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Corruption & clean government
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I'm pulling something from the Loew's debate, but hoping it deserves a separate, more expansive thread.

Operation Bid Rig sent three of Healy's running mates, his Deputy Mayor/Campaign Treasurer, and several other members of his administration to jail, and provoked the suicide of his political consultant. Yet according to the Jersey Journal, Healy claims that this vindicated him and is some kind of bizarre proof of his integrity.

“I was clean,” he said. “No charges were ever filed against me....” Healy urged viewers to watch the entire video of his meeting with Dwek. “I should have gotten a gold medal for effective, honest, open government for that,” he said.

This stinks so much one hardly knows where to begin.

But let's try to look at the big picture. At the beginning of Healy's last term, we saw proof that corruption and influence peddling was endemic in Hudson county politics. Look across the river to NYC, and yesterday's arrests show a similar process at work in neighboring government.

Given that this IS A REALITY, and there will always be a temptation to cross legal and ethical lines in pursuit of money and power...

What have each of the mayoral candidates already done to combat this? And what WILL THEY DO if elected on May 14?

Posted on: 2013/4/3 14:28
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Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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Jersey City official who helped bribe others gets reduced sentence for cooperation

By Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger
January 15, 2013 at 11:40 AM

JERSEY CITY — Maher Khalil, nabbed in the biggest federal corruption sting in New Jersey history, did not even make it out the door of his house before he started cooperating with federal authorities following his arrest more than three years ago.

Monday, that cooperation led to a substantially reduced prison term for the former Jersey City official in acknowledgement of his role in the sweeping political scandal.

Khalil, 43, who admitted he took $72,500 in bribes to introduce city officials to a federal informant posing as a corrupt developer, was sentenced to 30 months in prison — less than half of what he had been facing. He was also required to forfeit any money he received.

The former assistant director of the Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services and a one-time zoning official, Khalil unwittingly played a central role in the sting. Used as a go-between by Solomon Dwek, the infamous cooperating witness being used by the FBI in a long-running undercover operation, Khalil was paid for his help identifying those he believed could be bought off to gain approvals on a fictitious luxury condo development in Jersey City that never saw the light of day.

The investigation ultimately led to the arrests in July 2009 of 46 people on corruption and money laundering charges. Among those charged were several mayors, legislators, and Hudson County political operatives, as well as five Orthodox rabbis who used religious charities to launder funds.

Khalil, who once sat on Jersey City’s Ethical Standards Board, until it was disbanded over political infighting, admitted he took money from Dwek to arrange meetings with several city officials — who all later pleaded guilty to taking envelopes stuffed with cash.

Assistant U.S. attorney Mark McCarren told U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark that Khalil agreed to cooperate with authorities as soon as he was arrested by the FBI, and helped prosecutors build their cases against others who were charged.

“He was the first to plead guilty,” McCarren said.
Khalil’s attorney, Michael Pedicini of Morristown, said that soon after it became clear that his client was cooperating, he became the target of threats and harassment. Pedicini asked the judge for leniency.

“This is not a criminal. It’s aberrational behavior,” he said.
Khalil, who suffers from a myriad of health problems, including cardiac issues and diabetes, wept in the courtroom as he accepted responsibility.

“I betrayed my family and the citizens of Jersey City. There is no excuse for my conduct,” he said.

However Linares, rejecting a request for house arrest, said Khalil’s involvement in the scheme was substantial. Still, the judge acknowledged his level of cooperation with the government.

“I think he is remorseful and regrets his involvement, but there needs to be some level of deterrence,” he said.

Linares imposed a 30 month sentence, down from the more than 70 months he was facing, along with a year of supervised release.

Only two people of the 46 charged in the case still await trial. Another disappeared before his arrest and remains a fugitive.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013 ... il_who_helped_solomo.html

Posted on: 2013/1/15 17:35
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Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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Quote:

Mouse wrote:

Healy admininistration official, former Jersey City Health and Human Services Assistant Director and zoning official, Maher A. Khalil, sentenced today to 30 months for corruption.


. . . . .


The 42-year-old admitted accepting bribes..., in return for attempting to obtain real estate development approvals for the cooperating witness, and for facilitating bribe payments to other municipal officials.

Between March 2008 and July 2009, Khalil accepted a total of $72,500 in corrupt payments from Dwek, court documents say, and promised to help Dwek obtain approvals for a property on Garfield Avenue. Khalil also says Dwek paid him to arrange meetings between Dwek and other municipal officials who would also accept bribes in exchange for help with the approvals.

In addition to the prison term, Linares sentenced Khalil to one year of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $72,500.

Operation Bid Rig’s aftermath may influence the May 2013 municipal election. When the sting netted corrupt public officials with close ties to Mayor Jerramiah Healy for funneling illegal money into the mayor’s re-election fund, the administration, pleading ignorance of the illegal deeds, promised to return every last penny. Those backing Ward E Councilman and challenger Steve Fulop, however, claim the complete return of funds never happened, because the amount Healy’s campaign says they returned — $16,600 — doesn’t come close to the actual amount that Fulop alleges found its way into his campaign finances. That amount, he says, is closer to $55,000.





