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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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t-bird, you are right.

what i found surprisingly obvious when watching the videos is the relative ease the transaction is consummated ... there are no inquisitive questions, just general sitting around and talking about the "deal" ... jack shaw is clearly the catalyst of the transaction ... beldini is no naive bimbo ... as she has done real estate, she is gently probing dwek about his real estate credentials ... she is in for the money: both for herself and "team healy" ...

beldini comes through as extremely professional about the whole transaction ... very credible ... trustworthy ... for the con to work, you have to trust the conman ...

since the quid pro quo --- pay to play --- is strongly implied in the conversation, it borders to the obvious that both team healy, including the mayor, and dwek have been through the process before; they have a high degree of familiarity of the realistic expectation from both sides and they know what the steps are, they know what the outcome will be, they know how to shepherd this through with ease ...

since dwek is one of the army of developers trying to capitalize on jersey city's central location in the ny-metro, the suggestion that these transactions are/were commonplace is clearly supported by these recorded conversations ... and that is what needs to be proven ... to the jury ... and not us

sorry pro-healy fans ... the video and the transcripts are the smoking gun, not individually, but collectively ... i feel your pain <>

yet, i have to commend "team healy" on being quite smart about not having a clear schedule of fees to present dwek ... and i think this is what most people have expected from this whole scandal ... the a la carte menu offered by team healy to the developers ... 10 grand for this, 15 grand for that .... it just does not exist ... since abscam, nobody is that dumb ... (well except for the duke ... cunningham < > that is) and he is doing hundred easy ones ...

Posted on: 2010/1/30 15:39
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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Have to disagree with you Cap'n. It is clear from the tape that the mayor is fully aware that Dwek is contributing almost 8 times the legal contribution limit - he (Healy) thanks him for it. Sure, it's not as salacious as an envelope brimming over with $100 bills, but a serious violation nonetheless - even if he ends up not being charged.

Probably the biggest reason Healy and eight of his nine council slate won was because of the massive fundraising advantage they had. Here is an indication of how at least part of that war chest was amassed.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 15:09
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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i'm happy that for once, the people on this board don't just smash Healy on this one... as many had said... like him or not, watching all these videos... he doesnt do or say anything wrong... it's just a politician rubbing elbows with a donor... and Dwek sounds like a douche.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 14:45
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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Luncheonette is one of Healy's favorite spots

Saturday, January 30, 2010
By JOURNAL STAFF

The Medical Center Luncheonette at Baldwin Avenue and Montgomery Street played a starring role in the secret tapes played in federal court in Newark yesterday during suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini's corruption trial.

The diner - which takes its name from the old Jersey City Medical Center, now the Beacon condominium complex, across Baldwin Avenue - is referred to on the audio and videotapes as Mayor Jerramiah Healy's favorite place.

Political consultant Jack Shaw, who died from a Valium overdose days after his July 23 arrest in the massive New Jersey corruption sting, explains to government informant Solomon Dwek at one point that after a night of drinking the mayor will likes to head there for food.

According to Shaw, the mayor enjoys the place so much he prevented another restaurant from going in across the street and says an art gallery went in instead.

But Shaw apparently didn't share the mayor's enthusiasm for the joint.

In a conversation with Dwek during a meeting at the more upscale Chart House in Weehawken, Shaw paints the luncheonette as a hole-in-the-wall and uses some profanities to describe it.

And after the meeting at the luncheonette, he and Dwek and Shaw both badmouth it.

The eatery came up in court earlier this week, too, when Beldini defense lawyer Brian Neary said in his opening statement that the location of the meeting was significant because Shaw was a consultant for the Beacon, itself was a massive redevelopment project.

The eatery is no greasy spoon, he said. Rather, it's symbolic of the city, which went through hard times after industry dried up.

He went on to extol Healy as a mover behind much of the city's renaissance.

The luncheonette was closed yesterday afternoon when the Journal went over seeking comment, but one commenter on Hudson County Now (nj.com/hudson) sang its praises.

"It's clean and serves good food," acopscop337 wrote. "Most people political or not cannot dine at the Casa Dante or Puccini's. The family that owns the luncheonette are part of the American Dream. Three children all Dean's List. One daughter graduated at the top of her class from Yale. The son from Northwestern. Mom and Dad both from rural Greece, quite a success story."

