Entries in Dan Perez (37)

Sunday
Nov052017

County insider Dan Perez = more solar scams

Some people say that having a liberal Democrat on the Sussex County Freeholder Board will add an independent set of eyes to the board.  That might be the case if they were arguing for Bill Weightman or even Leslie Huhn -- but not Dan Perez.

Because while he may be a Democrat, Perez owes his last two patronage appointments to the very same boys on the Freeholder Board.  The same politicians who were responsible for the solar scam debacle appointed him to the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees.  The same politicians who gave a no-bid contract to a New York City law firm to do a 62-page study costing the property taxpayers of Sussex County $518,000 appointed Perez to a job on SCMUA. 

Now Perez uses those patronage jobs to claim he is "qualified" when it is actually the proof that he is part of what he claims he disapproves of.  How can Perez take their money but not be tainted by the acquaintance? 

Remember that Dan Perez was all set to file a complaint against the bond attorney he claimed was responsible for the solar fiasco.  But after that bond attorney sent a nice fat check to a Freeholder's re-election effort, Perez dropped his complaint and didn't oppose the re-appointment of the man he claimed was responsible for the Sussex solar scam.

Does Dan Perez sound like a reformer to you?  He doesn't to us.

Monday
Oct302017

Perez, Boxer, and the $518,000 solar study scam 

Matthew Boxer was the State Comptroller from January 2008 until December 2013.  Before taking this position, Mr. Boxer was an associate with the New York City law firm of Lowenstein Sandler.  After leaving office, he returned to that firm as a partner.

Most residents of Sussex County are aware of the scandal that involved a public-private partnership to install solar panels on local government buildings, using federal subsidies.  As it turned out, the private entity responsible for the work was under-capitalized, failed to pay the contractor doing the work, was sued by the contractor, and the project stopped.  The cost to taxpayers in Sussex County is estimated at upwards of $40 million.

Sussex was one of three counties involved in this project -- Somerset and Morris were the others.  Lacking its own agency, Sussex County worked through the Morris County Improvement Authority (MCIA), although each county made its own individual contracts with the entity, called Sunlight General, a new creation with a board of directors drawn largely from a French bank.

In February 2011, the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Sussex County authorized a shared services agreement with the MCIA to implement the solar project.  In July 2011, the project was sent to the Office of the State Comptroller for review.  After reviewing all the project documents, the following month (August 2011), the project was given the okay by the Office of the State Comptroller -- headed up by Mr. Matthew Boxer.  Based the affirmative review given by Mr. Boxer's office, the Sussex County Freeholders went forward with the project.

Apparently, the project was so fashioned that by October 2011, Sussex County had received just one bid -- from Sunlight General.  And so, in that month, the Sussex County Freeholders awarded the contract to Sunlight General.

The Freeholder Boards of Morris, Somerset, and Sussex Counties all signed agreements -- reviewed by the Office of the State Comptroller (Mr. Boxer's office) -- that used taxpayer-secured debt to back up SunLight General's operations.  Unfortunately, the contracts were poorly written, the expected flow of capital was fanciful, the projects poorly planned and executed.  Allow us to quote from the documents supplied by the federal court:

Yes, the Office of the State Comptroller -- Mr. Matthew Boxer's office -- let down the taxpayers of Sussex County.  Matthew Boxer got to move on to his law partnership and the Office of the State Comptroller just keeps on reviewing what it reviews and the residents of Sussex County are left to deal with the $40 million loss in their (higher) property tax bills.  In March 2015, the Freeholder Boards of both Sussex and Morris Counties reached out to the Office of the State Comptroller and formally requested that the State Comptroller review the project -- for a second opinion.

