NEW JERSEY-They treat the business no differently than an organized crime syndicate, but in New Jersey, it’s completely legal. Gone are the days when politicians take brown envelopes under the table filled with cash. Now, they take perks, such as politically appointed jobs, jobs for their wives, family and spouses and financial-political campaign contributions in return for high-paying professional public contracts for the bosses who are the ones who pull the levers of government these days.
Sitting in a meeting with lawyers, engineers, accountants, and politicians these days in Ocean County is like sitting at the table of a 1980’s Genovese crime family sit-down. They even try to look and speak the part of mafia crime enforcers and bosses.
They use words and terms that are commonplace in television mafia crime operations. If you’re upset with the way a politician is treating you, you can call a local boss and ask for a sit-down. If you’re a good soldier during a campaign, they “bring you to the table”. If you go against the crime families, they’ll “starve you out” or much worse, they can whack you, stripping you of your political jobs and even firing your friends and family from positions that were previously given in township or county government.
It happens every day, all over Ocean County. These street hustlers, disguised as accountants, engineers, lawyers, mayors and councilmen across our county are making big financial deals and enriching all of those around them. What makes it worse is that it’s all completely legal and it’s being done with money collected through your own town’s property taxes.
We’re not talking local neighborhood hoodlums pushing a few thousand dollars here and there, or a builder or developer shoving a brown envelope under your door. We’re talking about a legalized crime syndicate that pushes tens of millions of public money through the system in Ocean County each year to the new public mafioso.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll examine and detail how this operation works from the ground up and how it starts in your own town and works its way all the way up to the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
How mayors, councilman, and local political party bosses feed public money up the ranks of the syndicate in return for public jobs for their family members, political appointments, official political recognition as everyone works their way up the food chain.
That climb for many starts as a lowly campaign worker making phone calls and soliciting financial donations and ends with either a publicly elected position or a lucrative publicly funded financial reward. Some get to jump ahead of the line because one of their relatives is already a “made man”.
In the coming weeks, we’ll look at how this syndicate operates in Jackson, Toms River, Brick, Manchester, Lacey and other towns around the county and how some towns are fighting back this year and feeling the heat for doing so.
Our first feature will be to explore the new organized public syndicate boss, Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman and his political enforcers, Attorneys Jerry Dasti and Greg McGuckin and Ocean County Freeholder Virginia Haines who have spent the past six months lobbying and pressuring rank and file Republicans, mayors, councilmen, and others into falling in line behind the new boss. Promises were made, money was offered and money was withheld from campaigns that did not fall in line behind the new regime.
In each segment, we will reveal who’s giving them money, who’s giving the jobs, taking the jobs and who is using fear and intimidation to make sure it was all properly divided up amongst the bosses, captains and rising stars in the syndicate at last week’s annual reorganization meetings. Later we’ll divulge how some public officials essentially paid for their seat at the table in the legalized crime syndicate.
Stay Tuned as we detail the syndicates operating under our noses every day.