The McGreevey, D'Amiano, Halper Saga
The Halper family owned a farm that Piscataway (Middlesex County) was looking to take through eminent domain. The county offered Harper $3 million for the property, an amount the family believed to be far less than fair market value.
Then, David D'Amiano approached Halper and worked out a deal where the farmer would donate money to Democrats in return for assurances that elected officials would help get him a better price.
According to the indictment, D'Amiano arranged for government officials to mention the code word "Machiavelli" in their conversations with Halper to assure him that he was getting what he was promised. One state official and a county official spoke the code word to the farm owner in face-to-face meetings, according to the indictment. We now know the state official was then-Governor McGreevey.
Halper donated about $40,000 after a court ruled Middlesex County officials could seize his farm under eminent domain to prevent Halper from selling it to a developer. Once D'Amiano got involved and the donations were made, the government’s offer jumped to $7.4 million.
Harper said “it took a donation to the Democratic State Party and an FBI-supervised payoff to get officials to sit down and hammer out a reasonable offer."
Federal authorities played McGreevey tapes of his conversations with Halper and D'Amiano during an interview back in March 2004. At the time McGreevey said rumors that that he was "state official 1" mentioned in the indictment was essentially a smear campaign aimed at him by Republicans through U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. We now know McGreevey was lying.
Yesterday, a Superior Court jury awarded the Halper’s nearly $18 million for the land, which was seized by the township of Piscataway in Middlesex County.
McGreevey was not charged in the indictment with D'Amiano, and still faces no charges in the continuing investigation. Why?