NJ Politics Digest: Who Hired Alvarez?

The Newark AirTrain.

The Newark AirTrain. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

You would think someone would know who was responsible for hiring a prominent Democratic politician for a high-paying state job. You might even think that that hire would stand out in memory, particularly when the job candidate was accused of raping a volunteer on Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign staff.

But members of Murphy’s administration called to testify before a legislative committee investigating how Al Alvarez, the one-time head of the Murphy’s Hispanic and Muslim outreach efforts who has been accused of rape, don’t seem to know how he got the $140,000-per-year post as chief of staff to the Schools Development Authority, according to reports.

And Murphy, when questioned by reporters, has refused to answer the question, NJ.com reports.

Alvarez has denied Katie Brennan’s accusation that he raped her. The Hudson County Prosecutors Office has declined to prosecute Alvarez. The case is now being investigated by the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office after it was revealed Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez knew both Alvarez and Brennan. Suarez said she had no input in the decision not to prosecute, but has refused the legislative committee’s request to see documents—including emails from specific dates—related to the investigation, according to NJ.com.

Brennan claims that Murphy administration officials ignored her efforts to have Alvarez dismissed until she went to the Wall Street Journal about the incident and how her efforts were being rebuffed. Those testifying they didn’t know how Alvarez was hired included Alvarez’s boss at the SDA, Murphy’s former chief of staff and Murphy’s chief counsel, according to the Record.

Quote of the Day: “I’ve said everything I’m gonna say,” — Gov. Phil Murphy, in reference to the Alvarez scandal which continues to embroil his administration.

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NJ Politics Digest: Who Hired Alvarez?