Posted on: 2010/1/30 12:02
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Re: I can't BELIEVE I am the first to post this... Mayor Healy on Video
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Beldini could have made millions from deal's sales commission

Saturday, January 30, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

As a real estate broker, suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini stood to make millions as the exclusive Realtor for developer Solomon Dwek, the key witness in a federal corruption case against her.

In court yesterday, Dwek testified that he offered to give her the exclusive sale of 750 condos he said he wanted to build on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City, which at $500,000 per unit could add up to millions in commission for her.

On secretly recorded conversations played in court, Dwek tells Beldini, who was Mayor Jerramiah Healy's campaign treasurer, that $20,000 that was funneled to the re-election warchest, was in exchange for helping him get development approvals.

"I can definitely help you get through a lot of red tape," she says.

But that's not all Beldini offered to do.

She also approached Dwek about buying the former Cortez Sausage Factory on Central Avenue during a meeting also attended by Jersey City political consultant Jack Shaw and city housing employee Edward Cheatam.

In a taped meeting she told him that the developer of the project was moving slowly and that there were already approvals for more than 100 units on the site - that it was a "shovel ready" project he could buy for $7 million.

"So if you're interested, we'll sit down with him, with the fellow that has it and uh, get his approvals," she said.

Dwek tells her that he has already looked at the Mueller macaroni plant on Baldwin Avenue with Cheatam.

In a taped phone conversation, Beldini tells Shaw that she'll look into that property as well, but pushes the Cortez site.

"Well the one I gave him is already approved, they could start on it tomorrow," she said.

-----------------------------------
Beldini says she can get through 'red tape' for Dwek

Saturday, January 30, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

From a table in the Brownstone Diner in Jersey City, federal informant Solomon Dwek discussed campaign contributions with suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini on one of the videos shown in federal court yesterday during Beldini's corruption trial.

It's the morning of March 24, 2009, and Beldini is holding a big fundraiser, Broadway at the Beacon, for Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy five days later.

She tells Dwek about campaign finance limits and says she's looking for funds to go to several accounts, which would all benefit Healy.

Jersey City housing official/school board member Edward Cheatam and long-time Jersey City political consultant Jack Shaw are also at the meeting.

Dwek, who in actuality was a federal informant posing as a developer, explains that he gave $10,000 each to Shaw and Cheatam to purchase 20 tickets to the fundraiser. He wants Beldini to know that he's supporting the mayor.

State election law limits contributions from an individual to $2,600 for a given candidate.

Beldini tells Dwek about the various agencies that would have to approve his project, a 750-unit condominium he says he's planning for Garfield Avenue.

"We're happy to see you in the city," Beldini tells him

He turns the discussion to hiring Beldini as the exclusive real estate agent to sell the units and they talk commission.

Beldini agrees to 5 percent if she sells it herself. If another broker is involved, Dwek says the commission would be 6 percent with 4 percent going to Beldini and 2 percent to the other broker.
-------------------------------
Secret tapes reveal that Healy knew about campaign donations

Saturday, January 30, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

NEWARK - Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy knew a developer was donating tens of thousands of dollars to his re-election campaign last year, secretly recorded videos played at suspended Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini's corruption trial yesterday show.

Solomon Dwek, a Monmouth County developer facing bank fraud charges, taped meetings with Healy and other officials while, unbeknownst to them, he worked as a federal informant in an elaborate sting.

The videos were made public yesterday at Beldini's trial where she is accused of taking $20,000 in bribes from Dwek and funneling them into Healy's reelection campaign, which she served as treasurer.

Healy, who has not been charged in the massive probe, maintains he has done nothing wrong.

During the investigation, Dwek was posing as David Esenbach, a purported Wall Street developer who wanted to build a 750-unit condominium on Garfield Avenue.

Dwek played this role when he met with Healy, Beldini, Jersey City political consultant Jack Shaw and city employee and Board of Education member Edward Cheatam at the Medical Center Luncheonette in Jersey City on April 30.

They discussed Dwek's interest in building in the city.

As Healy got up to leave, Dwek followed him and said he had donated $10,000 to his campaign previously and that he would give Shaw another $10,000 that day.

"Dave, thank you so much," Healy says - using the Dwek's phony name - as the video records him. He tells Dwek he wants to keep working with him.

"It's good for the city, it's good for everybody," Healy says.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 11:55
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Re: I can't BELIEVE I am the first to post this... Mayor Healy on Video
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GrovePath wrote:
I'm not sure the mayor comes off too bad - I still wish this developer wasn't a ringer and had build hundreds of high end condos out on Garfield...



