Tag Archive: Bill Palatucci

Who really runs NJ when Christie is away?

 The above was the headline in a Star-Ledger article yesterday. The reporter got it about half right. He first posed the question, “So when Christie’s away who runs the show?” His correct answer was, “The reality is that Gov. Christie is in charge.” Next he asked the question, “But who minds the shop?” He answered, “That would be L.G. Kim Guadagno.” In no way does our lieutenant governor mind the shop. Constitutionally she is given control when he is out of state but the reins are tightly managed by the same people whether Christie is in or out of state.

Christie delegates those reins to his executive staff, most particularly Chief of Staff Regina Egea, Chief Counsel Chris Porrino, and their subordinates. Most cabinet members are kept on a short leash and must go through the chief of staff’s office for anything that’s not routine. If there is an issue normally the chief of staff, knowing what the governor wants, will address it or contact the governor and then get back to the cabinet member. For certain matters related to politics the office might call Christie confidantes such as Mike DuHaime or Bill Palatucci.


Christie & the Wild, Wild West of Mega Political Donations

In the last presidential race Super PACs started later in the process. Now they have begun operating before individuals even announce their presidential candidacy. The Washington Post explains, “That’s because once they announce their bids, federal rules require them to keep their distance.” The Republican leader of the pack appears to be Jeb Bush who is is headlining $100,000-a-head fundraisers with the hope of gaining an unassailable early lead. Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, says, “We’re seeing a bending and an abuse and an evasion of federal campaign contribution limits to an extent that we’ve never before seen.” However, a sharply divided Federal Election Commission has deadlocked over whether to even open up enforcement investigations since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010.

Gov. Christie who has yet to announce his candidacy has jumped into this Wild, Wild West world with both a Political Action Committee, which can accept up to $5,000 from donors, and a Super PAC, which can accept an unlimited amount. The Political Action Committee, LEADERSHIP MATTERS, was registered with the FEC in January by Christie confidante Bill Palatucci. According to Bloomberg News “It has lured 41 donors.” At no more than $5,000 a pop it is not much to brag about so far. The Super PAC AMERICA LEADS was registered in late February by Treasurer Timothy Koch and is headed by Phil Cox, former executive director of the Republican Governors Association where Christie served as Chair last year. Each group have set up staff with Cox serving on both. There is no report yet from the FEC on donations from either group.

Christie is fully engaged and making use of what some political consultants might call “best practices,” but others concerned about mega donations would call “worst practices.” So far he is way behind in the polls, and it appears he is not doing particularly well in raising funds. Recent news in New Jersey regarding court actions on the Pension Fund and affordable housing, combined with further revelations on close Christie associates involved with Bridgegate and the Exxon Mobile settlement are probably not helping him.  

Bridgegate: Jamie Fox’s Problematic Lobbying Records

Sixty pages of lobbying documents – below the fold. Promoted by Rosi.

Last month the seemingly unending and ever-expanding political vortex known as Bridgegate sucked in yet another major figure in New Jersey politics and government, James P. “Jamie” Fox.

A story in the Bergen Record revealed that a subpoena from federal investigators to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey demanded information related to former Port Authority Chairman David Samson’s travel records and any communication he had with current Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox, previously the registered lobbyist for United Airlines.

United Airlines accounts for 70% of the flights at Newark Liberty International Airport which relies on transportation systems managed in part by the Port Authority. During Fox’s tenure as a lobbyist for United the airline setup special flights for Samson nick-named “the chairman’s flight” which provided Samson privileged flights to South Carolina where he has a home.

While Samson was receiving special favors from United Airlines the Port Authority was reviewing a multi-billion dollar proposal to extend PATH service from Newark Penn Station to the airport. The proposal was ultimately adopted and will provide considerable benefit to the airport and its largest carrier, United Airlines.

Documents received under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) show that Jamie Fox filed as a registered lobbyist for United Continental Holdings Inc. and served as the firm’s lobbyist for a period of years. Fox is a long time political insider in New Jersey – this is his second time as Transportation Commissioner and he previously served as the Chief of Staff to Governor Jim McGreevey. In between his government posts he has been extremely active in lobbying with records going back over a decade.

