Vas indicted for theft, bid rigging

Vas indicted for theft, bid rigging

Assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) was indicted today on charges that he conspired to steal about $5,000 in funds of Perth Amboy city funds to pay for personal purchases and expenses and rigged a public lottery so that his personal driver could buy a two-family home through a local program

Vas was charged by a state grand jury with second-degree conspiracy, six counts of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree pattern of official misconduct, third-degree theft by unlawful taking, third-degree misapplication of government property, and third-degree tampering with public records or information, According to Deborah Gramiccioni, the director of the Division of Criminal Justice,   The driver, Anthony Jones was charged with one count each of conspiracy and official misconduct, both in the second degree.

"Joseph Vas took an oath as mayor to honestly and faithfully serve his city, but instead he shamelessly exploited his position for personal gain," said Attorney General Anne Milgram. "We charge that he stole taxpayer money from Perth Amboy's recreation department to pay for personal expenses, including hundreds of dollars for clothing and sneakers for himself and $1,450 for basketball camps for his son. And by rigging a housing lottery, he rewarded his personal driver at the expense of the city, denying deserving families who might have been able to purchase this two-family home.  Public officials are elected to serve the public, not exploit their positions for private gain."

According to the indictment, Vas received payment from the Perth Amboy Recreation Department for personal expenses, "including $1,450 in fees for two basketball camps for his son, $289 for refreshments for his father's funeral, and hundreds of dollars for sportswear, sneakers, beachwear and other personal items for himself."

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McSorley turns down chance to run in the 14th

Former Republican Mercer County sheriff candidate Jim McSorley confirmed today that he will not run for state assembly in the 14th District.

“My DNA is in the law enforcement end, but I know that they’re going to win those two seats,” he said.  

McSorley, who ran a long shot campaign against incumbent Sheriff Kevin Larkin last year, was heavily recruited by state Republicans to run with Hamilton Councilwoman Kelly Yaede, meeting with Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Parsippany) and Minority Whip Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) about the prospect.  Yaede could not be reached for comment, but is said to be undecided.  

The 14th is expected to be one of the few true battleground districts this year, with its two assembly seats held by freshman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) and long-time incumbent Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro).  

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Addiego and Rudder take 10% pay cuts, ask the rest of the legislature to do the same

Assembly members Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Evesham) and Scott Rudder (R-Medford) want to cut legislative salaries– starting with their own.  

The Burlington County Republicans said today that they will waive 10 percent of their legislative salaries in solidarity with New Jersey’s financially struggling residents, and plan to introduce a bill to trim all legislators’ salaries by the same amount if they don’t follow their example.  

Rudder, a business development manager at Lockheed Martin, and Addiego, an attorney, said they will take home $44,100 instead of the normal $49,000.

“This isn’t an easy thing to do. It is the right thing to do,” said Addiego in a statement. “The economy is in turmoil. Too many New Jersey residents are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts. We are standing with them, sharing the burden.”

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Quinnipiac will release poll on Thursday with Corzine approvals, matchup vs. Christie

Quinnipiac University will release a new poll tomorrow that includes a Gov. Jon Corzine’s job approval rating and a head-to-head matchup between Corzine and Republican Christopher Christie. The poll was in the field March 4-9 and does not reflect Corzine's budget message.

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BCRO policy committee recommends Driscoll and Hermansen

BCRO policy committee recommends Driscoll and Hermansen
Left to right: John Driscoll, Robert Hermansen and Chris Calabrese.

After listening to four freeholder candidates make their cases last night, the Bergen County Republican Organization’s (BCRO) Policy Committee recommended John Driscoll and Robert Hermansen to get the party nod in a four-way freeholder race.  

The recommendation of the committee, which is comprised of the BCRO’s Executive Committee and municipal chairs, means Driscoll and Hermansen are well positioned for next Thursday’s BCRO convention, where county committee members will vote to award the party line.

Driscoll was the most popular candidate, earning 43 votes, while Hermansen got 29, Chris Calabrese saw 19 and Sabaudin “Sab’ Skenderi won three.  

Fort Lee Republican activist Judith Fisher, who was running, has decided to run for assembly in District 38 instead.  

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Poll: N.J. split on rebates, back taxes on alcohol, tobacco

Poll: N.J. split on rebates, back taxes on alcohol, tobacco

New Jersey voters are split 47%-48% on reducing or eliminating property tax rebates for everyone but senior citizens and the disabled, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.  The most intense opposition to changes in the rebate system come from low income voters, whose rebates have been protected by Gov. Jon Corzine’s budget proposal.  

By a 64%-33% margin, voters support an income tax increase for New Jerseyans making more than $250,000 a year.  Not surprisingly, voters in that income group oppose the plan by a 66%-33% margin.

“One of the most controversial budget proposals, reducing or eliminating property tax rebates for most residents except the elderly and disabled, divides the voters right down the middle, not only overall but by political party as well,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “Perhaps this cow is not so sacred after all.”

New Jerseyans are split 47%-47% on Corzine’s plan to furlough state workers.  By a 65%-32% margin, voters back a plan to raise taxes on alcohol.  They support a plan to hike cigarette taxes by a 75%-23% margin.

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Morning News Digest: March 11, 2009

Corzine gets grateful support from mayors

Corzine gets grateful support from mayors
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy

TRENTON - Street people help in an election year, and Gov. Jon Corzine may have a few more of them in the form of those in the political establishment arguably most naturally resistant to the Wall Street outsider who leapfrogged over all of them to become governor: mayors.

Ticked last year when Gov. Jon Corzine made substantial cuts to state aid for municipalities, big city and suburban Democratic Party execs warmed to the governor’s plan this year to cut municipal aid by less than 2%, even as he slashed 850 line items to repair a long-term budget gap of $7 billion.

 

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The Back Room

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Morning Digest: October 1st

Bergen County Freeholder forum mostly convivial, but at times confrontational TEANECK - The Bergen County freeholder forum on Tuesday night was a relatively collegial affair until the final two minutes on the 90-minute event. Republican freeholder candidate Robert Avery, flanked by fellow GOP freeholder candidate Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, referred to...

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Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

(10-1-14) Mayor Fulop’s Working Family Rebellion Spreads - What began as a commitment between Mayor Steve Fulop and the people of Jersey City is fast becoming a movement spreading... more »
In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

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