Blue Smoke On U.S. Attorney Chris Christie
One of the main themes of our recent coverage of Chris Christie is his largely undeserved reputation for bipartisan investigations. For one, his biggest Republican cases -- Treffinger and Monmouth County -- both predate his taking office.“Bipartisan investigations”? Undoubtedly, a sizable number of the employees, 127 attorneys and 118 support staff, working for U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, are Democrats. Ralph J. Marra, Jr, is a career professional in the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey. He’s Christie’s First Assistant U.S. Attorney and a Democrat.
Marra has been in charge of political corruption cases since Christie arrived, and he's a lifelong Democrat who says he tells his children to vote a straight Democratic ticket while "skipping the ones who are crooks."How many political corruption cases involving Democrats and how many involving Republicans has Christie’s office investigated? How many are being investigated now? It wouldn’t surprise us if investigations of Democrats far out numbered Republicans, they don’t call our state Blue Jersey for nothing. But we have no idea what the breakdown might be. “Huntsu” wouldn’t know either, unless he’s working in the U.S. Attorney’s office and keeping score. Investigations are not a matter of public record.
Chris Christie has an excellent reputation for prosecuting crimes regardless of the party affiliation of the perpetrator. That includes political corruption cases, for which there is a public record. The Star-Ledger had this to say on March 11, 2007:
Christie's office has brought about 115 official corruption cases over the past five years. His office, rightly so, has not made an official tally of the party affiliations of those indicted, but, given the numerous Monmouth County officials snagged, Republicans have probably far outnumbered Democrats in the dock.Has Christie’s office overlooked political corruption on the part of New Jersey Republicans? Has he investigated, indicted, arrested and prosecuted state Democrats without evidence of possible wrong doing? We can’t find any examples and “huntsu” doesn’t provide any. As a matter of public record, Christie hasn’t lost a single political corruption case.
“Huntsu’s” latest Christie post takes on a second Tom Moran column defending Christie:
The factual error is the assertion that Christie has been under attack for "more than five years." Assuming Moran spiked this column on Wednesday for publication Friday, Christie had been in office exactly four years and two months that day.As with his previous post, “huntsu” continues to have a problem with dates. Christie has been U.S. Attorney for five years, as he was sworn into office on January 17, 2002. Unlike “huntsu”, most people wouldn’t consider crimes committed after that date to “predate his taking office”.
Check out the dates in the Monmouth County “Bid Rig” cases (see below) and not the dates of indictment, but the dates the crimes were allegedly committed. The “predating his taking office” accusation is obviously false.
If Treffinger’s successful indictment on October. 24, 2002, arrest on October 28, 2002 and guilty plea on May 20, 2003 shouldn’t count towards Christie’s political corruption case record, then subtract one from his total.
Anyone who wants to spend the time totaling political corruption indictments during Christie’s tenure, tallying convictions the U.S. Attorney won at trial vs. the pretrial guilty pleas he obtained, it’s all there waiting to be counted. Here’s the link. A bit more work would be required to figure out the party affiliation of the corrupt politicians caught in the act since Christie became been the U.S. Attorney. Perhaps “huntsu” can enlighten us with a list.
Here’s the rundown on the Monmouth County prosecutions by Christie’s office:
Keyport Mayor John J. Merla took $9,000 in cash on Sept. 11, 2003 and between December 2003 and February 2004, accepted another $2,500.
Keyport Councilman Robert L. Hyer took a $5,000 payment on June 18, 2003.
West Long Branch Mayor Paul Zambrano accepted $5,000 in cash on Sept. 30, 2003. On Nov. 18, 2003 he accepted two envelopes of cash - one with $1,500 for him and the other with $1,000 to be given to another unidentified official. On Jan. 29, 2004 he accepted a cash payment of $4,000 and another for $1,500 on Nov. 17, 2004.
West Long Branch Councilman Joseph DeLisa accepted an envelope with $1,500 in cash on Nov. 18, 2003.
Hazlet Mayor Paul Coughlin took $3,000 on May 19, 2004.
Councilman and police commissioner Thomas A. Greenwald collected a $2,500 "fee" for laundering $25,000, on Nov. 5, 2004. On Nov. 11, 2004 he took a money laundering fee of $2,000. He kept a total of $24,500 in "fees" for additional money laundering transactions in 2005 on Jan. 17, Jan. 20 and Feb. 4.
Middletown Committeeman Raymond O'Grady took one payment for $1,000 on Oct. 21, 2004, and another for $5,000 on Feb. 17, 2005.
Assistant supervisor at the Monmouth County Division of Highways, Thomas Broderick, accepted a payment of $5,000 on May 4, 2004.
Deputy Monmouth County fire marshal, and code enforcement and emergency management official in Neptune Township, Patsy Townsend took $1,000 in cash in November 2004.
Deputy Mayor of Neptune, Richard Iadanza, accepted a cash payment of $1,500 on June 25, 2004 and another $1,500 on Nov. 17, 2004.
Asbury Park Councilman John J. Hamilton, Jr. had a paved driveway valued at about $5,000 or $6,000 for installed for free at Hamilton's home in August 2001, in exchange for the promise of steering municipal contracts to the cooperating witness.
Former Monmouth County Freeholder Harry Larrison, Jr., was charged with accepting cash bribes and corrupt payments totaling at least $8,500. Larrison accepted $5,000 in cash in 2001 or 2002 from a Monmouth County official who received the money from a developer on Larrison's behalf. Larrison received another cash payment of $3,500 from a second developer in 2002 or 2003.
Marlboro Township Mayor Matthew Scannapieco, received bribes of approximately $135,000 between 2001 and 2003 in conjunction with three development deals.
Commissioner of the Marlboro Township Municipal Utilities Authority and its chairman from February 2002 through January 2004, admitted that in December 2002, he attempted to bribe a member of the Marlboro Township Council, on behalf of a builder. He admitted that in 2001, he paid bribes totaling $6,200 from another builder to two Marlboro officials. He admitted that in 2001, he offered a $25,000 bribe, on behalf of a builder, to a member of the Manalapan Planning Board. He admitted that in 2004, he extorted $15,000 from a builder.
Superintendent of the Monmouth County Division of Bridges, Anthony Palughi, admitted that during 2004 he accepted payments totaling $12,500 dollars, from a confidential FBI informant and an undercover FBI agent, to reward him for arranging corrupt payments to be made to other Monmouth County officials.