TONIGHT: Christie & Romney party down on the Bridgegate anniversary

Scandal? What scandal? We gonna party DOWN and raise more money for da party of NO!

                                                        – Chris ‘n Mitt

Governor Christie has been in Illinois all day while Newark students staged a sit-down strike in front of his state-controlled school superintendent Cami Anderson’s office, demanding she come out and talk to them. Christie only took notice enough to disparage teenage kids while ignoring their pleas to engage with them, then blow town. He’s only returning to New Jersey tonight – not for you, or for New Jersey – but to party down with Mitt Romney at a shindig put together by prison halfway house-privatizer and Christie BFF Bill Palatucci. It’s sold out, to people who paid $150 to get in the door or $5,000 to cozy up to Governor Gone Boy and Mitt 47% Romney.

New Jersey Citizen Action wants in on the birthday action; it’s Christie’s birthday week and Bridgegate’s birthday, too. They made the video below, all about how much of our money Christie’s blown through protecting himself at taxpayer expense from all his scandals. If you want to say Hi! to Gov. Christie and thank him for wasting your money you can join NJ Citizen Action starting at 5pm outside Christie’s Romney event in East Brunswick.

No Remorse: A dangerous convict in a halfway house escapes and commits murder

David Goodell in jail bragged that he would kill his girlfriend while he was already planning his escape. After being transferred to a Community Education Centers (CEC) halfway house in Newark Goodell feigned illness, was taken to a hospital and broke loose. Within hours he murdered Viviana Tulli. After being apprehended a Lieutenant Corrections Officer says Goodell was potentially one of the most dangerous guys he has had in his jail.

You can see and hear Goodell in the Bergen County Jail on a new MSNBC episode of LOCKUP: New Jersey – No Remorse premiering Saturday at 10:00pm. You can catch a preview here, or watch the video here after the show has aired. LOCKUP has been running other New Jersey jail episodes which you can view here.

During Saturday’s episode there is an interview with Viviana’s sister Stella Tulli-Makowski who talks about the loss to her family. Stella has said “David Goodell, in my opinion, has now become the poster boy for someone who should have never set foot in a halfway house, let alone paroled early.”

At a Bergen Record editorial board meeting in June 2012, Governor Christie was asked if he would consider reaching out to the family of Viviana Tulli. Christie called the question unfair. He said the incident happened when Democrat Jon Corzine was governor. “So to ask me that question presupposes that I have responsibility for something … that didn’t happen on my watch,” he stressed. That claim was false. The incident occurred in August 2010, eight months after Christie took office.

Who knows? Maybe Christie is a fan of Lockup and will see the show. Will he feel any remorse? Will he call Stella? Will he bring reform to halfway houses – a problem he prefers to minimize and ignore? (His campaign has received CEC donations and his political confidante Bill Palatucci used to work for CEC.) Will the Legislature which held hearings on the matter finally take action? You can read the excellent NY Times exposé of  NJ halfway houses UNLOCKED here.

Stella in July 2013 out of frustration wrote a diary for Blue Jersey, One year later AFTER Assembly hearing for Halfway House reform. She continues her crusade. She says what happened to her sister and her family could happen to anyone.  

Records Show Top Chris Christie Advisor Lobbied To Bring More Inmates To Troubled Halfway Houses

Promoted by Rosi. Originally posted on Firedoglake.

Viviana Tulli was murdered by an escaped halfway house inmate

One of the most confusing aspects of the halfway house scandal – where numerous inmates escaped  halfway houses and committed horrendous crimes – is why such violent individuals would ever be released to such a low security facility in the first place. Based on records obtained by Firedoglake under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) we may be closer to an answer.

Bill Palatucci, a major fundraiser and former business partner of Governor Chris Christie, has spent copious amounts of time lobbying New Jersey officials to bolster the halfway house system for his longtime client and subsequent employer Community Education Centers (CEC) that has financially benefited from increased use of the halfway house system. Records show Palatucci was CEC’s registered lobbyist while also becoming a vice president for business development.

