Ferriero and Oury: numbers 129 and 130

U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, right, and FBI Director Weysan Dun.: Politicker file photoU.S. Attorney Chris Christie, right, and FBI Director Weysan Dun.: Politicker file photo 

Newark - Numbers 129 and 130.

Those were the designations U.S. Attorney Chris Christie used to refer to Bergenfield attorney Dennis Oury and Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero.

"You stack those numbers up against the number of municipalities in this state and 130 starts to look pretty small," Christie said of the number of public corruption indictments he’s secured in the last seven years.

The buzz question coming into this press conference here on the seventh floor of the Peter Rodino federal building was why Christie chose to have a press conference concerning the indictment of Ferriero and Oury without possession of the men themselves.

"It was late in the day," said the U.S. attorney. "The indictment was returned at 2:15 p.m. and we reached out to their (Oury’s and Ferriero’s) lawyers immediately. We asked them if their clients were willing to voluntarily surrender and they told us ‘yes.’

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Rothman calls on Ferriero to resign "without delay," says there's no rush to choose successor

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman called on both Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero and County Democratic Counsel Dennis Oury to resign today in light of their indictments on corruption charges.

“An indictment is not a conviction, but it is a very sad day for Joe Ferriero and Dennis Oury, and the entire BCDO family,” said Rothman (D-Englewood) from his Washington office. “I believe that Joe and Dennis should resign without delay in order to remove any cloud from the BCDO.”

Ferriero exercised a heavy hand in controlling the party, and Rothman has found himself stepping into a power vacuum. He will likely play a pivotal role in choosing Ferriero’s successor if and when he resigns as chairman.

Rothman said that Democrats are currently trying to figure out exactly when a special election will need to be called, but that there’s no rush, since BCDO Vice Chair Kay Nest is “capable of running the party as the party leadership tries to reach consensus as to the best way to move forward.” For now, the party has election lawyers trying to determine what, exactly, is the latest version of the party bylaws – an apparent point of dispute.

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Oury's lawyer sounds off on "opportunistic" indictment

Bergen County Democratic counsel Dennis Oury is a “fighter” who “will not rest a minute until he has cleared his good name and reputation,” according to a statement from his attorney, Gerald Krovatin.

Krovatin issued a short statement insinuating that U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s indictment was “opportunistic.” 

Below is its full text: 

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Hayden: Ferriero grant company "provided a significant benefit to Bergenfield"

Joseph Hayden, the attorney representing Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero, said that the government’s charges against Ferriero “have no basis in law or fact,” taking a tone that indicated that Ferriero will fight the charges.

Instead, Hayden said, the company that both Ferriero and Oury held a stake in – Government Grants Consulting -- “provided a significant benefit to Bergenfield.”

Below is Hayden’s full statement on behalf of Ferriero:

These criminal charges against Joseph Ferriero have no basis in law or fact.  The Government in this case has unfairly transformed a valuable public service and made it into a criminal charge.

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Weinberg says it's time to unite and get back to work

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) has for several years been more of a political threat to Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero than local Republicans. But now that she’s witnessed her foe under indictment, she said she’s not celebrating.

“I am not looking at this as any sort of vindication or anything of that nature. This is not an occasion for celebration of any kind,” she said. “This is an occasion for our Democratic Party to unite, move ahead with new leadership, and to get back to work the first thing tomorrow morning with electing Democrats to office.”

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Christie: 'another example of people putting private interests ahead of the public interest'

NEWARK - U.S. Attorney Chris Christie today announced the indictment of Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO) Chair Joseph Ferriero and former Bergenfield Borough Attorney and BCDO counsel Dennis Oury on eight counts of conspiring to defraud the Borough of Bergenfield.

"This is another example of people putting private interests ahead of the public interest," said Christie, referring to the two men who are tomorrow scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate here in Newark.

Never disclosing their owenership of a fledgling company called Governmenal Grants, according to the indictment, Oury and Ferriero allegedly received $25,016.97 and $27,538.04 respectively from the Borough of Bergenfield for helping the town receive a grant and loan package.

The rest of $128,625 the men received from the town they disbursed to "other individuals associated with Governmental Grants," the indictment says.

"No where did Ferriero and Oury disclose their ownership of Governmental Grants," said the U.S. Attorney. "They didn't file disclosure forms. Ferreiro never told anybody. Disclosure would have put their greed into the light of day."

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Huttle says indictment brings “a new day in Bergen County”

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle (D-Englewood), who’s part of a Democratic reform faction that has found itself at odds with Joe Ferriero more often than not, was optimistic today about the future of the party after Ferriero’s indictment. 

“I think this signals a new day in Bergen County.  My position has always been on the side of good government and reform,” she said. “I think this gives us an opportunity as we move forward to achieve that, and it is time to unite and come together for the sake of the Democratic Party.”

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Cardinale won't play judge and jury on Ferriero

Reacting to the indictment of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero and county Democratic counsel Dennis Oury, State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) was careful not to pass judgment. 

So if Cardinale feels bittersweet feelings about what could amount to the political downfall of Ferriero, who made it his pet project last year to oust Cardinale and his Republican running mates, he’s careful about expressing it.

“I got a great deal of satisfaction out of beating them in the last election.  I’m not going to be putting myself in a position of sitting there as judge and jury,” said Cardinale.  “We have a system of justice and it works.  I think we should all watch that play out.”

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