Here is a small sample of the joys of living in the Garden State.
Former State Trooper Alleges Conspiracy to Obtain Confidential State Police Records for Political Advantage.
Vincent Bellaran, a former lieutenant in the New Jersey State Police, who in 1997 was the first black state trooper to win a lawsuit against the State Police for discrimination, alleged that in February 1999, he had been recruited by another State Trooper, â€œTommyâ€ DeFeo to take part in a scheme to obtain and use official state police records to discredit then Governor Christie Whitman and to advance the gubernatorial aspirations of then candidate Jim McGreevey. Bellaran further charged that the person orchestrating the effort was former State Senator John Lynch, a mentor of then candidate, now Governor, Jim McGreevey.
The records (which numbered in the thousands and which were obtained from locked State Police offices in the evenings and copied) were used in connection with two politically charged legislative hearings concerning allegations of racial profiling by the State Police. DeFeo has conceded that he entered State Police offices at night and copied thousands of documents, which would then turn over to Bellaran, who, in turn would funnel information and documents to State Senator Lynch for use at the hearings.
Bellaran said that, with time, it became clear to him, that the real purpose of the activity was not to end the alleged practice of racial profiling, but rather was to help win the election for Jim McGreevey and a promotion for DeFeo.
According to Bellaran, the documents were also used outside the hearings. In one instance, they were used to discredit the son of a former advisor to Governor Whitman, and in another instance, they were used to discredit Governor Whitmanâ€™s preferred candidate for the job of superintendent of the State Police.
Lynch and DeFeo deny any wrongdoing and insist that their only motive in obtaining the documents was to remedy what they saw as racial profiling by the State Police.
It is interesting to note that, prior to Governor McGreeveyâ€™s taking office on January 15, 2002, DeFeo was a lieutenant. In two years, he was promoted to the rank of major, then to lieutenant colonel, and recently has been made â€œdeputy superintendent.â€
Governor McGreevey, through his spokesperson, denies having anything to do with any of this.
Former Governor Whitman is hopping mad about it all and has called for a Federal Investigation into the matter.
In my view, this has a very bad smell. In 1999, Governor Whitmanâ€™s Republican administration was taking a lot of heat over allegations of racial profiling on the part of the State Police (Iâ€™ll save the issue of â€œracial profilingâ€ for a future post), and candidate McGreevey could only benefit from the heat being turned up. I am certain that both legislative investigative bodies had subpoena power and could have directed the production of State Police personnel records.
As such, DeFeoâ€™s entering into locked State Police offices in the night to copy files and then deliver them to the home of Bellaran (who was out of work on â€œstress leaveâ€ during this time, after having won a half million dollar judgment for discrimination) for ultimate delivery to a state senator (McGreeveyâ€™s mentor) to be used for questionable purposes seems highly irregular, if not downright illegal. One can also not help but notice how DeFeoâ€™s career has skyrocketed following Jim McGreeveyâ€™s election.
Bellaran has been contacted to the State Attorney General concerning his story.
Another Jersey Mayor Jailed.
Former mayor of the Town of Irvington, Sara Bost, reported to a West Virginia federal prison camp, after having lost her request for bail pending the appeal of her conviction for witness tampering in a corruption investigation.
Corruption? New Jersey? No way!!
A New Problem for the New Jersey Bear Hunt.
New Jerseyâ€™s black bear hunt, the first in more than three decades, which was set to begin on December 8, has run into another roadblock. Animal rights groups, which have vigorously opposed the hunt since its approval in July, have filed an action in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. to prevent the hunt from taking place on the 67,000 acres of land in the state that make up the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
The environmentalists argue that hunting would violate federal environmental laws because no environmental impact study of the hunt has been done. If the suit is successful, it will remove approximately twenty percent of the area in which the hunt was anticipated to take place.
In my view, this has little to do with a concern for environmental impact and everything to do with blocking the bear hunt by any means necessary. The hunt has been studied to death by State Fish and Game Counsel and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. I am not a hunter, and I wish there was a better way to reduce the bear population, but there really isnâ€™t.
I think there is a fair chance that the hunt will not happen, and, even if it does, I expect that the anti-hunt groups will be out in force next Monday trying to thwart the hunt. If they decide to run around in the woods among the pissed off hunters to scare the bears away (or herd them into the Delaware Water Gap), I hope they wear very bright colors.
New Jersey…Only the strong survive.