Posts Tagged ‘Jim McGreevey’

Norcross Tapes’ 10 Year Anniversary (AUDIO)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

 

In the end, the McGreeveys, the Corzines, they’re all going to be with me – not because they like me – but because they have no choice.

- George Norcross, FBI Recording

 

 

It was a mere ten years ago that the FBI tapes, secretly recorded by Palmyra councilman John Gural, were released. They paint a considerably unflattering portrait of South Jersey Machine Boss George Norcross. The threats, the cursing, the offering of rewards for compliance – not exactly a Frank Capra film, or at least not how one would end (Norcross was not prosecuted and in fact has become more powerful since).

It seems apropos to take a look back and see some of these comments with the benefit of 10 years.

Audio Tape 1. norcrossgetnjampa

Audio Tape 2. norcrossgetnjampb

 

Highlights

John Gural I heard a rumor today. I don’t want I don’t think it’s true but that Lou Greenwald is going to work for Remington.

George Norcross: No, it’s true.

JG: It is true?

Norcross: Yeah, practice of law and they made him a gigantic offer.

JG: No shit?

Norcross: I had a conversation with Remington [of Remington and Vernick]… I said over the years, I will say the last five or six years they have really neglected their base in Burlington, Gloucester counties and they’ve lost I think a lot of good will and that and that’s because of Schoor-DePalma and you [JCA Associates] who have basically slid in and developed that good will and I think their eye was off the ball and uh, they realized they needed to create some good will so they made Lou an offer he couldn’t turn down.

Mark Neisser: And his job is more like marketing?

Norcross: Oh what else would it be? No, I’m sure he’ll do some legal work for him, but it’s gonna be a joke.

 

Norcross: Here’s what happened. They took the benefits away and they’d promised it. But what was gonna happen is it was gonna go into a health insurance fund anyway which was gonna cut our [Commerce Bank Insurance Services] income 80%.

MN: Yeah.

Norcross: So what the hell?

MN: Yeah.

Norcross: Well, I’m not happy about it.

MN: Yeah.

Norcross: Because uh, let’s put it this way, Steve Sweeney ain’t a happy camper so…

MN: What?

Norcross: Sweeney’s not a happy camper. we’ll deal with that accordingly.

 

Norcross: Herb, I gotta tell ya, Herb is a guy you got to keep your eye on at all times.

MN: Yeah?

Norcross: During the course of the caucus, I mean he was so petrified of pissing Joe Doria off finally one day I sat him down and said “Herb, don’t fuck with me on this one. You know, don’t make nice with Joe Doria cause I’ll tell you if you ever do that and I catch you one more time doing it, you’re gonna get your fucking balls cut off.” He got the message.

 

 

 

 Norcross: I’m just asking what would it do theoretically. Is any of the Foys now, see I think the, the Foys are going to be coming into camp because, you know Tom boy wants to be back in the fold again.

 MN: What does he do for a living?

 Norcross: He works for Hill International.

JG: Yeah. Tom Foy does.

Norcross: He works for Hill, so I just sent him an invitation to do our thing [Camden County Committee fundraiser]. I put on there “Foy International. You should come tomorrow night.” You know why? I told him that I will never do anything for nothing.

MN: He just got some construction uh project management.

Norcross: Yeah when Paulsen got bumped. Battleship, DRPA was there.

JG: USS New Jersey, a million dollars.

Norcross: Yeah, he’s trying to get some other stuff now.

JG: Um hum.

Norcross: Tommy you could work with and deal with... [later] And uh, you know, I’ve known Tommy for years and we’re trying to get people together and if you can emerge as this person that people like and work with I think it’s good for your business. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norcross: Meanwhile, I predicted to these guys that you have to understand something. I’m not going to tell you this to insult you, but in the end, the McGreeveys, the Corzines, they’re all going to be with me – not because they like me – but because they have no choice.

JG: They, they know the lay of the land.

Norcross: Correct and yesterday morning I’m up in Summit, New Jersey in Jon Corzine’s home having breakfast and I talk to the guy once a week. Now the reality is he and I joke all the time that had he called me three weeks before, he would have probably saved himself probably $35 million. And every time we eat he thinks it’s a $35 million breakfast or lunch. He doesn’t give a shit, you know.

JG: I’m sure.

Norcross: He’s got more money than God. But he and McGreevey and the rest of them, Ted [Rosenberg] doesn’t mean dick to McGreevey or anybody.

