Entries in Hudson County (2)

Tuesday
May152018

The sad fates of those who trusted Freeholder Boss Graham

Around the County Courthouse in Newton they have a saying... George Graham makes a lot of friends, but doesn't keep any for long. 

Graham rose in Sussex County politics from a local Democrat official to the Republican boss of county government.  His political consulting business -- York Strategies -- was once closely associated with the campaigns of a number of Democrat candidates in Hudson County.  Remember Assembly Speaker Joe Doria?  The Hudson County Democrat was Governor Jim Florio's legislative point man in the passage of the most restrictive firearms ban in our nation's history.

George Graham and his political consulting business, York Strategies, worked for Joe Doria in Hudson County.  Graham was a registered Democrat when he worked for Doria. 

George Graham was a lifelong Democrat until switching to Republican to vote in the primary against conservatives Alison McHose and Gary Chiusano.  In the General Election that year, Graham donated to their liberal Democrat opponents and switched back from Republican to Democrat in order to vote in the 2008 Democrat presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

Afraid of losing his seat on Stanhope council, a desperate Graham switched again to Republican, his current party today.  In a matter of a few years time, George Graham flipped from Democrat to Republican, back to Democrat, and then to Republican again. Graham has been a Democrat for most of his adult life and affiliated with liberals for much of that time.

Graham's political consulting business, York Strategies, which included partner James Barracato, came up with slogans like "Joe Doria is full time Bayonne" and "I'm with Joe," according to the Hudson Reporter newspaper.  Although no longer a member of the Legislature, Joe Doria is still on the campaign trail with Jim Florio, only now they campaign for gun control and against the NRA (National Rifle Association).  At a recent gathering the two called for new constraints on the Second Amendment, with Joe Doria calling the NRA "dirty".  Not to be outdone, Florio added that the manufacturers and sellers of guns were, in his words, "Merchants of Death." 

As a Republican, George Graham closely aligned himself with former Freeholder Glen Vetrano.  In 2012, Vetrano and Graham engineered the victory of Dennis Mudrick, who was elected to the Freeholder Board. 

But it didn't take long for Graham to deep six his former friends.  After securing election to the Freeholder Board himself in 2013, the following year Graham instigated the ethics investigation that brought down Vetrano, and in 2015 he ran Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro against incumbent Freeholder Mudrick, who was defeated in the primary.

In 2016, Graham became the boss of the Freeholder Board -- controlling a majority made up of him, Rose, and Lazzaro.  After winning the primary that year, he successfully talked Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus into challenging Senator Steve Oroho for his seat in 2017.  This move essentially ended Phoebus' political career as well.  

Not content with ruining Assemblywoman Phoebus, Graham moved on to Republican candidate for Freeholder Herb Yardley, who Graham deliberately sought to hobble so that Democrat Dan Perez might win and the join Graham, Rose, and Lazzaro on the Freeholder Board.  Worse still was the fact that Graham involved Freeholders Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro in supporting the Democrat. 

And that is why we are where we are today. 

Wednesday
Mar082017

Freeholder Graham's anonymous blog

After spending much of the last few years complaining about anonymous blogs that persisted in calling him out on his less than savory activities, Freeholder George Graham decided to start one of his own -- and it is a real doozy. 

We all knew that George Graham was the master of "whisper" campaigns, those under-handed attempts to spread unsubstantiated rumors and outright lies about people, but give this guy a computer and he really goes ape!  And he had some help too.  A reporter from the Herald, a big-shot member of the Tea Party, and whoever else he could scam. 

The Tea Partier allowed Graham to use the group's name for his blog.  This was done within memory of a stormy lawsuit that the Tea Party had to go through in which they lost the use of their original name.  Why place the group in jeopardy again?  Normally it is older women who fall for George's sweet-talk, but this time it appears to have worked on a guy. 

