Entries in solar scam (71)

Thursday
Apr122018

Extortion isn't the American way, but that doesn't stop some.

Sussex County Watchdog has been around since the spring of 2012.  Over the years, our efforts have stopped or brought to light many instances of public corruption.  These have included attempts to sell the county dump, the premature forcing of some county employees into retirement in order to use the money for new patronage employees, the corruption at the Sussex County Community College, the use of toxic chemicals near county employees, county spending and borrowing practices, county vendors and lobbyists, the county Solar scam, and the county's poor history with OPRA.  

Along the way, we've uncovered inside deals in the awarding of tax breaks and vendors' contracts, and the purchase of land.  On several occasions, Sussex County Watchdog led the way by contacting state and federal law enforcement, as it did during the solar scam -- when this website provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Attorney General's Office with background and material information. 

From time to time, our activities have made some insiders less than happy.  There is an all-too-cozy corruption at work at the county level.  Most counties in New Jersey are actually much more corrupt than Sussex is -- but, as in the Solar scam -- our county is being colonized by other counties interested in expanding their corruption here.  

Watchdog is important because we will act when corporate media is afraid to act because some important advertiser is at the core or connected with a matter.  We are anonymous because, in a county as cozy as Sussex is, it prevents direct retribution for exercising our First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.  Anonymous speech is as American as our Founders and has been protected through the centuries by the United States Supreme Court.

Nevertheless,  our efforts have been the target of extortion attempts -- of threats designed to coerce us to stop writing in a way that offends the extorter or to write in a way more favorable to the extorter.  We have always rejected such attempts, because extortion is not only a criminal act but an existential act.  As an act of coercion, it is designed to kill free will, and so is an enemy of freedom itself. 

Extortion is the crime of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or institution, through coercion.

Most states define extortion as the gaining of property or money by almost any kind of force, or threat of 1) violence, 2) property damage, 3) harm to reputation, or 4) unfavorable government action. While usually viewed as a form of theft/larceny, extortion differs from robbery in that the threat in question does not pose an imminent physical danger to the victim. 

Extortion is a felony in all states. Blackmail is a form of extortion in which the threat is to expose embarrassing and damaging information to family, friends, or the public.  Inherent in this form of extortion is the threat to expose the details of someone's private life. 

Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats or force.   It involves a set of various types of actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response.  These actions may include, but are not limited to: extortion, blackmail, torture, threats to induce favors, or even sexual assault. In law, coercion is codified as a duress crime.  Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests. 

These crimes can take place over the telephone, via mail, text, email or other computer or wireless communication.  If any method of interstate commerce is used in the extortion, it can be a federal crime. 

As believers in the First Amendment and of the Bill of Rights, Sussex County Watchdog has always offered the liberty of our pages to any opposing point of view.  Write what you wish, and we will publish it.  We are an open forum, accessible to all.  And we offer anonymity to all who wish to publish.  We always have, and a few have made use of the liberty of our pages.  Some have stayed on as regular contributors.  

Unfortunately, there are many who don't want to be part of a free and open discussion.  They want to be able to exercise power, gain material benefit from the taxpayers, or seek power -- without scrutiny.  They don't want a discussion, they want power or a contract or taxpayers' money or status and they don't want to hear about it or have anyone asking questions.  These are the kinds of people who opt for extortion over the liberty of our pages. 

As one can readily appreciate, extortion is the realm of thug life, of wannabe Il Duces and Mafioso -- not of old political organizations and political families.  At least, it shouldn't be.  We have been surprised at some of the names connected with the latest attempt. 

Please allow us to provide counsel to our wannabe extorters, to those making the threats.  To those enemies of freedom, we say this:  The best way to address writing that you do not like is with more writing.  

Speech should be met with speech.  Not with threats, intimidation, coercion, and extortion.  Once you take that road there is only one way forward... as someone  who fears words, as the enemy of freedom, the book-burner, the hater of words and of journalism and of writing.  And where does it end?

It is a bloody path that you are choosing...

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.

Sunday
Aug272017

Freeholder Graham tries to pull fast one on taxpayers

Sussex County Freeholder boss George Graham is desperate to change the subject in advance of the Freeholder Board's upcoming September 13th meeting. Remember that at the Board's last meeting, Freeholder Graham wouldn't allow public comment at a session devoted to the $500,000 "review" of the solar project.

 

Taxpayers were made to grin and bear the fact that in January 2016, Freeholder Graham hired the same lawyer to review the project whose office had signed-off on the project in 2011.  Graham is desperate to hide the fact that this lawyer was deeply conflicted, in the opinion of many. 

