Monday, February 26, 2007

U.S. Attorney Battles New Jersey's Culture of Corruption.

My computer is under attack, again, this morning -- February 26, 2007 at 10:45 A.M. -- when I am blocking: http://view.atdmt.com/dmm/iview/msnnkson001000069dmm/direct/01

I will continue to run scans all day. Please see the essays in the "General" section of my msn group. http://www.Critique@groups.msn.com/ As I write these words, I have experienced a pretty typical several hours of struggle against cyberstalkers and harassment, obstructions and denials of access, mostly to my MSN group. My primary emotion is sadness. I feel sad for people who delight in inflicting frustration and harm on others, even sadder for a culture that remains indifferent and impotent against the cruelties on display in destroying art and intellectual work. Something important about the United States of America may be dying before your eyes. Let us hope not.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey was placed "under federal oversight in connection with allegations of widespread cronyism and financial fraud. ... The university was accused, among other crimes, of defrauding the federal and state governments of at least $4.9 million by deliberately overbilling Medicaid."

It turned out to be more like $100+ MILLION that was "misappropriated." See David W. Chen, "With a New Jersey University Under Federal Oversight, Corzine Removes Its President," in The New York Times, January 23, 2006, at p. B3.

I would not be surprised if there are MORE such revelations in the days and weeks ahead. Come to think of it, there are always more such revelations in New Jersey. I think that we can expect new convictions (very soon) for graft and corruption in the Garden State. These words seem even more timely and apt today. Given developments in the battle over compliance with a federal subpoena in February, 2007 -- it may be that these predictions are about to come true.

On February 1, 2006 The New York Times reported: "Trustees of New Jersey's financially troubled university voted on Wednesday to accept the resignation of its president Dr. John J. Petillo, but only after he agreed that his $600,000 severance package could be revoked if a federal investigation of the university finds evidence that he should have been fired."

Most working people in America do not have a $600,000 "severance package" to compensate them when they screw up and get fired for it. Additional information has, apparently, become available now: "... the institution had overbilled medicaid by $5 million or more, [add 95 million more!] spent hundreds of millions of dollars on no bid contracts, and lavished perks on board members, administrators and their political allies." The "overbilling" is now believed to exceed even these figures.

Finally, " ... in the United States Senate, leaders of the Finance Committee [have] demanded a briefing on how the university spent hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid, saying they were 'alarmed and deeply troubled' by the allegations."

And:

"Investigators have now added to their list of questions about $36.8 million in state funds that were sent to the university last year but are not accounted for. ... The United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie, has been investigating the allegations for nearly a year, and in December [2005] threatened to indict the university for Medicaid fraud unless administrators agreed to let a federal monitor oversee its finances."

David Kocieniewski, "Board Accepts Resignation of Medical University Leader," in The New York Times, February 1, 2006, at p. B4.

Two years later, nobody is going to jail because the people who stole this money are white and wear suits. They also, probably, pay off or happen to be New Jersey politicians. A much publicized letter by the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey [now Governor Chris Christie] alleges that "lawyers for the state Attorney General in New Jersey," under the previous [McGreevey] administration, "mishandled" politically sensitive investigations, "raising the possibility that state investigators were trying to shield political figures."

David Kocieniewski, "Ex-Prosecutors in Trenton Respond to U.S. Scolding," in The New York Times, January 27, 2006, p. B2.

New Jersey's Attorney General, in "previous" administrations, actually COVERED-UP for the big time political bosses and crooks. What's Stuart Rabner up to these days? Not much, I guess. Same old, same old. Are you a guilty bystander, Stuart? How about you, Anne Milgram? Who were you trying to protect, Anne?

John P. Martin and Jeff Whelan report in The Star Ledger, January 26, 2006, and at http://www.nj.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news-4/1138258644245310.xml&coll=1

"U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie unleashed a blistering attack on the New Jersey Attorney General's Office" -- which, I believe, includes the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), which is widely believed to be a corrupt political entity -- " accusing State investigators of botching a 5 year corruption probe into South Jersey political boss George Norcross III so thoroughly that it could not be salvaged."

The U.S. Attorney was quoted as saying:

"In retrospect, our biggest mistake was to entrust a political corruption case of this magnitude to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office." Asking politicians in New Jersey to investigate political corruption (or judicial incompetence) is like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop. David Kocieniewski, "No Title and No Elective Office, But Influence Across New Jersey," in The New York Times, January 7, 2006, at p. B1 (referring to Camden County's "alleged" political boss GEORGE E. NORCROSS, III).

And also:

"New Jersey is an ethically challenged state. It is where far too many politicians have been indicted and where far too many people use their political connections to get jobs. That culture needs to change. Such change is slowly coming through aggressive prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office and legislation banning 'pay to play.' ... " Daily Record, February 3, 2006, http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=2006203&Category=OPINION01&ArtNo=60203

Governor John S. Corzine appointed three new members of the board of "the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, which is under federal oversight in connection with allegations of financial fraud and rampant cronyism." Among those selected to serve on the board is "Robert Del Tufo, a former United States Attorney and [New Jersey] Attorney General." The New York Times, February 10, 2006, at p. B7.

New information and sources may have become available to federal agencies, very recently, yielding useful clues that will result, I hope, in arrests and indictments in the immediate future.

If you are aware of criminal wrongdoing by political or legal authorities anywhere in New Jersey, go to FEDERAL agencies to report it. It is widely believed that there are multiple and on-going federal investigations concerning "events" in New Jersey at the moment. Each of them will probably lead to new investigations. My reasonable estimate, based on history, is that there will be more such revelations in the IMMEDIATE future.

It is always best to remain optimistic. There must be some public officials in New Jersey who are not corrupt. Actual suggested state slogan: "No, It's Not True That All of Our Politicians Have Been Indicted." As the state's legal system and political power-structure continues to induce laughter and nausea, New Jersey's Supreme Court is pondering the need for statues of each "justice" to be placed in public buildings. If you are disgusted by all of this corruption and hypocrisy on the part of New Jersey's legal "elite," you're not alone. Let's do something about it.

Call the feds if you can help.

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