Morning News Wakeup Call: August 20, 2010

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Placating and plugging: Christie in South Jersey

PAULSBORO – Down in this grimy port, south of Camden and lined with oil company industrial parks, Gov. Chris Christie was stroking one spoke on a two-pronged axis of crossover power, the bipartisan largesse that keeps the governor afloat with a Democrat-controlled legislature. (Carroll, 

Runyan cable ad links Adler to Pelosi
Third Congressional District Republican Jon Runyan went up on CNN and Fox television today with a 30-second ad targeting Ocean County. The ad slams U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) as a career politician who “doubled state debt” during his Trenton years, and voted with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “90% of the time” over the course of his first term in Washington, D.C. (Pizarro,
After expressing interest in sheriff, Girgenti backs Currie’s decision to go in another direction
HAWTHORNE – State Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne) won’t oppose Passaic County Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie, who told Girgenti he wants to change course in the search for sheriff, away from the veteran senator and in the direction of someone already comfortable in a cap and badge. (Pizarro,
Gov. Chris Christie signs offshore wind bill
A new wind may be blowing in electricity for New Jersey but there are concerns it may bring a chill to ratepayers.

Gov. Chris Christie today signed an act that aims to facilitate offshore wind power for use in the state. (Friedman, The Star-Ledger) 

Bergen GOP chooses Cliffside Park man to run for freeholder

The Bergen County Republican Organization chose a replacement Thursday night for Rochelle Park Mayor Frank Valenzuela, a freeholder candidate who dropped out of the race two weeks ago after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The party’s county committee overwhelmingly voted for John Mitchell of Cliffside Park to fill the vacancy left by Valenzuela. (Gartland, The Bergen-Record)


Former Hoboken council candidate accused with others of bank fraud

HOBOKEN — A failed Hoboken city council candidate and three business associates have been accused of bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud for allegedly orchestrating an elaborate scheme to obtain $21 million in bank loans, according to an FBI complaint. Attorney Thomas Foley of Hoboken, who lost his bid for the Sixth Ward seat in a runoff in 2007, has been arrested with fellow GDC Acquisitions, LLC, officials Courtney Dupree, Rodney Watts and Frank Patello, said Robert Nardoza, spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of New York, said today. (Conte, The Jersey Journal)


Auditors find that Trenton school district officials deliberately kept inaccurate records

TRENTON — School district officials deliberately kept inaccurate records of millions of dollars of special education and health benefit spending during the 2008-2009 school year, and even failed to provide complete financial information to the district’s own auditors, according to a report issued earlier this year. Auditors from the firm Wiss & Co. uncovered $3.2 million in bills from private out-of-district schools for special education students, which the district had not included in its financial records. The district also did not record $6.7 million it owed for out-of-district tuition and employee health benefits, the firm said in its report. (Rinde, The Trenton Times)


Judge receives ok to oversee Gloucester County freeholders

A retired Superior Court judge has been named Gloucester County’s compliance officer and will begin overseeing the freeholder board here Sept. 1. Judge John A. Sweeney, no relation to Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney, was officially named the overseeing monitor Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Francis J. Orlando Jr. (Paciolla, Gloucester County Times)


DRPA approves reforms

CAMDEN The perks are gone. The political patronage; it’s out too. And despite reviewing nearly two-dozen resolutions Wednesday, officials with the Delaware River Port Authority claim there’s still more work to be done to bring respect to the embattled agency. (Murray, The Gloucester County Times)


Ouster of DRPA’s Mathesussen still urged

CAMDEN Though the first steps to reform the Delaware River Port Authority were taken Wednesday, at least one board member and two legislators called for the ouster of CEO John Matheussen while a member of the board said he himself may not be around come January. A former New Jersey senator, Matheussen left his Senate seat seven years ago to head the bi-state agency. He has been handling the brunt of allegations of financial mismanagement and other controversies at the DRPA. (Murray, Gloucester County Times)


From the Backroom

Christie: the Movie

Any doubts about Gov. Chris Christie’s status as a national level GOP star died today with the announcement that the Republicans Governor Association (RGA) will release a 20+ minute film highlighting Christie’s election and his first eight months in office. (Editor,



They’re at it again

The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association is at it again. It is seeking state permission to increase ticket prices by moving high school sports finals to pro and college sports venues. Assemblyman John Burzichelli is not amused. (Ingle, Gannett)


“Shouldn’t someone in New Jersey be prosecuted for pension fraud?” 

State pensions are high on most people’s list of the most boring topics of all time. But in big states, pensions involve huge amounts of money and have been magnets for all kinds of fraud in recent years, sometimes roping in pretty well-known people. When the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday issued an order against the state of New Jersey, the agency highlighted an interesting twist on pension ripoff—namely, that New Jersey claimed for six years that it was making pension payments that, in fact, it wasn’t. This information would have been very interesting to the people who bought New Jersey bonds during this period—more than $26 billion worth, over 79 offerings. (Ledbetter, Slate)

Morning News Wakeup Call: August 20, 2010