 

To get Graham's "version" out, the Freeholder boss turned to his old pal Bill Hayden, a Trenton-based bureaucrat at the New Jersey Department of Transportation.  Hayden, who ran for office in June, is under some stress at work for allegedly running his blog on state time and posting threats about those associated with the Sussex County Republican Party. 

 

To get around this, Hayden's blog announced that it was "under new management" and then promptly went back to doing what the state told him not to do.  Hey, when you are at work -- collecting a salary, benefits, and a pension courtesy of the taxpayers of New Jersey -- you should do what you are supposed to do. . . work!

 

Taking a page out of convicted Bridgegate felon David Wildstein's book, the blog announced that a new editor named "Dan Haines" was now writing the stories.  In fact -- just like Wildstein's "Wally Edge" (a long dead former New Jersey politician), "Daniel Haines" is long dead too.  He was the 14th Governor of New Jersey (1843-45).  He was born in New York City and died in Hamburg, Sussex County in 1877.  The Facebook page of "editor" Dan Haines has him as being born in New York City and currently residing in Hamburg.  Yes, these idiots are not much on imagination. 

 

Oh, and Governor Haines was a Democrat.  Having a long-dead Democrat politician attack Sussex County Republicans makes a lot of sense, when you remember that George Graham was himself a Democrat -- a Hudson County Democrat, where the dead regularly vote!  Yep, boss Graham sure does a lot of switching --from Democrat to Republican back to Democrat and now to Republican again.  Want to bet what he'll be if Democrat Phil Murphy wins the Governor's office in November?

 

So the "new management" thing is a lie.  We expect other lies to follow, in what promises to be a sad attempt by Freeholder boss Graham to change the subject from why he wasted $500,000 on a report that nobody is allowed to question in public. 

 

It's sad because it won't work.  The taxpayers of Sussex County are smarter than boss Graham and will demand to know why a 62-page report  -- costing Sussex County taxpayers $500,000 ($8,064 per page) -- never once mentions the role of the office that signed-off on the project.  And why Graham hired the lawyer who ran that office to do the review.  It's the $500,000 question (actually $518,000 and rising) and the people want to know.


Sunday
Aug132017

Matteson & Trish try to cover up Dem solar scam

For years, Democrats have accused Republicans of being anti-solar.  It is no secret that many on the Left equate having concerns about the efficiency of solar energy as being anti-environment.

 

With the election of Barack Obama in 2008, liberal environmentalists -- both in Washington, DC, and across the country -- began pushing local solar projects promising economic benefits, savings, and federal money.  In every case, these projects "primed the pump" with the promise of federal funds.

 

The news media was uniformly supportive of this "great leap" towards "alternative energy" and sermonized about it non-stop.  Environmentalist were ecstatic. 

 

And so the Solyndra scandal and dozens like it were born.  As Wikipedia noted:

 

"Solyndra designed, manufactured, and sold solar photovoltaic (PV) systems composed of panels and mounting hardware for large, low-slope commercial rooftops. The panels perform optimally when mounted horizontally and packed closely together, the company claimed, covering significantly more of the typically available roof area and producing more electricity per rooftop on an annual basis than a conventional panel installation."

 

"Although the company was once touted for its unusual technology, plummeting silicon prices led to the company's being unable to compete with conventional solar panels made of crystalline silicon. The company filed for bankruptcy on September 1, 2011."

 

Solyndra cost federal taxpayers $535 million and state taxpayers $25.1 million.  Government attempts to recoup money through bankruptcy restructuring and Justice Department lawsuits have produced less than hoped for.

 

So a Democrat Party attorney named Stephen Pearlman comes up with a plan to sell this solar nonsense to Republican-controlled counties.  The media applauds the effort.   Pearlman started out working with the Essex County Democrat machine as their bond counsel and later got involved with the Camden Democrat machine  when Jim Florio was Governor.   He is a well-known proponent of solar energy.  Pearlman's law partner was active in the liberal NJ Women's Political Caucus.  They listed their legal "practice areas" as "social investment law" and "renewable energy law."

 

The media applauded these "solar initiatives" and shamed those who questioned them.  Republicans who questioned the "alternative energy" bandwagon, were accused of being backward and  "climate-change-deniers."

 

But it wasn't a surprise to conservatives when the Sussex solar project went bust.

 

And it isn't a surprise that now -- after solar has become the latest, coolest, hippest "new idea" to go into the crapper -- all of those liberal solar activists and their media enablers are claiming to know nothing about it and trying to blame Republicans.  That's not to say that Republicans don't share in the blame.  They do.  They believed the media hype about solar and other such "alternative energy" programs.  They believed the Obama administration's forecasts and got sucked-in by promises of federal "free" money.  They believed the Democrat attorneys who sold them the solar project. 