About this time, the name Matthew Boxer resurfaced again, only now it was as part of a proposal to bring in "outside counsel" to review the solar project and what went wrong.  Two members of the Sussex County Freeholder Board, who are very close to Democrat Freeholder candidate Dan Perez, pushed for Mr. Boxer to be brought in for this purpose.  Below is a memo from attorney Dan Perez (now himself a candidate for Sussex County Freeholder) to then Freeholder Gail Phoebus:

In April 2015, the Office of the State Comptroller turned down both Sussex and Morris Counties' requests to review the solar project.  No official reason was ever provided.  However, there is an "unofficial" explanation provided in a May 26, 2015, memo from the MCIA to the Morris County Freeholders.  It goes as follows:

So it appears that the Office of the State Comptroller had conducted a review of the solar project it had signed-off on, but was unwilling to share said review.  The memo continued:

The "post-review decision not to review the matter..."  Wow. 

The Office of the State Comptroller's recalcitrance to share the review that they had already conducted or to take that review further was a loss to the taxpayers of Sussex County, but a boon to former State Comptroller Matthew Boxer, who was now being touted as the only man to do a review that was to be paid for by fresh taxpayer's money.

And so, it came to pass that in January 2016 a new Freeholder Board in Sussex County -- now controlled by the very same individuals who had been for months advocating for the selection of Matthew Boxer as the only man to review the solar project -- handed Matthew Boxer a contract for $500,000 to conduct said review.

The manner in which this contract was provided to Mr. Boxer was curious, and remains unexplained to this day.  In a letter, dated January 19, 2016, a Sussex County Freeholder wrote to Mr. Boxer's firm inquiring how he came by it.  Here is what he wrote:

To this day, this Freeholder -- a respected member of the community in Sussex County and a veteran of the Korean War -- has never received the courtesy of a reply.  Why not? 

So the Freeholder wrote to the State Ethics Commission and noted the following:

To which the State Ethics Commission replied:

The word "facts" is used when "representations" might be more appropriate.  As the State Ethics Commission did not conduct its own review of the Office of the State Comptroller's "records and emails... correspondence... other documents", it is clear that they are simply accepting Mr. Boxer at his word.

Doesn't it seem strange to claim that the person in charge of an office was so lax as to have no knowledge of what was a three-county project involving -- to start -- $100 million.  And that his office reviewed nearly a dozen similar contracts involving many more millions in public money.  Okay. let's accept that Mr. Boxer was a "delegator" without direct, day-to-day knowledge about the office he was responsible for.  How did he come to be recommended as the sole recipient of a $500,000 contract to review what his office failed in reviewing at the start? 

In its reply, the State Ethics Commission expressly invited further inquiry:

It is time for the Freeholders to establish a citizen's commission to investigate this corrupt mess and call those who have benefited to account.  Make someone like Harvey Roseff the chairman and you won't need to spend a half million dollars of taxpayers' money (property tax money!) to get the job done.

Tuesday
Oct242017

Local Democrats embrace liberal ACLU agenda

The local Democrats running for office this year have gone whole hog over to the dark side.  Now they are attacking the Republicans for not having the support of those party-poopers at the ACLU who want to do away with Christmas and other holidays that normal people enjoy.

Yep, Jennifer Hamilton, Kate Matteson, Gina Trish, and Dan Perez are joining forces with those people who sue local governments (taxpayers) every time they put up a Christmas display.  Yes, these are the same folks who go apoplectic every time someone says a prayer at a public event.  And yet, somehow it is okay for these same Democrats to display banners with Islamic symbols and Wiccan witchcraft symbols on it.

Is this a case of "out with the old religion and in with the new"?

In the case of Republican Assemblyman Parker Space, the ANTIFA twins Kate & Gina attacked him for refusing to vote to allow convicted criminals in prison unlimited access to taxpayer-subsidized telephones.  Kate & Gina also criticized Assemblyman Space for not backing President Obama's decree that would have allowed anatomical males -- people with penises who think they are women -- into the private facilities of school girls (i.e. toilet facilities, showers, and changing areas).  Apparently, Kate & Gina think that the Republican is wrong for having concern for the safety of young women.

But who is really wrong here?  Is Assemblyman Space wrong for opposing legislation that would endanger the lives of women and girls in New Jersey.  Or are Kate Matteson & Gina Trish wrong (along with their Democrat running mates Jennifer Hamilton and Dan Perez) for putting politically correct fashion statements ahead of the safety of women and girls.  Watch this video and then YOU decide:

Monday
Oct232017

Local Democrats play games on illegal immigration

Where do they stand?  Are they or aren't they?