Lobbying For CEC

In his role as a lobbyist for CEC, for which he was generally paid $45,000 a year, Palatucci approached officials in both the New Jersey State Legislature, State Agencies, and the Governor’s office to promote CEC’s interests:

* In 2007 Palatucci lobbied then Governor Jon Corzine as well as the New Jersey Department of Corrections for a public contract for CEC in relation to a recent court ruling that found that local ordinances prohibiting the treatment sex offenders in various communities were “arbitrary and capricious.” Presumably Palatucci lobbied to help expand the use of halfway houses and other CEC services now that a court had struck down laws that prevented sex offenders from being housed within certain limits of children.

* In 2008 Palatucci lobbied the new State Parole Board chair and staff with a “discussion of services.” He also lobbied Assemblyman Louis Greenwald regarding Assembly Bill 2800 which increased funding for halfway houses. Additionally, Palatucci paid a visit to New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to “advocate review” of halfway housing licensing laws on behalf of CEC.

* In 2009 Palatucci lobbied again for halfway house licensing from Department of Community Affairs as well as for favorably amending a contract between CEC and Department of Corrections. Palatucci also disclosed that he was promoting a bill to expand halfway houses in the state of New Jersey.

After Chris Christie became governor in 2010, with considerable help from Palatucci, CEC began using other lobbyists. Palatucci had already gone beyond lobbying with CEC becoming senior vice president and general counsel for public affairs, he would ultimately resign from those positions in the wake of the halfway house scandal in 2012.

More after the jump

Rebovich Campaign Post-Mortem Canceled – Did you have questions for DuHaime & Palatucci?

So, this is interesting. Looks like it’s not just Chris Christie ducking past hard questions, but some of his nearest and dearest hunkering down out of the light.

The Rebovich Institute of NJ Politics at Rider University has canceled their 6th Annual Campaign Managers Conference, which was to be a post-mortem on the Christie-Buono race, open to the public. Would have been damn interesting, too. Among the players expected: Mike DuHaime and Bill Palatucci.

DuHaime, Gov. Christie’s idea man, made news a few days ago when his firm, Mercury Public Affairs, hired a lawyer as inquiries into the bridge scandal shift now to Christie’s political operation. Mercury hired Rudy Guiliani’s law firm. DuHaime ran Guiliani’s 2008 White House campaign.

Palatucci – You don’t get closer to Christie than Palatucci. Former partner in law firm and lobbying. The guy who bragged he was so close to GW Bush that he could select NJ’s U.S. Attorney – Christie, who had zero relevant law experience – simply by forwarding his résumé to Karl Rove. Christie’s right-hand man and re-election chair. Went along for Christie’s installation as RGA chair. Former honcho in the poorly-run privatized halfway house system also which is also tied to Christie.

More, plus Ben Dworkin’s event cancellation announcement, below the fold.

Chris Christie’s Lobbying Records

Promoted by Rosi. You can find the documents – 92 pages of them – related to Christie’s life as a lobbyist, below the fold. Originally posted on Firedoglake.

Documents obtained by Firedoglake under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) detail New Jersey Governor and popular contender for the Republican Party’s 2016 Presidential nomination Chris Christie’s career as a registered lobbyist.

In February 1999 Christie joined his longtime friend and still close political advisor Bill Palatucci as a registered lobbyist in the state of New Jersey. Christie filed reports with New Jersey’s Election Law Enforcement Commission as a legislative agent through 1999 into 2001 when he sent a notice of termination in September of 2001 thereby removing his status as a registered legislative agent. Palatucci would remain a registered lobbyist after that time.

Christie and Palatucci were the registered legislative agents for various business and political interests that would become major players and supporters when Christie became governor. Some of their clients would become fixtures in the headlines associated with corruption, others key allies in promoting Governor Christie’s legislative agenda.

The Bernie Madoff Connection

According to the book Double Down one of the reasons Mitt Romney and team were hesitant to take further action to recruit Chris Christie as their nominee for Vice President of the United States were unsettling facts concerning Christie’s lobbying career in relation to infamous convicted ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.

