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Attorney General will retry Devereaux, Lance defends against MIA charge, Corzine’s donations, McGettigan and Levinson spar over pay raises, Palmer

Attorney General will retry Devereaux, Lance defends against MIA charge, Corzine’s donations, McGettigan and Levinson spar over pay raises, Palmer a new YouTube star, backs Clinton.


“The Attorney General's Office will retry a former high-ranking official with the New Jersey Commerce Commission on charges that she funneled more than $11,000 in state contracts to her sister and mother, according to a letter submitted to the court.

Former Commerce chief of staff Lesly Devereaux was found guilty last month of using a state employee to run her private legal practice, but the jury deadlocked on a dozen other counts alleging she illegally hired family members and created false documents to cover up her conduct. It acquitted her of a conspiracy charge.

Following the verdict, Superior Court Judge Maryann Bielamowicz asked the state to decide by today whether it would seek a retrial on the remaining counts.

In a letter sent to Bielamowicz Tuesday afternoon, state prosecutors said plea negotiations with Devereaux have broken down and they intend to press ahead with the case.

Deputy Attorneys General Robert Czepiel and Anthony Picione wrote that Devereaux rejected a "fair and reasonable plea offer" to plead guilty to additional charges of a pattern of official misconduct while at Commerce and to one count of theft by deception under a separate indictment involving welfare fraud.

In the welfare fraud case, Devereaux is accused of applying for food stamps under her maiden name and lying about her assets and her job in order to qualify for more than $1,900 in food stamps. Prosecutors said the applications were made in 2000 and 2001, before she took the post with the state Commerce and Economic Growth Commission.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)



“They say he’s too good for this business, a throw-back to the disinterested days of the Founding Fathers when gentlemen sat among gentlemen and civilly decided which gentleman would be gentleman-in-chief until some gentleman’s hurt feelings led to the inevitable duel, and the inevitable dead gentleman.

Now Leonard Lance, the State Senate Minority Leader, finds himself not in a ten paces, turn and shoot contest, but an all-out fight, and his team is not only outnumbered but on a field of battle that favors the opposition. If Jersey is Gettysburg, Lance is Robert E. Lee stuck with the low ground……………..

In the meantime, the GOP’s gentleman-general from Hunterdon, son of 1940's Senate President Wesley Lance, has to lower his saber and lead his forces into the teeth of a formidable enemy come November. And the trouble is the troops are suffering from battle fatigue. Sen. James "Sonny" McCullough last month complained that the party wasn’t spending money in his District 2 race the way it should — given the stakes.

Lance this week answered the not reporting for duty charge.

"I’m obviously not missing," said the 55-year old leader at a fund-raiser for state Senate Republican candidates today at the Trenton Marriot. "We’re here in the dog days of summer, and I look forward to working with and helping our candidates in all of the important targeted races."

That includes the 38th district, where Democratic state Sen. Joseph Coniglio, the target of a federal corruption investigation, appears to be in a last-ditch life raft with the air escaping day by day.

"We believe Mr. Colletti was an excellent choice," said Lance of Coniglio’s GOP opponent.” (Pizarro,



”In the past eight years, Gov. Jon Corzine has given $45 million to charity through his private foundation — and at times been criticized for it.

His generous contributions to black churches drew scrutiny after prominent members of the Black Ministers' Council endorsed his campaign for governor. His support for the activities of a Newark church run by the Rev. William Watley nearly dragged Corzine into a criminal trial last month.

But none of that has changed the pace or pattern of Corzine's giving. The 2006 federal tax return for the Jon S. Corzine Foundation shows the $4.3 million it donated — up from $3.8 million in 2005 — went to the same causes he has always supported: black churches, urban organizations, the arts, health care and a variety of Jewish organizations……………

The foundation's largest contribution — $600,000 made in three installments — went to an African-American bishop in Camden County who uses television, radio and the Internet to spread a Christian message of hope and healing.