Nice news cycle...

So, let me get this straight. Healy appoints all these goons as administration officials, they get caught doing what they do best (accepting bribes). and now he is asking me for my vote so that he can continue to appoint more goons?

Laughing my a@# off. Yeah right, Healy.




Posted on: 2013/1/15 10:31
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Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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Ex-Jersey City official gets two and a half years in prison for corruption

By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
on January 15, 2013 at 2:02 AM

NEWARK -- A former Jersey City deputy health director who accepted $72,500 from Solomon Dwek was sentenced to 2 years in prison yesterday.

Maher Khalil was one of dozens charged in Operation Bid Rig III in July 2009, the single largest corruption sting in state history. Fighting back tears, Khalil told the court yesterday that “This was undoubtedly the worst decision I ever made in my life. . . . There is no excuse for my conduct . . . I accept full responsibility, your Honor.”

Yesterday’s sentencing came more than three years after Khalil pleaded guilty to taking money from Dwek, a federal informant posing as a developer, to set up meetings with multiple Jersey City officials. Khalil funneled some of the cash to former Jersey City Councilman Mariano Vega.

Vega himself pleaded guilty to accepting $30,000 in bribes and was sentenced to 30 months in prison in April 2011.

Khalil was also sentenced to one-year supervised release and he must forfeit the $72,500 he accepted from Dwek. Khalil must surrender to authorities on Feb. 25 to start his prison term.

It was recommended that Khalil serve his prison term in a Massachusetts facility where he can get treatment for diabetes, heart problems and depression, the court was told.

Prosecutors said Khalil was the first to plead guilty in Operation Bid Rig III and his cooperation with the feds merited a more lenient sentence. He could have been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Prosecutors noted that Khalil had offered to testify in a number of trials and his willingness to cooperate likely resulted in a number of guilty pleas.

About a week after Khalil pleaded guilty, Ed Cheatam, a former Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner, admitted accepting $70,000 in bribes, but U.S. Attorney spokesman Matthew Reilly said there’s no sentencing date set for him.

Cheatam confessed to introducing Dwek to other Bid Rig defendants, including former Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, currently serving a three-year prison sentence for accepting $20,000 in bribes, and former assemblyman Lou Manzo, whose corruption charges were thrown out twice by a federal judge.

Unsuccessful 2009 city council candidates Lori Serrano and LaVern Webb-Washington are still awaiting trial. The two women saw their original corruption charges thrown out, and were re-indicted on fraud charges.

Serrano’s trial is set to begin March 18. Webb-Washington’s trial has been delayed as the parties negotiate a plea agreement, according to a Dec. 21, 2012 order by federal Judge Jose L. Linares.

http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index ... _gets_t.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/1/15 7:00
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Healy admininistration official, former Jersey City Health and Human Services Assistant Director and zoning official, Maher A. Khalil, sentenced today to 30 months for corruption.


. . . . .

FORMER JC HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS FOR ADMITTED CORRUPTION



LINK

More than three years ago, Khalil pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court. Khalil was one of several local politicians arrested after FBI corruption sting Operation Bid Rig III and admitted he conspired to commit extortion under color of official right.

The 42-year-old admitted accepting bribes from Solomon Dwek, a government cooperating witness, in return for attempting to obtain real estate development approvals for the cooperating witness, and for facilitating bribe payments to other municipal officials.

Between March 2008 and July 2009, Khalil accepted a total of $72,500 in corrupt payments from Dwek, court documents say, and promised to help Dwek obtain approvals for a property on Garfield Avenue. Khalil also says Dwek paid him to arrange meetings between Dwek and other municipal officials who would also accept bribes in exchange for help with the approvals.

In addition to the prison term, Linares sentenced Khalil to one year of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $72,500.

Operation Bid Rig’s aftermath may influence the May 2013 municipal election. When the sting netted corrupt public officials with close ties to Mayor Jerramiah Healy for funneling illegal money into the mayor’s re-election fund, the administration, pleading ignorance of the illegal deeds, promised to return every last penny. Those backing Ward E Councilman and challenger Steve Fulop, however, claim the complete return of funds never happened, because the amount Healy’s campaign says they returned — $16,600 — doesn’t come close to the actual amount that Fulop alleges found its way into his campaign finances. That amount, he says, is closer to $55,000.



Posted on: 2013/1/14 18:12
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Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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Monday sentencing for former Jersey City official who pleaded guilty to corruption

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
January 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

A former Jersey City deputy health director is set to be sentenced in federal court on Monday, more than three years after he pleaded guilty to accepting $72,500 from a federal informant posing as a developer.

Maher Khalil is one of the final guilty Operation Bid Rig defendants to be sentenced. Khalil admitted in September 2009 to taking bribes from informant Solomon Dwek to set up meetings with multiple Jersey City officials, and to funneling some of the cash to former councilman Mariano Vega.

Khalil is to be sentenced at 11 a.m. Monday, according to court officials. He faces more than seven years in federal prison for his role in the sting.