This blog -- which is trying to corrupt a Tea Party group by using its name -- has spread rumors that Gail Phoebus had an inappropriate relationship with her consultant, Bill Winkler, and that other elected officials had taken bribes.  The blog was publicly admonished by the State of New Jersey for claiming that the Office of Legislative Services was conducting a criminal investigation in Sussex County.  It simply wasn't true.  They totally made it up.

Now they are trying to claim that someone who did the right thing, did the wrong thing.  Freeholder George Graham is trying to claim that simply by following Ethics rules to the letter that makes someone a suspect.  This is one of his whisper campaigns, converted to social media. 

And who is pulling Graham's string?  After all, he is a political consultant.  That is his only source of income... or is it?  His LinkedIn page provides connections to vendors and contractors that do not appear on his Ethics filing: 

Freeholder

Sussex County

April 2013 – Present (3 years 5 months) | Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Construction Project Manager

LaRocca Construction

1991 – Present (25 years) | Jersey City, NJ

Various positions from project timeline oversight, customer relations to complete supervision of multi-

million dollar public bid construction. Work on a project by project basis.

Owner

York Strategies

2003 – Present (13 years) | Jersey City, NJ

York Strategies is a Strategic Planning and Public Relations with experience in government and

corporate marketing.

I have also produced media for private companies and organizations including direct mail, radio and

television, newspaper, magazine and internet ads.

Owner

Skylands Business Services

1987 – Present (29 years)

Small business support for bookkeeping & marketing.

Secretary/Treasurer

Sussex County League of Municipalities

January 2012 – Present (4 years 8 months) | Newton, NJ

Former President and Vice President 2009 -2010

But his Personal Financial Disclosure is another thing entirely:

 

Why the discrepancy?

The taxpayers of Sussex County should demand to know who George Graham's clients are?  Who does York Strategies take money from?  Besides Hudson County Democrats, of course.

We all should know the Graham story by now.  A local yokel Democrat political consultant gets pushed out of Hudson County by the bigger fish.  Does odd jobs for some of the politically-connected construction firms out that way.   Moves on the Sussex County market.  Says he's in the "paper business" and a few local businesses get taped and screwed.  Gets elected in Stanhope as a Democrat, switches to Republican, back to Democrat to vote for Barack or Hillary, then back to Republican again. 

Takes over the Sussex County League of Municipalities (which almost immediately experiences "financial irregularities"), one of nature's "ham and eggers" so he needs to play underhanded, he lies and spreads over-the-top rumors in an attempt to push out incumbent Republican political consultant in order to get his business, when that fails, becomes a candidate and wins a Freeholder seat, promptly turns on those who helped him and destroys them (just ask Freeholder Dennis Mudrick). 

As a Freeholder, he is always on the lookout for a dime.  Gets others to pay his bills, fund his campaigns.  Suckers, he calls them.  He participates in every vote to make the solar project worse and then, turns on the board, points the finger, and blames them.  Wrecks any attempt to rationally work a way out of the solar mess by heavily politicizing the issue BUT he does elect his cronies and takes control over the Board.  Promptly hires NYC leftist and forces out long-time, local Republican.  Hires politically-connected NYC law firm to handle solar review -- which goes from a money recovery operation to a therapy session costing half a million dollars.  Gives a no-bid contract to the very lawyers he said were to blame for the solar mess. 

Moves on to state politics.  Sows seeds of discontent between District 24 legislators.  Targets Gail Phoebus, the unstable one, and gets her to spread outrageous rumors about BOTH her running mates and their families.  Horrible, low as dirt stuff they spread, but hey, this is George.  Is there to undo every attempt at reconciliation.  Meanwhile, he is using his political consulting business to cash in.  Claims to be working in other races around the state, claims to be working for a gubernatorial campaign... is he working for some of the firms that do business in Sussex County?  We would need a more detailed ethics filing to find out. 

This is who is running your county government.

This is why Sussex County needs an Ethics Committee.