Friday, August 1, 2008

What’s the Charge?

Based upon recent comments to this blog, there appears to be a swelling interest to have the County Prosecutor’s Office investigate Aberdeen Township. The frustration is certainly understandable. Even if an opposition party swept next year’s township elections, former Township Attorney Norman Kauff would still control the council majority, most likely through Councilman Drapkin. Absent the opportunity to change an arguably corrupt government through democratic means, some people would like to force change by indicting council members.

If crimes are being committed, the perpetrators should be charged regardless of the political impact. Though I have always maintained there is no evidence of criminal action, the truth is, technically, there are sufficient grounds to suggest that some people could be charged with U.S.C. § 1346, a "scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right to honest services." Yet, I maintain this statute is unconstitutionally vague and should never be used.

First, let’s be clear what the issues are –

Yes, it’s quite a list. Congress specifically enacted U.S.C. § 1346 in 1988 to allow prosecutors to use the Mail and Wire Fraud statutes against corrupt politicians. Prosecutors have used the statute against Jack Abramoff and his clients (2006), officers of the San Diego Pension Retirement System who inflated their benefits by underfunding the system (2002), and the City Treasurer of Philadelphia who conditioned city business upon political contributions (2005). (For a detailed review of U.S.C. § 1346, please read "Honest Services" Fraud – Strong Medicine for "Pay to Play".)

Given the strong likelihood that we’ve only revealed a fraction of the township’s underbelly, we have certainly been deprived of our “intangible right to honest services”. I, too, have heard the rumors of shakedowns, inside deals, violations of the sunshine law, and even an attempt to influence Matawan’s recent mayoral election.

Still, I fear prosecutors far more than corrupt officials. We’ve all witnessed the damage crusading prosecutors can do, from Arthur Andersen (a company destroyed despite having the conviction overturned) to Martha Stewart (convicted of hiding a crime she was never accused of committing) to the bullying tactics of Eliot Spitzer against Wall Street corporations and financiers. (Does anybody remember the guy who ran against Spitzer for New York Governor? He couldn’t raise campaign cash on Wall Street because potential contributors feared retaliation from Spitzer.)

Prosecutors have the power to destroy life and liberty. Do we really want them determining whether someone has been deprived of the “intangible right to honest services”? Does anybody even know what that means? Who's to judge whether a person has acted impartially or not? How can we redraw the line between legal and illegal on a case-by-case basis?

The United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) states “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed”. We have the constitutional right to know whether an action may be criminal before we act. How could any politician be secure from a vindictive or self-serving prosecutor when every budget, zoning, and contractual decision involves picking winners and losers?

I believe crimes have been committed. I believe honest people have witnessed these crimes but have been afraid to speak. Let’s be careful to investigate actual malfeasance and not use the power of the state to settle vendettas. I’m prepared to wait for change through the democratic process of elections. >>> Read more!

23 comments:

Ivhadenuf said...

Perhaps the Aberdeener needs to have a meeting with the prosecutor or in the least take the transcripts and his proofs he has shown all of us to Freehold.

Yes a prosecutor's actions and law enforcement on the whole can be properly implemented as well improperly implemented. That was soon found to be the case with little checking, which proved what has become a criminal enterprise on varying fronts all brought forth involving many others and even Merla's own family, as an organized criminal enterprise.

I hope the Aberdeener takes all of his info as well as his assertions, assumptions and anything he can muster to such a meeting in Freehold. At least then Prosecutor Valentin can if nothing else prove him wrong. I would gladly go with him and back up his concerns and negative effects on Aberdeen perpetrated By Kauff and the rest.

Obviously Norman Kauff runs Aberdeen, but the strings are pulled By Vic Scudeiri, which is truly where the power lies, with an emphasis of course on lies.

While I applaud the Aberdeener taking this stand I would better appreciate the people he knows of already, who could easily be talked to and be asked one or two simple questions to start things off.

1) What do you know about Aberdeen?

2) What do you know about Kauff?

3) Why did you vote the way you did and award millions in tax dollars for work never done by CME during your service to Aberdeen.

4) Have you ever attended a meeting which violated the Sunshine law?

5) Who else attended the meetings from the Aberdeen Town Council or Democratic party leadership?

6) Where were these meetings held?

7) Did you ever know that Norman Kauff received monies improperly from CME to finance campaigns of which you were a candidate?

8) Did you not question payments in larger amounts to W. Gumbs for property which were far larger than 90% of area residents for larger, similar or smaller properties in the same area?

9) Did you ever take monies, discounted work on your home or any services from contractors who also did work for Aberdeen while you served on the town council?