Vega himself pleaded guilty to accepting $30,000 in bribes and was sentenced to 30 months in prison in April 2011.

About a week after Khalil pleaded guilty, Ed Cheatam, a former Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner, admitted accepting $70,000 in bribes, but U.S. Attorney spokesman Matthew Reilly said there’s no sentencing date for him yet.

Cheatam confessed to introducing Dwek to other Bid Rig defendants, including former Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini, currently serving a three-year prison sentence for accepting $20,000 in bribes, and former assemblyman Lou Manzo, whose corruption charges were thrown out twice by a federal judge.

There are two Bid Rig defendants who have pleaded not guilty and have yet to stand trial: 2009 council candidates Lori Serrano and LaVern Webb-Washington. The two women saw their original corruption charges thrown out, and were re-indicted on fraud charges.

Serrano’s trial is set to begin March 18. Webb-Washington’s trial has been delayed as the parties negotiate a plea agreement, according to a Dec. 21, 2012 order by federal Judge Jose L. Linares.

http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index ... tencing_for_former_j.html

Posted on: 2013/1/13 19:25
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FBI informant Solomon Dwek gets 6 years in prison for role in $50M fraud scheme

By Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger
October 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

NEWARK — Solomon Dwek — the informant behind the sweeping federal corruption sting that ensnared politicians, rabbis and even a black market kidney broker — was sentenced today to six years in prison for his role in an unrelated $50 million check-kiting scheme.

He was facing nine to 11 years under the terms of his plea deal, which led to his cooperation agreement with the government.

Federal prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark to impose a lesser sentence, citing the extensive scope of his efforts in a three-year FBI undercover operation that became the largest sting operation in New Jersey history.

The U.S. Attorney’s office filed what is known as a 5K letter to Linares, detailing the assistance Dwek provided to the investigation and asking the judge to depart from federal sentencing guidelines in acknowledgement of that cooperation.

Also seeking leniency was Dwek’s attorney, who cited his client’s history of mental illness. In court filings, Dwek was said to be suffering from bipolar disorder and chronic high anxiety, characterized by “ mental excitement, racing thoughts, irritability, illusory thinking, efforts to engage in multiple activities at the same time, poor insight and inability to foresee consequences.”

Dwek faces a second sentencing date tomorrow morning in Monmouth County on additional charges involving fraudulent bank loans.

Dwek, now 40, has been behind bars since June 2011, when Linares summarily revoked his bail for lying to the FBI about a rental car that had been reported stolen in Maryland, where his family now lives. The charges in the matter were later dropped.

The son of a respected Monmouth County rabbi, Dwek was first arrested in 2006 after he deposited a worthless $25 million check on a closed account at a PNC Bank drive-through window in Eatontown, and then quickly wired out all the money. The next day, he tried to do it again at another branch in Asbury Park before the bank — only then realizing there were no funds to back the first check — abruptly stopped the transaction as the second deposit was being made.

It was later revealed that Dwek had been running a $400 million real estate Ponzi scheme before he ran out of investors and needed to quickly cover a short-term loan that had come due. Facing 30 years in jail for the bank fraud, Dwek secretly entered into a plea deal following his arrest, agreeing to cooperate with the U.S. attorney in a bid to cut the amount of time he would serve.

That cooperation led to one of the most far-reaching, and at times bizarre, undercover sting ever seen.

Wearing a hidden video surveillance camera, Dwek targeted politicians, candidates for office, religious leaders, and ultimately a man who arranged black market kidney transplants for fees of $150,000 or more.

Posing as a corrupt developer, he offered cash bribes to dozens of elected officials and candidates for office in Hudson County and elsewhere to expedite phony real estate projects — one, an unbuildable luxury condominium development purportedly located atop a chromium waste site in Jersey City near the turnpike.

At the same time, he set up former business partners, rabbis and others who helped him launder millions supposedly siphoned out of his bankrupt real estate empire — along with cash he claimed was coming out of a knock-off designer handbag operation — through religious charities and organizations.

The sting, which became known as Bid Rig III, did not come to light until July 2009, when three mayors, two legislators, five Orthodox rabbis and dozens of others were arrested in a case that made national headlines.

Lawyers for many of those charged sharply criticized the operation, claiming that Dwek set up people in an effort to get out of jail.

Dwek himself raised the ire of Linares over the course of several trials, culminating with his bail revocation after learning Dwek had misled his FBI handlers over the stolen car report. The judge, calling Dwek a “consummate defrauder and an extremely cunning liar,” said Dwek had violated the terms of his cooperation agreement with the government.

Most of those charged in the case were either convicted or pleaded guilty. Of the 46 people ultimately arrested, 32 entered guilty pleas, four were convicted at trial, two were acquitted, one died, and charges were dropped against four.

With Dwek now sentenced, the case has only a few loose ends left. Just two others are still awaiting trial while one other defendant, who disappeared the day of the July 2009 arrests, remains a fugitive.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012 ... ant_solomon_dwek_sen.html

Posted on: 2012/10/19 3:31
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Modern mafiosi?

