Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Some Corruption To Start Your Day

Some interesting pieces on corruption and building this morning..

From the Asbury Park Press:

The senator's new house

When it comes to potential conflicts of interest, state Sen. Wayne R. Bryant, D-Camden, is the master of denial. In his latest failure to see the ethical ramifications of a business deal, Bryant is building a fancy house in his hometown of Lawnside on a lot he bought from a developer who happens to be bidding to build housing in town.
Among the many possible conflicts: Bryant is borough attorney, his brother is mayor and his son sits on the Planning Board. All are in a position to affect the plans to build 300 apartments and condominiums in a neighborhood that would force 17 residents to sell their homes or face eviction. There may be nothing illegal, but the dealings don't pass the smell test.
As usual, Bryant isn't talking about any possible conflict. But like it or not, he is in the middle of this Lawnside redevelopment project because of his new residence, which is still under construction. Critics say Bryant paid $106,154 for the lot in a sweetheart deal that yielded developer Ernest Edwards a smaller profit than he could have gained, something Edwards denied. Bryant's and his family's role in the approval process will cast a cloud over the redevelopment until Edwards does the right thing and drops out of the bidding.

From the Bergen Record:

N.J. overpaid for school site

The state paid the family of a reputed mob associate far more than its estimated cost for the site of a troubled school project in Passaic, records show.

Several months before the state Schools Construction Corp. paid the wife of accused Genovese crime family associate Richard Doren $4.3 million for his property in downtown Passaic, officials anticipated getting that land and seven additional parcels for $2.5 million.

The agency closed on the property last year even as it was going prematurely bankrupt. The Passaic project has since become mired in controversy over the safety of the site, particularly because of the notorious pornographic movie theater and cut-rate hotel on the next block.

From the L.A. Times:

This land is whose land?

Like hundreds of lawmakers across the country, New Jersey state Sen. Diane Allen crafted a bill to protect owners of homes and small businesses.

The Republican lawmaker proposed a two-year moratorium on the use of eminent domain — the practice that allows governments to seize private property for public use.

Her plan followed a flurry of proposals — at least 25 major projects in her state — to raze modest homes in fine condition for grander housing and retail ventures that came on Kelo's coattails.

Allen said Kelo opened the door for towns and developers to rob the character of communities such as Lawnside, a middle-class black enclave that took root as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Four proposals to build expensive homes and shops are under consideration in Lawnside, imperiling as many as 20 well-kept homes.

"I'm not against redevelopment, and I'm not against building lovely townhouses," Allen said. "The question is: Where is it going to happen, and who is going to suffer because of it?"


Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

We all know high & low income towns, but here is some more information.


EVER wonder how well off the neighbors are? NY Times report give you an indication based on how much taxable interest people in New Jersey receive.

4/18/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have my corruption with cream and sugar. Uh... I mean my coffee.

m reynolds

4/18/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger bairen said...

Kelo gave local government members a license to steal/print money for themselves. And what happens to the homeowners who bought at the top of the market and find them upsidedown during a crash when the local council wants to use eminent domain to take their house?

4/18/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Mayor Healy taps pal for JCRA, won't need council vote
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is tapping a local businessman and friend to head the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, a decision that comes on the heels of opposition from some City Council members to the idea of naming him to head the powerful Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce. The Redevelopment Agency is responsible for, among other things, designating developers for projects in the city's numerous redevelopment zones. (OH YEAH BABY!)

Hoboken again looks to block as budget headache remedy Thursday, April 06, 2006
HOBOKEN - In a push to fill a $5 million budget gap, the City Council has designated a one-block area on Observer Highway in need of redevelopment, clearing the way to sell its municipal garage and possibly to condemn a private garage on the property. The unanimous vote sparked anger from residents still smarting from the city's aborted attempt three weeks ago to take two properties through eminent domain in the Northwest Redevelopment Zone. "Redevelopment equals eminent domain," said James Vance. "Under the laws of New Jersey, the city can condemn the Taj Mahal."
The redevelopment zone is a 1.2-acre block bounded by Willow Avenue, Observer Highway, Park Avenue and Newark Street. Jennifer Alexander, an attorney representing Jefferson Trust, the condominium complex that owns the 42-space private garage, spoke out against creating a redevelopment zone and the possibility that the city would take the property. Last year, the council divided over Mayor David Roberts' plan to sell the municipal garage to the Hudson County Improvement Authority to plug a $7.9 million budget hole, setting off a three-day shutdown of city services. The council eventually agreed to sell the garage to the HCIA and then lease it back.

Jersey City raising municipal taxes by 18%
City passes 18 percent tax hike
Thursday, April 06, 2006
JERSEY CITY - Feeling the people's pain the whole way through, the Jersey City City Council voted unanimously to adopt a budget last week that enshrines an 18-percent hike in municipal taxes.

Crucial Week for St. Mary Hospital as SHUT DOWN LOOMS (This would leave the entire city of Hoboken, NJ without a hospital) If you are sick, you trundle your butt to JC.

4/18/2006 03:05:00 PM  
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