John Inglesino

Inglesino joins Murphy-Mukherji firm

In a partnership with gubernatorial cross-ties, former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino - a close friend and ally of Gov. Chris Christie - has joined the lobbying firm Impact NJ, LLC, co-owned by Michael Murphy, former Democratic Party candidate for governor and the step-son of the late Gov. Richard Hughes.  

Previously chief counsel to the monitor of UMDNJ when then-U.S. Attorney Christie brought that institution under federal oversight, Inglesino also recently founded his own law firm, Inglesino, Pearlman, Wyciskala & Taylor, LLC, in Parsippany. 

“John’s extensive experience in government as well as in redevelopment and healthcare will be invaluable to our firm’s clientele, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on our team,” said Murphy, who co-owns Impact NJ with Raj Mukherji. 

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Corzine can't win, but he can make sure Christie can lose

Revelations yesterday that Christopher Christie did not report a personal loan he made to a former top deputy at the U.S. Attorney's office is the latest in a series of self-inflicted wounds that could cost him the race for governor.  Christie had solid lead over Gov. Jon Corzine in last week's Quinnipiac poll (51%), but his own mistakes are helping the Democrats regain some lost ground.  The conventional wisdom among many political insiders is that Corzine, enormously unpopular with voters, cannot win the election, but he can make Christie lose by spending enough to raise the negatives of his Republican rival.

Making a personal loan to a close family friend is not a political liability; indeed, Corzine has made plenty of financial gifts -- sometimes to people he doesn't even like.  Christie's problem here is that he did not report that loan on personal financial disclosure statements required by the Department of Justice.  News last week that Christie discussed his upcoming campaign for governor with former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove helps Corzine paint Christie as a conservative Republican close to an unpopular former president.  Christie's decisions - apparently legal - to award no-bid public monitor contracts to: former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft; David Kelley, who was the U.S. Attorney in New York who decided not to prosecute Christie's brother for illegal trading violations; and to close political allies Herbert Stern and John Inglesino, who later made major contributions to Christie's campaign, are all self-inflicted wounds.  Christie's greatest attribute is his record taking down corrupt politicians.  His greatest problem, at least right now, is that Corzine can afford to turn each of these issues into 30-second TV ads. 

Updated: Christie did not report income from the loan on his federal tax return, according to a New York Times story.

Corzine's chutzpah is clear, although in blue New Jersey that might not matter.  The governor has not exactly been the poster child for full transparency.  Starting back in 2000, he lost ground when he refused to release his income taxes (he hid behind a Goldman Sachs partnership agreement that was less important a few years later when his ex-partner, Henry Paulsen, became U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.  He has declined to release his personal e-mail correspondence with Carla Katz, who was both his girlfriend and the president of the state's largest public employee union.  He even posted bail for a lobbyist who was accused to stalking one of his closest political allies.

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Ex-legislator sentenced to one year in prison

Former Assemblyman Morton Salkind (D-Marlboro) was sentenced to one year in prison today on tax evasion charges.  He will turn himself in on October 5.

In 2008, Salkind admitted he made false accounting entries for a real estate development in Rockaway Township. 

"The prison sentence is appropriate and just," said Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra. "Salkind is a 77-year-old man who is going to federal prison and who has already paid the United States $11.5 million in taxes, penalties and interest. This is a very good outcome thus far."

Salkind, a former mayor and state Lottery Commissioner, has agreed to pay about $17 million in back taxes, interest and penalties.

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Weinberg assumes role as Christie's attacker

When state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) took the stage with Gov. Jon Corzine at the Bergen Performing Arts Center last week, it was clear what role the Corzine camp had in mind for their new lieutenant governor candidate.

Weinberg, 74, started her first speech as a candidate for the number two spot on the ballot by introducing herself as a "feisty Jewish grandmother from Bergen County." She later ripped into Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie as an "insider with George Bush" who wants to deny a woman's right to choose, said he would reject part of the federal stimulus funds, and gave his friends and a former boss no bid contracts worth millions. 

And if her role was not clear enough based on Saturday's event, it was she who went after Christie in press releases yesterday and today, alleging that, because a defendant accused of tax fraud hired a law firm run by friends of Christie, he got a "sweetheart" plea deal.

But when asked whether she sees her role as Corzine's attack dog, Weinberg said no.

"I see it as my role to be me in this campaign and there aren't many people who will be able to change me," she said.