I gotta say, the guy's a drunken slob but he may be just smart enough to not say the wrong thing. He let his cronies do the dirty work. Nothing he says in this video would be considered illegal or seems to implicate him in influencing any development projects. Is he the Michael Scott of Jersey politics?

Posted on: 2010/1/30 4:18
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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You gotta see Healy, in the video, kill that potato salad dead with about 60 blasts, countem, of pepper. Oh what a circus, oh what a show!

Posted on: 2010/1/30 3:15
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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I am speechless !!!

Posted on: 2010/1/30 1:40
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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NJ corruption trial hidden camera video shows Jack Shaw getting money and discussions about favors for Dwek in discussions with Healy and Beldini


NJ corruption trial hidden camera video shows Jack Shaw getting money and discussions about favors

Posted by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk on January 29, 2010 at 05:28 PM

The corruption trial of Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini is underway and jurors watched their first clips of hidden camera video. In this clip Solomon Dwek meets with Leona Beldini, Jack Shaw, and Jerramiah Healy about getting moved to the top of the pile for approvals. At the end of the clip it appears Jack Shaw is handed $10,000.

NJ corruption trial hidden camera video of Solomon Dwek talking to Leona Beldini about political contributions and real estate projects

NJ corruption trial hidden camera video of Solomon Dwek talking to Leona Beldini about contributions
Posted by The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk on January 29, 2010 at 05:07 PM
The corruption trial of Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini is underway and jurors watched their first clips of hidden camera video. In this clip FBI witness Solomon Dwek talks to Beldini about additional contributions he will make to her and about approvals for a planned real estate project. Beldini discusses his project and an already approved project near Journal Square




Jurors see secret tapes in NJ corruption trial

Friday, January 29, 2010
BY DAVID PORTER
NORTHJERSEY.COM
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jurors in the first trial to arise from New Jersey's largest corruption sting watched secretly recorded videos Friday that showed a government informant discussing paying public officials in exchange for help getting approval for a fictitious condominium project.

The grainy footage, shot in restaurants around Jersey City last year, was made by cooperating witness Solomon Dwek, the man responsible for the July arrests of 44 people in a parallel money laundering and public corruption investigation.

Dwek posed as a corrupt developer. Prosecutors are trying to show that Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini took about $20,000 from him and converted it into campaign donations for Mayor Jerramiah Healy. In exchange, they claim, she promised to help Dwek get approvals for a 750-unit building for which she also would serve as a real estate agent.

The recordings do not show money being passed to Beldini, though Dwek discusses money with two others, former Jersey City housing commissioner Edward Cheatam and late political consultant Jack Shaw.

Beldini tells Dwek at the end of one meeting, "I can definitely help you get through a lot of red tape."

Healy, who has not been charged, was seen on one tape speaking with Dwek about the condo project in a meeting at a Jersey City luncheonette that Beldini also attended.

Another tape showed Beldini preparing to leave a restaurant and Dwek pursuing her.

"So I won't have any problem with my approvals?" he asks her.

"If we do everything by the code, we never will," she tells him.

After another meeting, however, Beldini says, "We have to be very cautious," to which Dwek responds that "anything I do, I'll do through Jack," a reference to hiding Dwek's cash contributions by running them through Shaw.

Beldini faces several is charged with bribery andextortion-related counts. She was one of 44 people arrested in July.

Healy has not been charged. Cheatam has pleaded guilty to extortion conspiracy, and Shaw was found dead of an overdose of Valium five days after his arrest in July.

------------------------------

Courtroom videos put spotlight on Jersey City luncheonette
By Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal
January 29, 2010, 2:50PM

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Jersey Journal file photo

During Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy's reelection bid last year, The Jersey Journal photographed him taking a break for lunch at the Medical Center Luncheonette at Baldwin Avenue and Montgomery Street across from what is now the Beacon condominium complex.

The Medical Center Luncheonette at Baldwin Avenue and Montgomery Street in Jersey City is getting some unexpected press as a 2009 meeting there is the talk of the day at the federal corruption trial of suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini.

On secretly recorded videotapes being played in court, the diner -- which takes its name from the old Jersey City Medical Center complex across the Baldwin Avenue, now the Beacon condominium complex -- is referred to on tapes as Mayor Jerramiah Healy's favorite place.

Political consultant Jack Shaw, who died from a Valium overdose days after his July 23 arrest in the massive New Jersey corruption sting, explains to government informant Solomon Dwek at one point that the mayor will go out drinking and then head there for food.

