NJ Politics Digest: Melgen ‘Girlfriends’ Take the Witness Stand

Salomon Melgen. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Two reputed former girlfriends of Salomon Melgen, the wealthy Florida eye doctor accused of bribing Sen. Bob Menendez, went on the witness stand Tuesday during day four of the senator’s corruption trial.

Federal prosecutors focused on visas Menendez helped secure for the women, alleging the senator’s assistance was part of a larger bribery scheme between Menendez and Melgen. But the testimony of one witness, Svitlana Buchyk, didn’t exactly go as planned. She reportedly got angry at prosecutors and said they forced her to be in the courtroom.

And Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop poked fun at Gov. Chris Christie’s day at the beach during the government shutdown in July. In a new campaign ad, Fulop touts his record while sitting in a beach chair.

Quote of the Day: “They used to say politics in New Jersey is no day at the beach — until suddenly it was.” — Steve Fulop mocking Chris Christie’s infamous photos at the beach.

Booker Co-Sponsoring Single-Payer Health Care Bill With Bernie Sanders
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker announced this week that he will sign on as a co-sponsor to a bill that would extend Medicare to all Americans, a move that will put him in the company of some of the most high-profile Democrats in the Senate: Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Fulop Targets Christie’s Beach Pictures in New Ad
Gov. Chris Christie’s controversial day at the beach during this summer’s state government shutdown is the focus of a new television ad released by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, once a rumored gubernatorial candidate who opted to support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy instead of running for governor himself in November.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Former Melgen Girlfriends Testify at Menendez Trial
A former girlfriend of Salomon Melgen, the wealthy Florida eye doctor accused of bribing Sen. Bob Menendez, testified Tuesday that her visa application was initially denied and then approved after Melgen said he’d “fix it” by getting Menendez involved, according to reports.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Former Melgen girlfriend fumes at prosecutors during Menendez trial
A former girlfriend of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen fumed at prosecutors as they questioned her Tuesday afternoon during the federal corruption trial of Melgen and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.
Politico Read more

Amtrak chairman doesn’t rule out future ‘summer of hell’
“Make no mistake,” said Penn Station landlord and Amtrak chairman Tony Coscia on Tuesday. “The work we’ve done is hardly the cure for everything that ails Penn Station.”
Politico Read more

Trump to huddle with House moderates Wednesday
A group of moderate House members is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the latest across-the-aisle outreach by the White House to Democrats. Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, including its co-chairmen, Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), will attend, according to multiple sources.
Politico Read more

Jersey City councilman can remain on ballot, clerk says
Former Mayor Gerry McCann’s challenge of Councilman Chris Gadsden’s spot on November’s municipal election ballot has failed, according to City Clerk Robert Byrne.
NJ.com Read more

Is there no Democratic Party in Ocean County? One candidate cites disarray
The two Democratic candidates for Township Committee have withdrawn their candidacies in the November election, with one of them complaining that the party in Ocean County is in disarray and in cahoots with Republicans.
Asbury Park Press Read more

Ally no more: Union takes on top Democrat facing re-election
The fight between Senate President Steve Sweeney, an ironworkers union executive, and the New Jersey Education Association in a southern New Jersey legislative district comes as Democrats nationally are focused on mending divisions among the party’s factions. But this battle stems from a distinctly New Jersey disagreement.
Associated Press Read more

Kean president gets new contract despite previous ‘no confidence’ vote by faculty
Kean University President Dawood Farahi, who had previously received vote of no confidence and been called on by the faculty union to resign, will continue to lead the school through June 2020, the university’s Board of Trustees decided Monday evening.
Politico Read more

Lakewood Medicaid cheats stay home; amnesty meeting attracts few
At the 3,208-seat Pine Belt Arena, only a handful of people showed up Tuesday night to learn more about a Medicaid fraud amnesty offer — a program spurred by the arrests of 26 Lakewood residents earlier this summer on charges of benefits fraud following a multi-agency investigation.
The Record Read more

Fewer in NJ have no health insurance; will it last?
As Obamacare faces a series of obstacles, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that fewer New Jerseyans went without health insurance in 2016.
Asbury Park Press Read more

After More Than 20 Years, Newark to Regain Control of Its Schools
In 1995, when Marques-Aquil Lewis was in elementary school, the State of New Jersey seized control of the public schools here after a judge warned that “nepotism, cronyism and the like” had precipitated “abysmal” student performances and “failure on a very large scale.”
New York Times Read more

Cherry Hill mom: Daughter’s opioid death was caused by ‘corporate greed’
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill took aim during a hearing Tuesday at marketing practices by the pharmaceutical industry generally and the behavior of one company in particular: Insys Therapeutics Inc., which made the powerful opioid believed to have played a role in the death of 32-year-old Sarah Fuller in suburban Camden County last year.
Inquirer Read more

Remembering Jim Whelan
To say you’re from Atlantic City, you have to be born and raised there. Except if you were Jim Whelan. He was the exception because the people of Atlantic City were proud to claim him as their own. He loved the city as much as it loved him. They both left their mark on each other.
Marshall Spevak, Observer Read more