Bishop David G. Evans' television program, Dominion, is carried on both Black Entertainment Television and the Trinity Broadcasting Network, according to the Web site for David G. Evans Ministries. Corzine's foundation also gave $25,000 to Evans' church, Bethany Baptist Church in Lindenwold.” (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)


Atlantic County Democratic county executive candidate James McGettigan charged the Republican incumbent Wednesday with accepting multiple lucrative pay raises – along with free cars, gas, meals and junkets – at the expense of county taxpayers.

McGettigan accused Dennis Levinson of going on a "shameful spending binge since taking office in 2000," padding his "six-figure salary," and rewarding political friends and campaign donors with lucrative county jobs and contracts

"Dennis Levinson is treating the Atlantic County government as his personal ATM machine," said McGettigan, the county sheriff. "While county taxes and spending have risen sharply under his watch, Mr. Levinson is taking the government for every taxpayer-funded dollar he can by charging the county for the use of cars, gasoline and other items that his constituents must pay for out of their own pockets."

McGettigan doesn't know what he's talking about, Levinson said.

"I have (a county) automobile," Levinson said. "He has (a county) automobile. The expenses for mine are no more than his."

Levinson said he only takes cost-of-living increases, adding, "I can show tens of thousands of canceled checks written from my personal account or my campaign account for attendance at affairs."

"Here's a guy that had no idea what his own sheriff's budget was, and he's going to question our budget here in the county," Levinson said. "Once again, I would advise Mr. McGettigan to read his press releases before he puts his name on them."

nonetheless, the detailed allegations contained in McGettigan's release show how serious Democrats will research county records for background information they believe they can use against Levinson. Levinson has complained in recent months about a series of Open Public Records Act requests for financial information relating to him and county government.” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)


“TRENTON — It's rare for Mayor Douglas H. Palmer to shy away from the spotlight.

He owes part of his long political career to his charismatic and personable nature.

But the attention he's been getting lately as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors has Palmer feeling a bit embarrassed. The focus reached a high during a recent trip to Los Angeles for the conference's annual meeting.

He was invited to appear on "The Tavis Smiley Show," and was a guest on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," where he proudly uttered the famous slogan: "Trenton Makes, The World Takes."

Then came a photo shoot for Esquire Magazine where he and other mayors modeled designer duds.

Now Palmer has hit YouTube.

A video shown during his installation as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors was posted on the Web site Monday by an anonymous poster only known as "trentonnews."

The three-minute video, made to introduce Palmer to the rest of the mayors, is a comedic take on Palmer's presidency. With music thundering in the background, it begins with a deep-voiced narrator saying, "in a world of locally elected officials one man leads the way." Then it cuts to clips from the TV Show "24," in which the fictitious president of the United States is named Wayne Palmer.



“Mayor Douglas H. Palmer is endorsing Sen. Hillary Clinton for president.

Palmer said yesterday Clinton has the leadership, experience and vision to make the changes the country needs……………

Palmer, one of several mayors who are serving as co-chairs of the Clinton campaign, said he will work with mayors across the country to help Clinton get nominated and elected…………

Palmer is one of several African-American politicians and leaders featured in a video titled "African-American Men for Hillary" on the Hillary for President Web site.

Palmer said he is not concerned other African-American politicians or constituents may look down on his decision to not support Sen. Barack Obama, the African-American candidate. "It's not even about Obama," said Palmer. "(In this country) we are beyond voting for people based on their race and ethnicity." ” (Loayza, Trenton Times)



“An agreement announced yesterday between federal and state officials will allow the State Police to trace the origin of every gun recovered from a New Jersey crime scene, boosting the state's efforts to combat illegal weapons trafficking.

The agreement with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the first of its kind in the nation, giving troopers direct access to gun-purchase records so they can look for patterns in the flow of weapons to New Jersey's streets.