Posted on: 2012/7/24 18:00
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Two ex-Jersey City candidates all that remains unresolved of 'Bid Rig'

July 24, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Three years ago yesterday, federal prosecutors rocked the Hudson County political establishment with their arrests of 44 politicians, public officials and rabbis on money-laundering and public corruption charges.

Dubbed Operation Bid Rig III, the sting put two Hudson County mayors behind bars, along with a Jersey City deputy mayor, a state assemblyman, the Jersey City City Council president and dozens of other public officials and failed political candidates.

After three years of guilty pleas, jury trials and acquittals, the only defendants from the sting’s political track remaining to be prosecuted are Lori Serrano and LaVern Webb-Washington, both failed council candidates in the 2009 Jersey City municipal election.

Like many of the other Bid Rig defendants, Serrano and Webb-Washington are accused of accepting cash bribes from federal informant Solomon Dwek. The two women have pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Bid Rig showed public corruption is “still a problem” in the Garden State.

“People’s perceptions about how public officials behave and their confidence in the people who serve them is undermined by the number of people who abuse the privilege and opportunity of public service to enrich themselves,” Fishman said yesterday by phone.

Since last year’s second anniversary, there have been few developments. Former Jersey City housing inspector John Guarini was sentenced to six months in prison for accepting bribes, while charges against former Jersey City health officer Joseph Castagna were dropped in January. Former Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell entered federal prison to serve his 30-month term.

Webb-Washington pleaded not guilty in September 2011 to four fraud counts, and lawyers in her case are expected back in court Aug. 15. Serrano pleaded not guilty to mail fraud in December 2011, and her lawyers in March filed a motion seeking to dismiss her case. A motion hearing in Serrano’s case was postponed last week.

Meanwhile, in February, a federal judge threw out all charges against former assemblyman and failed Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo, who was facing two counts of bribery and one count of failing to report a felony.

It was the second time since Manzo’s arrest three years ago that the judge threw out charges against him.

Fishman said he doesn’t use a conviction rate to measure his happiness with a particular operation.

“Are the investigations and prosecutions consistent with the mission of the Department of Justice ... that’s what matters,” he said.

Manzo has not been shy about his feelings regarding Bid Rig. He contends that the entire case was an abuse of power by prosecutors who were not even authorized by their superiors to run the kind of sting that landed Manzo behind bars.

Today, Manzo, 57, is living at the Jersey Shore with his mother, his money gone and his former friends and political associates not returning his calls. He’s working on a book about his case and “misconduct” in the Justice Department.

“Yeah, my case was thrown out, but I suffered worse of a punishment or as much of a punishment as if I had gone to trial and had been convicted,” he said.

http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index ... ey_city_candidates_a.html

Posted on: 2012/7/24 16:36
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So what's gonna happen to Maher Khalil? This clown who was a deputy mayor at one time and was recipient of the largest amount of money from Dwek is still bouncing around. In the meantime his child bride from Eygpt who finally got laid off despite the Healy administration's attempts to hide her in different departments and from Trenton is getting unemployment and educated on our dime. Ain't America great?

Posted on: 2012/5/2 11:20
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Re: Jersey City Government Corruption Scandal - 16 arrested
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Former Jersey City building inspector gets 6 months in prison for tax evasion

Tuesday, May 01, 2012, 6:25 PM
By Jason Grant/The Star-Ledger

JERSEY CITY — A federal judge today sentenced John Guarini, a former Jersey City building inspector, to six months in prison for evading taxes on corrupt cash payments he took in 2007 for trying to help arrange expedited approvals for a dubious condominium-development deal in Jersey City, federal authorities said.

Guarini, 62, of Bayonne had pleaded guilty in May of last year before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares to willfully subscribing to a false personal federal income tax return, authorities said. Linares also imposed the sentence today in Newark. He formerly worked for the Jersey City Housing Department, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Guarini was originally charged with extortion, after being swept up in the massive "Bid Rig III" political corruption and money laundering bust of July 2009. Big Rig III has been called the biggest federal sting in New Jersey history — and it was based on the undercover work of the now-notorious Solomon Dwek, a one-time real estate developer from Deal. Dwek had secretly taped meetings with Guarini, as well as with many New Jersey politicians and area rabbis, leading to the arrest of 46 people.

But at last May’s plea hearing, Guarini avoided pleading guilty to the extortion and instead pleaded only to a single count of tax evasion in Bid Rig III. That charge carried with it a year or less in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

At the time of the plea last May, the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to discuss the specifics of their plea agreement with Guarini, or the significant downgrading of charges. Within weeks of Guarini’s plea hearing, Dwek was jailed for lying to his FBI handlers in connection with a rental car that had been reported stolen — and many defense attorneys said at the time that Dwek no longer had much credibility as a witness for the government.

Guarini first met Solomon Dwek in the empty boiler room of a Jersey City apartment building. There, according to a secret FBI recording of the meeting he took a white, FedEx envelope stuffed with $20,000 in cash.