It isn't even Weinberg's first time has gone after Christie.  The two have long been at odds over the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's (UMDNJ) oversight.  In the legislature, Weinberg criticized the choice of his friend and political ally John Inglesino as one of the federal monitors.

"When you hold people responsible for what happenings on your watch unquote you have to be responsible on all sides of the coin," she said.

Nevertheless, Weinberg's background suits her role.  Her battles with former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero - who was one of the most powerful men in the state at the time - gave her more ethical street cred than most politicians.

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Weinberg tells Christie to disclose his involvement in prosecuting tax cheat

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, say GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie should disclose the details of his involvement with the federal prosecution of former Assemblyman Morton Salkind (D-Marlboro). 

"While Christie has been quick to take credit for all the accomplishments of the U.S. Attorney's office during his tenure, he has run away from the office's failures even faster," Weinberg asked. "The people of New Jersey deserve answers to critical questions about Christie's role as U.S. Attorney.  What was the policy and criteria for cases being brought to his attention as U.S. Attorney?

The Star-Ledger reported on Wednesday that Samuel Yarosh has filed a lawsuit claiming that federal prosecutors allowed Salkind, his onetime business partner, to plead guilty to a single count of tax evasion, ignoring evidence of additional fraud.  Salkind was represented by a law firm headed by Herbert Stern and John Inglesino, both political allies of Christie, the Republican candidate for governor.

"There are only two possible explanations for Mr. Christie's  assertions that he was unaware of this case- either he mismanaged the U.S. Attorney's office so that a case of this size and import could be settled without his approval or knowledge, or he is not telling the truth about what he knew and when he knew it."

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Weinberg charges Christie gave defendant a 'sweetheart plea deal,' but Christie says he had no knowledge of it

Acting as Gov. Jon Corzine’s attack dog, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) – the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor – said that Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie gave a defendant accused of tax fraud a “sweetheart plea deal” after he hired the law firm of Christie’s friends to represent him.  

But Christie’s campaign said that the former U.S. Attorney had no knowledge of the arrangement, let alone involvement in it, and that he never signed the document at the center of Democrats' charges. 

“Chris Christie got caught in a political lie to cover up his role in a sweetheart deal that let a prominent Republican get a slap on the wrist in a tax fraud case involving tens of millions of dollars,” said Weinberg.  “The fact that the guilty party was represented by two of Christie’s political colleagues makes his claim of ignorance impossible to swallow.  Are we supposed to believe Christie’s campaign or Christie’s signature on a legal document?  Come on Mr Christie - it's time to tell us the whole truth."
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Huttle and Gusciora bring up Merkt again

While the common wisdom is that last week’s arrest of dozens of public officials and political insiders benefits former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s gubernatorial candidacy immeasurably, Assembly members Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) are using the turn of events to recount a controversial episode that they hope will take some luster off Christie.  

Gusciora and Huttle, for the third time, called on the State Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie’s friend and ally, John Inglesino, tried to “bribe” Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham) out of the race for governor.

“The allegations against Christie adviser Mr. Inglesino by a fellow a Republican are quite serious and demand investigation, especially in light of recent events,” said Gusciora. “A South Jersey mayor is now facing five years in prison for the same type of conduct that Christie’s adviser allegedly engaged in. The public deserves to know – especially in this time of heightened awareness of public corruption – whether or not there was an attempt to affect the governor’s race through bribery.”

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Imagine what the race would look like without Christie's self-inflicted wounds?

Most of the attention of picking a Lt. Governor candidate has been on the Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine.  But that doesn't mean Republican Christopher Christie is having an easy time either.  As a former U.S. Attorney, Christie was supposed to be the ethics candidate.  But a couple of self-inflicted wounds - mega million dollar federal monitor contracts for John Ashcroft, David Kelley and John Inglesino - have put Christie, who sent more  than 100 public officials to prison, on the defensive as Corzine and the Democratic Governor's Association have already spent more than $3 million basing Christie on ethics. 

Despite the heaving spending attacking him, Christie leads Corzine by twelve points in a Quinnipiac University poll and eight points in a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll.   He is the first Republican to be over 50% in an independent poll in 24 years, and some key Democratic insiders now believe Christie can win.  Imagine what the race might look like had Christie hired federal monitors not named Ashcroft and Kelley, and rejected campaign contributions from Inglesino and law partner Herbert Stern

Christie will have an easier time picking a running mate because he doesn't have influential officeholders from his own party putting extraordinary pressure on him to pick - or not pick - a particular candidate.  Christie has had to pay special attention to the vetting process, partly because as a former federal prosecutor the bar is set a little higher for him, and partly because he can't any more self-inflicted wounds.  Once Christie loses his lead in arguably the most Democratic state in the nation, it will be nearly impossible to get it back.

