State Sen. Gerald Cardinale wants Attorney General Anne Milgram to investigate whether Gov. Corzine offered an appointment to former Passaic County Freeholder candidate Sami Mehri in exchange for getting him to drop his independent bid for freeholder last year.
In a letter sent today, Cardinale express suspicion about Corzine’s appointment of Mehri to the board of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority – an unpaid position.
Mehri, who had received the endorsement of the Passaic County Democratic Party for freeholder, was forced off the ticket after controversial remarks he made to the New York Times in 2002 came to light. Mehri had said that he saw no connection between Palestinian suicide bombers and the terrorists involved in 9/11. After the county party dropped him off the ticket under pressure from Gov. Corzine and Sen. Bob Menendez, Mehri unsuccessfully challenged the decision in court and then filed to run as an independent candidate in an effort to take votes away from Democrats.
In June, 2006, Mehri was quoted in the Herald News saying that he would drop his bid in exchange for a state appointment, which is illegal. Mehri eventually did drop his independent bid.
“As you are aware, it is a crime to offer an appointment in exchange for dropping a candidacy,” wrote Cardinale. “…This is the second time this month that allegations regarding a ‘quid pro quo’ involving the Governor or the Governor’s staff have come to the attention of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the review of gubernatorial appointments.”
Corzine press secretary Lilo Stainton responded that "There were no promises made."