By Matthew Arco | November 14th, 2012 - 4:51pm
| More

TRENTON – Mounting financial woes and fears of being embarrassed during an election year are the reasons Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo first asked a close friend to inquire with a former insurance broker about taking an alleged bribe, a federal witness told jurors Wednesday.

Rob Warney, Hamilton’s former director of community planning and compliance, told jurors his former friend asked him to contact prosecutors’ star witness, Maria Ljuba, about securing money. Bencivengo told Warney he was underwater with bills, which included outstanding taxes, bills for the mayor’s girlfriend and debt accrued through Bencivengo’s divorce.

“He had mentioned that he was in severe financial troubles,” Warney said. “It was an upcoming election year. He didn’t want to be embarrassed in the media.”

Warney testified about meeting with Bencivengo and Ljuba sometime later. All agreed to write a $5,000 check for a “cherry bedroom set” to Warney’s wife, he said. The money was then funneled to the mayor by Warney.

The former township official told jurors he was Bencivengo’s best friend.

“I thought he was my best friend,” said Warney, adding Bencivengo was best man at Warney’s wedding.

“I would do anything for him,” he said.

Earlier, Warney, a former Hamilton school board member, testified that he demanded Ljuba pay him for his vote on the school board in 2006.

“I totally regret that and it was actually illegal,” Warney said, explaining he received $10,000 from Ljuba.

Warney pleaded guilty earlier in the year to money laundering in connection with funneling the $5,000 to the mayor.

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 23, 2014

Colorado politicians invite Christie to experience 'Rocky Mountain High'Colorado politicians slapped back at Gov. Chris Christie after he questioned their Rocky Mountain quality of life under the rule of legalized marijuana.“Whether it’s hiking season or snow season, we invite Gov. Christie to experience Colorado’s quality of life anytime,"  Sen....

Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

Contributors

(4-23-14) Bridgegate Witnesses Not "RATS" if Testimony is Forced -Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision last week was covered in most newspapers and blogs as an affirmation of the... more »
(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

“The good news of tonight is that these problems are fixable.” - Gov. Chris Christie

- PolitickerNJ.com

Poll

Who would you back for Governor of NJ in this 2017 general election dream match-up?:

Resources

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources