Lonegan v. Gormley

Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan, a former gubernatorial candidate who has emerged as the leader of the state GOP’s most conservative faction, has filed an ethics complaint against Republican State Senator William Gormley — long viewed as an icon of the party’s moderate wing. Lonegan alleges that Gormley used his political influence to help his wife’s employer, Atlantic City Medical Center, receive state funding. Lonegan has filed complaints with the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards against more than a quarter of the member of the New Jersey Legislature.Dear Governor Corzine As a candidate for Governor you stated that restoring ethics in Trenton would be one of your primary goals. I believe this commitment was, and is, sincere. I also understand that the challenges to making this promise a reality are daunting. That is why I am offering you the opportunity to make this noble vision a reality. In June, I filed 33 ethics complaints regarding legislators who benefited from grants awarded to their employers or employers of their immediate families. These complaints argue that these awards were made through secretive back room deals with no explanation of the process that determined there validity. This is contrary to any concept of “Open Government”. Some in your party have accused me of partisanship in this effort. Nothing could be further from the truth. While 33 of the 35 complaints are against Democrats, this is because no Republicans voted for the State Budget in 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006 three Republicans have voted for your budget and I have filed complaints against two of these legislators for similar infractions of the public trust. On Friday, December 8, I filed an ethics complaint against Senator William Gormley. I am told that Senator Gormley is the most “powerful” Republican senator in the legislature. I have been warned my future in the Republican Party could be jeopardized by this action and I may experience “retaliation.” I believe this is complete nonsense and really don„t care. I don„t need to be part of the status quo of business as usual in Trenton an I don„t believe you do either. That is why I am asking for your help in forcing the Joint Committee on Ethical Standards to do their job and put taxpayers first. I hope you will step up and take the lead in reestablishing ethics in Trenton. I am certain your advisors will counsel you to ignore my request and to direct a staff member to reply in a curt but dismissive manner. You have often spoken of the need to clean up Trenton. Now is the time to act. Governor, should you do the right thing and take the lead on this vital issue I will gladly step aside and be your loudest supporter and outspoken cheerleader on this matter. But if not, it will be a clear signal that crass partisanship is more important than your oft-stated goal for honesty and integrity in Trenton. The choice is yours. I hope you do the right thing for our state„s sake. I have risked my political future for the taxpayers of this state and am asking you to take a similar risk and use it to establish yourself as a hero for returning ethics to New Jersey government. Time is of the essence as the Joint Committee on Ethical Standards will be meeting Thursday, December 14th to determine their actions on these complaints. Thank you. Very truly yours Steven Lonegan

Lonegan v. Gormley