Gray-Gorman website praises solar scam
Yesterday we lauded the first mailer sent out by the Freeholder campaign of David Gray and Kathleen Gorman. We sincerely thought that their first piece of mailed campaign literature was well done.
Within an hour of our post praising their mailer, the Gray-Gorman camp sent out an email blast in which they lied by claiming to be Watchdog. And for perhaps the tenth time, they used a false Pennsylvania address in an attempt to place the blame for their attacks on the shoulders of Senator Steve Oroho, who employs a consultant from the same town and state.
David Gray is a lawyer. Gray is an officer of the Court and a candidate for public office. We asked if this kind of false misrepresentation was really allowed by the New Jersey Bar Association and it was suggested to us that we file an ethics complaint. Actually, we feel kind of sorry for David Gray. Why does he need to lie and claim to be someone else?
The Gray-Gorman email attacks Gail Phoebus and George Graham for refusing to support the bailout of the solar scam last year. You remember that scam, don't you? In February of last year, the Sparta Independent reported on the solar scam and asked these questions:
How did a solar power company that had only been in business for two years get loan guarantees of nearly $90 million from Sussex, Morris and Somerset counties?
And why would Sussex County, with a budget of about $100 million, put at risk $27.7 million through bond guarantees for a private company?
Sussex County Administrator John Eskilson says Sussex County is potentially facing $26 million in losses after SunLight General Capital, a solarpower energy company, was unable to pay back most of the $27.7 million in bonds the county took out for them through debt issued by the Morris County Municipal Authority.
The solar bailout that Gail Phoebus and George Graham voted against took another $10 million -- all of the "rainy day" money the county had put aside from the sale of the county's nursing home plus $3 million more -- and threw it at the failed solar project. The three Freeholders who voted for the bailout -- Richard Vohden, Phil Crabb, and Dennis Mudrick -- are big supporters of Gray-Gorman and held a big fundraising event to fund the Gray-Gorman effort.
Now you might be asking why are Gray-Gorman attacking Gail Phoebus, who was elected to the state Assembly and isn't even a Freeholder anymore. Gail Phoebus isn't even on the ballot this year, so why would Gray-Gorman waste the effort?
Well, it is very clear that the Gray-Gorman campaign is being directed by the solar lobby and the vendors and lawyers responsible for the scam in the first place. They will never forgive Mrs. Phoebus for standing up to them. In the words of one solar watcher: "They want her dead."
Remember the Solar Proposal Evaluation Team that wrote the 2011 document used to sell the solar deal to the Sussex County Freeholders? The Gray-Gorman email praised the members of this corrupt or incompetent team and criticized those who held them accountable.
Birdsall Services Group was a big part of the Solar Proposal Evaluation Team and the Group pleaded guilty in 2013, was fined $1 million and its assets sold in bankruptcy proceedings. Birdsall's top executive recently got a prison sentence of 4 years, while another executive pleaded guilty late last month. The Asbury Park Press reported:
BIRDSALL GOES TO PRISON FOR CORRUPTION
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.
The evaluation team was put together by then County Administrator John Eskilson. In 2015, Freeholders 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.
Why are Gray-Gorman plainly aligning themselves with the solar scammers who raped Sussex County taxpayers for upwards of $40 million? It is all about killing the county's investigation to put together a lawsuit to get our money back. If the scammers can keep the money and plea bargain their way into paying a fine to resolve the criminal investigations, then they will come out ahead.
That's how these things often work out. The fine is just a cost of doing business. United States Senator Elizabeth Warren complained bitterly when HSBC Bank was caught laundering nearly a billion dollars in drug cartel money and ended up paying a fine with no prosecution. Here is the Senator at a hearing discussing this subject: