Tag Archive: UMDNJ

Negawatts save Megabucks

The Newark Star Ledger reported (here) that Public Service Electric and Gas, PSE&G is installing a the UMDNJ is installing a  2,700-ton chiller as part of an $11.4 million investment in negawatts. The Star Ledger reported that UMDNJ will save $1.3 million per year on energy costs.What’s the payback? An $11.4 million investment will save $1.3 million per year. That means the system will pay for itself in about 8 years 9 months, assuming the price of energy remains constant.  I think it’s a much more reasonable to assume that the price of energy will go up.

The system will work long after it is paid for. It will save at least $13 Million over the next 10 years and $26 Million over the next 20 years – assuming electricity costs are constant, assuming electricity costs are constant.  Assuming electricity costs increase an average of 5% per year, this will save $16.35 Million over the next 10 years, and $42.99 over the next 20 years.

  • Projected Savings of $11.4 Million investment.
  • After 1 Year: $1.3 Million. 11.4%
  • After 5 Years: $7.18 Million (63%) with a 5% annual increases in cost of energy.
  • After 10 Years: $16.35 M (143.4%).
  • After 15 Years: $28.05 M (246%)
  • After 20 Years: $42.99 M (377%).

We have Governor Corzine to thank. as well as Governors Whitman, McGreevey, Codey, and Christie.

The Cherry on top of the Sundae?

The Star Ledger had an eye opening reminder of the connections between Herb Stern and Chris Christie dating back to Christie initially getting the job and leading up to the conclusion of his tenure with his actions just before leaving office.   Let’s recap and look at who supported Christie when he first got the US Attorney job while many did not:

Herbert Stern was one of the few prominent lawyers who initially supported Christie as he came under widespread fire for his lack of law-enforcement experience when he became U.S. attorney in 2002.

Christie has described Stern as his mentor and how did Christie thank him for that support?

In 2005, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie gave Herbert Stern and his law firm, Stern & Kilcullen, a $3 million no-bid contract to monitor the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Dec. 2005 as part of a deferred prosecution agreement after the institution admitted to committing Medicare fraud. Christie considers Stern a “mentor,” according to the New York Times.

That would be $3 million of taxpayer dollars, which is an often overlooked fact when talking about these no-bid contracts. The NY Times even reported the amount could be up to $10 million that Stern’s firm billed the taxpayers. But whatever the dollar amount, it appears that wasn’t enough:

Before leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office, Christie hired Samuel Stern, the son of Herbert Stern, to work as a federal prosecutor.

During his Republican primary campaign for governor, Chris Christie accepted $23,800 in campaign contributions from the principals and spouses of Stern & Kilcullen, the firm to which Christie had given a $3 million contract to monitor UMDNJ.

Herbert Stern and his wife each gave $3,400 to Chris Christie’s gubernatorial campaign, as did John Inglesino and his wife. Inglesino, a lawyer at Stern & Kilcullen, had served as Stern’s chief counsel in the UMDNJ case.

Now questions were raised about the hiring and these contributions in the primary, but Christie shrugged them off as just politics. There has also been plenty of talk about Inglesino’s role and actions.

As time goes by however, we find out more details of the lengths Christie went to make sure Stern’s son was hired:

Typically, candidates are subject to several rounds of interviews, meeting first with three rank-and-file prosecutors. If that goes well, they meet with three division supervisors. The final interview is typically with the U.S. attorney or a top deputy.

In Stern’s case, he performed poorly in his first round, and none of the rank-and-file assistants who interviewed him recommended that he be hired, the officials said. He was given the unusual opportunity for a second chance with three different rank-and-file assistants, but again received negative reviews, the officials said.

Then on Friday, Nov. 14 – after Stern had met with just two supervisors – Christie offered him the job, the officials said. The following Monday, Christie announced his own resignation.

Just how poorly did the younger Stern do in the interview:

Christie hired Samuel Stern over objections from nearly every assistant U.S. attorney who interviewed him, according to three federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the hiring process.

They contended Stern, who at the time was two years out of law school, lacked the experience to become a federal prosecutor, the officials said. And before hiring him, Christie took the unusual step of changing the interview process after receiving negative reviews, according to the officials who spoke to The Star-Ledger on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.

This looks like a parting shot for Christie right before he left office. And he changed the rules to make sure it happens. Now it can be one set of rules for himself, another for everyone else, unless he wants to change them to the rules he wants. Maybe that was the cherry on top of the sundae?

