terminate the nearly $68 million contract.

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