10) Is there anything you would like to tell us as part of our investigation that could help you in the event you were found to have committed criminal acts or violated the public trust while serving as an elected official.

The list goes on and on.

All the Aberdeener has to do is provide a list of people who would have first hand knowledge of such activities, monies, illegal acts, suggested involvement with illegal acts, requests by management or leadership to take certain actions they knew to be illegal, inflated legal bills or inflated bills for services to the community for representing Aberdeen or any of its entities in legal actions that the leadership knew Aberdeen would lose from the start. Examples like the train station development and the convicted felon who heads the Aberdeen portion of their pending plans. How about the cellular tower that should have been placed near the Manzo's property on 34 from the start. Nothing against Mr. Manzo as he was very good to my brother when he worked there.

Understand the cellular tower became a personal issue for me when Mayor Sobel stated "just put it in Cliffwood" when health concerns were brought up at one of the cellular tower meetings. That one combined with another Sobel speach when the Ciaglia family wanted to put two houses on a small sized piece of property near my brothers home. Sobel said something in regards to "it should be approved, we should not take food out of his children's mouths."

Sobel did not have a problem and allowed food to be taken out of the taxpayers mouths by once again allowing the Ciaglia's and others to build anything they want. How about the costs for the school children from those homes Mayor Sobel? The school children which could come forth from such homes and into the school system at $13,000.00 a year for each child. from a house you approved, which would pay about half of that in taxes. Way to go Mayor Sobel way to stand up for the tax payers.

The list goes on and on.

Think about Aberdeener.

Many people know and would respond properly if brought to testify or if they were to be questioned in such an initial process or a subsequent investigation.

It only takes one properly posed question to one person to open the flood gates and expose the truth. Far more people know what they have done, than those who have profited from the Kauff crime syndicate.

I apologize for the length of this, but 20 plus years of frustration and disappointment is too much. Plus my wife was laid off today after 17 years.

Think about it Aberdeener. Please!

Anonymous said...

To Ihahenuf; Sorry to here about your wifes layoff. The school district is looking for bus aides and substitue custodians,and possiblity a food van driver!

ivhadenuf said...

Thanks but I do not want my wife to go anywhere near a school system. She was unable to have children and I think it would take a toll. I thank you for your kind thoughts.

I may have her stay home for a while as I have been retired for some time now and she deserves a break.

Maybe she could add some spice to the Aberdeener website. She could take on a Norman Kauff with no problem. Having grown up in Harlem
she can throw down with the best of them. Never mind some old man like Kauff.

I remember meeting him one time after a council meeting. He was a man that when the gavel dropped to end a council meeting he rushed to the door. I recall he did get in trouble though for sending an underling in his stead for the same billing rate. Nice honest guy that Kauff? Wait until he meets Regina.

Anonymous said...

CME gets another $652,006 for the 2008 road improvement program. Once again it doesn't go out to bid, we just hand them the job for "professional services". It has been resolved and is on the agenda for the town council meeting.

This town is a joke!

Brian in Aberdeen

running out of hope said...

FROM A PREVIOUS BLOG POST=====

I recently received a copy of all vendor payments to CME Associates from January 7th, 2005, to March 18th, 2008. During that time, the township made 2,597 payments to CME Associates, totaling $3,692,445.72. Much of that money comes directly from the township, such as the $229,595 paid on January 12th, 2008, for road improvements, but most payments come from the locals.

====

I am new to this thing, but am I the only who has a problem with this? Where EXACTLY does this money come from? Tax payers, I know but come on. This has not been reported to anyone considering our taxes are so high? and the contributions to the deomcratic town party continue to roll in?

This is absurd! At this council meeting, is the new money Brian in the Beach spoke of UP FOR VOTE? Does Aberdeen put out bids and if not can we as taxpayers make them? I have alot of questions, I know, but the more info out to the public the better.....

I am telling you Aberdeener, I may not agree with everything you write but,a flyer drop from a plane with your blog on it would be a Godsend and an eye opener for many....

Anonymous said...

running out of hope

They seem to never put any of these out to bid and hand CME the jobs, I have questioned this to the town council at meetings before and they claim it is a professional service, that CME does a good job, they are highly regarded for their work in the state, and they are familiar with the township. I said we should put them out to bid; we could save money and/or have CME reduce their costs to save the town money.

http://www.aberdeennj.org/cal0806.html go to the town council link and look at the June 2nd meeting where CME was given 4 different jobs without any being put out to bid. Look through all the dates and you will find more!

It is a joke and on Tuesday, it will get passed like it always does, you can show up and question it, I would encourage that and let them know you don't like it one bit! Maybe if people show up and voice their displeasure over and over again something will get done? I hope, but doubt it at this point.

