Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'm Shocked, Shocked to Find that Gambling is Going on in Here!

Corruption in New Jersey:

From the Newark Star Ledger:

The criminal complaints contend the 12 defendants accepted cash bribes, ranging from $3,500 to more than $32,000, from cooperating witnesses and undercover agents. In exchange, according to the complaints, the public officials used their influence to help the witnesses and agents win roofing and insurance contracts for towns and the Pleasantville school district.

Hundreds of the encounters were either audiotaped or videotaped, and the complaints contain snippets of what appears to be incriminating conversation.

"We either gonna get this job together or go to jail together," Jayson Adams, 27, a former Pleasantville school board president, is quoted as saying after allegedly accepting $15,000 in payments.

From the Times:

That tour, prosecutors said, ranged 125 miles north to Passaic and Paterson, two gritty towns just outside New York City known for rough politics, as well as to Newark and Orange. And the way it transpired resembled the New Jersey of Hollywood as meetings unfolded in parked cars, rest stops on the Garden State Parkway, restaurants and hotels.

The arrests are the latest example of how the state’s roster of elected and appointed officials has come, at times, to resemble a police blotter. Two powerful Democratic veterans — Sharpe James, the former mayor of Newark, and Wayne R. Bryant, a state senator from Camden — were indicted earlier this year, and State Senator Joseph Coniglio, a Democrat of Bergen County, has been notified by prosecutors that he is the target of a corruption investigation.

But even Mr. Christie said that he was stunned by the business-as-usual boldness uncovered in the most recent investigation, which the F.B.I. dubbed Operation Broken Boards. Mr. Christie noted that one of those charged, Assemblyman Mims Hackett Jr., is the chairman of the State Government Committee, which is responsible for government rules and oversight, including ethics legislation.

[via TPM]

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