Assemblyman Richard Merkt wants state Senate candidate Seems Singh to drop her bid for the 14th district seat after her involvement in what he calls “possible public pension abuse.”
A Trenton Times article today revealed that Singh had hired her former chief of staff, Leora Mosstown, as a $125-an-hour consultant six days after her retirement. State pension officials ordered Mosstown to return the $86,000 she had received after her retirement while she continued to work for Singh as a consultant, earning $520,000 in salary during that same period.
“Seema Singh knew about this abuse, then she willingly participated in a scheme to weaken the state’s already under-funded public employees pension system,” said Merkt, who’s proud of his status as a “vocal critic of abuses of pension benefits.”
“How can the New Jersey Legislature ever hope to achieve credibility on the issues of ethics and pension reform when we have people running for office who may be implicated in public pension abuses?”
Singh was representing a client in court and could not be reached for comment, but campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Meyers said that Baroni was outsourcing his campaign’s dirty work.
“Seema Singh stood up for the consumers and ratepayers of New Jersy while she was Ratepayer Advocate,” said Meyers. “Yet, Assemblyman Baroni is standing behind his fellow politicians like Mr. Merkt to do his bidding. In addtion, he has turned to residents of this district to issue dirty attacks on his behalf.
Merkt quickly replied to Meyers' buzz.
"Dirty? I'll tell you what's 'dirty': letting your chief of staff milk the public pension system while still pulling down a six-figure salary at the taxpayer's expense. Real public employees don't get in on such a gravy train," said Merkt. "You want to know why this state's going broke? It's because of schemers such this, who knowingly abuse the public pension system — and those who tolerate and abet them.
"Singh should be publicly apologizing to the people of New Jersey for her role in abusing their trust, not dispatching her mouthpiece to attack anyone who questions her poor judgment. It's noteworthy that Singh lacks the guts to come out herself and defend what she did," Merkt said."It's a lot easier to send out her 'spokesperson,' so that Singh can remain in hiding. Some 'leader'!"