Corruption and Mystery in Newark

Newark has been accused of corruption. Often such extreme characterizations, like Booker’s twisted opponent in the NJ Senatorial races, Lonegan, talking about bodies floating in the Passaic, or his fascination with Booker’s sexuality, have specific partisan political uses. There was, though, Hugh Addonizio, Newark Mayor in the 60s, whom the courts indicted and convicted of giving 1% of the city’s municipal budget to the mob.

Recently the racist smell around Mayor Sharpe James’ imprisonment for giving city land away, when the formal makeup of Newark’s infrastructure makes such a practice impossible, since the parceling off of the city’s land must be voted on by the City Council as well as the Mayor. Cory Booker, who signified against James, was himself a member of that council that voted the land to a Tamika Riley.

Chris Christie was the prosecutor in the James trial, sending the former Mayor to federal prison for 18 months. That’s how Christie got elected Governor, since nothing makes racists happier than putting a well-known Black person in prison, guilty or not.

This would also index Booker’s getting closer to Christie. Such an alliance, we have seen, functions even today, in this miasma of opportunism, apparent corruption and smelly deal-making. Christie has also figured prominently, as befits his outsized self, to forging weird ties with supposed Democrats, e.g. Essex county chief executive, Joe DiVincenzo, who even the Star Ledger says could use a deodorant around his political dealings.

The widely communicated accusation that Joe D has been giving out Federal money intended for poor people to his cronies was made initially by Connie Crawford, who was running the Dept. of Community Action (DCA). Crawford stated that as soon as Federal money started coming in to help needy Essex County residents in 2009, a “mysterious account” was set up and the money began flowing to a whole list of folks recommended, Ms. Crawford insists, by Joe D. Those on that list showed “no appreciable need,” going by the Federal standards. They were, of course, Joe D’s specially chosen folk.

A Dominick Scaglione, in Joe D’s office as Essex County Inspector General, tried to clean up by saying the program has done “a great job,” and claiming that Ms. Crawford denied making her accusation, but the next day Ms. Crawford repeated the accusation, confirming that’s exactly what she’d said.

South Ward Councilman, and Newark mayoral candidate, Ras Baraka, named no names but still said that such an accusation should be investigated by Federal investigators opposing Joe D’s suggestion that the charges be investigated by someone in his office. Like asking Jack The Ripper whether his knives had blood on them.

Even more smelly is that the DCA office set up in East Orange was run, until recently, by Anibal Ramos, the North Ward councilman who is now a candidate for Mayor.

What makes this picture so sinister now is that you have one Mayoral candidate Darin Sharif, who spoke at length at his inauguration about how Ras Baraka “sent troops” to get him elected (by 11 votes), but apparently that’s now forgotten since he’s announced he is running for Mayor opposing Baraka. This might be the funkiest election in decades since the father, Carl Sharif, has announced that he is working for candidate Shavar Jeffries—an ex-NJ Deputy Attorney General, armed with money from the downtown business district, who feel Jeffries’ state bureaucratic profile has prepared him to follow their dictates rather than the people of Newark, whom he’s had has little contact with.

But some people are wondering how Sharif & Sharif can be working for different candidates and maybe they’re both teaming up as paid operatives to split the Black vote and get Ramos in position for a run-off with Baraka. But this is being said at least across the Black Newark community, accompanied by derisive laughter directed at the father and son who are trying to split the Black vote! One, apparently a naïve false face, the other a professional vote slinger who is simply getting paid for his deviltry. The laughter sounds like somebody’s identifying them at the same time, “Ho, Ho, Ho, Ras Baraka still gonna win!”

Rumor with A View (Mystery & Corruption II)

Word the three Joe DiVincenzo marionettes who are county reps in the Central, North and West wards all have selected Anibal Ramos to support for Mayor, is not much of a surprise, since Joe D is his “Godfather,” though we wonder, with all the accusations flying around the county that Joe D has been giving federal grant money away to persons other than “the needy” for whom these federal grants were intended. How Joe D can be so confident that no one in the city will demand the federal investigators focus at least one part of that investigation on his three county appointees to see if some of the swag did not flow their way?

From December, 2013

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