Tag Archive: Bill Palatucci

“No Retreat, No Surrender” To Essex Co. Immigration Detention Expansion

“The history of immigration detention in New Jersey includes a myriad of cases of abuse, including a number of shocking deaths, a culture of secrecy and lack of transparency. What is driving local governments and corporations to embrace the expansion of immigration detention is money. The political situation in Essex County does not lend itself to oversight. CEC has been skirting both pay to pay regulation and campaign donation disclosure requirements through a shell game where EHCA holds the contract but CEC runs the facilities and nets the lion’s share of the profits.” – Essex County Immigration Detention Expansion, an Invitation for Abuse by the New Jersey Advocates For Immigrant Detainees and Enlace

The 19-page Invitation to Abuse Report lays bare in sickening detail the underbelly of immigration detention in New Jersey. Using links and charts it not only provides shocking support for claims of lobbying, cronyism, and malfeasance, but also becomes a clarion call for reform.  

The report addresses:

  •  NJ State Comptroller’s Reports

  •  Essex County Lack of Oversight

  •  Essex County Overstated Profits, Externalized & Underestimated Costs

  •  Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County & NJ Politics

  •  Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County Jail & Community Education Center (CEC)

  •  Bill Palatucci and CEC- Straddling Politics and Busines

  •  Delaney Hall

  •  CEC’s Campaign Contributions

  •  Preventable Deaths of People in CEC’s Custody

    On December 14  the Essex County Freeholders voted unanimously to approve a subcontract with Education & Health Centers of America (EHCA) to house immigrant detainees despite being presented with a petition that  had over 3000 signatures on-line and 1,000 in hard copy. The report documents why this vote must be rescinded, New Jersey’s immigration detention business must be reformed, and laws need to be changed.

    This “smoking gun” report, with which Joe DiVicenzo and an EHCA spokesperson disagree, forms the basis for a continued call to arms. Kathy O’Leary (Pax Christi NJ) and Karina Wilkinson (Middlesex County Coalition for Immigrant Rights) have led this NJ effort. They are now in the midst of getting the report into the hands of state and local legislators, advocating for an Inmate Oversight Committee and planning future actions. Their attitude, against all odds but with a lot of work, has always been: “No retreat, no surrender.” For more information go to An Invitation to Abuse Report and Pax Christi NJ facebook.  

  • The Valle Brothers Thanksgiving “Miracle” Which Might Even Have Newt’s Approval

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released brothers Michell and Yasser Valle from Newark’s Delaney Hall just in time for Thanksgiving with their family and children. They had come from Peru to the U.S. seventeen years ago but after their mother lost her right to stay in the United States, they were detained by ICE and have spent months separated from their family in the Community Education Centers (John Clancy and Bill Palatucci) facility.  

    Over 2,000 people signed petitions on behalf of their release. Congratulations to the NJ-Dream Act-Coalition and the support of Kathy Wargo O’Leary’s Pax Christi for this victory. As immigrant attorney Yael Bromberg explains “This is where the rubber hits the road in the national paradigm following Obama’s new policy and supposed practice of prosecutorial discretion. Let’s hope this is just the beginning.”

    Because they were arrested while in college, have a family here, and lived so long in the USA, they might even meet Newt Gingrich’s recently stated policy calling for humane treatment for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, establishing deep family and community ties. Amidst all the drivel of the recent Republican debates, candidates have been trying to outdo each other by pushing ever further into the dark recesses of the far right. Firebrand Gingrich might have upset those who can only love Darth Vader, but he actually provided a reasoned proposal, which, while it does not go far enough, at least brings some light, compassion and reason to an issue which in conservative circles is bereft of all such attributes.

    For more about these Passaic brothers and their family see koleary’s diary Work Hard, Go To School, End In Jail.