 

And worst of all -- they believed the State Comptroller's Office (who was appointed by Democrat Governor Jon Corzine) when it signed-off on the Sussex solar project, claiming that it was fit for purpose.  It was not.

 

So why are Democrat candidates Kate Matteson and Gina Trish trying to cover-up the State Comptroller's role in this fiasco?  Is it because their running mate, Democrat Freeholder candidate Dan Perez, is the person responsible for getting the State Comptroller -- now in private practice as an attorney -- a $500,000 taxpayer-funded contact to review the solar project that his office signed-off on in 2011?

 

Below is a memo from attorney Dan Perez (now a Democrat candidate for Sussex County Freeholder) to then Freeholder Gail Phoebus:

 

Begin forwarded message:

From: dan@danperezlaw.com
Date: April 12, 2015 at 7:47:23 AM EDT
To: Gail Phoebus <gphoeb@gmail.com>
Subject: Agenda

You pick the time and let me know; I am clear all day. How about this for a discussion list (please feel free to change):

1. Catch-up on recent freeholder meeting and other developments

2. Archer & Greiner conflict/possible ethics complaints against Cantalupo (undisclosed representation of Birdsall) and Weinstein (led settlement negotiations without being appointed)

3. OPRA requests and responses, post to a website?

4. McConnell malpractice issues/possible local gov't ethics complaint

5. New law firm to review settlement -- Lowenstein (Boxer), NYC??

6. Wendy Molnar

7. Dan to meet with Phil?

8. Budget/scope/time

9. Response to Crabb column

10. Next steps

 

---
 Daniel M. Perez, Esq. Law Offices of

            Daniel M. Perez 93 Spring Street, Suite 505 Newton, NJ

            07860 (973) 300-5135 (office) (973) 300-5199 (fax) (201)

            303-6209 (cell)

 

In February 2011, the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Sussex County authorized a shared services agreement with the Morris County Improvement Authority (MCIA) to implement the solar project.  In July 2011, the project was sent to the Office of the State Comptroller for review.  At the time, Matthew Boxer was the State Comptroller and responsible for that office.  After reviewing all the project documents, the following month (August 2011), the project was given the okay by the Office of the State Comptroller.  Based on this review, the Sussex County Freeholders went forward with the project. 

 

Later, in January 2016, Matthew Boxer would be given a no-bid contract to review the solar project that his office had signed-off on in August 2011.  How that contract came to be awarded to Mr. Boxer remains a mystery, although two officials were clearly involved -- Freeholder Boss George Graham and SCMUA Commissioner Dan Perez (a New York City lawyer, appointed by Graham, who is now himself a candidate for Freeholder).

 

. . .And yet, in Matthew Boxer's 62-page report  -- costing Sussex County taxpayers $500,000 ($8,064 per page) -- he never once mentions the role of the Office of the State Comptroller.  The word "comptroller" doesn't appear in his report, even once, despite the central role it played in the scam and in spite of the fact that Matthew Boxer ran the office when it was responsible for reviewing the solar contract.

 

In his own report, Mr. Boxer lays bare his office's misfeasance:

 

"The ability of the County to intercede or assist in the dispute between Sunlight and PPM was further hindered by the County’s lack of legal standing in the operative contract documents.  For example, the County had no contract with

Sunlight, only the MCIA did.  The County was even further removed contractually from PPM; neither the County nor the MCIA had a contract with PPM, only Sunlight did... In short, the County was underwriting the Solar Project, but was not in a position to affect it or protect it.

 

Typically, when a contractor on a public construction project is unable or unwilling, for financial reasons or otherwise, to complete the project, the public entity may resort to the performance bond that has been posted by the contractor.  A performance bond is a commitment made by an insurance company or bank, known as a 'surety,' to compensate the contracting entity financially or otherwise carry out the completion of the project in cases where the contractor defaults on its obligations...   In the case of the Solar Project, a surety bond was posted that contained a commitment from a well-known, national insurance company.  While the bond technically complied with legal requirements, the terms of the specific bond that was posted made the County’s invocation of the bond difficult, if not impossible.  First, despite the massive financial commitment the County had made on this project, the County was not listed as a beneficiary (known as the 'obligee') on the bond.  Instead, the MCIA and a Sunlight-related entity were listed as the obligees.  Thus, the County had no explicit standing to invoke the bond or to seek compensation under the bond.  It was reliant in this regard on the MCIA." 

 

In August 2011, Matthew Boxer's office (the Office of the State Comptroller) approved the terms of the 196-page contract. The following link provides the table of contents of the contract forwarded to and approved by the Office of the State Comptroller:

 

http://www.sussexcountywatchdog.com/blog/2017/8/10/boxer-report-a-cover-up-of-his-offices-role-in-solar-scam.html

 

In light of his office's blatant failures, Matthew Boxer should be asked the following question:  Do you believe that the Office of the State Comptroller let down the taxpayers of Sussex County?

