Newark watershed: A timeline of troubles

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on February 19, 2014

View of the Charlotteburg Dam in Kinnelon, part the Newark Watershed in Kinnelon.


NEWARK — A report released today by the state comptroller's office gives a scathing review of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation, marking the latest development in a litany of accusations against the non-profit agency that controlled Newark's entire water infrastructure.

The Newark Water Group, a team of residents and activists, were the first to question profligate spending at the agency with their January 2012 report, "Hog Wild" (Read it here: hogwild.pdf) The city council at the time demanded an investigation into watershed spending.

That was followed by a Star-Ledger investigation of agency receipts and invoices in 2012. Among other things, the newspaper's inquiries found the agency was handing out several questionable contracts.

Stymied by agency lawyers, the city council demanded a state investigation into the NWCDC in April 2012.

In May of that year the state comptroller put the kibosh on the city's contract with the agency, which had by then taken over management of the city's entire water infrastructure. Despite the comptroller's rejection the city continued to fund the watershed through emergency contracts.

By July, it was revealed that the comptroller was conducting a full-bore investigation of the agency.

Facing increasing scrutiny and criticism, the NWCDC attempted to separate itself from the city in September 2012, but lacking a quorum, the vote went nowhere.

Finally, after the comptroller revealed sopme of its findings to city officials in March 2013, the city decided to dissolve the agency and take control of the water system. In May of that year, after discovering that the watershed may have absconded with city funds, the city filed a motion, asking a judge to intervene.

Concerned the dissolution was taking too long and was costing too much, the city stopped paying the agency's legal bills. The NWCDC, now represented by Angelo Genova, filed papers seeking more funds.

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