    Joe DiVincenzo Cancels Clancy/Palatucci CEC Bid on Immigration Detention Facility

    A highly unusual turn of events has just occurred  in the politics of Essex County, federal immigration detention plans, the commercial world of Community Education Centers (CEC),  pay-to-play activities, and suspect contracting procedures. As the Star-Ledger reported on Thursday, Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced it had signed a new five year, $50 million contract with Essex County that would triple the number of federal immigration detainees being held in the county jail system. The new contract was designed to give ICE access to 800 beds at the county’s Newark jail and up to 450 beds at adjacent Delaney Hall. Education and Health Centers of America (EHCA), a non-profit shell agency, subcontracts its work to for-profit CEC which owns and operates Delaney Hall. EHCA was the winner and sole bidder in an accelerated, flawed county bidding process for the 450-bed portion of the ICE agreement.

    News Roundup & Open Thread for Feb. 19-20, 2011

    Jeff Gardner for Senate

  • Charlie Stile: Passaic Democratic Chair John Currie’s support could swing to veteran (Girgenti) or newbie (Gardner) in 35th.  

    Gov. Chris Christie: The Biggest Sham In American Politics

  • Bill Scher, writing for in Huffington Post, saw a lot of crap in Govy’s ‘Big Things’ ‘Big Washington Rollout’ speech at AEI.
  • FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) analyzes Christie’s AEI speech and Washington Post’s fawning coverage of it.
  • Americans for Prosperity director (and Christie primary opponent) Steve Lonegan isn’t impressed with Christie either, which earns him the name backyard backstabber by POLITICO.  
  • A Man To Watch: Mike DuHaime – A Key Christie Operative

            He’s a remarkable talent. This guy has a lot of raw talent. He’s just got great judgment. – Karl Rove talking about Mike DuHaime in 2008

    Governor Christie who appears to be his own man, speaking from his seemingly singular gut with ideas that he says are his own, has in fact benefited tremendously from the skills and advice of key advisors. One such advisor is Mike DuHaime, who after serving in key positions in three national presidential campaigns, went on to become the lead strategist for Christie’s victory in 2009. DuHaime’s influence has been recognized in the press by both PolitickerNJ and TIME. He was ranked number 7 on PolitickerNJ’s 2010 Power List following Bill Palatucci, Mary Pat Christie, Jeff Chiesa, Steve Adubato, Rich Bagger, and David Samson. In 2010 TIME listed DuHaime in its “40 under 40” where his comments were indistinguishable from those of his boss: “The most overlooked issue these days is the unsustainable escalating costs of pensions, benefits and salaries associated with a public workforce.”

    This week we heard comments from DuHaime complimenting Christie following his speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington,“He didn’t go seek the attention. He did big things and then went and talked about it. He’s completely turned Trenton upside down.” Duhaime appears confident but self-deprecating, humble, likable and measured – the opposite of Christie. However, he does not act entirely behind the scenes and has spoken in public occasionally helping us to understand his influence better. Among other matters he has weighed in on strategy in the governor’s campaign, Reform Jersey Now, and has been teaching a popular course on “Political Campaigning” at Rutgers with Maggie Moran, his Democratic counterpart during the Christie-Corzine campaign.

    More beneath the fold

    Reform Jersey Now donors unmasked (partially)

    Fifteen donors pooled their money to provide 60% of the funds used to power Reform Jersey Now, the shady slush fund created to privately boost Chris Christie’s agenda, and hit Democrats who might oppose it. The fund was created for the new governor by his GOP allies and run by Mike DuHaime, GOP strategist and the architect of Christie’s campaign, with former Franklin Lakes councilman Chuck Shotmeyer listed as president.

    Was this list released today to divert attention from Chris Christie’s irresponsible decision to leave the state to avoid handling a messy snow emergency? The governor’s due back in New Jersey tomorrow.

    After months of editorials harshly criticizing the fund’s obvious design to elude campaign finance laws created for the purpose of greater transparency in government, Reform is closing up shop. Rather than adhere to those rules, the architects of Reform chose to operate instead – legally, but probably unethically – under IRS rules. Creating Reform under those rules meant the fund was not technically obligated to show its finances or follow contribution limits adhered to by most politicians, such as those created to avoid pay-to-play advantages.