Brian in Aberdeen

Anonymous said...

WELCOME TO NORMAN'S WORLD.

WE ALL JUST LIVE IN IT AND GET TO PAY THE FARE.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO ASK WHAT THE SITUATION IS ON GERARD AVENUE AND IF IT IS TRUE THAT THEIR PRECIOUS C.M.E. GOOFED UP BIG TIME.

THAT COULD BE THE FIRST OF MANY THINGS THEIR FAVORED BENEFACTORS SHOULD HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT HAVE BEEN TO SAY THE LEAST QUESTIONABLE. WE CAN BE SURE THEY HAVE SCREWED UP BEFORE. WHO CRITIQUES THEIR WORK, NORMAN?.

WHO IS WATCHING THE WATCHERS?

Anonymous said...

The work on Gerrard Ave was performed by the Green Construction Co.

Anonymous said...

But was it overseen by C.M.E. and what was the reason the work stopped half way through.

For those of us who live here and live with the roads and dirt obviously it is obvious due to the dormant work in mid stream that something went very wrong. It is rumored that C.M.E. approved work on land Aberdeen did not own.

If C.M.E. screwed up. Is there no relief for us? You cannot imagine living with this mess and a half completed project. Let the council explain this one.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday, August 5th Council Agenda:
http://aberdeennj.org/comag080508/comag080508.html
awards another $652,000. Who's showing up at Council tomorrow night to congratulate them and Council on approving the next installment of their 2009 campaign financing? Let's stop whining and take action! This must stop.

Anonymous said...

ANYONE THINKING OF GOING?

Anonymous said...

All should go, even if you don't plan on speaking. They get nervous when people show up at these meetings, not knowing why you are there.

Aberdeener said...

My apologies - I'm sponsoring a Make-Your-Own Sushi Night at my synagogue tomorrow night. (Everyone in the community is welcome to attend.)

However, I do plan on posting today an article regarding CME that should be grist for anyone planning to attend tomorrow night's council meeting.

Anonymous said...

If my wife is not working I will attend.

Brian in Aberdeen

Anonymous said...

Amongst us are those who fear a public questioning. I apologize as I am one. I for the simple reason of having a relative who works in Aberdeen.

I would suggest to all of you that I would no doubt seriously jeopardize that relatives employment if I was to show my disagreement and contempt for our supposed leadership.

I ask that just one of us go and ask a few of the questions we have read on this site. The recent suggestion and problem with Gerard Avenue deserves and explanation among many other recent subjects or posts on the Aberdeener.

I beg for one of us to take the step. A few more years until my relative retires and I will not be able to be controlled by my fear to not jeopardize someone I loves employment.

Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

"My apologies - I'm sponsoring a Make-Your-Own Sushi Night"

That's great! Just what we need in Aberdeen. More spineless fish. Rather than attending the meeting and calling the council members on the misdeeds they allegedly commit; the host of the Aberdeener army is rolling raw fish.

The meetings have only been on Tuesdays for as far back as I can remember, so I guess raw fish is more important. Oh well, rather than the usual four people who show up at the council meetings, I guess tomorrow evening we will have to make due with three.

Anonymous said...

I do like the way the township also has get out and meet your neighbor night tomorrow, strange how something else always comes up on town council night!

Anonymous said...

Once again more excuses. While I appreciate what the aberdeener does people who sit behind a computer and complain without showing your face are cowards. Its not easy to confront these people but until people do this is useless. Everyone who complains should be at these, and board of education meetings. No matter how much complaining is done on this blog nothing will change until people show up and watch how these people operate. Stop complaining and do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Ditto.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers have a personal life too. The same people go to Council meetings over and over again, Council members tune them out. What is needed is "new" faces and voices.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that when a new person shows up they get discouraged then? People say "oh you are a new jack", everyone wants it both ways. What is it a new person or an old person. I believe it is both. When someone goes vbery often it is good, the council sees you and respond to you better (believe it or not) and a new person is great because they infuse new blood and questions and the council can see that people are concerned with what is going on in town. I say the more the merry, old, new, whatever.

Anonymous said...

No one says BOO! The town council laughs at all of you again. I am wondering if they are the losers or all of you who do nothing!

Anonymous said...

Look up in the sky. Is it a plane.

No its SUPERABERDEENER.

Not a mortal man. Not a selfish politician. Just a man who makes a difference. One blog topic at a time! Thanks SUPERABERDEENER !

F U Norman !

How much do they charge for a banner plane to fly over Aberdeen with a message on Labor Day ?


Middlesex Jim