According to Shaw, the mayor likes the place so much he prevented another restaurant from going in across the street and says an art gallery went in instead.

But Shaw apparently didn't share the mayor's enthusiasm for the joint.

In a coversation with Dwek during a meeting at the more upscale Chart House in Weehawken, Shaw paints the luncheonette as a hole-in-the-wall and uses some profanities to describe it.

And after the meeting at the luncheonette, he and Dwek and Shaw both badmouth it with Dwek saying it could have given him food poisoning.

The eatery came up in court earlier this week, too, when Beldini defense lawyer Brian Neary said in his opening statement that the location of the meeting was significant because Shaw was a consultant for the Beacon and because the Beacon itself was a massive redevelopment project.

The eatery is no greasy spoon, he said. Rather, it's symbolic of the city, which went through hard times after industry dried up.

He went on to extol Healy as a mover behind much of the city's renaissance.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 1:08
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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In this video clip, I neither see any offensive behavior nor hear anything illegal or suspicious.


I thought it was just me, but I read through the clips on NJ.com and watched all three videos and agree with you. I don't see a dramatic smoking gun here.

Dwek comes across as obnoxious and suspiciously pushy. No one is "that generous." Dwek spoke so vaguely about his business dealings and the officials seated didn't seem to drill down further to see if he was legit. They all seemed to take him on his word.

When you read Cammarano's wire transcripts, his words are much more incriminating.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 1:00
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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In this video clip, I neither see any offensive behavior nor hear anything illegal or suspicious.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:39
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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it is the context and the perception ... the rest does not matter ... whether he likes it or not, healy is indirectly also on trial for political corruption ... the stigma of guilt by association will be difficult to extinguish ...

who knows, beldini may just be the fall guy (gal) ...

Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:36
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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whospeaksforyou wrote:
Inasmuch as anyone would look less than their best while being secretly filmed eating soup at a diner, I agree that the Mayor also doesn't look great. But he doesn't seem to be saying anything criminal or even unreasonable. Did I miss it?


If he did it would be his trial and not his deputy's.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:33
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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Inasmuch as anyone would look less than their best while being secretly filmed eating soup at a diner, I agree that the Mayor also doesn't look great. But he doesn't seem to be saying anything criminal or even unreasonable. Did I miss it?

Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:29
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Re: I can't BELIEVE I am the first to post this... Mayor Healy on Video
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I find the background music at the beginning of Scott Joplin's The Entertainer appropriate (used as the theme for "The Sting").

This does not make Healy look good.
i can see the ad for fulup's mayoral campaign ... and it would not be negative ...

Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:28
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Re: I can't BELIEVE I am the first to post this... Mayor Healy on Video
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I find the background music at the beginning of Scott Joplin's The Entertainer appropriate (used as the theme for "The Sting").

This does not make Healy look good.

Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:20
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Re: I can't BELIEVE I am the first to post this... Mayor Healy on Video
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I'm not sure the mayor comes off too bad - I still wish this developer wasn't a ringer and had build hundreds of high end condos out on Garfield...


Posted on: 2010/1/30 0:18
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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I know her. As her past attests, she's a dynamic lady who's led a pretty unconventional life and remains feisty at 74 yrs old despite the horror of a looming jail sentence.

Not to understate the serious nature of her alleged crimes, but she's really a badass; and if anybody were to get a reprieve in all this, I would hope it would be her.


luckily, the court system doesn't take feistiness in consideration as to whether some one broke the law.

The only way I would be happy with a reprieve is if she starts naming names.

Posted on: 2010/1/25 15:02
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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I know her. As her past attests, she's a dynamic lady who's led a pretty unconventional life and remains feisty at 74 yrs old despite the horror of a looming jail sentence.

Not to understate the serious nature of her alleged crimes, but she's really a badass; and if anybody were to get a reprieve in all this, I would hope it would be her.

Posted on: 2010/1/25 14:13
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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i don't know her, nor do i care what happens to her, nor do i know it's relevance to a politcal scandal... but i think it's pretty awesome that she was a burlesque dancer.... and so good she's in their Hall of Fame!

Posted on: 2010/1/25 13:12
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Jersey City official, a former burlesque queen, faces corruption charges

By Star-Ledger Staff
January 24, 2010, 7:15AM

Her name was Hope Diamond, "the Gem of the Exotics."
She was a shapely, dark-haired burlesque queen, performing through the 1950s and ’60s from Buffalo to Toledo, as a headliner in places like Union City’s old Hudson Theater.