    In a memo Reform released today, 244 donors are listed – including the core 15 – combining for a total raised of $623,784. Read the entire list here.

    Missing is a list of the fund’s expenditures, so New Jerseyans can follow the impact of the private financing of the slush fund’s activities. For the most part, Reform acted in secret, but some of its projects are known: radio ads in June supporting Christie’s property tax agenda (and in no way making clear that the support came from a group organized around the governor), and a direct mail & robo-call campaign directed at Democratic lawmakers like senators Steve Sweeney and Paul Sarlo. Reform had a half-year life, and will shut down Friday.

    Among the top contributors:

  • John Crowley (Princeton Twp), Amicus Therapeutics CEO who almost ran for US Senate in 2008, and the subject of a film about his children and their rare illness.

  • Sol Barer (Westfield), former CEO of Celgene Corp, a biotech firm.

  • Spencer Baretz & John Hellerman, of Hellerman Baretz Communications, a PR firm.

  • Mark Gerson (Summit), chair of Gerson Lehrman Group and a board member at ‘conservative’ think tank Manhattan Institute.

  • 2 national GOP committees; a policy committee under the Republican Governor’s Association, which made an adoring short film about Christie’s 2009 upset win that premiered in a D.C. theater, and the State Government Leadership Foundation.

  • Bayonne Medical Center, which is in the news today, actually.

  • Builders PAC.

  • 4 companies in the construction & development sector: Ferreira Construction Co., George Harms Construction, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, and home-builder Toll Brothers Inc..

  • Issues Mobilization Committee, a Realtors issues group.

  • Jeff Michaels, former chief of staff under Gov. Donald DiFrancesco

    follow me below the fold for more scandalous details.

  • NJDOC Privatization/William Palatucci

    This is interesting. – promoted by Rosi

    One of the targets of the Christie privatization task force has been the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

    Any wonder now?

    PolitickerNJ’s #1 Power Broker is William Palatucci.

    He is described as Governor Christie’s main confidant.

    He is also on the management team for CEC, Inc. The Community Education Center, Inc. (CEC, Inc.) runs privatized Halfway houses and Prisons throughout the country.

    The Billion Dollar New Jersey Department of Corrections would be a nice “plum” for CEC ,Inc.

    Of course you will only hear how CEC, Inc. is there only to save the taxpayer money!

    Whitman had Parsons (family connections), Christie might be having CEC (#1 Buddy connection)!

    Watch out Corrections Department!


    Democrats want Bill Palatucci off NJ Redistricting Panel

    And I can see their point.

    Bill Palatucci, named to the NJ GOP’s redistricting team, was a key player in putting together Chris Christie’s Reform Jersey Now, and is a current board member of the slush fund constructed to avoid disclosure of who is funding the group which clearly exists to promote Gov. Christie’s initiatives, and has not so far done anything else.



    Palatucci’s inclusion signals Chris Christie’s hand in the process, and can be read as a indicator of the governor’s future aspirations, says Ross Baker, professor of political science at Rutgers.

    In addition to Palatucci, NJ GOP Chair Asm Jay Webber named himself as Chair, GOP state committeewoman Irene Kim Asbury (Vice-Chair), Sen. Kevin O’Toole, Ocean County political boss George Gilmore.

    It’s a good day for the transparency-talkin’ governor to open the books on his slush fund’s contributors and start ///

    Will the Adubato-Norcross ‘Axis of Evil’ fall apart at the redistricting table?

    Two very interesting articles about redistricting were posted on PolitickerNJ.com today that could provide anyone interested in the redistricting process with some insight into the developing drama as Republicans appear united in their efforts to reclaim majorities in the State Assembly and State Senate that have been out of their grasp for the last decade against Democratic adversaries who seem to be anything but that.