 

Local Democrat candidates have made contradictory statements on illegal immigration -- saying one thing in a questionnaire, another at a private meeting, something else at a vigil on the Green, a different thing in the newspaper, and still something else again at a public debate.  It is tough to keep up with all their twists and turns on the issue of illegal immigration. 

 

As a public service, we are featuring statements they made on the subject, like this one:

 

The only thing certain is this:  The Democrats and their party support turning New Jersey into a Sanctuary State.  Yep, the entire state. 

 

What that means to New Jersey taxpayers is explained by former Mayor Steve Lonegan:

 

"A 'sanctuary state' will mean a huge influx of people who will need the social services safety net more than average.  The Democrat gubernatorial ticket has promised to impose a so-called 'millionaire's tax' that will chase away those who currently fund the state's social safety net.  Those who are left... the middle class who can't leave because of a job, or because they can't sell their home for what they paid for it, or because their child wants to finish school -- they will have to make up for the shortfall in higher taxes.

 

That won't be easy, because at 26.1% of income, the cost of living in New Jersey is, according to Bloomberg, by far the most expensive in the nation.  Meanwhile, state household income is nearly seven percent lower than it was in 2008 and has only grown by a little more than one percent since then. 

 

Those coming to the new 'Sanctuary State' of New Jersey will enter the workforce of the gray economy, where the minimum wage doesn't apply.  But for everyone else it does -- which will leave trade union workers, manufacturing, medical care and health workers, service industry workers, and mothers with part-time jobs all at a disadvantage when competing for a job.  It will be bad news for people trying to pay their mortgage, their property taxes, those hoping to avoid foreclosure. 

 

And just where will all these newcomers to the 'Sanctuary State of New Jersey' reside?  Why in subsidized sanctuary housing -- courtesy of COAH and its plan to build tens of thousands of new subsidized no-questions-asked units throughout New Jersey. 

 

This will require massive infrastructure investment by taxpayers -- and an increase in property tax collections.  To pay for it, the Democrats intend to scrap the 2-percent cap on local government spending.  Under the Democrats property taxes rose an average of 6.1 percent a year -- triple the rate of inflation.  Since the cap, property taxes have gone up an average of just 2.1 percent a year."

 

"If the Democrats are successful with their idea, they will have to build a wall to keep taxpayers in," Lonegan said.  True enough.

 

Stay tuned...


Friday
Oct202017

Sex Scandal involving the County Prosecutor's office?

There are many residents of Sussex County who acknowledge that their local newspaper -- the New Jersey Herald -- is too chummy with county insiders on the Freeholder Board, SCMUA, and in county government.  Others disagree, but the Herald has shown a less than even-handed interest in certain stories.

For instance, the Herald has yet to cover the following story.  It concerns a major accusation of wrongdoing in Sussex County.  It appeared last month in The Record of Bergen County, its Passaic County affiliate, the Paterson Press, and on NorthJersey.com -- but not in the Herald.  The Herald must be aware of this, but have been silent on the subject.

Accusations surface in sexual assault case: Was it political pressure or police mishandling?

Abbott Koloff, Staff Writer, @AbbottKoloff Published 5:00 a.m. ET Sept. 29, 2017 | Updated 10:42 a.m. ET Sept. 29, 2017

The woman was getting divorced. The man told her he was in the midst of a breakup.

After a chance meeting over the winter, the two — who had known one another in high school — decided to meet for a drink. It was an opportunity to catch up and commiserate over failed relationships.

But that January night in a Sussex County bar has led to an immensely complicated case peppered with accusations of retaliation, political pressure and mishandling of the case by police.