IOKIYACC

Promoted by Jason Springer: I always love when huntsu stops by to give her take and as usual, she doesn’t disappoint

For all of you who followed our work back when Blue Jersey was the lone voice talking about Chris Christie’s misuse of his office, this one is for you.  For all of you who accused us of being on a partisan witch hunt, all I can say is ppppttttthhhhhhpppppptttttttttttt!

We already know Chris Christie used his prosecutorial powers to force corporations into paying his friends millions of dollars to watch over the business, thereby selling Get Out of Jail Cards to corrupt and criminal officers who got to keep their mansions unt deir yachts.

But now we find out that Chris Christie used those same powers and threats to get people fired who had committed no criminal offense or corrupt act.

Three years after being forced out of her high-profile post at the state’s medical school under a cloud of scandal, Vivian Sanks King — once the chief lawyer for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey — was quietly cleared by federal authorities.

In a rare letter last year from the office of then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, Sanks King was notified she “is not a ‘target’ or a ‘subject'” of the criminal probes into wrongdoing at UMDNJ.

So Chris Christie himself says that — in writing — that Sanks King did nothing criminal or illegal.  And Christie’s job at the time was to unearth criminal and illegal behavior and punish the crooks.  But King not being a crook didn’t stop Christie from forcing her out of her job.

Christie forced Sanks King and three other officials out of their jobs at UMDNJ before he would enter into an agreement that would keep the university from being prosecuted in federal court.

Christie threatened UMDNJ official sthat he would not enter into a deferred prosecution deal with them unless they fired Sanks King, essentially giving them two choices:

  • Fire Sanks King, use millions of taxpayer dollars to pay Christie’s long term supporters (and future supporters) to review their work, and protect their careers and reputations by staying out of court (and maybe jail) or
  • Keeps Sahks King, get indicted for their criminal acts, lose their livelihoods and reputations, and be ripped apart publicly by the US Attorney.

Needless to say, given that choice people who were engaged in corrupt or criminal acts are probably going to select the first option rather than the second.  Loyalty among thieves, and all that.

Christie’s rationale for why it is acceptable for the US Attorney to force someone who committed no criminal or illegal act out of here job is that she was not good at it:

“When we entered UMDNJ in December of 2005, we found a publicly funded $1.6 billion-a-year institution which was violating multiple federal criminal and civil laws, had no legal compliance structure and had lost $400 million in taxpayer money due to fraud, waste & abuse,” Christie said in a statement. “As general counsel, Ms. Sanks King was the corporate officer responsible for insuring that UMDNJ complied with the law.”

Last I saw it was not a federal crime to be bad at your job.  In fact, under Christie’s boss — George Bush — incompetence and failure on the job got you the Medal of Freedom.

Sanks King did nothing wrong to fall under the purview of the United States Attorney.  The Board of Directors should have fired her, maybe.  Or the CEO of UMDNJ.  But as US Attorney Chris Christie did not have the authority, the mandate or the power to have her fired.

But he wanted her fired.  So he used deferred prosecution agreements as a hammer to force her ouster though he had no right to do so because he was offended by her performance.  

Is that someone you want as Governor of New Jersey, a position that is as or more powerful than any public chief executive in the United State shy of the White House?

Not me.  Not me.


Update: And then there’s this, which brings up two points:

“The publicly reported facts that our multi-year criminal and civil investigation uncovered clearly prove she failed in her job and failed the taxpayers of New Jersey who paid her salary,” Christie’s statement said. “Not being charged with a crime is hardly an exoneration of that performance or a justification for continued employment.”

Chris Christie did not work for the taxpayers of New Jersey.  Her failure on their behalf had no bearing on his job as US Attorney, and no matter how aggrieved he may have been at this failure it was not his job to set it “right.”  By forcing her out of her job admittedly for state issues he misused his power, which is as bad as anything Sanks King did wrong.

Secondly, as clammyc says below, Christie has repeatedly defended his brother Todd by noting he was not indicted for performing hundreds of illegal trades on Wall Street.  Christie can’t use a lack of indictment as a shield for his brother and a baton against Sanks King.

Unless, of course, you play by the rules known as It’s OK If You Are Chris Christie.

