Tag Archive: Ralph Marra

What’s Happening Today Tue. 12/03/2013

Events today: Board of State Canvassers meets to certify the results of last month’s general election, noon, in the Statehouse Annex’s Committee Room 5. Communications Workers of America union endorses Councilman Ras Baraka in the Newark mayoral election, 12:30pm at CWA Local 1037′s office in Newark. Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, 9:15am holds its annual summit, with speakers Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and union executive Milly Silva, 11:30am, Crowne Plaza Monroe, South Brunswick. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker visits Cumberland County.

Where Are They Today?

Gov. Chris Christie resigned his job as New Jersey’s U. S. Attorney in 2009 to become governor. He brought with him an extraordinarily large number of former staff members from the Attorney’s Office. Who are some of these people and where are they today?

  • Paula Dow: Christie’s first cabinet appointee served as NJ’s Attorney General for less than two years and then was named to a NY/NJ Port Authority post by Christie after his nomination of her as a Superior Court Judge ended in a political standoff with the Senate.

  • Phillip Kwon: Appointed First Assistant Attorney General. In 2012 Christie nominated him to the NJ Supreme Court but the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination and he also took a job at the NY/NJ Port Authority.

  • Marc Ferzan: Appointed Executive Assistant NJ attorney general. Then after Sandy he was appointed Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding – “the Sandy Czar.”

  • Ralph J. Marra Jr.: appointed to the top legal post at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

  • Marc Larkins Appointed Executive Director of the NJ School Development Authority Board.

  • Lee Solomon: Appointed President of the Board of Public Utilities and then returned to one of his prior positions as a NJ Superior Court judge.

  • Robert Hanna: Appointed Director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office and then head of the NJ Board of Public Utilities, replacing Lee Solomon, where he remains today. Christie also nominated him last year to the NJ Supreme Court, but the Senate has not acted on the nomination.

  • Stephen Taylor: Appointed Director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office.

  • Deborah Gramiccioni:  Appointed Director of the Governor’s Authorities Unit, then Deputy Chief of Staff.

  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa: Appointed Christie’s Chief Counsel. Then in 2011 Attorney General, replacing Paula Dow. Then interim U.S. Senator following Frank Lautenberg’s death and until Cory Booker became U.S. Senator. Chiesa is now with a prominent NJ law firm.

  • Kevin M. O’Dowd: Appointed Deputy Chief Counsel, then in 2011 appointed Chief of Staff replacing Richard Bagger. Yesterday he was nominated to be Attorney General.

  • Charles McKenna: Appointed Head of Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, then replaced Jeff Chiesa as Chief Counsel.

  • Michele Brown: Governor’s Appointments Counsel, then in 2012 CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.  

  • Paul Matey: Appointed Christie’s Senior Counsel; in 2011 he replaced O’Dowd as Deputy Chief Counsel.  

    Make of this what you will: A raiding of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Christie creating a “Law and Order” governor’s office, Christie finding comfort with loyal former employees, etc. These attorneys have played key (successful and unsuccessful) roles in Christie’s administration. However, in 2011 Christie with remarkable candor and bravado said, “It’s my agenda, It’s not Kevin’s agenda or Rich’s agenda or Charlie’s agenda, or Jeff’s agenda. It’s my agenda…”

  • Is Marra in line to replace Milgram as Attorney General

    We will have a new Attorney General when the new Governor takes office in January as Chris Christie announced yesterday that Anne Milgram does not want to stay on in the position:

    “She says she doesn’t want to stay,” Christie told reporters after speaking to high school students in Hamilton. “Someone who says they don’t want to stay, I don’t want to consider.”

    It wasn’t really expected she would stay in the position, so this isn’t a very surprising change. Milgram became Attorney General after Stuart Rabner became a NJ Supreme Court Justice. And on who her replacement would be as the next Attorney General, New Jersey Newsroom has sources saying it’s a familiar name:

    High-ranking Republicans familiar with steps Governor-elect Chris Christie is taking to shape his administration said Monday that U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Ralph Marra is in line to become state attorney general after the Republican takes office on Jan. 19.