"Take care of me. I'll take care of you," said Dwek, an undercover federal informant at the time, who was posing as a real estate developer, according to FBI transcripts of the meeting.

"Absolutely," Guarini replied, the transcripts say.
At his plea hearing last May, Guarini told then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kanefsky he took $20,000 from Dwek to help obtain zoning approvals from other Jersey City public officials for the purported luxury condo development on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City.

The site turned out to be a chromium-contaminated vacant lot located alongside the New Jersey Turnpike.

Guarini also admitted last May that he accepted another $10,000 from Dwek intended as a payoff for Maher Khalil, a former Jersey City health official who has already pleaded guilty in the case. Instead of passing along the money,

Guarini said he kept the cash for himself and did not disclose the money on his 2008 personal income tax return.

Unwittingly, Guarini unwittingly played a key role in the federal government’s Bid Rig III investigation, shifting it from what had primarily been a money laundering probe into a wide-ranging political corruption case.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012 ... sey_city_building_in.html

Posted on: 2012/5/1 23:48
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Corruption charges against former Jersey City health officer dropped

Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 2:01 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

Federal corruption charges against former Jersey City health officer Joseph Castagna has been dropped, officials said today.

Federal corruption charges filed against former Jersey City Health Officer Joseph Castagna in 2009 have been dropped, official said.

"We are very pleased," said Castagna's attorney John Coyle today of the notice filed by federal authorities in Newark Monday stating the single count against his client had been dismissed.

Castagna was one of 46 people arrested in the massing Bid Rig III probe. He was suspended by the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services after his arrest and Coyle said he retired about a year ago.

Castagna was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under the Hobbs Act and federal officials alleged he had taking $5,000 from federal informant Solomon Dwek, who was posing as a corrupt developer.

Louis Manzo, a former state assemblyman and a failed candidate for Jersey City mayor, was also charged in Bid Rig III under the Hobbs Act, which applies only to public officials.

Manzo argued that he held no office during the time period of the allegations, was merely a candidate for mayor, and was not a public official. A federal judge in Newark agreed and his ruling was upheld by a higher court in Philadelphia. Although Manzo faced additional charges, the ruling eliminated Hobbs Act charges against himself and others in his situation.

The charge against Castagna was dropped as a result of the ruling in Manzo's case.

Castagna is considered to have been a city employee and not a public official.

After the Hobbs act charges against Manzo were dropped, federal prosecutors went before the grand jury again and indicted him in different charges. They can attempt to indict Castagna on a different charge should they chose too.

Coyle said he does not expect to see a superseding indictment against his client, but noted that it may depend on how successful prosecutors are in Manzo's prosecution on the superseding charges against him.

Castagna still has state charges pending against him based on allegations he sold unauthorized licenses for food vendors in Jersey city and pocket the money. He pleaded not guilty to the state charges.

City officials say they are trying to resolve the problem of the excessive number of vendor licenses that have been issued.

Castagna chose not to comment today.

Posted on: 2012/1/11 15:21
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Joe Cardwell trial ?
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The trial of JCMUA commisioner/Senator Sandy Cunnigham confidante Joe Cardwell was to begin on Nov. 8 but there has been nothing in the news. What happened ?

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Federal court filing cites wiretaps showing federal informant Dwek's requests for meetings were rebuffed by Bayonne's mayor and Jersey City Councilmen Gaughan and Brennan

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A series of wiretaps cited in a federal court filing reveal that a number of politicians in Hudson County rebuffed overtures from Solomon Dwek, the government informant at the center of last year's massive corruption sting.

According to filings submitted on behalf of former Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith - who claims he was entrapped by Dwek and government agents - Dwek tried to approach Bayonne Mark Smith, as well as Jersey City Councilmen Bill Gaughan and Peter Brennan. But they didn't bite.

The 81-page motion filed by Smith on Sept. 9 as part of an effort to have federal charges against him dismissed indicates that Dwek tried to approach Mark Smith, Gaughan and Brennan through two intermediaries - former Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner Edward Cheatam and political operative Jack Shaw.

Shaw died shortly after his arrest in July 2009 as part of Operation Bid Rig and Cheatam was among the first to plead guilty.

Steve Gallo, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith's chief of staff, said Shaw tried to set up a meeting with Dwek but "wasn't successful."

Brennan said Cheatam approached him about meeting with Dwek, but he declined when money was mentioned. "They were trying to get every council person in my opinion," Brennan said.

Gaughan said Friday he met with Cheatam, Shaw and Dwek, but became suspicious when Dwek couldn't provide specific details about his purported Jersey City development. After Dwek tried to give him $5,000 through an intermediary, Gaughan said he cut off contact.

"They don't ever talk about the guys that say 'no,'" Gaughan said. "They talk about the ones that unfortunately succumbed to the temptation."

According to published reports, Councilwoman Viola Richardson also refused to meet with Dwek.

L. Harvey Smith maintains his innocence and is headed to trial Nov. 29.

Posted on: 2010/9/22 5:22
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OK Leona, Tell the truth about your boss (our mayor) and maybe they can cut a deal.

