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.
Secretary of State Kim Guadagno issued a final decision late today in which she affirmed on all counts the June 18 decision of Administrative Law Judge Edward Delanoy, ordering that Alieta Eck be placed on the ballot for the August 13th United States Senate special election primary.Read More >
Hudson freeholder board: Rivera out Hudson County Freeholder Eliu Rivera of Jersey City has submitted his resignation papers and is expected to be gone July 1st. PolitickerNJ http://www.politickernj.com/66559/hudson-freeholder-board-rivera-out-maldonado Eck withstands Lonegan’s challenge An administrative law judge this evening ruled that U.S. Senate candidate Alieta Eck can remain...
BY BOB BOWSER To the citizens of the great city of East Orange, I am eternally grateful that you have allowed me to serve as your Mayor for the past sixteen years. As a community of concerned citizens, you have been willing participants in... Read More >
“I haven’t made up my mind whether to do that." - Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) on whether she will seek a third term as speaker.- The Bergen Record
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.