Tag Archive: Jeffrey Chiesa

What’s Happening Today Mon. 10/28/2013

Buono’s “Opportunity Tour”: Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Barbara Buono today kicks off a week-long “Opportunity Tour” to highlight the need to restore the opportunities that made her story possible. The daughter of an immigrant butcher who rose up to become the first woman Majority Leader in state history, the tour will trace sites that enabled Senator Buono and so many others to overcome their circumstances and succeed in New Jersey. The tour begins this afternoon at the deli shop of Senator Buono’s cousin James Buono.

New Jersey’s 2nd disaster-recovery Sandy block grant, expected to amount to over $1 billion, will be announced at 3:00pm by U.S. Housing & Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Sens. Robert Menendez and Jeffrey Chiesa, joined by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo at the First Aid Building, Little Ferry. Conspicuously absent: Gov. Christie.

Environmental groups: 4 pm news conference to oppose South Jersey Gas’ sponsorship of the Sustainable Jersey South Jersey Leadership Forum. The company advocaties a new pipeline built partially in the Pinelands, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway.

Board of State Canvassers: meets at 10:00am to certify Cory Booker’s election as our next U. S. Senator in room 7 at the  Statehouse Annex, Trenton.


Buono/Silva Gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: 10:30am, with South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, Press Conference with the New Jersey Superior Officers Association, South Brunswick Municipal Hall, 540 Ridge Rd., Monmouth Junction;  Barbara Buono: 12:30pm, AFT Retiree Luncheon, Forsgate Country Club, 375 Forsgate Dr., Monroe Township;  Barbara Buono, 2:00pm, with Deli owner James Buono, “Opportunity Tour”: Small Business, Buono’s Prime Meats & Deli, 470 Main St., Little Falls.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign:  Chris Christie: 10:00am, unveiling of  a statue of Steve Adubato Sr., North Ward Center, Newark;  Chris Christie: 11:45am, ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Route 206 Hillsborough Bypass.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. and Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long: 9:45am, tour of Ocean Avenue to view buildings and businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy, starts at Borough Hall, ends at the firehouse, Sea Bright.

Rep. Bill Pascrell: 11:00am, joined by Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo, news conference marking Sandy’s anniversary, Moonachie Borough Hall.

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald: 10:30am, joined by Jack Purvis, president of the American Institute of Architects state chapter, and Robert Thiel, president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, news conference, regarding ‘Good Samaritan’ legislation designed to better prepare New Jersey to respond to the next major storm or natural disaster, Statehouse, Room 109, Trenton.

Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

Chris Christie’s US Senator His Own Man — To the Right

This morning the U. S. Senate will resume consideration of S.744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. Sen. Menendez will of course vote YES. It is possible there will be a final vote today or tomorrow – promoted by Bill Orr.

UPDATE:It looks like some calls and the publishing of his votes has moved Chiesa to rethink his position and he will be supporting the immigration bill.  Great job, everyone!

UPDATE: Senate vote is scheduled for 4:00 PM today. See it live now on C-SPAN2. (Bill Orr)

So Christie supports immigration reform, but the guy he sent to the US Senate for just a couple months — the couple months when the US Senate is talking about immigration reform — doesn’t appear to be.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has endorsed comprehensive immigration reform legislation including enhanced border security and a path to citizenship. But his handpicked U.S. Senate appointee, Jeffrey Chiesa (R), has cast yet another vote against the Senate’s immigration bill on Wednesday.

A lot of folks assumed Chiesa would be a rubber stamp for Christie, but that appears not to be the case.

Fortunately for the idea that Chiesa is on a fast track to the NJ Supreme Court, we get to see him actually take positions as a Senator he didn’t have to take as AG.

And it don’t look good.

Christie names Lautenberg successor: NJ Attorney General Jeff Chiesa

NJ-AG-Jeffrey-S-Chiesa-1Gov. Chris Christie has just announced who will succeed the late Senator Frank Lautenberg: NJ Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.

Chiesa will serve until after the election to fill the seat, currently set by the Christie timetable as Wednesday, October 16, after a primary currently set for a date in August. Chiesa has pledged not to seek to retain the office in the upcoming Senate election.

In appointing Chiesa, one day after Frank Lautenberg’s funeral and as his body lies in repose in the well of the Senate, Christie ignores the chance to do something more noble and more in keeping with the sensibilities of his constituents, choosing instead to pick someone high on the Christie food chain. Before Chiesa was New Jersey’s Attorney General, he was Chief Counsel to Christie. He met Christie in the law firm that once bore Christie advisor Bill Palatucci’s name (Dughi, Hewit & Palatucci, now known as Dughi & Hewit). Chiesa followed Christie to the US Attorney’s office when Christie had that title; the Christie administration has several former employees from there in high positions. Chiesa headed up Christie’s transition team before the governor was sworn in in January of 2010.