This week she will be on a different stage with a different name — accused of taking cash that did not go into a garter belt, but rather into Jersey City’s tumultuous mayoral campaign.

Resized Image
Photo courtesy of The Burlesque Hall of Fame
Deputy Jersey City Mayor Leona Beldini, now 74, is soon to go on trial for political corruption. In the 1950s she was a burlesque star. Her name was Hope Diamond.

Decades removed from her burlesque past, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini is scheduled to go on trial Monday, the first defendant from last summer’s sweeping federal sting operation to face a jury.

Beldini, 74, was one of more than 40 people charged in the sting, including dozens of political officials, five rabbis and three mayors. Eleven of the accused have already pleaded guilty.

Beldini is accused of taking $20,000 in illicit contributions when she was campaign treasurer for Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. Her trial is expected to offer the first public telling of the sting by the government informant who carried it out.

According to federal prosecutors, the money received by Beldini came from Solomon Dwek, who posed as a developer in the long-running operation. Dwek, who began working as an informant three years after being caught in a $50 million bank fraud, presented himself to some of the government’s targets as a person with plenty of cash to spread around to local officials in return for quick project approvals, and to other targets as someone laundering millions of dollars through former partners and others, ostensibly from his own bankrupt real estate empire.

Suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, left, arrested in a massive federal corruption sting in July, leaves the Federal Court in Newark with her attorney, Brian Neary.
Most of those who have pleaded guilty did so after viewing the stark surveillance video showing their meetings with Dwek. Beldini has opted to take her chances with a jury, despite a string of corruption convictions in recent years by the U.S. Attorney’s Office involving a number of high-level officials — including former Newark mayor Sharpe James and former Democratic state senator Joseph Coniglio.

Prosecutors have indicated Dwek will testify. His appearance is likely to make for a compelling courtroom drama, as defense attorneys — both for Beldini and those who have yet to come to trial — look to pick apart the credibility of a star witness who has already admitted to bank fraud and a complicated Ponzi scheme that targeted friends and former partners.

Her short hair a muted blond, Beldini sat quietly during a court hearing three days ago, wearing a sage-colored dress suit, matching pink scarf, pearl earrings and 2-inch heels. She declined through her attorney to talk about the case.

FROM SHEDDING SEQUINS TO CUTTING RIBBONS

A longtime friend of Healy’s, she is a real estate broker with a reputation in Jersey City as a gracious and shrewd businesswoman who, when necessary, can be as tough as any Hudson County politician.

She met Healy some 20 years ago, when she was on the Jersey City rent control board.

"Leona is about as hardworking as anybody you are going to bump into," Healy, who wasn’t charged in the sting, said last week. "She is straightforward and honest — sometimes to the point where some people were not always happy with her straightforwardness and honesty."

Healy appointed her deputy mayor in November 2004, soon after his election. Serving as a ceremonial stand-in for him, she performed wedding ceremonies, performed ribbon-cuttings and attended speaking engagements on Healy’s behalf. She also served without pay on the city’s economic development agency.

After her arrest, she was suspended from her $66,154-a-year job by the mayor.

Beldini, who has two adult children, never tried to hide her days in burlesque. The Hudson Theater, she once told the Jersey Journal, "was a wonderful place to be in the ’50s. It was a wonderful form of entertainment."

Born in New York and raised near Princeton, Beldini joined a chorus line out of high school and said in past interviews she became a stripper because it paid an additional $50 a week.

Dixie Evans, who runs the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, said: "She was a big name — very well-known on the circuit." Beldini, as Hope Diamond, was inducted in 1995.
Evans recalled she wore elaborate costumes, bedecked with sequins, rhinestones, beads, feathers and furs. As the band wailed, each piece slowly came off, until Beldini shimmied wearing little save for her perfume — which, Evans remembered, "was exquisite."

After Beldini left the business, she began selling real estate.
‘FULL FAITH IN YOU’

According to court documents, Beldini was introduced to Dwek last May by political consultant Jack Shaw. Beldini was serving as treasurer in Healy’s re-election campaign, a rough-and-tumble fight among five candidates including former assemblyman Louis Manzo and Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith. (They and Shaw were subsequently charged in the corruption probe as well. Shaw died of a Valium overdose days after his arrest.)

