Solar scams are happening all over America

If Freeholders Richard Vohden and Phil Crabb were not such stubborn old men, they would realize that they are only a small part of a nationwide group of victims of taxpayer-supported solar programs -- "a no brainer" as Crabb called it -- that turned out to be an old fashioned scam.  It is happening all over. 

What is it about Vohden and Crabb that leads them to want to own the solar scam?  Too proud to admit they made a mistake?  Or are they protecting someone?


Freeholder takes to Facebook

Elected officials hate scrutiny.  But elected officials on government bodies made up of only one political party deserve extra scrutiny.  Especially when they have governing philosophies like those of Freeholder Richard Vohden, who has told many people on many occasions he believes that the elected representatives of the people on the county freeholder board should follow the direction of the appointed county administrator and his bureaucrats.

What we have here is a philosophical difference.  Apparently, Richard Vohden isn't much of a political philosopher because he has chosen to approach this disagreement in a juvenile way.  Vohden has taken to calling Watchdog names on Facebook.

It is not a particularly literate effort.  Short sentences and a lack of punctuation are its hallmarks.  Surely the Freeholder can string a paragraph together.  And this from a man who complains about others being "stupid". 

Freeholder Vohden appears perplexed over Watchdog's anonymity.  He claims to not understand why when, in fact, he knows perfectly well why.

The New Jersey Herald isn't anonymous.  That leaves them open to blackmail.  Ever notice how the newspaper stops coverage of a big story mid-scandal?  It happened with the coverage of the ethics scandal involving the trustees of the Sussex County Community College.  It happened again with the coverage of the solar bailout.  Coverage suddenly stopped.

In the case of the solar bailout, maybe we got a hint of the reason why.  The week before the coverage abruptly ended, an ally of Freeholders Crabb and Vohden stood up at a board meeting and threatened the Herald with a financial boycott.  The Herald, which depends on advertising revenues to pay its bills, must be ever mindful of such threats -- especially when they come from a source close to the politicians who control such a large share of its advertising revenue.

Watchdog is out of reach of such threats.  This loss of control irks some people.

Of course, Freeholder Vohden could man-up and join the conversation.  We invite him to explain his philosophy of government here.  We will publish it.  Instead of petulant name-calling, explain why you believe the way you do.  Tell us your side of it.


Alternative Energy scam reported on American Greed

To give our readers an idea of just how easy it is for an "alternative" energy scam to cheat taxpayers, take a look at this episode of American Greed.

The Crabb-Bilik whisper campaign

In 2004, a newcomer named Steve Oroho ran for Freeholder against the county insiders and upended the sitting establishment.  They ran the usual gossip campaign against him.  Gossip is big in Sussex County where campaigns for public office are often conducted along the lines of an election for king and queen of a high school prom.

In 2004, the whisper campaign of malignant gossip spread around dirt on Steve Oroho.  They tried to say that he was "stupid" -- ignoring the fact that Oroho had been the Senior Financial Officer at a Fortune 500 company.  Then they tried class warfare and made him out to be a wealthy elitist in a top hat (like the man off the Monopoly board) when, in fact, he was the hard working son of middle class Irish-American parents. 

Gossip and lies, lies and gossip.  That's the way of the Sussex County whisper campaign.

Franklin Borough and Hardyston Township are the latest victims of the Sussex County whisper campaign.  In 2004, they heard all the lies about Steve Oroho. This year, they are being subjected to a different set of lies.

Freeholder Phil Crabb has been working the fire houses on behalf of Marie Bilik and the solar bailout.  Now that the County's top bureaucrats have all called it quits, Crabb wants to make sure that the solar bailout stays in place.  Crabb wants to make sure that consultants like Stephen Pearlman and Gabel Associates keep stuffing their pockets with the property tax dollars of Sussex County taxpayers.

Crabb wants to make sure that the Wall Streeters who made millions screwing up the project don't have to worry about being held accountable, because Crabb signed a statement saying that they wouldn't.  Crabb wants to make sure that the gag order (what he calls a "non-disparagement clause") is enforced, so that these Wall Street predators can go on and pitch their business to the next suckers and nobody will be the wiser.

Crabb needs Bilik because he needs to protect his friends.


Bilik campaign attacks Alison McHose

In 2003, Alison Littell McHose gave up a full-time job to serve the people of the 24th Legislative District.  Legislators receive only a part-time salary of $49,000. 

During the 12 years she's held office, McHose has become known as an independent conservative voice for reform in Trenton -- crossing the aisle to work with reformers of both parties to pass legislation like the Party Democracy Act.  Time and again, reforms in Trenton began with McHose's lone voice.


In January, McHose announced that she would be stepping aside and would not be running for re-election.  The reason for her departure was that her two sons are approaching college age so she had decided to work full-time again as the administrator of Franklin Borough.  McHose and her husband, a U.S. Army Sergeant who served three tours in the war on terror and just returned home from Afghanistan, also have a young daughter.

Marie Bilik's campaign chairman is Molly Whilesmith, a Sparta councilwoman and former mayor.  Until recently, Whilesmith was a Democrat.  Now she claims to be a Republican, so we were surprised when she posted a link on her Facebook page to a letter to the editor by a leftist Democrat operative that attacks Alison McHose for seeking full-time work to stay close to home.

The writer takes a reform championed by Alison McHose and Parker Space and then lies about it.  McHose and Space successfully pushed legislation that ended the ability of an elected office holder from retiring and collecting a state pension while collecting a public salary.  It closed the loophole on double-dipping so that an elected official can no longer do both.

The writer is a clever liar who conflates this reform with an elected official having a second working income from a public source.  The loophole McHose and Space closed has to do with pension income and not holding a second source of public income.   That would take separate legislation and all such attempts have been blocked by the Democrats who control the Legislature.

In Alison McHose's case, she is not running for re-election and is temporarily holding two public positions, as full-time administrator and part-time legislator, only long enough for the people to choose her replacement at a primary held on June 2nd.  As was reported in the Herald and elsewhere, McHose had wanted to resign from the Assembly  immediately upon taking her new position.  However, with memories of the controversies surrounding Gary Chiusano's departure from the Assembly in 2013 and the opposition to county conventions voiced by the Herald and others, McHose decided to remain in office until the voters had their say in an election.

For this McHose is being attacked by Molly Whilesmith, the chairman of Marie Bilik's campaign.

Many elected officials do have a second working income from a public source.  Take the Bilik campaign's Molly Whilesmith as an example.  She has attended public meetings in municipality after municipality and lobbied on behalf of a corporation that sells its services to county and local governments.  In her work, Whilesmith is often accompanied by Wendy Molner, another Bilik campaign person and the Vice President for Government Relations of Concord Engineering/ Concord Energy.  Official government minutes are available off the Internet showing the role the two play.

Curiously however, while Molly Whilesmith's relationship with this energy vendor is demonstrable from local government documents, she failed to record it on her state mandated Financial Disclosure Statements for 2014 or 2015, covering her activities as Mayor, Member of Council, and Member of the Planning Board.

Looks like Mayor Whilesmith has some explaining to do.