TRENTON – In one of the first questions on the Senate Judiciary Committe’s hearing on acting Treasurer Andrew Siadmon-Eristoff, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood ridge) tried to corner the new tresurer on Gov. Christopher Christie’s statement that the budgeting of the legislature and previous administration have been “reckless.”
“Where is the reckless conduct?” asked Sarlo.
Sidamon-Eristoff, careful not to use the word reckless himself but not to disagree with the governor who just appointed him one month ago, said “I would say that the previous administrations expectations with respect to Medicaid savings were unrealistic.”
Sarlo said that since the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services had the same budget projections, that would in effect be characterizing them as reckless as well.
“I haven’t said anybody acted recklessly, senator, what I did say is that I have no reason to believe,” said Eristoff. “I have not seen anything to suggest that OLS acted recklessly. I would only say that I believe the previous administration might have been more conservative in assessing the likelihood of the Medicaid savings.”
The serious questions came after a less serious exchange in which Sarlo said his own research connected Sidamon-Eristoff to the Romanovs, the former Russian royal family. Sarlo joked that he would hopefully have an easier time as treasurer than Czar Nicholas II had.
Sidamon-Eristoff said that he was not aware of any relationship to the Romanovs, and that in fact his heritage is Georgian. Sidamon-Eristoff does, in fact, descend from Georgian nobility, and his family’s heritage in the United States is storied. His great-grandfather was business partners with steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.