Last year Bill Orr covered the still-ongoing public safety story of New Jersey’s privatized halfway house system, most of which were run by Community Education Centers (CEC). That’s the company run (till recently) by Bill Palatucci , former law colleague of both Chiesa and Christie and still in Christie’s inner orbit .(Palatucci extricated himself from the company even as the sister of a woman murdered by an escaped inmate at one of his facilities  filed suit against CEC). There were serious questions about how the law firm all three worked for had set up Education and Health Centers of America as a “non-profit” allowed to contract with the NJ Department of Corrections and then pass the revenue on to CEC.

That same month last year the_promised_land wrote in Blue Jersey about a manuever by AG Chiesa that looked suspiciously political in the 2011 legal challenge to Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera’s election. His noted Chiesa may have been serving his political patron, Christie, in a way entirely inappropriate for the chief lawyer for the state’s interests – and not it’s governor’s political interests. He wrote Chiesa’s maneuvers looked like an effort to try to take out a Democratic Assemblywomen by manipulating legal arguments.

You’ll want to see the other side; what the Chris Christie administration wants you to know about Chiesa. So, below the fold, Christie’s release to press in its entirety.

CEC Investigation: Our Legislators Take Action – Part VII

After years of groups and individuals raising warning signs about problems in halfway houses, the issue was placed in stark relief in a N Y Times devastating series of articles Unlocked by Sam Dolnick. On Thursday the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee chaired by Bob Gordon (D-37) and vice-chaired by Barbara Buono (D-18) will hold a hearing. On Monday the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee chaired by Charles Mainor (D-31) and vice chaired by Gilbert Wilson (D-5) will hold another hearing. The goals are to understand the problems and bring about solutions.

The Problems: Past articles in the Blue Jersey CEC Investigation series have highlighted serious improprieties regarding halfway houses – particularly those of Community Education Centers (CEC), which last year received $71 million out of $105 million in government expenses. It is a story of CEC’s Founder John Clancy who used a dubious agreement from a prior Attorney General to set up a shell non-profit company and then through large political contributions, lobbying, PR, a well connected legal VP, and friendship with a U.S. attorney and later governor to create a large corrections corporation. With insufficient monitoring from the Department of Corrections (DOC), this company ran facilities that bred an atmosphere of inmate drugs, escapes, violence, gangs, rapes, and deaths. With unqualified staff, security was compromised, the public at large was placed in danger with unnecessary escapes, and the goal of helping to reduce recidivism was given short shrift.

Christie confidante and CEC Senior Vice President, William Palatucci aided, abetted and defended CEC. Governor Christie as a lawyer at Dughi and Hewitt, as U.S. Attorney, and later as governor at a minimum praised and enabled the activities of CEC. He failed to implement remedies that other more responsible parties were calling for over the years, and he may have done so willfully and improperly. Now we are at the point where the valid role of halfway houses is being discredited, and the largest company in New Jersey is facing such severe financial problems that the DOC might need to take over at a moment’s notice thousands of inmates lodged annually in CEC facilities. CEC failings are not confined to NJ DOC contracts, but extend to those held by NJ local governments and such states as Texas, Alabama, and Colorado.

There are numerous solutions. The agreement that allowed CEC to use a non-profit organization as a front, in contravention to established regulations, should be ended for any future contracts and possibly existing contracts. CEC was able to build a monopolistic position, and it is now time to enable legitimate non profits to compete fairly for DOC contracts small and large. The Boxer audit laid out key recommendations for remedies, and it is essential to establish what progress DOC has achieved so far and to assure the recommendations are met. Dangerous inmates should not be lodged in halfway houses. The security and living conditions of inmates need to be improved. Process measures must be established to assure that the goals of reducing recidivism through drug treatment, job readiness, and other skills preparatory to re-entering the general population are being well administered. More qualified staffing is important. Pay-to-play regulations urgently need strengthening. People like Governor Christie should be disabused of the notion that privatization brings huge savings, as previous studies have shown that such savings are scant. Goals should include integrity, safety, and reducing recidivism not an elusive search for savings.

Below the fold are suggestions for some of the individuals who should testify and what questions legislators might ask the individuals.


AG Engages in Politicized Reversal to Unelect Mosquera

As deciminyan reported earlier, the Supreme Court vacated the Appellate Division’s order from yesterday allowing Gabriela Mosquera to do the job that she was elected by a majority of 4th District voters to do.

This decision was shocking, because as I wrote yesterday, the Appellate Division’s decision to allow Mosquera to be sworn in was by far the more conservative and common sense ruling. Mosquera relied on a decade-old federal court order and the certification of the Secretary of State (i.e. the Lieutenant Governor) that she was an eligible candidate. She won the election. And after the fact, her opponent decided that because she lost it would be a good time to challenge – instead of bringing the challenge, say, when the Secretary of State certified her as a candidate.

But something weird happened this morning.