What’s Happening Today Mon. 09/16/2013

More blows to halfway house reform: Yes, the escapee from a Newark Community Education Centers facility was just sentenced to 45 years for murdering his girlfriend – the deceased sister of Stella Tulli who has written diaries in Blue Jersey. So Stella receives some small measure of closure. The larger problem of CEC’s greed, indifference to its clients, malfeasance, and influence peddling goes unattended. CEC, with its pay-to-play largesse and connections with Gov. Christie, Joe DiFrancesco, Bill Palatucci and many others, has been able to stifle reform and protect its financial base. Reform legislation promised over a year ago has yet to materialize. Even more indicative of the insidious power of CEC, The Record reports, “The state has also decided not to try and recoup roughly $587,000 in overbilling by the halfway house operators.” The State should not even have to try to recoup the overbillings which NJ Comptroller Matthew Boxer documented. The funds should just be returned, but once again the administration bows to higher powers.

Christie launches attack ad: His first (I think) against gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono. Using a lot of bright yellow it begins by saying she has raised taxes and fees 154 times.  Paid for by his own campaign committee not by an outside “independent” entity.

Public Schedule: (Your opportunity to cheer or jeer)

Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: Barbara Buono: with Senator Nellie Pou; Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez; Assemblywoman Marlene Caride; Assemblyman Ruben Ramos; Assemblywoman Annette Quijano; Assemblyman Angel Fuentes; Passaic Mayor Alex Blanco; Bergenfield Mayor Carlos Aguasvivas; Passaic Councilwoman Zaida Polanco: 11:30am, Press Conference with Latino Leaders, Pan-American Park, 460 20th Ave., Paterson; Barbara Buono: 2:00pm: The Bob Burns Show, WOND 1400 AM; Milly Silva: with Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, 4:00pm, Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, Irvington Municipal Hall, 1 Civic Square, Irvington; Barbara Buono: with Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, 6:30pm, Campaign Office Opening, 549 Cedar Ln., Teaneck; Barbara Buono: 7:30pm, LGBT Meet & Greet, 336 Springfield Ave., Hasbrouck Heights.

Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 10:00am, tree planting ceremony, Zoetis corporate headquarters, Florham Park.

Senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 5:30pm, private VIP reception with Steve Lonegan and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno ($1,000 per person) and 6:00pm, General Reception ($200 per person), both events at 4 Harding Lane, Rumson.

Senate & Assembly Environment, Energy & Solid Waste comittees, 7:00pm, to hear testimony on the progress of Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, Jersey City Council Chambers, City Hall, 280 Grove Street, Jersey City. Listen live here.

Email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com


One year later AFTER Assembly hearing for Halfway House reform

promoted by Rosi

Today marks the one year anniversary of my testimony at the Assembly hearing for the Halfway house system in NJ and I’m still awaiting to see how this saga unfolds.  

If you recall- my beloved younger sister, Viviana Tulli was strangled by David Goodell , a CEC escapee ,on our mother’s 60th birthday on August 30, 2010.

I have read with interest all published articles seeing what is being done in the name of reform and I still wait for an outcome.  

Yes, I do understand this all takes time, but how much longer? Are the powers that be at CEC waiting me out?? Come on guys, you can do better than that.  As you can see- I’m not giving up that easily.

I have been blessed with the outpouring of support and guidance by so many, including your very own Rosi and Bill Orr.

I have requested appointment to the Halfway House task force- or whatever it will be called- to ensure reform does happen.  Who better to be on that task force than myself?? I have a very personal interest in this and will not give up.

I have made contact with several legislators for help in suggesting my appointment- hoping I can make a difference in some way.

I’m an everyday person TRYING to turn my sister’s horrible murder into a positive triumph for  us.  Not an easy feat.  

I recall my testimony last year- and become emotional- emotional as I was that day. My voice cracking, my attempt to hold back my tears as I spoke- all while heavily pregnant.

This rollercoaster ride that began almost 3 years ago has not been a fun ride.  There have been great ups and horrible lows, with some twists and turns for flair.

How can I right such a huge wrong on behalf of so many entities.  Yes, I will admit David killed her.  David, one month ago in court did ADMIT to faking a seizure and gave graphic  detail on “grabbing her by the neck and strangling her.”  When asked if his intent was to kill Vivi- he responded “yes.”

So, rehabilitation for a violent offender at a halfway house facility? Please, show me.

Due to my filed lawsuit against CEC, I can’t speak much about it- in case it hurts us.  What a crock.