The ATF last year ran records checks on roughly 3,100 weapons for police departments in New Jersey, and determined that more than two-thirds had been purchased out of state. But the information on each gun was given only to the local department that recovered it, because of a federal law restricting the data to agencies involved in "bona fide criminal investigations and prosecutions."

That left New Jersey authorities with no way to identify or combat statewide trends in gun trafficking, Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday…………

The new agreement, following a change in the way the ATF interprets the federal law, will allow State Police to lay "a road map to go back and investigate potential leads" on how guns used in crimes end up in New Jersey, Corzine said.

The database plan has been in the works for more than six months, but its announcement comes as the Aug. 4 killings of three young robbery victims in Newark have pushed the issue of gun violence to the fore.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)

“Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy applauded an announced agreement yesterday between the state and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share gun trace data with local law enforcement agencies.

As part of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Healy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and others have waged a campaign against the federal Tiahrt Amendment, which prevents the ATF from sharing national gun trace data with local law enforcement agencies outside of an investigation of a particular crime……….

Officials declared the agreement to use the database a first between a state and the ATF. The database lists a firearm's first purchaser, date of purchase and the retailer from which it was purchased. The information is compiled from gun records provided by local police departments, but has only been accessible by the ATF and the police department that provided it.

In June, a bill championed by Healy to limit purchasers of handguns to one gun a month cleared the Assembly and will now head to state Senate. Earlier this year, the City Council adopted a law making it a crime not to report a missing or stolen gun within 48 hours.” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)



“The state expects to roll out a plan within 30 days to address violence in New Jersey, which will include the issue of gangs and illegal immigrants involved in the criminal justice system, Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Wednesday.

While the intent of the anti-crime initiative would address problems widely publicized after the execution-style slayings of three college-age friends in Newark, Corzine said the plan was already in the works.

From social issues that may allow children to fall into a life of crime to gang violence, Corzine said the state is working on "a whole series of steps" to be released next month…………..

Corzine said any immigration protocol would be fully vetted to pass legal and constitutional muster.

"If there are steps that need to be taken with regard to how we protect the public from having violent perpetrators back on the streets," Corzine said, "including immigration status, then I think that we ought to do that in the most thoughtful and careful way."” (Graber, Gloucester County Times)



“On the broad Victorian porches and shady walkways of Ocean Grove, emotions ran high yesterday as residents debated whether a local Methodist group had the right to deny a lesbian couple a civil union ceremony in a church-owned boardwalk pavilion.

The discussion was complicated by the fact that the Methodist Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association owns all the land beneath this historic oceanfront section of Neptune Township. That means many of the critics in town — which is approximately 25 percent gay — were talking about their landlords.

"We respect the right of the camp association to follow its own moral beliefs, but we also recognize that gays and lesbians have done a tremendous amount to revitalize this town," said Trevor Bryan, 32, whose parents have lived in Ocean Grove for 33 years on land leased from the Methodists…………."We wish the church hadn't made such a big deal about this."

The issue has been brewing in town since earlier this year when residents Luisa Pasteur and Harriet Bernstein asked the camp meeting association to use the boardwalk pavilion for a summer civil union ceremony.

The association — which bought this square-mile of prime oceanfront property in 1870 as a place to worship in a "proper, convenient and desirable Christian seaside setting" — turned down the Pasteur-Bernstein request. The women filed a complaint with the state civil rights agency. But before the matter could be resolved by a state mediator, the camp meeting association filed a pre-emptive suit. ” (Peet and Mueller, Star-Ledger)



“The majority of New Jersey voters say that they would not be upset if the state legalized gay marriage, according to a Zogby Poll commissioned by Garden State Equality, a gay advocacy group.

63% of those polled said that they would have no problem if “public officials in New Jersey come to the conclusion that civil unions for gay couples have not worked to provide equality under the law” and granted gay couples the right to marry.

“Here’s the bottom line, the people of New Jersey are ready right now to change the failing civil unions law to real marriage equality,” said Steven Goldstein, President of Garden State Equality.