A South Jersey Medical School at Last!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after beginning to pay attention to New Jersey politics, it’s that South Jersey is neglected. If there’s a second thing, it’s that the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is a scandal.  So you won’t be surprised that I gladly welcome yesterday’s announcement that there will be a new medical school in South Jersey:

Rowan University and Cooper University Hospital announced today that they are partnering in the formation of a new, four-year allopathic medical school in Camden, NJ which will be known as Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

Yes, the latest thing I’ve learned is that allopathic means conventional medicene. I believe the story was broken by the Courier-Post. In any case, the new school in Camden is made possible by an executive order by Governor Corzine, which will go into force unless rejected within 60 days by the legislature:

The new medical school will be the first four year allopathic medical school in South Jersey.  Currently, Cooper provides clinical training to third and fourth year medical students from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Independent studies by both Cooper and UMDNJ concluded that there is a significant need for a four year medical school in South Jersey, and that Cooper and its medical faculty are well prepared to meet that need.  “We are appreciative of our 30 year relationship with UMDNJ. This affiliation has positioned Cooper for the endeavor announced today,” added John P. Sheridan, Jr., President and CEO of Cooper.

The newly-established Cooper Medical School of Rowan University will be financed by existing annual allocations to the Camden Campus and will not require any additional taxpayer dollars.

The goal is to have the first class begin in September 2012. One long-term benefit will be that a stronger academic hospital will be able to compete with Philadelphia, helping keep the $2 billion that presently goes over the river.  More importantly, this will address the shortage of New Jersey doctors — remember, the baby boomers will be retiring soon.  The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has been working to increase the number of medical school slots.

There’s some grumbling from Essex County politicians that UMDNJ is losing turf, but they can only complain about feeling disrespected, not the merits of the plan:

Both Rice and a UMDNJ spokesman, however, acknowledged Rowan was in a better position than UMDNJ to finance the new medical school venture because of its healthier bonding capacity. Rowan plans to issue $100 million in bonds for the new school.

I don’t know what will happen in the fall election, but this move by Governor Corzine will benefit New Jersey for the rest of this century.

Jersey Guys to Christie on 101.5 -Then we can’t trust you

Wow, that’s all I can say about this one. This is probably not the way that Chris Christie wanted to go in to GOTV weekend before the primary, getting ripped on NJ 101.5.

First brother Todd tried to call in to answer their questions off air, but the Jersey guys wanted none of that. Then Chris called in toward the end of the show to talk about campaign advisor John Inglesino and allegations whether he was hired by Republican Sen. Joe Pennacchio in order to earn state pension credits.

From the second Christie got on the line, the Jersey Guys went after him and hard.  Christie tried to make some jokes and work in some talking points, but the host wanted to have none of it and said Christie needs to hold himself to his own word:

We want to hold you to the standards that you told us you would hold other people to. Instead of being part of the solution, you’re starting to sound more like the problem.

When the hosts weren’t buying Christie’s dancing, he tried to say that Inglesino has nothing to do with the campaign, just a volunteer who does phone banking.  He even called him a bottom feeder, which I’m sure excites all volunteers to go out and work for Chris Christie.  But seems to be a wee bit more than a volunteer:

Inglesino co-hosted a $500-a-plate fundraiser for Christie a week after the candidate said he’d reject all future campaign donations from lawyers to whom he awarded no-bid contracts as U.S. attorney.

Inglesino’s law firm earned $3 million after Christie appointed it to monitor an out-of-court corporate fraud settlement. He, his law partners and their wives gave Christie’s campaign the maximum allowable donations.

Well hell, I’d volunteer if I had that kind of set up too. If that’s how the bottom feeders around Christie make out, imagine what the people at the top are getting away with. You won’t regret the 9 minutes it takes to listen to this one.

Christie lashes out

For over a week now, Chris Christie has faced scrutiny over his deferred prosecution agreements and today decided to fight back by attacking the messengers.  First, let’s look at this take from Paul Mulshine’s column this past Sunday:

But Christie has some ‘splaining to do, in the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo. The point of ethics laws, as with his suggested ban on public jobs for politicians, is not merely to avoid impropriety, but to avoid the mere appearance of impropriety. And in this case, Christie created the appearance of impropriety every bit as much as Paris Hilton creates the appearance of a celebrity airhead.

Oh, he certainly did some splainin. Christie could have let the situation play out in the media and moved on to the next issue turning the debate back to the Governor.  Instead, today he engaged and attacked, ensuring the story will continue:

“I’m not going to stand around and be a political punching bag of caddies for candidates who don’t have a record to sell, a story to tell, and actually attack the candidates who do have something to sell,” said Christie.

It gets so much better below the fold, so you will want to join me there.

