Wednesday, September 16, 2009

UCIA Operating Under a Cloud for Two Years

It’s been nearly two years since it was reported that subpoenas were issued regarding the UCIA, and its Executive Director, Charlotte DeFilippo, Camelot Title, etc. See story here.

If the staggering legal bills paid to the DeCotiis law firm are any indication, the UCIA relies heavily on the advice of that law firm. In February 2008, the Office of the Inspector General issued a scathing report on the failures, abuses and waste at the Meadowlands Redevelopment Project, a/k/a Encap. According to The Record, one of the Inspector General’s findings was that Encap and its lawyers from the DeCotiis firm misled State Agencies and officials about key information.

Assemblyman/Undersheriff/State Dem. Chair Joe Cryan, according to a column in The Auditor section of the S.L. , returned campaign moneys to the DeCotiis law firm. Cryan also held a stake in Camelot Title Agency, which was reported to be part of the State A. G.’s investigation. Cryan has never disclosed why he return campaign money to the DeCotiis. Who knows? Maybe Cryan doesn’t care for the DeCotiis law firm or its money, but so far, Cryan has never publicly disclosed the reason why he returned the money.

There have been no calls for DeFilippo to resign her position at the Union County Improvement Authority. Until just recently, even indicted officials weren’t called on to resign. DeFilippo continues to run the UCIA while under investigation, handing out millions of dollars to politically connected lawyers, engineering firms, etc. A review of the minutes from UCIA meetings reveals that little discussion takes place during UCIA meetings. The questions that are asked seem scripted or meaningless, but none serious. A review of approved bills paid by the UCIA reveals well over $100,000, including tens of thousands of dollars to the DeCotiis law firm, is paid out monthly. While NJ agencies such as the UCIA are subject to audits, a report issued by the State Comptroller’s Office finds that the “NJ audit system is deeply flawed”.

While Senator Lesniak and some other elected officials are apparently taking the threat of charges being filed against DeFilippo serious enough to start a fund for her defense, what have any of them done to provide some oversight of the UCIA during this investigation process?


just ed said...

NFS one of the judges here has an interest in Kencon Partnership a New Jersey real estate company can you see what you can find out Thanks

Anonymous said...


NFS said...

Haven't found anything, only that it appears it operates out of Bergen County ... another hotspot for corruption.

Anonymous said...

The PlainTalker has been asking many of the same questions about the UCIA in terms of its being the redevelopment agency for a failing condo project in Plainfield. Since Jerry Green and Linda Stender also represent Linden, residents there might want to take a look.

NFS said...

Thanks Anon 2:54. I regularly check both Bernice & Dan's excellent blogs and have been following the Monarch situation on those sites. I feel the Monarch, in some ways, mirrors what is going on here in Linden via the UCIA. Linden UCIA projects are in even worse shape than the Monarch. Taxpayers become unwitting partners with politically connected developers, or in the case of the UCIA - ISP/Dupont mess, unwitting litigants. It is my opinion that the UCIA has exceeded its power, or at the very least, exceeded the intent for which it was established.

One of these days I should get around to posting a blog roll and include those sites.

BTW, here, Assemblyman Green is referred to as Assemblyman Jerry "Dumped his Dumps" Green.

Anonymous said...

NFS,Jerry Green sold a building on St. Georges Ave. to the UCIA for over $700,000 which he brags about, since he purchased the building for about $60,000 many years ago. Do you know what constituted the parcel of buildings for that project? Do you know its name? Has it been built? How is it that he can ethically sell a building for such a high profit while holding office?

NFS said...

The property, according to the Data Universe site, is known as 1148-1154 E. St. George Avenue and the UCIA bought it for $745,000. I'm no appraiser, but I suppose "dumps" are worth something too, even in a "blighted area". I'll try and get a picture, but in the meanwhile, you can go on Google map & plug in the address "1154 E. St. George Avenue, Linden, NJ" and see the property yourself.

The project that was to be built is called Morningstar. Last I heard, the developer is having trouble getting financing. It was stated at a Linden Council meeting that the developer is suppose to demolish the buildings, which now are not only an eyesore, as they always have been, but dangerous as well because they are now vacant and have been for some time. The City may now try and get some federal stimulus money to build a new police station there since the project appears dead in the water.