 

In April 2015, the Office of the State Comptroller turned down Sussex County's request 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.  It goes as follows:

 

"The County is still awaiting a written letter from the Office of the State Comptroller, as a follow up to the phone conference... on April 27, 2015.  In the absence of the written response, and as a reminder, the State representatives (OSC) advised the County that it undertook an internal review of the Solar II Program and conducted its own analysis and evaluation of the Solar II Program.  Following this review process, the Comptroller's Office concluded that, based upon the information... forwarded to them, it was not going to pursue a further review of the Solar II Program."

 

It seems 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 Comptroller's Office noted several factors in its post-review decision not to review the matter further:

 

a. Noting that the Solar Programs and original agreements were a local policy decision, approved by the County Freeholders, and;

 

b. That in the view of the Comptroller's Office, both the change in the SREC Market, as well as the legal dispute between the developer and the contractor (SunLight/MasTec) contributed to the Solar II Program not proceeding as originally expected."

 

A "post-review decision not to review the matter..."  WTF??? 

 

The Office of the State Comptroller's refusal 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 unusual, 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 Boxer obtained the contract.  Here is what he wrote:

 

"Dear Mr. Boxer,

 

On New Years’ Eve, Dec 31, 2015, I received a phone call, about 5:00 PM, informing me that a resolution had been submitted to the Sussex County Clerk of the Board regarding an agreement with Lowenstein Sandler, LLC to provide professional services to conduct a review of the facts and circumstances involved in the Sussex County Renewable Energy Program.

 

This was the first time I had any knowledge of this negotiation and agreement.

 

I spoke to our Freeholder Director, the other sitting Freeholders, our County Administrator, our County Council, our Clerk of the Board, our County Treasurer, our Director of the Department of Central and Shared Services, our Purchasing Agent, and our assistant purchasing agent.

 

None of these individuals, except Freeholder George Graham, admitted to having any knowledge of these negotiations, conversations, meetings or agreements with your law firm before 5:00 PM on New Years’ Eve 2015.

 

...I believe that the governing body has had no part in negotiating an agreement with your firm.

 

I would like to know, and now ask, who represented Sussex County in these negotiations, especially the negotiation of the 'blended' hourly rate and the understanding that the Board of Chosen Freeholders has provided that fees are not to exceed $500,000.00? "

 

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?  And note that, at the time, this Freeholder -- as a member of the Board -- was Mr. Boxer's client.

 

The Freeholder wrote to the State Ethics Commission about the matter and noted the following:

 

"At the January 27th, 2016 regular Freeholder meeting, now, Freeholder Director George Graham admitted that he, solely, negotiated this agreement.

 

He stated that this agreement was negotiated with two phone calls with a Matthew Boxer, Esq.

 

In 2011 Matthew Boxer was the New Jersey State Comptroller.

 

Matthew Boxer led a staff responsible for overseeing audits and performance reviews at all levels of New Jersey government. The office audited government finances, examined the efficiency of government programs and scrutinized government contracts.

 

On August 23, 2011 the State Comptroller's office, after a review, signed off on the procurement of a Photovoltaic Systems Developer with respect to certain local government facilities in the County of Sussex and the RFP as approved for advertisement. 

 

I have been asked by many Sussex County residents if Matthew Boxer has a conflict of interest representing Sussex County as Special Counsel in order to review its participation in the Sussex County Renewable Energy Program."

 

To which the State Ethics Commission replied:

 

"Mr. Boxer contacted this office to seek advice regarding whether the post-employment restrictions prohibit him from being involved in a review of the (solar) Program.  Mr. Boxer advised that he did not have any personal involvement in the Office of the State Comptroller's review or approval of Sussex County's procurement related to the Program.  Mr. Boxer also advised that he contacted the Office of the State Comptroller, which performed a search of its records and emails and found no emails, correspondence or other documents indicating that he had any involvement in that office's review of the procurement for the Program.  Based on these facts, the State Ethics Commission concluded that Mr. Boxer was not substantially or directly involved in the Program during his State employment and that the post-employment restrictions therefore do not prohibit him (or derivatively Lowenstein Sandler) from being involved in the present review of the Program on behalf of Sussex County."

 

Note that the word "facts" is used when "representations" is 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.

 

It is unusual 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.  Is Mr. Boxer claiming that he was such a poor and disconnected "delegator" that he lacked direct, day-to-day knowledge of the office he was responsible for?  And 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? 

 

We are left with a situation in which the taxpayers of Sussex County must be content to take the word of Mr. Boxer.  Especially as he appears to be the only person to have benefitted from this fiasco -- to the tune of a half-million dollars!

 

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.