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Who is funding Ferriero

Bergen County Democratic Cheif Jospeh Ferriero

Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero has collected more than $195,000 in a private fund from donors — including county contractors and public employees — interested in securing his position as the leader of the county party.

Ferriero has maintained and controlled a fund called “Ferriero for County Chairman” since 2004, according to four years of disclosure forms he filed with the Internal Revenue Service last month.

The fund — which is not subject to state campaign disclosure laws because Ferriero is not a publicly elected official — collected tens of thousands in unlimited donations from some of the county’s and state’s biggest professional contractors. They include partners in the Teaneck law firm of DeCotiis Fitzpatrick Cole & Wisler, PMK Group and Neglia Engineering.

New Jerseyans bear heaviest state, local tax burden in nation

New Jersey taxpayers bear the heaviest state and local tax burden in the country for the third year in a row, according to a report released Wednesday by a fiscal policy organization in Washington D.C.

The Tax Foundation found the state's residents paid 11.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes. The national average is 9.7 percent.

Taxpayers in New York and Connecticut aren't far behind. Residents in those states pay 11.7 percent and 11.1 percent of their income to state and local taxes respectively.

They are the only three states where taxpayers give up more than 11 percent of their income in state-local taxes, according to the report.

A dose of reality on Hoboken woes

Last week, Hoboken Mayor David Roberts came up with his proposals for a spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, one that faces a $10.5 million deficit.

Of course, any fiscal blueprint for Hoboken will have to be approved by the state Department of Community Affairs, which is actually running the show in the Mile Square City. The state has assumed control of the city's finances after the municipal government failed to approve the last budget. This newspaper believes the failure was a combination of inept administration and City Council political grandstanding, a fatal combination for local taxpayers.

Mayor Roberts' 2009 spending plan

Selling the automated garage, laying off municipal workers, more parking meters -- Hoboken Mayor Dave Roberts introduced his plan to patch up Hoboken's broken budget today.

Roberts said he will introduce his Spending Plan for Fiscal Year '09 at tonight's City Council meeting. He'll need the state of New Jersey's approval before passing anything.

"Anything that I'm presenting needs the state of New Jersey's approval and needs the municipal council's approval as well," said Roberts. "We're not arrogantly ignoring the fact that the state is involved. We understand that all of this will have to be ordained by the state of New Jersey but there's no harm in rolling up our sleeves and creating some new ideas."

What are some aspects of Roberts' three-part spending plan?

Feds launch probe of Carla Katz

Union leader Carla Katz

Federal authorities have opened an investigation of Carla Katz, the ousted leader of New Jersey's largest state worker union and former girlfriend of Gov. Jon Corzine.

The inquiry into her union activities came into public view Tuesday afternoon when federal agents served a subpoena on the national headquarters of the Communications Workers of America in Washington, D.C., according to three people familiar with the subpoena.

Investigators are seeking records connected to Katz's management of Local 1034, the largest state-worker union, said the sources, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the probe. Authorities are focusing on an internal CWA probe that recently accused Katz of misappropriating union money, the sources said.

Feds step up inquiry of Bergen Democrat. Christie seeks all files on lawyer and agency

United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie

Federal investigators have intensified their investigation of powerful Democratic powerbroker Joseph Ferriero, issuing subpoenas for all documents related to his work for a public authority long criticized for political patronage.

The law firm of Ferriero, who serves as Bergen County Democratic chairman, has earned millions of dollars from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission since he became its chief counsel in 2002.

Earlier this month, investigators from U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie's office delivered two subpoenas to the commission, which operates one of the country's largest sewage treatment plants. One sought billing records and all other documents pertaining to Scarinci Hollenbeck, the prominent Bergen County law firm in which Ferriero is a partner.

The other demanded all records related to Ferriero and two other entities: a consulting firm he established in 2001 called SVC Consulting LLC, and Vision Media Marketing, a Secaucus-based public relations firm that has a contract with the commission.

Judge to hospital: shine a light

Judge to hospital: shine a light

07/14/2008 Hoboken Reporter

Mason wins lawsuit regarding public meeting violations

Hudson County Superior Court Judge John O'Shaughnessy ruled June 30 that the government body overseeing Hoboken's only hospital has repeatedly violated state laws about open public meetings, and that they were deficient in their response to a citizen's request for information.

The decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason against the relatively new Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (HMHA) in 2007. Mason has filed a number of lawsuits charging that the city has failed to make certain records and meetings open to the public. Mason, who was elected to her council seat in May of 2007, had filed the suits while still a private citizen.

Mason requests more transparency from the DCA

Councilwoman Beth Mason

Mason requests more transparency from the DCA

July 12, 2008,

2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason is requesting more transparency from the state of New Jersey as they review Hoboken's budget.

Mason says the DCA is only talking about Hoboken's financial health with the mayor -- she wants the City Council in on the conversation, too.

After the jump, read a copy of a letter Mason sent to Susan Jacobucci, Director of Local Government Services for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, this past Thursday. Mason is basically asking the DCA to keep the City Council in the loop regarding their financial takeover of Hoboken.

What did you expect, Forrest?

What did you expect, Forrest?

July 10, 2008 NJVoices: Thurman Hart

"Stupid is as stupid does, that's what my mama always said."

I just don't know of anything that characterizes John Corea's "relationship" with the City of Hoboken better than that. At this point, he is a "figure in the investigation" of more than a half million dollars that just can't be found. Because, you know, that kind of money is usually left laying about in discarded Shop-Rite bags.

All other things being what they are, the best predictor of future behavior is past performance. And Corea's past performance has been less than stellar. It seems that when Corea worked at the NY Stock Exchange, he developed a habit of buying stocks with other people's money and then leaving them holding the bag - and the bill - when the stocks went sour.

DCA warns Hoboken not to hire public employees, consultants

HOBOKEN - State supervision is definitely underway.

Two hours before Wednesday's City Council meeting, Susan Jacobucci, director of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, sent a letter to Hoboken Mayor David Roberts and City Clerk James Farina telling them not to hire any employees or consultants until the Division of Local Government Services completes its review of the city's finances.

The DCA took over Hoboken's finances on June 23 after the City Council failed to adopt a spending plan for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Finally, on June 30, the City Council passed a budget crafted by state officials that sloughed off dealing with a $10.5 million deficit to the fiscal year that began July 1.