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.
President Barack Obama will return to New Jersey next week to tour the Jersey Shore with Gov. Chris Christie.Read More >
Christie cuts Jersey Shore reopening ribbon on “Today’ Show Gov. Chris Christie is walking the Jersey shore Friday morning along with members of the TODAY show. The governor is appearing on the morning news program ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. The TODAY show appearance is the first of...
By Tedford J. Taylor No topic is a less likely conversation-starter than our eventual deaths. Still, there is a lot to talk about. When polled, about 90 percent of people presented with end-of-life scenarios prefer the prospect of dying at home with... Read More >
"Hudson must support Hudson." - state Senator/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.- PolitickerNJ.com
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.