A much smaller majority, 48.1%, agreed with the statement that “New Jersey should give gay couples the same freedom to marry as heterosexual couples.” 44.6% disagreed……….

But when the same question was phrased differently, a small majority of respondents were against gay marriage by a margin of 49.1% to 47.5%.” (Friedman,



“Toms River has been around since the 18th century, but this year's mayoral race will only be the second ever in this Ocean County town of 89,706.

That’s because the town, which until last year was officially named Dover Township, changed its form of government in 2003 from a Township Committee that appointed the mayor to the more common mayor/council setup. Since then, odd alliances and rivalries have taken shape, giving way to a Democratic mayor, Paul Brush, and a council controlled completely by Republicans.

Now that Brush is not seeking a second term, Democrat Richard Strada, a former committeeman who served a brief stint as Mayor under the old system in 1978, is facing off against Republican town council President Gregory McGuckin. Councilman Carmine Inteso, another Republican, is trying to enter the race as an independent along with a slate of three council candidates, but his petition has been challenged in court.

Democrats hope that Inteso’s candidacy will split the Republican vote, ushering in another Democratic mayor to replace Brush, who ran in the 2003 election as an independent. They also hope to pick up a few council seats, since there are Democratic, Republican and independent candidates for all three council seats that are open………..

But Gilmore said that Brush’s victory in 2003 was a freak occurrence. That race was also three-way until just before election day, when Brush’s Democratic challenger, John Furey, dropped out.

“I think that the moon and stars lined up and allowed that to happen. You’re not going to see it again.”” (Friedman,



“Republican leaders were forced to make some moves when their candidate for state Senate in the 4th District dropped out of the November election.

It has culminated with one of the Assembly candidates taking his spot and a newcomer from Washington Township coming in to run for Assembly.

At a meeting Wednesday night, Gloucester Township Councilwoman Shelley Lovett who had been running for Assembly was named as the party's new candidate for Senate, replacing John Jankowski of Sicklerville.

Washington Township resident Agnes Gardiner will take Lovett's spot. She will run with Patricia Fratticcioli of Monroe Township, who has been on the ticket the entire time.

"I think the Republicans have a strong team," said Gardiner, who previously served on the Washington Township council. "We all bring our unique interests and strengths. I think we have a good chance."…………….

Gardiner said she hopes to bring her 40 years of community involvement to the table.

"I have no problem filling in for someone who was unable to keep up with the pace of running a campaign," Gardiner said. "I have the time and the energy to do this." ” (McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)



“The New Jersey State Police has initiated a background check on Bayonne Mayor and state Sen. Joseph V. Doria Jr. to begin the process of clearing the way for Doria's possible appointment as a state Cabinet officer, a Hudson County political source said.

Doria couldn't be reached last week, but the source said that a State Police representative met with city Police Director Mark Smith as a "sort of courtesy call" to let law enforcement officials know that they'll be looking for any potentially damaging information that could disqualify Doria from consideration.

"At a minimum, (Doria's) short-listed," the source said. "It's 90 percent likely (Doria's) gone (from Bayonne)" and to what job "is pretty much (Doria's) call."

But, given his druthers, the source said, the choice would probably be commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. It's in the DCA – as chairman of the state Local Finance Board – that Doria could do more to help Bayonne with its budget deficit, state aid, state grants and state development assistance.

"At a minimum, (Doria's) short-listed," the source said. "It's 90 percent likely (Doria's) gone (from Bayonne)" and to what job "is pretty much (Doria's) call."

But, given his druthers, the source said, the choice would probably be commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. It's in the DCA – as chairman of the state Local Finance Board – that Doria could do more to help Bayonne with its budget deficit, state aid, state grants and state development assistance.” (Leir, Jersey Journal)



“A needle-exchange program in Camden is off to a rocky start because of a lack of money, organizers said yesterday.