    After a year that has seen the Democrats in Trenton capitulate to our state’s Republican Governor on issue after issue, thanks primarily to overly cozy relations between the Governor and acolytes of Steve Adubato and George Norcross, the two most powerful Democratic Party bosses in the state, the unholy alliance between Adubato and Norcross seems to be fraying at the most dangerous possible time for all Democrats, when division could result in a legislative district map that could guarantee Republican dominance in the state for most if not all of the next decade the way that the last map, conceived by then-Senate Minority Leader, Richard Codey, who would go on to become Senate President and Acting Governor before being unceremoniously ousted from his leadership position in a coup, led by his fiercest adversaries, Adubato and Norcross and their acolytes, enabled the Democrats in Trenton to enjoy the majorities that they have held and squandered for the last decade.

    One article presents the players for each team that will go head-to-head in the weeks and months to come to either draw competing (most likely) or cooperating (highly unlikely) legislative district maps that will determine the playing fields on which the next decade’s worth of legislative elections will be held and infers about the strategy that could lead to the end of Codey’s political career.

    The other discusses potential fractures in the Democratic ranks in general and between Adubato and Norcross in particular that could spell doom for the Democratic majorities in Trenton once and for all.

    Christie Campaign Started While He Was US Attorney

    Rick Merkt doesn’t like being called a liar. He says that that John Inglesino, a fundraiser and benefactor who Christie swears is just a volunteer tried to offer him a job to get out of the campaign. At the time, they said this:

    Inglesino denied offering Merkt any kind of position.

    “That’s a bold-faced lie,” he said, adding that the Christie campaign didn’t officially launch until months later.

    Christie also said no offer was made.

    “I know for sure it’s a lie,” he said.

    So he didn’t officially launch his campaign til months later, but he knew for sure there was no offer from his non existent campaign and that the claim by Merkt was a bald face lie.  At the time, huntsu questioned Christie saying he wasn’t campaigning, when he was sending his brother Todd and a delegation to represent him:

    And staying home from the Republican National Convention while sending a team to represent your interests is more of the same.  Sure, he’s not violating the law but he is surely supporting a shadow campaign team and effort in his name while being the sitting US Attorney for NJ.

    Well included in that shadow campaign team was Bill Palatucci, who Merkt says didn’t offer, but rather threatened. After Democrats called for an investigation into the matter the other day, Merkt expanded on the effort to get him out by other very close Christie allies:

    Merkt said the pressure intensified when he attended the Republican National Convention in Minnesota over the summer.  In the hallway outside of the ballroom where the state Republicans held most of their events, he said he met with Christie confidante Bill Palatucci, who was even more direct.

    “Palatucci absolutely went up one side and down the other, pretty much screaming at me about three inches from my space, saying I couldn’t run, I had no support, nobody liked me, nobody would ever talk to me again,” he said. “In 40 seconds Bill Palatucci convinced me that I had to run for governor, because nobody with that kind of personality should be permitted anywhere near the Executive Office.  I can tell you, bystanders were amazed by Bill’s meltdown.”

    But of course Chris Christie had no idea of this situation either, because as he said he didn’t officially launch his campaign until November, months later. And if you believe that, Sarah Palin has a bridge to nowhere she wants to see if you’re interested in. Perhaps the most damning part is this exchange, where we find out that there really was a shadow effort going on as huntsu speculated:

    Merkt said that Inglesino started off the conversation warm and cajoling, noting that two candidates running out of Morris County could help Christie rival Steve Lonegan in the primary.  Merkt said he responded that Christie was not even an announced candidate yet, to which Inglesino replied that he was indeed going to run but could not announce at the time because he was still U.S. Attorney.

    So Christie was running, but couldn’t talk about it.  He just had other people do his dirty work. And exactly when into his term as non-partisan US Attorney did he decide to seek partisan office? At what point does the smell become so bad that people start asking more questions?