Christie may be favoring Kim Guadagno, a former federal prosecutor and state Director of Criminal Justice who has served short stints on the Monmouth Beach governing body and as the Monmouth County Sheriff.  Some say Guadagno is in Christie's comfort zone; she comes out of the same prosecutorial establishment world.  She also has no legislative voting record to pick apart, and may be relatively low-risk for the GOP candidate.  Steve Lonegan, the conservative who challenged Christie is the gubernatorial primary, sort of gave his blessing to Guadagno this week. 

If Corzine picks a Reality TV star, Guadagno can make the argument that she is the most experienced LG candidate.  If Corzine picks a Democrat with more gravitas, Guadagno could be seen as someone who held local office in a town half the size of Wasilla, and as Sheriff of a county about the size of Alaska.

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On 101.5, Lonegan calls poll 'retarded' and one Jersey Guy endorses Merkt

On 101.5, Lonegan calls poll 'retarded' and one Jersey Guy endorses Merkt
GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan says his own campaign polling shows him trailing Christopher Christie by just four percentage points

In a radio interview tonight, gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan called a Fairleigh Dickinson Poll that showed him trailing rival Chris Christie by 24 points in the Republican primary "retarded."

The poll was brought up by NJ 101.5 "Jersey Guys" host Casey Bartholomew, who used it to argue his point that Lonegan was unelectable.  When he heard Lonegan use the term "retarded", he checked to make sure he heard correctly.

"I said just that: retarded Fairleigh Dickinson poll," said Lonegan.

Fairleigh Dickinson pollster Peter Woolley, for his part, did not take offense at the comments.

"I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Lonegan, and not least of all because he is an alumnus of Fairleigh Dickinson University," he said.  "I wish him the best of fortune."

But on March 31, one of Lonegan's core supporters, conservative activist and blogger Michael Illions, posted a quick note on Conservatives with Attitude asking readers to be aware of the harm that can come from the derogatory use of the word "retard."

"Most people don't think of this word as hate speech, but that's exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends," wrote Illions, who became an advocate for the disabled after his own son was diagnosed with hydrocephalus.  "Using ‘retard' as a term of derision is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur."

Lonegan's appearance on the show tonight was notable in light of Friday's tense exchange between Bartholomew and Christie.  Bartholomew told Christie that he could not trust him because he would not remove his friend and advisor, John Inglesino, from the campaign over his $3,000 a year job with state Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville), which kept Inglesino in the pension system after he lost reelection as a Morris County freeholder.

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Shaftan says FDU poll understates impact of Inglesino story

Steve Lonegan gubernatorial campaign strategist Rick Shaftan said that the Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll released today showing rival Chris Christie leading Lonegan by 24 points in the Republican primary does not measure the impact of a negative news story on Christie.

“This poll was mostly done last week before the Inglesino story hit, the Jersey Guys thing, the fallout over the weekend and several pieces of mail that arrived on Saturday,” said Shaftan.

The poll of 561 likely Republican voters was conducted between May 26 and 30.  The Associated Press broke the story about Christie confidante John Inglesino’s $3,000 a year job with state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) on May 27.  The job, which kept Inglesino in the state’s pension system after he lost reelection as a freeholder, ran counter to one of Christie’s campaign promises about ending part-time employees' pension benefits.  Lonegan immediately seized the story, but perhaps its largest repercussion –  the radio drubbing of Chrisitie by 101.5 fm’s “The Jersey Guys” – did not occur until the evening drive time on May 29. 

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The Back Room

Sources: Why Fox?

With the support of Gov. Chris Christie, Jamie Fox is on the fast track to get back to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The question is why?

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 18th

Guv prospects Fulop and Sweeney add voices to Silva, Stack and striking 1199 SEIU workers UNION CITY – They tried out their blue collar tough guy tonsils today in front of a purple-shirted crowd of striking healthcare workers – two of three as-yet-undeclared Democratic candidates for governor: Jersey City...

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

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“We’re going to hold the line until hell freezes over, and when hell freezes over, we’re going to hold the line on ice skates." - Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-31), at yesterday's SEIU 1199 rally.

- PolitickerNJ

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