Posted on: 2010/7/27 13:20
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Judge considers bail request for ex-Jersey City deputy mayor during corruption appeal

Monday, July 26, 2010, 6:10 PM
Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger

JERSEY CITY — Former Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini may not have to start serving a three-year prison term next week on federal bribery charges.

U.S. District Court Judge Jose Linares said during a hearing in Newark today he may extend her scheduled Aug. 2 surrender date until he decides the broader issue of whether Beldini, 76, may remain free on bail indefinitely as she appeals her February conviction on charges she accepted $20,000 in corrupt campaign contributions.

Defense attorney Brian Neary argued Beldini should remain free on the $100,000 bail she posted before her conviction because of her age, poor health and the likelihood she will be successful in her appeal. The appeal, in part, is based on recent federal court rulings shaping the law on corrupt campaign contributions.

Neary said Beldini’s trial jury should have been given specific legal instructions by the judge explaining they must find she willingly and knowingly engaged in corruption in order to find her guilty of bribery.

Beldini accepted $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions for the 2009 campaign fund of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who was not charged. But during the Democrat deputy mayor’s nine-day trial, Neary argued that she did not profit from the money and was duped by an informant into making seemingly incriminating statements.

"There is a significant question that deserves review on appeal. ... It’s not just whimsical or far-fetched," Neary said of the appeal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Moser said that, even if an appeals court agrees with Neary, it is not substantive enough a flaw in the trial for the appeals court to overturn the conviction or order a new trial.

"A jury of 12 people found without any doubt that the defendant acted corruptly," she added.

Beldini, a one-time burlesque dancer, was the first person to go to trial of the 46 state legislators, mayors, political operatives and rabbis arrested by federal authorities last year in a sprawling money-laundering and bribery probe called "Operation Bid Rig." The central figure was a federal informant, Solomon Dwek, a confessed real estate swindler who posed as a developer offering pay-offs in exchange for building approvals. Beldini was convicted on two bribery counts and acquitted of the most serious offenses of conspiracy to commit extortion and two counts of attempted extortion.

Posted on: 2010/7/26 22:23
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Judge rejects former Jersey City councilman's bid to delay prison sentence on corruption

The Jersey Journal
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NEWARK - A judge yesterday denied a bid to delay the prison sentence of a former Jersey City councilman who pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Philip Kenny, one of 46 defendants in New Jersey's largest corruption case, was to report to prison to start serving a one-year sentence.


He resigned in October after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit extortion. Kenny admitted he accepted $5,000 for his council campaign from a man he promised to help with a city development project.

The man turned out to be an undercover government informant at the center of New Jersey's largest corruption investigation into political corruption and money laundering.

Kenny had sought a delay of his sentence based on a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Jose Linares that some of the defendants were improperly charged under a federal law that prohibits misuse of public office.

Linares dismissed charges brought under the Hobbs Act against Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo and his campaign manager and brother, Ronald, ruling the act didn't apply to them because neither held office at the time their alleged crimes occurred.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed notice it will appeal Linares' decision.

The ruling has prompted several defendants who have already pleaded guilty to file motions to have their cases delayed pending the outcome of the appeal.

In rejecting Kenny's petition, Linares wrote that the ruling didn't apply to the former councilman's case.

Separately, a lawyer for former Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini yesterday filed an appeal of the three-year prison term Linares sentenced her to on June 14.

Beldini was found guilty at trial of accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions from the undercover informant. She was acquitted of more serious extortion charges.

Posted on: 2010/6/22 15:26
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Judge postpones sentence of ex-Jersey City candidate charged in N.J. corruption sting
By Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger
May 25, 2010, 7:06PM

JERSEY CITY — A federal judge in Newark today indefinitely postponed the sentence of a former Jersey City council candidate who pleaded guilty to extortion charges similar to those recently dismissed against two others arrested in last year’s massive FBI sting.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares issued an order suspending the June 7 date LaVern Webb-Washington, 61, was supposed to begin serving her one-year sentence. She pleaded guilty in March to extortion, saying she took $15,000 in illegal campaign contributions in exchange for promising to support a development project if she were elected.

Webb-Washington’s lawyer had asked Linares to put her sentence on hold after the judge dismissed extortion charges last week against former Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo and his brother, Ronald Manzo.

The judge ruled they cannot be charged under a federal extortion statute because they did not hold public office at the time of the alleged offense. Federal prosecutors have said they will appeal Linares’ ruling, which may apply to several other defendants in the case.

All told, 46 people were charged in the sprawling money-laundering and bribery sting. Seventeen have pleaded guilty, and two were convicted by juries.

Posted on: 2010/5/26 19:43
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Phil Kenny 'goes away'....

JJ LINK...

Quote:
Kenny replaced Mary Spinello on the City Council in early 2009 when Spinello stepped down to take the helm at the Jersey City Parking Authority. He was elected last May to the same post, but resigned after he was charged in July.


They forgot to mention that he was hand-picked to replace Spinello by Healy.

