Letter to the editor:
An Elizabeth-based newspaper has reported details of a conspiracy between Joseph P. Cryan, a former state chairman of the New Jersey Democratic Party, and ex-Governor Chris Christie, which explains why the legislator was never prosecuted for stealing from charity groups and exchanging government grants for political donations.
Cryan, who purchased a home in Pennsylvania a few months after he was elected to the Senate to represent Elizabeth, Union, Hillside and Roselle, apparently got caught accepting illegal campaign contributions from tax-exempt charities while Christie was the federal prosecutor overseeing New Jersey and contemplating his campaign for governor.
“The contributions, which totaled more than $3,000, were given to Mr. Cryan by two nonprofit groups — the Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County and a residential hospice called Center for Hope. The organizations have received about $1.5 million in special grants,” said a New York Times story published on March 28, 2007. “Because the groups are nonprofit agencies, the contributions would constitute a violation of federal tax laws.”
“The FBI investigated those criminal contributions, but instead of prosecuting Cryan and the charities that gave him money, there’s speculation that then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie cut a deal with the political boss,” according to NJTODAY.NET. “As the Democratic State Committee chairman at the time, Cryan was in a position to enable his contributors to avoid jail time and fines in exchange for his agreement to shave votes off of Gov. Jon Corzine’s margin of victory in Democratic strongholds.”
As state Democratic Party chairman, Cryan was uniquely able to backpedal voter turnout operations in New Jersey, suggesting that he conspired with Christie to quash the criminal investigation into his unlawful money by selling out Democrats and helping the Republican become governor.
For example, Corzine won Union County by only 12,098 votes, while Barack Obama carried the county in his presidential election one year earlier by 62,649 ballots.
After the scheme worked and Christie defeated the Democratic governor, Cryan maintained a secret alliance with the Republican, providing key votes to enact some extreme Republican laws.
In particular, Cryan provided the deciding vote in June 2020, to enact Christie’s first round of draconian budget cuts, which wiped out federal funding for women’s health clinics, ended property tax rebates for struggling homeowners, slashed spending on education and put hundreds of teachers, police, and firefighters on unemployment.
At the time, Christie said the state could not afford the services when he cut the funds shortly after taking office in 2010, but while running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, he said he did it because he’s “pro-life.”
As a result of the spending cuts made by Cryan and Christie, six of 58 Planned Parenthood clinics in New Jersey closed and 14 reduced hours, 2010 property tax rebates were eliminated and New Jerseyans suffered the highest property tax increase since 2007 with a jump of 4.1 percent.
Cryan was tagged as a Republican sympathizer in 2011, when the Union County Democrats for Change primary slate was headed by Jerome Dunn, a popular Black school administrator from Hillside.
Dunn and his running mates—Tony Monteiro, the Elizabeth school board president and Fourth Ward Councilman Carlos Cedeno—came close to knocking off the incumbents by revealing that although he was once a state Democratic Party leader and served as Assembly Majority Leader, Cryan’s was the deciding vote that gave life to the Christie budget.
“They allowed the millionaire’s tax to expire,” Monteiro said of Cryan, explaining mailings he sent questioning the Union Democrat’s party loyalty. “I favor putting a millionaire’s tax back in place.”
While Cryan’s opponent made a strong case that his behavior is emblematic of the GOP back in 2011, more recently, prominent Republican in Roselle defended Cryan’s failure to reopen the Elizabeth the Motor Vehicle Commission office that closed in 2010, in a recent news report.
Michelle Brown, Christie’s top aide at the time, was with the former federal prosecutor himself when documents were put in her hands proving that Cryan took illegal donations from the two charity groups and that the criminal contributions were followed by tax money transfers granted to the organizations by Union Township officials.
A subsequent report in the Star Ledger showed that FBI agents found more illegal playoffs to Cryans charitable donors but no charges were filed by the US Attorney.
The law proscribes stealing from charity groups by taking political donations, but Cryan has done that repeatedly. It also expressly prohibits using money from foreign interests to promote an American political agenda.
The report said Imbrium Systems is a foreign corporation prohibited that is from making political expenditures to influence American elections, but Cryan took money from the business on September 24, 2007, and even listed their Toronto, Ontario address on his financial disclosure report.
The Senator’s campaign organization also accepted two illegal contributions from the McNany Charitable Foundation Inc., a group funded by tax-deductible donations, the most recent on July 31, 2019 and one before that on April 12, 2016.
Cryan has never been very selective about from whom he takes money.
Genovese crime family associate Albert Cernadas, Sr. was among the crooked Cryan’s earliest campaign contributors. Cernadas contributed $875 to crooked Cryan’s 2005 campaign for the General Assembly: http://njdems.com/assets/CryanMobMoney.pdf
Among Cryan’s other campaign contributors are Philip Morris and Reynolds, the two biggest cigarette makers gave him almost $15,000. Exxon. ConocoPhillips and other corporations that are largely responsible for toxic waste contamination in New Jersey and global climate change have also invested heavily in the crooked politician’s campaigns.