While the cases might be very different, it’s worth noting that Herman Friedman, convicted by a jury last year of bribing a West New York building inspector to allow an illegal apartment, was sentenced today to 34 months in a federal prison. The sentencing comes thirteen months after Howard Schoor, the head of a politically active engineering firm, was given two years probation for paying off former Ocean Township Mayor Terrance Weldon and Sewerage Authority Chairman Stephen Kessler. Friedman delivered a $5,000 bribe; Schoor’s was $15,000. Friedman went to trial and sentencing was handed out by U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson; Schoor copped a plea agreement and then faced U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Cavanaugh.
A month after his sentencing, Schoor attended a fundraiser for Gov. Jon Corzine’s re-election campaign at an Atlantic City casino. When the Star-Ledger’s Josh Margolin broke the story, Corzine offered praise for the convicted veteran political insider. “I think he is a good man. If he actually was involved in bribes and payoffs — I don’t think he was ever convicted of that particular element — I wouldn’t approve of that. I don’t approve of it. But I think he’s a good man. He’s been very philanthropic,” Corzine said.
Schoor’s attendance became a minor issue in the gubernatorial campaign when Republican Christopher Christie, who was the U.S. Attorney when Schoor was initially charged, said that “only in Jon Corzine’s Trenton would a convicted felon who engaged in political corruption be invited to a political event by the governor and then be praised by him publicly.”
Kessler was sentenced to one year in prison for accepting the Schoor DePalma founder’s bribe by US. District Court Judge William Walls. Walls sent Weldon to prison for nearly five years.