An investigation, including a review of police and court records as well as interviews by The Record and NorthJersey.com, shows:

  • Sexual assault allegations were brought by the woman to the state police.
  • A trooper filed the charges in a municipal court; they were dismissed the next day in Superior Court, at the behest of the Sussex County prosecutor.
  • The woman, through the police union, claimed she was pressured by the Prosecutor's Office into dropping the charges.
  • The union strongly hinted that prosecutors were motivated by the defendant’s father being a “politically-appointed executive in Morris County.”
  • The Prosecutor's Office denied those accusations, saying that there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the case and suggesting that state police overstepped their authority in bringing the charges.

As a result of the tangled mess,17 state troopers have been reassigned; a labor grievance has been brought against state police officials; and the Sussex County Prosecutor this week released a detailed, two-page statement defending the office's handling of the case.

New Jersey State Police (Photo: File / NorthJersey.com)

Mike Bukosky, a police union attorney, said in an email that the troopers "used their training and experience to act 100 percent in good faith to assist and protect the parties involved."

Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch has denied that any members of his staff acted improperly or for "any alternative motive,"  and that they all sought “solely to uphold the law,” and always take into account "victims’ rights." He specified that none of his employees knew the defendant "or anyone in his family."

Sex assault alleged

The saga began when a woman, who The Record and Northjersey.com is not identifying, walked into the Sussex Station of the state police in Frankford on Jan. 31. Her claim: she was sexually assaulted nine days earlier in the parking lot of Boomer's Place, a bar in Hampton. 

A week later, after giving his own statement to police, the man she accused was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Ian M. Schweizer, 35, spent one night in the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility in Newton before records show the charges were dismissed and he was released.

Records also show he was living at the same Newton address as his father — Glenn Schweizer, who recently retired as the executive director of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority.

The case hinged on what appear to be two very different statements about what happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 22 — each version laid out in affidavits signed by a state trooper, Justin DeLorenzo.

Ian M. Schweizer spent one night in the jail in Sussex County before charges against him were dismissed (Photo: Sussex County Sheriff's Office)

Schweizer told police that he and the woman were kissing in the parking lot of Boomer's and that she touched him sexually before he put his hands down her pants, according to an affidavit. DeLorenzo wrote that Schweizer said "he went too far by doing so and it upset the victim at which time the victim entered her vehicle” and “abruptly departed."

The woman, in an interview with The Record, said she knew Schweizer from when they were students at Kittatinny Regional High School years ago.

They planned to get together after a brief conversation during a recent chance meeting, she said, when she told him she had been going through a divorce and he told her he had a young daughter and also was going through the breakup of a relationship.

She said she “never touched him in a sexual way."

She told police she backed away when Schweizer tried to kiss her, according to court papers, and that he grabbed her as she told him to stop.

The affidavit said Schweizer "pushed her against the exterior of her vehicle and forced his hands down her pants" before she "screamed and pushed him away from her. She immediately entered her vehicle and fled.”

DeLorenzo wrote that Schweizer sent a text message to the woman a short time later, at 2:47 a.m. “Sorry if I got carried away,” it said.

“I told him he really scared me,” the woman told The Record.

DeLorenzo filed the related complaints and affidavits on Feb. 7 in the regional municipal court in Wantage.

Boomer's Place in Hampton Township (Photo: Abbott Koloff)

A prior arrest

The woman told The Record that she waited nine days before going to police because she was "in shock" and had been replaying the incident over and over in her mind.

The affidavit says she contacted a friend who worked at the bar shortly after the incident to tell her about it. She said in The Record interview that she decided to go to police because she became afraid after learning Schweizer recently had been arrested for violating a restraining order in Morris County.

Schweizer was charged on Dec. 31, 2016 with simple assault in a domestic violence case out of Mount Olive, where he had been living, according to court records.

He struck a woman in the leg "with an unknown instrument used as a weapon," police wrote in a criminal complaint. The woman suffered an unspecified injury and declined treatment, according to an incident report. Court records do not specify whether a child who lived at the home witnessed the incident but indicate that a child was "present."

In January, Schweizer was arrested twice, on the 18th and the 30th, for allegedly violating a restraining order, according to Morris County Jail records. The status of charges related to those arrests were unavailable this week.

