Solar scam's Birdsall sentenced to 4 years

The 2011 document used to sell the solar deal to the Sussex County Freeholders was called the Solar Proposal Evaluation Report. It was the work of a committee that was formed to sell the solar scheme -- the Sussex County Evaluation Team Here are the members of the team:

- John Eskilson Sussex County Administrator

- Dennis McConnell, Sussex County Attorney

- Bernard Re, Sussex County Treasurer

- Steve Pearlman, a lawyer with Inglesino, Pearlman, Wyciskala & Taylor

- Deb Verderame, a lawyer with Inglesino, Pearlman, Wyciskala & Taylor

- Gerry Genna, Birdsall Services Group

- Tom Brys, Birdsall Services Group

- Douglas Bacher, NW Financial Group

- Heather Litzebauer, NW Financial Group

- Steven Gabel, Gabel Associates

- Richard Preiss, Gabel Associates

- Cadence Bowden, Gabel Associates

The evaluation team was put together by John Eskilson.  Two Birdsall cronies were on the team.  Freeholder Richard Vohden, Phil Crabb, and Dennis Mudrick supported the bailout of the failed solar scheme.  These same freeholders later rewarded Eskilson with a position as a trustee with the Sussex County Community College. 

The Asbury Park Press reported today:


Toms River - Howard Birdsall, the former head of one of New Jersey's oldest and most prestigious engineering firms, was sentenced to four years in prison Friday in the pay-to-play corruption case that brought about the demise of the company that bore his family's name.

...Birdsall and six other of the firm's executives, as well as the firm itself, were indicted in 2013 on charges that they masked corporate campaign contributions as individual political donations in order to skirt the state's pay-to-play laws and get contracts it otherwise would have been disqualified from.

...Eatontown-based Birdsall Services Group pleaded guilty in the case in 2013, was fined $1 million and its assets sold in bankruptcy proceedings.

In other news from today...

Be careful with filling out those ethics disclosures. 

Lawrence Durr – longtime committeeman, mayor and planning board member in Chesterfield Township – pleaded guilty to a criminal charge that he filed fraudulent ethics disclosure forms that failed to disclose his financial relationship to a developer.  A state investigation revealed that Durr used his official positions to advance the developer’s plan to build a major residential and commercial project at a site in the township.

PolitickerNJ wrote:  "Never go anywhere in New Jersey and assess that the place might be different from any other familiar underbelly. . . Underneath the slick veneer of social respectability they actually occupy just one more den of inequity, or if you prefer the words of Obi Wan Kenobi, another 'wretched hive of scum and villainy'."

And the beat goes on...