Camden is one of four cities where clean needles may be given to intravenous-drug abusers under a three-year New Jersey pilot program to combat the spread of hepatitis and HIV-AIDS. Although the Legislature and Gov. Corzine approved the program last year, no state money was appropriated to pay for it, said Lois Teer, spokesman for the Camden Area Health Education Center.

Out-of-state donors – the Tides Foundation of New York and the Comer Foundation of California – have contributed $65,000 to help get Camden's program off the ground, Teer said.

Full operations would cost $500,000 to cover the salary of a nurse practitioner and provide overdose training, prevention education, counseling and referrals, Teer said. New Jersey had 66,886 HIV-AIDS cases as of June 2006, the latest figure from the Department of Health and Senior Services. More than 40 percent – 28,997 cases – were attributed to injection drug use, about twice the national average.” (Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer)



“PHILLIPSBURG | Mayoral hopeful Moe Wahby was arrested July 19 for failing to pay two parking tickets, police said.

A police report shows New Jersey State Police stopped Wahby at Third and Broad streets about 3 p.m. State police discovered a bench warrant issued by the Phillipsburg court for Wahby and called town police.

The report identifies Wahby, 30, as Zachary Mohamed-Sultan Wahby.

Wahby is one of four candidates running against incumbent Republican Mayor Harry Wyant in November's election.

Wahby is on the Independent ballot along with Stephanie Rummerfield and Pete Marino. Ruth Ann Damato is the only registered Democrat in the race.” (Express-Times)



“BRICK — The Metedeconk River did not cooperate Wednesday, when Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., came here to accept accolades from an environmental advocacy group.

At a small ceremony in Windward Beach Park, on the banks of the river, Environment New Jersey thanked the congressman for voting for the environment 100 percent of the time during 2005 and 2006.

Just behind them, the waters of the Metedeconk glistened under the afternoon sun. And a large sign proclaimed "beach closed" — the result of high bacteria levels in the river.

"It does underscore our ongoing problems," Smith said, after noting the irony of the situation.” (Reiss, Asbury Park Press)

“The advocacy group Environment New Jersey has given Congressmen Chris Smith, R-Hamil ton; Rush Holt, D-Hopewell Township; and Jim Saxton, R-Mount Holly, perfect scores for their vot ing records on environmental is sues.

"A majority of New Jersey's congressmen time and again have stood up to the White House and done what's right for the environment," said Matt Elliott of Environment New Jersey.” (Trenton Times)



“A ceremony in Edison yesterday marking India's independence anniversary led to protests by local veterans advocates after they learned the POW/MIA flag would be removed from a pole outside Town Hall so the Indian tricolor could fly below the American flag.

About a dozen protesters stood separately, about 20 feet away from the more than 100 Asian-Indians who joined Mayor Jun Choi and several senior Edison police officials for the ceremony at a granite monument that honors the 49 Edison residents killed during the two world wars and Korean War.

When the Indian flag was raised in the place where the POW/MIA flag normally flies, some of the protesters shouted for it to come down. Their complaints were met with stunned silence from the crowd at the ceremony.

Choi said the POW/MIA flag was moved temporarily to a nearby pole outside the police headquarters section of town hall. He said the same procedure had taken place for past flag ceremonies including St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day.

Gerald Lorence, commander of American Legion Clara Barton Post No. 324 in Edison, said he had not heard about the previous ceremonies. Regardless, he said, the POW/MIA flag should not come down for any ethnic group.” (Din, Star-Ledger)



“Hoboken Construction Code Official Al Arezzo, who has stymied the city's efforts to put a public entrance at the park next to Maxwell Place, has a contract to buy a condo at the upscale Toll Brothers development, The Jersey Journal learned yesterday.

The newest twist in the bizarre saga raises ethical questions about Arezzo's use of his office when he ordered Toll Brothers to block the entrance to the park for what he characterized as safety and procedural concerns.

Arezzo's decision last week came less than 24 hours after Mayor David Roberts hosted a news conference to announce that a small section of the gate surrounding the park had been removed to allow greater access to the public.

