Rice demanding audit of Newark

State Sen. Ron Rice (D-28) is asking the governor to order an audit of the City of Newark to determine if the state’s investment in the city is being well spent.

Monday, Rice introduced a resolution asking the governor to order the audit and said today if it is not done within 30 days he will take his request to the state auditor.

“For years, I’ve been urging the State to take a look at the operations of Newark city government, and make sure that the substantial investment made by the State of New Jersey was being spent effectively and efficiently for the people of the city,” Rice said in a statement.  “Under Governor Corzine, DCA (the Department of Community Affairs) conducted an audit which revealed serious issues and improprieties, but to date, there has been no follow-up to make sure those issues have been addressed.  I urge Governor Christie to stand by his own call for transparency and oversight of local spending and support a complete performance audit of Newark.”

The resolution requests that State Comptroller Matthew Boxer conduct the audit in order to uncover “mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse of public dollars by the city or any related local public or quasi-public entities, such as the Newark Housing Authority and the now-defunct Downtown Core Redevelopment Corporation, which has recently been connected with investigations into pay-to-play and no-bid contracts within the city.”

Rice’s request comes amid the backdrop of the trial of former Deputy Mayor Ronald Salahuddin playing out in District Court. Salahuddin is accused of peddling government contracts in exchange for donations and kickbacks.

Mayor Cory Booker testified Tuesday that he knew nothing about Salahuddin’s alleged activities.

“I knew nothing about Ron Salahuddin giving special privilege to anyone for any matter,” Booker said. “That would be unacceptable.”

On Tuesday, the DCA announced that Newark would receive $32 million in state funding in the form of a loan.  The loan comes with stipulations the city must agree to before receiving the money.

Rice demanding audit of Newark