    Christie has stated that he is looking for a “tough” prosecutor who can work well with the U.S. Attorney’s office and make fighting corruption a priority. Marra took over the office as acting US attorney when Christie resigned to run for Governor, so he definitely has a knowledge of how they would work. He also ran into some difficulties upon taking over as Acting US Attorney, seeing an investigation open internally for comments he made during the corruption busts that occurred in July and how they may have helped Christie’s campaign for Governor.

    Will Michele Brown and others get jobs in the Christie administration?

    One of Governor-elect Chris Christie’s first decisions as Governor will be to decide who will join him in his administration and he’s not ruling out some names that garnered attention during the election:

    Gov.-elect Christopher Christie told the Star-Ledger that he would not rule out appointments for Ralph Marra and Michele Brown, two of his top colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s office.

    “People who have real problems won’t be in the administration. People who have problems that are contrived for attempted political advantage won’t be hurt by that.  That doesn’t necessary mean they’re going to be in, but if they’re not in, that won’t be the reason why they’re not,” Christie told the Star-Ledger’s Claire Heininger.

    Christie could also be talking about former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino, who stepped out of the spotlight after he became a campaign issue during the primary election.

    michelebrownMichele Brown became a lightning rod in the campaign through her involvement in numerous stories from slowing of processing for FOIA requests, to allegations of pushing for timed indictments by July 1, saw the details of a loan that was not disclosed revealed and even was involved with one of the new Governor’s traffic incidents.

    John Inglesino became a campaign issue when he offered Rick Merkt a job in a potential Christie administration if only he would get out of the primary campaign. He made more news in the campaign when he ended up quitting his part-time government job with State Senator Joe Pennacchio to end allegations of pension padding.

    Fmr. Acting US Attorney Ralph Marra made headlines in the campaign when news came out that he was being investigated internally for comments he made during the corruption busts that occurred in July and how they may have helped Christie’s campaign for Governor.

    Lets not forget what Christie said when he was running for Governor:

    You know, we’re going to ferret out waste and fraud and abuse in the government. I think you know I’ll do that better than anybody. I’ve got a group of assistant U.S. attorneys sitting down in Newark still doing their job. But let me tell you, they are watching the newspapers. And after we win this election, I’m going to take a whole group of them to Trenton with me and put them in every one of the departments because they saw a lot of waste and abuse being investigated while we were in the U.S. Attorney’s office that didn’t rise to the level of a crime. So I told them, the good news is, when we get to Trenton we don’t have to worry about beyond a reasonable doubt anymore.

    We’ll have to see how the Governor-elect defines people with real problems and which people have been watching the newspapers.

    It Must Be The Water

    Promoted from the diaries by Rosi

    Apparently it doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you are a US Attorney for New Jersey who served under George Bush odds are you are going to be political while in office.

    Ralph Marra, a registered Democrat but a devoted Christiean and the acting-US Attorney for NJ since Christie quit to continue his campaign for Governor, decided to use the United States government e-mail system to assist the Christie campaign.

    I know how distracting these transitions can be and this one has been made more difficult as the Office has been unfairly drawn into a political campaign through the barrage of FOIA requests; the purported controversy over Michele’s personal loan, and a wholly trumped up (and then apparently leaked) complaint, reportedly about my generic and general comments at the Bid Rig press conference and the timing of the Bid Rig takedown.

    Unfairly drawn into politics?  The Corzine campaign filed its first FOIA request in March and still hasn’t gotten any of the information.  The person who was responsible for collecting the FOIA information owes Corzine’s opponent $50,000.  There’s nothing unfair about smelling smoke when it’s so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

    As for the “trumped up”complaint (and leak) about his use of the bully pulpit, it’s not that far of a stretch that his words were an aid to Christie.  I don’t think it’s that big a deal, myself, but it needs to be looked into just like a rumor about a crooked politician should be investigated.  And it’s truly ironic that we learn about his slanted interpretation of this situation through another leak.  

    All in all this looks remarkably like the way Christie used the office.  Marra didn’t break any laws with this e-mail, but distributing it to his whole office and then somehow having it released to the public so his side gets out while he can deny intending to do so is just a little hinky.

    But the Bush way of doing things is over, and Marra didn’t get the memo.  Maybe because it wasn’t leaked.