Ferriero and Oury each out on $200,000 property bond bail

NEWARK - Charged with eight counts of corruption, Bergen County Democratic chairman Joseph Ferriero and Bergenfield attorney Dennis Oury made bail today on a $200,000 property bond ordered by federal Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.

Indicted yesterday for their role in a grants scheme, Ferriero and Oury turned themselves over to the FBI today and appeared in Cox's courtroom around 2:30 p.m.

They stood with their attorneys in a pretrial appearance that laasted all of five minutes.

Gerald Krovatin of Newark is representing Oury, and Joseh Hayden of Roseland is representing Ferriero.

Each defendant said three words when Cox asked them if they understood the bail package agreement.

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Ex-mayor, labor leader seeking votes for Ferriero's job

Labor leader Buzz Dressel wants to be the next Bergen Democratic ChairmanLabor leader Buzz Dressel wants to be the next Bergen Democratic ChairmanJoseph Ferriero still hasn’t resigned as chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization, but after he was indicted on eight counts of corruption yesterday, the race to replace him has begun.

Already, potential candidates acknowledge that they’ll need to tackle two major issues in the upcoming weeks.

One is bridging the divide between the Ferriero loyalists and State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).

The other is fundraising.  That’s never been a problem for the BCDO under the leadership of Ferriero, who foes feared as a fundraising juggernaut.  But now, without Ferriero at the helm, the party could find it difficult to raise cash fast.  And they’ll need it – as of the last ELEC report, filed on July 15th, the party’s cash on hand is in the red.  While the party’s finances were similar at this point one year ago, they had Ferriero’s money-raising prowess to ramp it up.

Three names are still floated as potential replacements, while other names are likely to be added to the mix later on.  There’s former Leonia Mayor Robert Pacicco, a jewelry store owner and Democratic Municipal Chairman; Richard “Buzz” Dressel, the business manager of IBEW Local 164; and former Bergen County Superior Court Judge Daniel Mecca.

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Eyeing governor's office, Merkt gets out of the blocks on the streets of Mendham

Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) hits his stride in his hometown.: Politicker photoAssemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) hits his stride in his hometown.: Politicker photo 

MENDHAM - Despite the corruption headlines and the vaunted presence of the man most believe will be the GOP frontrunner in next year’s gubernatorial primary, Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) charged out on the campaign trail today in this high-end leafy burgh where both he and U.S. Attorney Chris Christie reside.

"My plan is to hit a couple of towns each day I go out and just talk to people," said Merkt, 59, attired in jogging gear and hitting a good stride on Cold Hill Lane on the eastern edge of Mendham.

The self-described New Jersey nationalist started in front of St. Joseph’s Church on Main Street. "You just missed him," Mendham Mayor Neil J. Henry, Jr., had said of Merkt. "But if you go now, you might be able to catch him, he’s headed for Brookside."

Half a mile away, the determined figure of the 11-year veteran assemblyman was spied as he headed into a shady straightaway.

"My purpose is threefold," the corporate attorney candidate told PoltiickerNJ.com. "I want to get to know people, I want people to get to know me, and I want to get in shape. If I can get in shape, it proves I can get the state in shape."

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Court appearance set for Ferriero and Oury

Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero and counsel Dennis Oury are set to appear in federal court today at 2:00PM. 

Ferriero and Oury were indicted yesterday on eight corruption counts of influence peddling with a grants consulting firm both held a financial stake in. 

They’ll appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo at the Martin Luther King Jr. Courthouse in Newark. 

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Lautenberg continues to lead Zimmer

Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama: Getty Images PhotoSen. Frank Lautenberg and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama: Getty Images Photo
Evidence of John McCain’s convention bounce might have turned up in New Jersey, but that momentum hasn’t translated to former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer’s U.S. Senate campaign. 

According to a Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll released today, incumbent Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) leads Zimmer 46% to 35%. 

That’s roughly the same margin that Zimmer has trailed Lautenberg by in several other polls taken during the summer. 

“All of the attention has been on the national race,” said FDU pollster Peter Woolley.  “And both of the state’s U.S. Senate candidates have been off-stage in this year’s presidential drama.”

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Oury resigns from BCIA; O'Malley says he's not running for chairmanship

Dennis Oury was indicted yesterday on federal fraud chargesDennis Oury was indicted yesterday on federal fraud chargesDennis Oury, the powerful Democratic attorney who was indicted on eight corruption counts yesterday, has resigned from his post as chief counsel of the Bergen County Improvement Authority, according to the agency’s chairman, Ron O’Malley.

Oury’s employment with the agency had been a point of contention among some factions of the Bergen County Democratic Party. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg mentioned it as a reason why she would not support O’Malley for county chair if and when Joe Ferriero, who was indicted along with Oury yesterday, resigns. Others, however, said that there was no reason to push Oury out before there was even a formally recognized investigation.

But O’Malley today took his name out of the mix, saying that, even if there is a vacancy, he won’t run. If he became chairman, he would have to step down from his position at the BCIA. O’Malley doesn’t believe this is an opportune time to do that.

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The Back Room

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....

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