All the candidates had pressed hard to raise money for the tight race, up through Election Day, and Dwek appeared to have an open wallet for the campaign. Assuming the name of David Esenbach, Dwek claimed to be building a luxury condominium project on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City and was open about seeking inside political connections to help him short-circuit the approval process.

Wired up by the FBI for surveillance video during a number of meetings with Beldini, "Esenbach" said he wanted a zoning change and did not want his application to go "to the bottom of the pile."

According to transcripts of the meeting released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Beldini replied, "Well, we can flip the pile."
Dwek’s money was broken into payments through straw donors to various campaign committees. At the same time, authorities say, Beldini was looking to be retained as a broker in the sale of the condominiums.

At one meeting at a diner in Jersey City, transcripts show, the conversation between Dwek and Beldini was frank, with Dwek talking of giving thousands to the Jersey City Democratic Committee.

"This 10 was for this Democratic thing. I’ll do him (Healy) another 10 for the mayor, and then before the election we’ll do more," said Dwek.

"Perfect," replied Beldini. "Beautiful, Dave."
"And then you’re my person, obviously, for the real estate. I have full faith in you," said Dwek.

In motions filed last week, Beldini’s attorney, Brian Neary of Hackensack, sought to dismiss the complaint. He charged that the government’s investigative tactics were so outrageous that they violated Beldini’s constitutional rights.
"Everyone in Dwek’s path was bulldozed," said Neary.
U.S. District Judge Jose Linares denied the motion.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Calcagni and Sandra Moser, in court papers, called Beldini an equal and persistent force behind the extortion scheme.

"She demonstrated an immediate willingness to trade official action for illicit political contributions to the Healy campaign and other benefits from which she and her real estate business would personally profit," they said.
By Ted Sherman and Joe Ryan

========================

Report: ex-deputy mayor was 'Hope Diamond, burlesque queen' in '50s and '60s

Hudson Reporter

JERSEY CITY -- A story in the Sunday Star-Ledger details how former mayoral aide Leona Beldini, 72, who was arrested last July as part of 44 officials and religious leaders nabbed in an FBI corruption sting -- was once a famous stripper named "Hope Diamond, burlesque queen."

In an article filled with clever lines, the newspaper notes that this week she will be on trial "accused of taking cash that did not go into a garter belt, but rather into Jersey City's tumultuous mayoral campaign."

Not only was Beldini well-known on the national burlesque circuit throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the story says, but she was inducted into the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas in 1995.

The story says she never tried to hide her past career from her public or her family. She joined a chorus line after high school and took a burlesque job later because it paid an extra $50 a week.

She eventually became a real estate agent and met Healy 20 years ago when she was on the Jersey City rent board, the story says.

This week, she will go on trial as one of the political leaders who allegedly accepted money from an FBI informant posing as a developer who wanted help on his projects.

She has pleaded not guilty.

Posted on: 2010/1/25 7:40
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, a former burlesque queen, starts trial tomorrow
By The Jersey Journal
January 24, 2010, 12:05PM

Under the name "Hope Diamond," suspended Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini commanded stages in the 1950s amd '60s as a burlesque dancer from Buffalo to Toledo, the Star-Ledger reports today.

Come tomorrow, Beldini will be center stage in a different venue: federal court.

She is the first of the 44 people nabbed in the July 23 corruption and money-laundering sweep to stand trial.

Beldini, 74, is accused of taking $20,000 in bribes from federal informant Solomon Dwek, which she allegedly funneled into Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy's re-election campaign. Beldini served as treasurer of the campaign.

Star-Ledger photoSuspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini begins trail tomorrow for allegedly taking $20,000 in bribes from a federal informant.
Beldini also allegedly negotiated with Dwek to be the real estate broker for the project he was supposedly developing on Garfield Avenue.

Born in New York and raised near Princeton, Beldini joined a chorus line out of high school and has said she became a stripper because it paid an additional $50 a week.

"She was a big name -- very well known on the circuit," Dixie Evans, who runs the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, told the Ledger. Beldini was inducted into the Hall in 1995.

Beldini, who has two adult children, has never tried to cover up the fact she made money taking her clothes off. The Hudson Theater, she once told The Jersey Journal, "was a wonderful place in the '50s. It was a wonderful form of entertainment."

Resized Image
Photo courtesy of the Burlesque Hall of Fame
Leona Beldini, a Jersey City deputy mayor charged with taking bribes from an FBI informant, worked for years as a burlesque dancer under the name "Hope Diamond, Gem of the Exotics."