Posted on: 2010/5/4 17:32
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Ex-Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III is expected to plead guilty in massive N.J. corruption bust

By Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger
April 19, 2010, 9:45PM

HOBOKEN -- Peter J. Cammarano III, the former mayor of Hoboken who spent just three weeks in office before being caught in last year’s sweeping FBI sting, is scheduled to plead guilty Tuesday before a federal judge in Newark, according to two people briefed on the planned proceeding.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010 ... oken_mayor_peter_cam.html

Posted on: 2010/4/20 2:26
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Brooklyn men admit funding money-laundering in N.J. corruption sting
By Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger
April 14, 2010, 6:06PM

Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger

Two New York men arrested in last year’s massive FBI sting pleaded guilty in federal court in Trenton today, saying they supplied cash to a money-laundering operation allegedly run by a Monmouth County rabbi.

The guilty pleas by Yeshaye Ehrental, 66, and Schmuel Cohen, 25, marked two of the first significant developments on the money-laundering end of the sprawling investigation that led to charges against rabbis, mayors and state legislators.

In separate hearings before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano, Ehrental and Cohen said they illegally supplied hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim, who is accused of using religious charities to launder $1.5 million for a government informant, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
Ben Haim’s lawyer, Lawrence S. Lustberg, declined to comment today. During a bail hearing last month, the attorney indicated that the rabbi may also plead guilty, saying he had been engaging in "constructive" negotiations with prosecutors.

Ben Haim was among five rabbis charged in the epic sting. The probe hinged on Solomon Dwek, a former rabbinical student from the borough of Deal who began secretly recording conversations for prosecutors after being charged with bank fraud in 2006. His work ensnared 46 people, including politicians charged with taking bribes and rabbis accused of laundering money.

Ehrental and Cohen, an Israeli citizen, are the 15th and 16th people to plead guilty in the case. One defendant, former Jersey City Deputy mayor Leona Beldini, was convicted.

During today’s hearings, Ehrental and Cohen said they worked a contact in Israel to supply Ben Haim with cash, which authorities say the rabbi used to launder checks for Dwek. In some cases, the informant claimed he needed to hide the money from a bankruptcy proceeding. Others times, Dwek said the checks came from criminal schemes, including the sale of knock-off Gucci and Prada handbags.

Ben Haim allegedly deposited Dwek’s checks into the accounts of his charity organizations. Then, authorities say, the rabbi wired the money to a man in Israel. He took 1.5 percent, then wired the rest to accomplices in New York, including Ehrental and Cohen, who funneled it back to back to Ben Haim and Dwek, authorities said.

Ehrental, whose office desk was allegedly stuffed with $100 and $20 bills, said he gave between $200,000 and $400,000 in cash to Ben Haim. Cohen said he passed along between $400,000 and $1 million, on one occasion stuffing cash into a Cinnabon Crunch cereal box before handing it to Dwek, authorities said.

Ehrental and Cohen pleaded guilty to operating unlicensed money transmitting businesses. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Ehrental faces between 12 and 18 months in prison, assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Nakly said. Cohen faces 18 to 24 months, Nakly said. They are scheduled to be sentenced July 26.

Posted on: 2010/4/15 8:53
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Former Jersey City councilman Philip Kenny to learn penalty tomorrow for taking $5,000 in bribes
Wednesday, April 07, 2010

NEWARK - A federal judge will sentence former Jersey City councilman Philip Kenny tomorrow.

Kenny pleaded guilty on Oct. 6 before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right and admitted taking $5,000 in bribes.

Elected to the City Council Ward B seat last May, Kenny is the former "operations coordinator" for the Hudson County Board of Freeholders.

He admitted taking bribes from FBI cooperating witness Solomon Dwek in exchange for promises to help Dwek, a real estate developer, get approvals for a proposed condominium building on Garfield Avenue.

MELISSA HAYES

Posted on: 2010/4/7 13:12
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Laverne Webb-Washington sentenced to a year and one day in jail.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... taking_bribes_jersey.html

Posted on: 2010/3/18 18:52
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Huh. First Vega's trial was pushed back to the fall and now Kenny's sentencing is delayed at least a month. I wonder....

Sentencing of former Jersey City councilman Kenny in massive corruption sting is postponed until April

By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
March 04, 2010, 2:22PM

Former Jersey City Councilman Philip J. Kenny was to be sentenced tomorrow on federal extortion charges but the hearing has been pushed back again and is now scheduled for early April, officials said today.

The newly elected councilman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right in Newark on Oct. 6 and admitted taking $5,000 in bribes when snared as part of the massive New Jersey corruption probe that broke last summer.

The former "operations coordinator" for the Hudson County Board of Freeholders admitted taking bribes from FBI informant Solomon Dwek in exchange for his promise of official help once elected in getting approvals for Dwek's fictitious development project on Garfield Avenue.

The former councilman said at a first meeting he agreed to accept $5,000 broken down into two $2,500 contributions from "straw donors" to his Friends of Phil Kenny war chest in exchange for future favors. At a second meeting he accepted the two checks, knowing it was illegal.

