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: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

Poll

Who is a better field general for his party as both try to win governor's races around the country?:

Blogroll

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