Samson’s Slap on the Wrist
David Samson, former attorney general and ex-Port Authority boss who requested United Airlines put on a special flight to take him from Newark to his weekend home in South Carolina, was sentenced yesterday to a year of house arrest (which he will spend on his “estate” in SC, WNYC reported). He pleaded guilty to felony bribery charges that carried a 10-year prison sentence.
When you spend time in Mexico reporting on government corruption, you spend a lot of time listening to people tell you that their justice system is broken. Politicians and public servants go unpunished for bad behavior and that creates an environment that feeds influence-peddling, nepotism and bribery. It won’t be the last time I say it: New Jersey and Mexico have more in common than a lot of people think.
Historical House Demolition
What exactly happened in the case of the Revolutionary-War-era Bellmawr house that was demolished last week? The Courier Post says the state didn’t have a permit to knock the historically-important building down. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the NJ Department of Transportation told NJ.com that it was not aware that there was an injunction to prevent the demolition because the legal paperwork was delivered to their mailroom and it was not addressed to anyone specifically.
Tom Forkin, a former Atlantic City Council candidate who now teaches and runs a surf school, has filed an ethics grievance against lawyer Jason Holt. Holt was a city solicitor turned business administrator, and he then went to work for the state on its takeover of Atlantic City. Forkin wrote in a message, “I filed the ethics complaint against Holt AND the State of New Jersey as a resident of Atlantic City… The STATE created this conflict. Holt advised against suing the State in Federal Court as solicitor and business administrator and NOW the State hired him? You don’t have to be a legal scholar to see the conflict there. Especially since the State has now raised our taxes again another 13% and is seeking to reduce our fire and police departments…Someone had to do something. So I decided to do the right thing. It is now in the hands of the office of attorney ethics.”
Forkin himself was disbarred a decade ago and was also previously a city solicitor (you can hear him talk about that here in a Press of Atlantic City interview). He runs a Facebook page called State Free AC.
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The rest of today’s headlines include news on a new South Jersey veterans’ center, the gloomy outlook for the state pension system, and a sharp drop-off that’s worrying surfers and swimmers in Cape May. All that and more below:
To honor son killed in Iraq, mother opens a South Jersey veterans center–Several days before he was killed in Iraq in a roadside bombing, Army Spec. Anthony “Joe” Dixon sent his family a message: “If something should happen to me, celebrate.” Philly.com
Unfunded Liability of Public-Employee Pension System Closes in on $50 Billion–New actuarial calculations for New Jersey’s beleaguered public-employee pension system show an unfunded liability of near $50 billion, a staggering number for a retirement plan that’s been set up to cover roughly 780,000 current and retired government workers. www.njspotlight.com
Sharp Drop-Off at Cape May Beaches Threatens Surfers, Swimmers–Something has spooked some of the surfers out of the water at Cape May, and it’s not a shark’s threatening dorsal fin. It’s the fact that the seafloor along the beach drops off sharply, which can create dangerous conditions for board riders and body surfers. www.njspotlight.com
Navy wife angered by meeting gets apology from S. Jersey congressman–U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican who represents a large swath of South Jersey, has adamantly resisted holding a town hall meeting, preferring a series of meetings with 12 constituents at a time to avoid what he called the "YouTube moment." Philly.com