Resized Image
Star-Ledger photo
Suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini begins trail tomorrow for allegedly taking $20,000 in bribes from a federal informant.

Posted on: 2010/1/25 5:32
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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And yet Healy STILL supports Vega, though the same could be said of him that Healy has said of all the others - the city can't afford the distraction. I know Vega has been at this longer than Healy, and may have some high placed friends, but come on Healy - grow a set.

Posted on: 2009/8/15 14:18
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Re: Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position
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Beldini quits EDC's board, as Healy urged

Saturday, August 15, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini - who was arrested in last month's FBI corruption sweep - resigned yesterday from the board of directors of the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation.

"Leona has resigned so her presence isn't a distraction to the important work of the board," said her attorney Brian Neary.

"But don't take this an admission of guilt or political cowardice," he added. "This 74-year-old woman is ready to fight to get her good name back."

Beldini is charged with accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions from an FBI informant. She was suspended without pay from her $66,165-a-year job as deputy mayor after being arrested July 23.

The resignation comes at the urging of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who yesterday praised the decision, saying it is "in the best interest of the city and all parties involved."

Now, only one arrested Jersey City board member has not resigned.

Joseph Cardwell, 68, is still hanging onto his post as second alternate on the board of the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority Board, according to Jennifer Morrill, a spokeswoman for Healy.

Cardwell is charged with accepting $20,000 from the FBI informant -$10,000 for himself and $10,000 for a political campaign.

Unlike Beldini, who received no compensation for her board position, Cardwell receives family health coverage for his duties, which costs the MUA roughly $10,000 a year, MUA Executive Director Dan Becht said Thursday.

Healy, who has also requested Cardwell's resignation, said that because the MUA is an autonomous agency, there's nothing more he can do.

"We've made our request and we have yet to hear how that has been received," he said through Morrill.

Wednesday, Edward Cheatam, 61, resigned his position as a commissioner of the Jersey City Housing Authority, and Maher Khalil, 39, resigned from the board of trustees of the Jersey City Development Corporation.

Jersey City Health Officer Joseph Castagna, 53 - who was also arrested July 23 - has been suspended without pay from his $105,000-a-year job and is now off the Hudson Regional Health Commission. He served in that post by virtue of being the city's health officer, officials said.

Posted on: 2009/8/15 8:44
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Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- arrested in FBI sting -- resigns from board position

By Amy Sara Clark/The Jersey Journal
August 14, 2009, 1:52PM

Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, who was arrested in the FBI corruption sweep, resigned from the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation today.
Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini -- who was arrested in last month's FBI corruption sweep -- resigned today from the board of directors of the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, said Jennifer Morrill, a spokeswoman for Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.

Beldini, 74, is charged with accepting Charged with accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions from an FBI informant. She was suspended without pay from her $66,165-a-year job as deputy mayor after being arrested July 23.

The resignation comes at the urging of Healy, who is quoted in today's Jersey Journal as saying, through Morill, "I think it's in the best interest of the city and all concerned parties that all individuals who have been charged should voluntarily remove themselves from any and all city boards, and we are working on achieving that."

It's not yet clear whether fellow arrestee Joseph Cardwell, 68, has followed suit.

An official at the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority board, where Cardwell serves as a second alternate on the board, said she didn't know if the office had received a resignation letter today. As of yesterday afternoon he hadn't resigned.

(Update: Morrill confirmed at 3:12 p.m. that Cardwell has not yet resigned from the MUA board)

Cardwell is charged with accepting $20,000 from the FBI informant -- $10,000 for himself and $10,000 for a political campaign.

Unlike Beldini who received no compensation for her board position, Cardwell receives family health coverage for his duties, which costs the MUA roughly $10,000 a year, MUA Executive Director Dan Becht said yesterday.

Wednesday, The Jersey Journal reported that Edward Cheatam, 61, resigned his post as a commissioner of the Jersey City Housing Authority, and Maher Khalil, 39, resigned from the board of trustees of the Jersey City Development Corporation.

Jersey City Health Officer Joseph Castagna, 53 - who was also arrested July 23 - has been suspended without pay from his $105,000-a-year job and is now off the Hudson Regional Health Commission. He served in that post by virtue of being the city's health officer, officials said.

Posted on: 2009/8/14 20:15

Edited by Webmaster on 2010/2/12 4:05:15
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