Hall of Fame

About twenty years ago, former Associated Press Trenton Bureau Chief John Kolesar wrote a story for New Jersey Monthly listing the biggest political scandals in New Jersey history. Among the best: the scam in which some Burlington County Republican leaders, including former Acting Governor Clifford Powell, bought two Delaware River bridges for $8 million and sold them the same day to the county for $12 million; the 1872 scandal when the Assembly Speaker forged an amendment to a bill the legislature had passed that would have broken the Pennsylvania Railroad’s mainline monopoly in New Jersey; the 1899 gubernatorial election when Hudson County produced a 14,000-vote margin for the successful Democratic candidate, including 10,000 votes from people were deceased or non-existent. (67 Democratic election workers went to jail); in 1871, the Jersey City Treasurer was found to have looted the city treasury, but before law enforcement officials nailed him, he beat it to Mexico — where a bandit relieved him of his booty; and Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague’s entire career, in which he never made a salary higher than $7,500 but left an estate worth a couple of million dollars.

Hall of Fame