———————-

For more transcripts and info please visit Vile Fraud.

 

“Pay to Play” A Primer

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

 

 

  Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.
   – Charles Caleb Colton

 

 

 

Bribery is legal in New Jersey. Those outside New Jersey may find this shocking, those within merely annoying, but indeed it is legal in the state of New Jersey for businessmen (and women) that are seeking to receive benefits from public officials to give those same public officials money – provided the bribes meet certain specifications.

Wouldn’t that cause lots of conflicts of interest and compromise honest government services leading to inefficiency and higher costs for taxpayers? Wouldn’t a state that allowed such obvious corruption face a lack of trust in government as a result? Yes and yes.

 History

As anyone who has watched Boardwalk Empire knows, corruption is not particularly new to New Jersey.

New Jersey was corrupt even before it was part of America having  possibly the most disgraceful British Governor in the American colonies, Lord Cornbury. Lord Cornbury was notorious for taking bribes and stealing from the treasury, partly to pay for a cross-dressing habit. Pay to Play Dress Up.

One of the most notorious post-independence powers-that-be, also featured in Boardwalk Empire, was Hudson County boss Frank Hague.  Hague was the very definition of a Jersey machine boss once even declaring “I am the law” during his 30+ year tenure as Mayor of Jersey City. Pay to Play was so institutionalized in Jersey City that Hague’s desk had a specially designed lap drawer which could be pushed outward towards the person with whom he was meeting to collect bribes in the form of envelopes full of cash.

And let’s not forget those friends of ours, whose main concern is wetting their beak in construction and other public works projects. Pay to Play is their Bread and Butter.

 Today

In 2004, before resigning over corruption relating to a real estate developer (being gay is not illegal), Governor McGreevey signed a law (P.L. 2004, c. 19) and issued Executive Order 134 which somewhat reformed Pay to Play – most notably adding additional transparency to no-bid contracts, where a good deal of nepotism and cronyism goes on. If there is no bidding process by definition the contract is given to someone already known by the public officials usually those known persons know how to return a favor. In 2005 McGreevey’s Executive Order was essentially codified into law (P.L. 2005, Chapter 51). All these laws culminated in the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act (N.J.S.A. 19:44A-1 et seq).

Despite these reforms, as recently as September 15th a report was released by the State Comptroller claiming the Pay to Play reforms were basically meaningless on the local level. Let’s pretend this was not released in September as part of a Republican election strategy (which it totally was), what is the substance of Comptroller Boxer’s argument?

Boxer claims an exception added in the previous reform laws, namely the “fair and open exception”, is so weak and easily bypassed it leaves the old Pay to Play system unchanged.

One of the hallmarks of New Jersey’s traditional no-bid contracting system was the nearly unlimited discretion of the agency awarding the contract in selecting a politically favored vendor. In practice, fair-and-open requirements do not materially change that substantial discretion. (pg 6)

In other words the law did not stop the corruption in any meaningful way. Boxer concludes:

In practice, the system of fair-and-open has multiple weaknesses. As a result, it presents few, if any, real obstacles to a government entity seeking to award a contract to a politically favored vendor. As long as the contract opportunity is minimally advertised and selection parameters of any kind are drafted, the ultimate award is within the entity’s discretion and immune from outside review. In effect, no-bid contracts may be awarded to favored local vendors much as they had been prior to the passage of the pay-to-play law, and without regard to issues such as vendor cost. While no legislation can eliminate all risk associated with political corruption and donor influence in the government procurement setting, it is apparent nearly six years into its implementation that the fair-and-open system offers notably few hurdles for wrongdoers to overcome. (pg 14)

So Pay to Play continues, fully. The law, according to Boxer, is merely a speed bump on the way to hog highway. But before you think Boxer has some solutions here comes the next sentence:

In arriving at that conclusion, we acknowledge that campaign contributions are an appropriate and necessary part of a robust democratic process.36

What? Says who? Boxer’s footnote is quite revealing:

 36 See, e.g., N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.13; Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 130 S. Ct. 876, 898 (2010); Melanie D. Reed, Election Law: Regulating Political Contributions by State Contractors: The First Amendment and State Pay to Play Legislation, 34 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 635, 645 (2008).

The Citizens United decision was a corporate license to steal (elections). It seems Boxer’s actual objection is not corruption but the size of the businesses engaging in it. Beware of politicians baring righteous indignation.

In any case, Pay to Play is alive and well in New Jersey. And why not? It’s tradition.