Reached by phone yesterday, Arezzo said, "I have a contract, and that's not against the law." He then offered a "no comment" before hanging up the phone.” (Renshaw, Jersey Journal)



“Jirair S. Hovnanian, 80, an immigrant who founded two building companies, died Tuesday at his home in Mount Laurel, said his grandson Garo Hovnanian, a member of the third generation involved with J.S. Hovnanian & Sons, of Mount Laurel.

He had been in and out of the hospital recently for small ailments and because he had been outside in the heat recently watching his company build a house in Pennsauken for ABC's television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, his grandson said yesterday.

In a statement, the family said Mr. Hovnanian "gave his life to nurturing his loved ones, expanding opportunities for future generations, and pursuing the American Dream. We take comfort in knowing that his legacy lives on in the people he touched so deeply with his generosity, his love, and his passion for life.” (Gold, AP)



“They all carry the GOP label, but don't expect a trio of Morris County Republican freeholder candidates to share too many political hugs this fall.

Just when it seemed likely that Freeholders Jack Schrier and Douglas Cabana would run a joint campaign with upstart Republican primary winner James Murray against a trio of Democrats, the relationship has cooled again.

That's because Murray in recent days tried what Cabana called "an end run around us" to get his name placed first on the ballot, above Cabana and Schrier. Not so, said Murray, who said he thought ballot placement in the November election would be the same as in the June primary, when he won a lottery drawing to get top billing.

The result is a rare rift in Republican ranks in a county where the Grand Old Party has long been a lock to win countywide elections. It has left county Republican Party Chairman John Sette in the role of mediator in a dispute he would like to see go away. ” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)



“For the first time in history, meetings of the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders will be shown in their entirety on local access channels throughout the county.

The broadcasts won't be live, however.

There are no set times yet for when they'll be shown.

And the tapings won't even start until after the November general election, so the meetings preceding the election won't turn into what Atlantic County Freeholder Director Joseph Silipena said could be a "circus."” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)



“A Hillside police officer was charged yesterday with passing bribes to a state official so he and his girlfriend could steal funds from a program intended to help needy Union County families in danger of becoming homeless.

Hillside Officer Vitor "Victor" Pedreiras, 30, is also accused of coaching his girlfriend on how to lie to state investigators once they uncovered the scheme to bilk $14,963 from the housing program offered by the state Department of Community Affairs, authorities said.

Pedreiras, who was assigned to the department's community safety bureau, became a police officer after graduating in Dec. 2003 from the John H. Stamler Police Academy. He was suspended after a state grand jury indictment was handed up late Tuesday.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of conspiracy, bribery and official misconduct, according to the indictment. He was also indicted on charges of theft, falsifying records, witness tampering and hindering prosecution.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)



“LAKEWOOD — The organizer of a scheduled rally against illegal immigration has canceled the event, deciding there was not enough security to protect the crowd and speakers.

Diane Reeves of Lakewood, who planned the protest for Aug. 25 at the town square on Clifton Avenue, pointed to rumors that such gangs as MS 13 and the Latin Kings, as well as some out-of-town militant groups, would disrupt the rally. That, coupled with the conflict that occurred at a similar protest last month in Morristown, convinced Reeves that the handful of officers Police Chief Robert Lawson promised to provide would not be enough protection.

"I was nervous that if something happened, what were we supposed to do?" Reeves said.” (Patberg, Asbury Park Press)



“A strict pay-to-play ordinance that regulates everything from political contributions from professional firms to campaign time funds donated by county political organizations has been introduced by the township committee.

Tuesday night the township's Republican-lead committee unanimously introduced two pay-to-play ordinances that take aim at the practice of professional firms donating campaign funds in hopes of earning a municipal contract.

"This is all about professionals," explained Mayor John DeGeorge. "When someone wants to come in and be your engineer or your solicitor they are donating money to these elected officials to help with their campaign."” (Vit, Gloucester County Times) Today’s news from