The Star-Ledger Follows The Money
Sen. Jon Corzine said last week he converted a $470,000 mortgage loan into a gift for a prominent union leader he dated because he didn't think she had the means to repay the debt.The issue we continue to raise is why Jon Corzine failed to report the loan to Carla Katz on senate financial disclosure forms as he had with two other personal loans during the same time period? Why did Corzine treat his loan to Katz differently?
Now Corzine's gift stands to yield big dividends for his former girlfriend, Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034.
The house on 10 acres in Hunterdon County that Katz purchased with Corzine's help won a state exemption in April from building restrictions in the Highlands preservation zone. That cleared the way for a major renovation of the 19th-century farmhouse, including an addition, pool and deck, which could triple the property's value.
Corzine said this week he knew about the renovation plans, but said he knew nothing about the Highlands exemption, one of about 150 that the state Department of Environmental Protection has granted in the year since the controversial zone was created by the Legislature.
"I know she was talking about serious renovations. I don't know the details. Haven't looked at plans," Corzine said. "I never looked at the economics of the underlying property. No idea other than there were permitting issues that she mentioned in conversation. I never involved myself. I don't know anything about Highlands elements."
The DEP has received some 300 applications for Highlands exemptions, according to records available at the department's Web site. About half have been approved, 20 percent were rejected and 30 percent are pending. In Alexandria and neighboring townships, five exemptions were approved in the past year, four were not and two are pending.
In February, Katz applied for the Highlands exemption, listing plans for an addition to increase the size of the house from three bedrooms to five; a pool; a deck; a driveway and a new septic system.
Similar properties in Alexandria Township are selling for $1 million or more, according to a real estate agent in the area.
Now maybe some are satisfied with Corzine’s explanation: "I knew them as human beings, not as romantic, serious relationships." That excuse does not wash with us. We will continue to point out senate ethics rules require the reporting of all transactions, except in cases where property is used solely as the senator’s personal residence, or the transaction is between the senator and spouse or dependent child.
Corzine has refused to answer whether he has other financial arrangements with Katz. Why? The Senator’s refusal to answer this simple question, should logically raise a red flag.
Revelations of Corzine’s questionable financial dealings, in just the past week, go beyond the Katz loan and have detailed in numerous news reports, including this article today from National Review.
We suggest people follow the money.