The Record has released a partial transcript of their interview earlier this month with State Senator Joseph Coniglio, who was asked about "his role" as a "paid consultant to Hackensack University Medical Center. Coniglio, was was served with a subpoena yesterday, faces questions about the hospital's receipt of over $1 million in state funds while serving as a $5,500-a-month consultant.
The Record: "Did you help Hackensack University Medical Center obtain state grants?"
Coniglio: "I didn't go and speak to anyone and ask them to give Hackensack money. I did not do that. Look, the grants are out there. I mean, you hear things. You know, somebody'll talk to you and say to you, 'Hey, does this get this and this get that?' I would just, you know…"
The Record: "Were you involved in any way in getting the hospital the grants, or did any of the employees ever discuss with you those grants or their desire to find grant or other state funding for those three entities [HUMC's construction of a new children's and women's hospital, as well as a cancer center]?"
Coniglio: "Ah, not that I can say right off the top of my head. In particular, who are you talking about? Did I know that they received funding? Of course I know they received funding. I knew that. At the same time, did I vote for the budgets that had that money in it? Yes I did. But at the same time, I voted for hospitals from Cape May County all the way to Bergen County €” hundreds of millions of dollars. I can't hide that. That's what I did."
The Record: "You didn't play any role in any aspect of those grants?"
Coniglio: "I didn't go ask anybody for money, to say, 'give this money to Hackensack hospital.' I did not do that."
The Record: "So, you played no role at all?"
Coniglio: "Well, what role would I play other than go and ask someone to get the money?"
The Record: "So, you never had a discussion with any other legislator, or anybody in the governor's office, or anybody at Treasury, or any state agency about…"
Coniglio: "That I'm aware of?"
The Record: "…about Hackensack University Medical Center since you took the consulting job?"
Coniglio: "I tried to…if someone wanted to talk to me, I…no one really approached me about anything like that."
The Record: You don't recall any discussions?"
Coniglio: "I don't recall."