Kenny will be sentenced on April 8 at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. District Court Jose Linares in the Martin Luther King Jr. Court Hours in Newark. He has been out on a $50,000 unsecured bail since his plea hearing.

Kenny has been a state Democratic committeeman, West Side ward leader for the Obama presidential campaign, trustee of the Lincoln Park Little League, and an usher and Eucharistic minister at St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City.

As a result of his guilty plea he will no longer be allowed to hold public office, vote or even sit on a jury.

Posted on: 2010/3/4 22:08
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Ex-assemblyman L. Harvey Smith indicted; feds say he took $15,000 from Dwek

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A grand jury indicted former assemblyman L. Harvey Smith yesterday on charges he accepted $15,000 in bribes from a government informant.

Smith, of Jersey City, served until last month. He did not seek re-election last year.

Smith was among the dozens of people arrested and charged in the massive federal political corruption and international money-laundering sting in July.

Smith is accused of accepting $5,000 in bribes from the informant, Solomon Dwek, through Edward Cheatam, a former Hudson County affirmative action officer and Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner.

Cheatam has already pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Dwek, a failed developer who was caught trying to cash bogus $25 million checks. Dwek secretly recorded his meetings with officials during which he offered them cash for their assistance in furthering a Garfield Avenue project he said he was planning to build.

Some of those tapes were shown in federal court over the past two weeks in the corruption trial of suspended Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, who is also accused of taking bribes from Dwek.

Smith allegedly asked Cheatam to convert the $5,000 into contributions to his "Smith Team" campaign fund. Smith ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Jersey City in May.

According to the indictment, Smith offered to help Dwek determine the status of environmental issues with the proposed Garfield Avenue site and said he could "get the ball rolling."

The indictment charges Smith with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion and two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, each of which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.

He is also charged with two counts of receiving corrupt cash payments, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence and $250,000 fine, and one county of money laundering, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence and $500,000 fine.

MELISSA HAYES

Posted on: 2010/2/10 19:09
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SMITH INDICTED

By Matt Friedman | February 9th, 2010 - 5:07pm

A federal grand jury indicted former Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith (D-Jersey City) on five counts of extortion, accepting corrupt payments and money laundering for allegedly taking $15,000 in bribes from an FBI informant, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today.

The indictment alleges that Smith, then a candidate for Jersey City mayor, took a $5,000 bribe from informant Solomon Dwek through Edward Cheatam, another corruption case defendant, in exchange for help with purported real estate developments and converted it into contributions to his campaign account.

Smith allegedly made calls on behalf of Dwek and told him that he could "get the ball rolling" with the Department of Environmental Protection on environmental issues at a purported Garfield Avenue development site in Jersey City.

At a July meeting, which took place two months after Smith placed third in the mayoral election, Dwek told Smith he was “generous.”

“[a]ccording to your standards you’re generous,” the indictment quotes Smith as answering him.

After the meeting, the indictment says that Dwek gave Smith another $10,000 to help his development projects during his waning days as an assemblyman.

“Harvey, I don’t want you to call me a cheap skunk anymore,” Dwek told Smith.

Smith remained in the assembly until January, though he was stripped of pay, benefits and his committee assignments and did not show up to any sessions after his arrest. He is a former Jersey City council president and acting mayor.

http://www.politickernj.com/matt-friedman/36725/smith-indicted

Posted on: 2010/2/10 14:37
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It looks like this is going to come down to what the jurors think "flipping the pile" means. Beldini's lawyer says it was said in jest. Clearly it was a favor being returned in exchange for a donation.

Posted on: 2010/2/9 19:55
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Jury has asked for transcripts and definition of bribery:

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... dini_jury_asks_judge.html

Posted on: 2010/2/9 19:41
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Quote:

GrovePath wrote:
Through his spokeswoman yesterday, Healy declined to comment as the investigation is ongoing and the trial is in progress.


So we can look forward to a full comment by the mayor regarding Beldini once the trial is over? And now that fifty days have passed since the mayor said reolution of the Vega situation would occur "I'm the next ten days" maybe he can get to that too.

Deny, deny, deny. Deflect, deflect, deflect. Lead or get the hell out of the way, Jerry. Being Mayor of JC isn't your birthright.

Posted on: 2010/2/9 16:32
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'Not one dollar goes' to the mayor or Beldini

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

NEWARK - Government informant Solomon Dwek was using Leona Beldini in an effort to snare Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Beldini defense lawyer Brian Neary told the jury hearing her corruption case yesterday.

Make no mistake, Neary said in his closing argument, "the target of Solomon Dwek, con man par excellence, is Mayor Jerry Healy."

Healy, who is on the tapes made surreptitiously by Dwek as part of a wide-ranging government sting, hasn't been charged and maintains he did nothing wrong.

"It is very important that when we talk about the cash corruption at the essence of this case, the $400,000, not one dollar goes to Jerry Healy, and . not one dollar goes to Leona Beldini," Neary said.

Through his spokeswoman yesterday, Healy declined to comment as the investigation is ongoing and the trial is in progress.

MICHAELANGELO CONTE

Posted on: 2010/2/9 16:21
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