Legislative sources say Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno overstepped her bounds during testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, disclosing information about investigations into the awarding of no-bid contracts by the New Jersey Council on the Arts.
During her testimony, Guadagno was asked about comments she made recently before the Assembly Budget Committee that she had discovered three contracts that were paid without proper authorization. While answering the question posed by Sen. Linda Greenstein, (D-14), of Plainsboro, Guadagno said there is an audit report due out from the office of the State Auditor on the contracts as well as a referral of the matter to the state Attorney General.
Staffers with the committee said they were told by OLS counsel that the information should not have been disclosed in a public hearing. In a Star Ledger story published Sunday, a spokesman for Guadagno mentioned an audit of the contracts, but no other details were provided.
Guadagno spokesman Fred Snowflack said the lieutenant governor did the right thing.
“Given the fact that both the audit and the investigation relate to how public money was spent, making them public was the right thing to do,” he said.
Also as part of her testimony, Guadagno told the committee that she had requested the money back from the vendor, Co-Works of Hamilton in Mercer County, and had received somewhere between $250,000 and $280,000 of a total of $312,000 that had been paid.
Pressed on why the vendor was willing to repay the money, Guadagno said only that it was because she asked. Guadagno also said the owner of Co-Works was at one time an employee of the Council on the Arts.
Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), of Wood Ridge, said the committee would wait for the issuance of the audit before reviewing the matter further.