Posts Tagged ‘Corruption in Monmouth County’

By  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net.  Re-post 2017.


This article was inspired by a comment from a Grover, Nancy Clarke:    She asked, “When did a member of the Township Committee go to jail?    Who was it? Are they a member of the current Committee?”

In the fall of 2007, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced that “Three more Monmouth County officials get prison terms for corruption”   This announcement came from the U.S. Department of Justice, District of New Jersey, 970 Broad Street, Seventh floor, Newark, NJ 07102

One of these  officials was Richard Iadanza, the former Deputy Mayor of Neptune Township. He received four months in  in prison, four months home confinement with electronic monitoring, a $4,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

He pleaded guilty to extortion. He admitted accepting $3,000 in two cash payments in return for his official assistance in securing government contracts for an FBI undercover company.

His sentence had been reduced because he cooperated in two FBI investigations.

In 2005,  the former Director of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders , Harry Larrison, Jr., was charged with accepting $8,500 in bribes to help real estate developers win approval for their construction projects.  (our source is the NY Times. April 28, 2015. The italics are ours)  The charges were brought by US Attorney Christopher J. Christie.  It was part of a federal investigation into corruption “that has led to criminal cases against 15 local officials so far.”

“Larrison accepted bribes three times in 2001 and 2002. He was 39 years in that job and was the longest serving freeholder in New Jersey history.”  Mr. Christie said that “Harry Larrison is one of the most enduring political figures in Monmouth County and has long held himself out to be a fine public servant.  In fact, as alleged, he used his power, prestige and political clout to corruptly serve himself. This is more of what we’ve already seen in Monmouth County, and we will persist in our efforts with the F.B.I to uncover all public corruption in Monmouth County.”

According to the Times, “The federal investigation  which has been underway for four years, has led to a variety of corruption charges against low-level officials, including accusations of bid rigging, bribery, and money laundering.  Federal agents said that they had used informants to secretly tape-record conversations between elected officials who were willing to trade official favors for cash, or, in one case, for free paving on a driveway.”

Also the Times reported that the county prosecutor had been accused by federal officials of interfering with the investigation.”

Larrison died of cancer before his case was heard.

In February 2005, the New York Times also reported:

“Mr. Christie said the corruption festered “against a backdrop of greed, arrogance and entitlement in which the officials traded contracts for cash.”

“These complaints portray a shocking eagerness and ease with which these public officials engaged in criminal activity, to trade contracts for cash or even to be involved in money laundering,” Mr. Christie said in a news release.

“The roundup is the latest in a series of crackdowns in Monmouth County, which included the arrest and conviction two years ago of the city manager of Asbury Park, who was also the mayor of Ocean Township, and four other local officials. In an age of campaign finance violations and other modern-era instances involving money and politics, the accusations are the type of old-fashioned municipal corruption charges which have long tainted New Jersey politics.”

“The public officials were picked up based on federal complaints in early-morning raids by as many as 100 F.B.I. agents in teams of six to eight, who rousted them from their beds. Later, the men appeared in court wearing leg irons and handcuffs but, casually dressed and all middle-aged, they resembled a gathering of a civic club rather than one of the biggest corruption roundups in New Jersey’s recent history. All were released on $50,000 personal recognizance.”

The Times  in Feb. 2005 also reported on “11 NJ officials being arrested including 3 mayors.  These arrests were developed over 4 years using a “sting” undercover contractor.  One was an Asbury Park councilman.”  Here is a taste of how these things work:

“In one case, a criminal complaint says, the contractor put in a driveway worth about $5,000 at the home of an Asbury Park councilman, in return for a promise that the councilman would help him get public work.”

“In another case, the mayor of Hazlet, Paul Coughlin, was urged by an unnamed public official from another municipality to do business with the contractor, saying “Nobody watches, nobody hears, nobody sees,” a complaint says.”

“Another official, a former mayor of Middletown Township, told the undercover agents not to worry about detection because he “could smell a cop a mile away,” the federal officials said.”

Clearly, local officials can get caught up in schemes to make money derived from abusing their positions in government.

It’s important for citizens to be vigilant and to pay attention to what is going on in our town, Ocean Grove, as we observe suspicious activities and lack of transparency on the part of local government that favors developers—activities that seem to defy the expectation that officials will do what is best for the residents and home-owners in the Grove.

We are accusing no one currently in office or now working for the Township of doing anything criminal, but these examples above teach us to not be naive.




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