Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another UCIA Flim Flam Project?

One of the first orders of business for our new incoming Governor should be to conduct a real investigation into the Union County Improvement Authority and the politically connected attorneys with whom it conducts business and the developers those lawyers represent.

See latest UCIA story from The Record here.

As with the Dupont/ISP project, here, the UCIA entered into numerous agreements with developer, Tern Landing Development LLC, prior to Tern having any legal rights to the property. Why are things done in this fashion and is it legal are only two questions.

According to the article:

"As chairwoman of the Union County Democratic organization, DeFilippo has enormous influence on county political affairs, power she shares with Lesniak. But she says she never dealt directly with Lesniak on Tern Landing. 'I never talked to him' DeFilippo said. 'The lawyers worked out all the details. My job was to make sure we didn't loan them [Tern] any money until they had financing in place.'"

With all the failed projects the UCIA has backed, via the taxpayers, these statements by DeFilippo are revealing for a number of reasons, but most troublesome is the self-admitted lack of any due diligence on the part of the UCIA. It wasn't too long ago that freeholder Dan Sullivan stated that he knows the UCIA does its due diligence. See videotag provided by the Union County Watchers here Clearly, the freeholders, along with freeholder Sullivan, don't know the UCIA's track record in Linden or, most likely, they choose to ignore it. In this case, it appears DeFilippo did no due diligence as to the feasibility of this project, but rather, relies on lawyers and not just any lawyer, but lawyers with clear conflicts IMO.

According to the article, Tern Landing's financial commitment was a paltry $5.5 million of the $31 million purchase price. The rest of the purchase price was mortgaged back to the original owner of the property, Cherokee affiliate, OENJ Cherokee Elizabeth. The UCIA has promised another $25 Million.

As look at the parties and their attorneys on this project reveals:

Term Landing Development LLC is represented by Sen. Lesniak.

Cherokee Investment Partners has been represented by the DeCotiis law firm

EnCap’s parent company is Cherokee Investment Partners.

EnCap's lead attorney was Eric D. Wisler, managing partner of the DeCotiis law firm

DeCotiis law firm is the lead attorney for the UCIA.

Lesniak's firm also represented the Xanadu project in the Meadowlands.

Though bill S-1769, designed to prevent another Encap mess, was signed into law this past October, Sen. Lesniak was a major force in watering down the bill.

According to another Record article: "Lesniak denied that he was doing the bidding of his firm's clients. 'People can ascribe any motives they want … and I could care less,' he said."

Don't we know it.

According to that same Record article: "The 'EnCap bill,' some say, is practically a shell. 'Compromise is a fact of life in Trenton, but this bill is a compromise of a compromise,' said Sen. Kevin O'Toole, a Republican from Wayne. 'The loopholes are big enough to drive a Mack truck through.'"

See that full article here.

Failed Linden UCIA projects:

South Wood Avenue
Morning Star

If DeFillippo was the approving loan officer at a bank for these projects, she would have been fired a long time ago. There is no magic in re-building a fire house, but the UCIA has engaged in risky, speculative projects at taxpayer expense. This is not the role of government nor should it be. The failed projects prove it and it needs to end.

PS: The UCIA minutes for the months of July, August, October and November are still not posted on the UCIA's website. Bills continue to be paid of course.


Anonymous said...

DeFillippo on Lesniak: "I never talked to him" We are suppose to believe this?

NFS said...

I don't believe a word from any of them.

This State is already over-populated, particularly in this region, and they want to shove more hi-rises, condos and whatever other garbage they think of down our throats under the guise of creating jobs.

Our standard of living gets worse with each passing year and our elected officials could care less and why should they? They are well taken care of as are whatever taxpayer dependent family members they managed to hoist onto public payrolls. It's the middle and poor class that are the victims from all their reckless spending and poor/non-planning.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
In my opinion you are mistaken. I can prove it. Write to me in PM, we will discuss.

just ed said...

Judges going down more to come

NFS said...

Hi ed. I'll have to check the PA sites.

NFS said...

Nothing is sacred anymore ed. What a toole.

NFS said...

Dear Anon 12:06

This blog does not have private messaging. Feel free to leave me another message in the comments section, which I will not publish unless you ask me to.

I hope I'm wrong, but so far, Linden is taking a beating with the projects in Linden that I mentioned.