Back in January, when Governor Corzine named Zulima Farber to the post of New Jersey’s Attorney General, Ms. Farber’s horrible driving record* became a subject of some discussion questioning the wisdom of naming her to be the chief law enforcement officer in the state. At that time, the Asbury Park Press opined that Ms. Farber was “grossly unqualified for the job.” The then-brand-new Governor was given the benefit of the doubt by most of the press and the public as well.
It only took about five months for things to go sideways when over the past Memorial Day weekend, Ms. Farber’s boyfriend, Hamlet Goore, was stopped by police at a seat-belt checkpoint and was found to be driving an unregistered van, and, according to the computer record available the police officer at the time of the stop, was driving while on the revoked list.** The officer summoned a tow truck to impound the vehicle, which is appropriate under the circumstances and is exactly what would happen to you or me.
However, if you happen to be the live-in boyfriend of the State Attorney General it doesn’t work out that way. While stopped, Mr. Goore called Ms. Farber, who shortly thereafter appeared on the scene in an official state-owned SUV driven by her official state chauffeur — a state police lieutenant. Witnesses report that the emergency lights on the state vehicle were flashing (although Ms. Farber disputes the part about the lights).
The chief law enforcement officer’s appearance at the scene with her state trooper driver in tow resulted in the tow truck being turned back, the arresting officer’s attempts to void two citations, and Mr. Goore’s being permitted to drive the vehicle to the house he shares with Ms. Farber. Link
Bad enough? No. It gets worse.
It seems that Mr. Goore, in fact, had paid the fine in 2005 to have his license reinstated, but there apparently was a screw up by the Motor Vehicle Commission in getting that information into the system. For regular peeps, that would mean a trip to a local Motor Vehicle Commission office get the mess sorted out.
However, if you happen to be the live-in boyfriend of the State Attorney General it doesn’t work out that way. Ms. Farber called her friend Angel Estrada, who is a Union County Freeholder and the Manager of the state Motor Vehicle Commission’s office in Elizabeth*** Mr. Estrada shepherded Mr. Goore through the process, which included making a phone call to the Motor Vehicle Commission’s Headquarters in Trenton and waiting on line with Mr. Estrada to get things properly sorted out. Link
Ms. Farber has apologized but refuses to resign, claiming (with a straight face) that she never sought any special treatment for her boyfriend.
Governor Corzine has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate all this, an exercise that will cost the New Jersey Taxpayers approximately $75,000 per month.
And the farookin’ beat goes on.
* Ms. Farber had 12 speeding tickets, one accident ticket, four bench warrants issued for her arrest for failure to appear in court, and three license suspensions. Link
** Mr. Goore’s driving record is also nothing to write home about, his license having been suspended ten times for various offenses, including excessive parking tickets and driving without insurance (mandatory license suspension in Jersey). Link
*** Yes, you read that right. Mr. Estrada is a Union County Freeholder AND the Manager of a State Motor Vehicle Office. This is, after all, New Jersey.