Schweizer pleaded guilty to the simple assault charge on March 27 in Mount Olive municipal court, records show.

Troopers and prosecutors clash over sexual assault charges

In the Sussex case, DeLorenzo consulted with other troopers before filing the criminal complaints, according to the police union. Court records show a municipal judge, Glenn Gavan, found probable cause for the charges.

Bukosky, the union attorney, said that ruling indicated the judge found police actions "to be entirely appropriate.”

It is not clear, however, whether the judge knew that prosecutors had not approved the charges. Gavan did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Koch said his office declined to approve the sexual assault charges — and then moved to have them dismissed — because "the office did not believe there was sufficient evidence to establish probable cause."

That move set off a dispute between the two agencies.

The State Troopers Fraternal Order filed an amended unfair practice charge with the state Public Employment Relations Commission, known as PERC,  a little more than two weeks ago.

The complaint alleged that some troopers were improperly moved out of the Sussex barracks because they pursued the woman's sexual assault complaint against the wishes of prosecutors.

According to a union letter to the state, at least seven of the troopers had been based in that county. They included DeLorenzo, who filed the sexual assault charges in apparent defiance of prosecutors, and Darran Crane, a union representative.

Bukosky said this week that some of the 17 reassigned troopers were sent to Sussex County to replace disciplined officers.

The union said in the grievance that Schweizer's father had “political ties” but did not accuse him of taking any actions to intercede in this case on behalf of his son. It also characterized Schweizer's statement to police as a "confession."

Schweizer's attorney, Robert Schwartz, denied that characterization, saying it “was not a confession” and “did not fulfill the elements of the crime being charged.”

Schwartz also noted that a Superior Court judge later did not approve a request by the woman who made the accusations for a final order of protection, checking a box indicating the allegations had “not been substantiated.”

This week, Koch, the Sussex County prosecutor, took the unusual step of addressing the allegations in some detail, saying in a statement that he felt "compelled to respond" even though the labor complaint was directed at state police officials who disciplined the officers and not at his office.

He said he made the decision to drop the charges after reviewing affidavits and taped interviews. He also pointed to new legal requirements — part of the bail reform law that went into effect on Jan. 1 — requiring police to get an assistant prosecutor’s approval before filing charges for indictable offenses.

The prosecutor said during a Feb. 8 Superior Court hearing that his office wanted to “more fully investigate this matter,” according to a court transcript. This week, he said he doesn't anticipate filing charges in the case.

Superior Court in Newton, Sussex County (Photo: Abbott Koloff)

Explosive charges by the union

In its grievance, the union alleged that members of the Prosecutor’s Office tried to get the woman to agree with their decision to dismiss the charges, telling her the defendant was remorseful and “didn’t ‘fully’ rape her.” They added that a jury would not believe she would have been able to fight him off, as she told police, because he is 7-feet tall. Schweizer is 6-foot-7, according to court records.

“They were trying to get me to say it didn’t happen,” the woman said in her interview with The Record, adding that she filed a complaint against the Prosecutor's Office with the state Attorney General's Office. "I know the truth, and that’s what matters.”

Assistant Prosecutor Seana Pappas and Lt. Jennifer Williams participated in the interview with the woman, which lasted 2 1/2 hours, according to the union.

In a phone conversation with DeLorenzo, Pappas allegedly threatened to "start a war" if the trooper went ahead with the charges. The union said troopers also received calls from First Assistant Prosecutor Greg Mueller, who allegedly said there would be repercussions for their actions, and from Koch himself saying that he intended to dismiss the charges.

The union alleged that unidentified “members of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office” contacted high-ranking state police officers about the matter leading to "every member of the Sussex County State Troopers Unit involved in the case” being transferred on or about March 1 “in retaliation” for actions taken related to the sexual assault charges.

The state police have not yet filed a response to the grievance and declined to comment on the case, citing a “pending internal investigation.”

The state Attorney General’s Office also declined to comment.

The dispute will now work its way through the administrative law system, with a conference set for October.

Joe Malinconico of Paterson Press contributed to this article.