A job to go with that contract and contributions

I wrote the other day about news that Chris Christie had taken nearly $24,000 from people tied to a law firm he awarded a $3million contract.  But wait, there’s more:

Before leaving office as U.S. Attorney last year, Christopher Christie hired Samuel Stern, the son of former U.S. District Court Judge Herbert Stern, to work as a federal prosecutor.  Samuel Stern started work last month in the Appeals Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark.

Hand out contract, check. Hand out job, check. Take money in return for your campaign, check. The US Attorney’s office had no comment, but confirmed the hiring. This is what the American Spectator had to say before this latest news of family ties was added:

But there’s no law that says you can’t take a STATE contribution from someone you gave a FEDERAL no bid contract to. And that’s exactly what Chris Christie, the GOP favorite to get the nod to take on Jon Corzine in the Fall has done. As U.S. Attorney, Christie gave the firm of Stern and Kilcullen a 7 million dollar no-bid contract. Now that Christie’s running for Governor, the partners and their wives contributed $23,800 to Christie’s campaign. Since New Jersey has 2-1 matching funds, it’s more like they gave him over $70,000.

While this is not illegal, it sure looks terrible, especially when you consider that Christie has based his entire campaign on ethics and cleaning up New Jersey.

Move along, nothing to see here. Aside from the actual issue of the job and contributions, that line does point to the glaring hypocrisy of the issue when you compare it to the rhetoric of his campaign language. I would love to see the Republican reaction to a story like this if it was a Democrat and these details came out. It must just be ok if you are a Republican.

Bryant guilty!

Former state senator Wayne Bryant and former UMDJ dean R. Michael Gallagher were found guilty today:

The federal jury convicted Bryant on a bribery charge for soliciting a job at the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Camden County and using his influence as budget chairman to help the school acquire $10.5 million in state grants between 2003 and 2006.

The jury also found Bryant, 60, of Lawnside, guilty of mail and wire fraud stemming from the $35,000-a-year “low-work” job he got at the school, run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

PolitickerNJ observes that this keeps perfect Chris Christie’s record on convictions for public officials he has charged.

Have at it in the comments.

Updated by Jason Springer-  Here is a statement from Speaker Roberts:

“Today’s verdict underscores the need to build upon the reforms we’ve already implemented in the budget process and go even further on strengthening our ethics laws.  I look forward to working with the governor and the Senate to accomplish that goal.”

And from Alex DeCroce, who not surprisingly shows some love to Chris Christie:

“This verdict should send a strong message to elected and appointed officials across New Jersey that if you abuse the power of your office and violate the public trust, you will be held accountable. There are consequences to actions and today Senator Bryant learned that lesson.

“Chris Christie and his staff have set a new high standard for attacking corruption and hopefully our state’s next U.S. Attorney will continue to aggressively prosecute public corruption and hold officials accountable for their actions.”

It ain’t over…

On the heels of news stories claiming that the UMDNJ has continued to overbill, we get this story:

The U.S. attorney opened another investigation into the state’s medical university Monday, following allegations the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey overcharged Medicaid and Medicare by millions of dollars — even while under the supervision of a federal monitor.

Three subpoenas were served on the state institution shortly after 4 p.m. One sought documents, while the others summoned university president William F. Owen and executive vice president Denise V. Rodgers to testify before a grand jury, according to two people familiar with the investigation who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

My question is this: Since this went on under the nose of a federal monitor, does that mean the monitor’s salary will be paid back?  If not, why not?

Corzine wants task force to look at Police suicides

Governor Corzine has responded to calls from the NJ State PBA and is creating a task force into how to help prevent police suicides:

Corzine’s office says there was an average of 12 New Jersey law enforcement suicides each year from 2003 to 2007. Their have been eight so far this year.

The 14-member task force will develop a strategy to help law enforcement officials to deal with stress and other mental health issues among officers.

I remember when I worked for Sen. Fred Madden, who in his prior career was an officer for 30 years and then head of the State Police, we talked about some of the stresses officers were under.   He had worked on the “Blue Heart Law Enforcement Assistance program”, which is in coordination with the Behavioral healthcare unit of UMDNJ and was an addition to the “Law Enforcement Officer Crisis Intervention Services” hotline.  

They called it the COP 2 COP line and said by 2007, it had already taken over 20,000 phone calls and averted 64 imminent suicides.

“Police officers are four times more likely to commit suicide than to be killed in the line of duty,” said Cherie Castellano, program director of COP 2 COP at the UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare. “COP 2 COP officers understand” ‘the job’ and they are trained to respond to calls from men and women who answer the call of duty daily.”

It’s good to see the power of the Governor’s office getting behind an attempt to help solve this problem.