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Tag: New Jersey

FBI Investigates Small New York Town After It Bungled Big Baseball Stadium Deal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Let’s just say taxpayers are fed up.

A top elected official in Ramapo, NJ, pledged to bring a minor-league baseball team to the small town about 40 miles northwest of New York City if a new stadium was built at no cost to taxpayers, Bloomberg News reports.

Now,  taxpayers are on the hook for as much as $60 million in stadium costs – enough to draw the attention of the FBI.

Agents recently descended on the town and are now examining one of the state’s most fiscally stressed municipalities.

“This is the most dramatic scenario with a stadium I’ve heard of,” said John Dittrich, who has more than 40 years of experience as an executive in professional baseball. “If taxpayers are mad about the way it went down, they’re not going to be customers, and it hurts.”

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Alleged Mobster ‘Papa Smurf’ Sentenced Up to 3 Years in Prison in Waste Hauling Scandal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

They call him Papa Smurf.

The alleged mobster, Carmine Franco, 78, will spend two to three years in prison after he was sentenced Friday to racketeering charges, the New York Daily News reports.

Franco is accused in a multi-crime-family plot to seize control of waste hauling in New York City and New Jersey between 2009 and 2012.

Franco is among 32 alleged mobsters swept up in an FBI sting involving three families.

Newark Star-Ledger: FBI Surveillance’s Lasting Impact Reminiscent of NYPD’s Snooping in Newark

Editorial Board
Newark Star-Ledger 

In its hunt for terrorists, the New York Police Department hid moles in Newark mosques and sent agents into Paterson bodegas. The spying stayed secret until boxes of documents were leaked to the Associated Press.

Here’s what was exposed: The NYPD’s surveillance of New Jersey Muslims never turned up a useful lead. But it bred mistrust in those neighborhoods — of police, the government and each other. The damager will outlast the cops’ cloak-and-dagger failure.

The American Civil Liberties Union has evidence of a nearly identical FBI program to
track and map racial, ethnic and religious groups across the country — under a 2003 law that protects the agency’s profiling. In 2011, ACLU lawyers sued for details about who, where and how the feds are watching these communities. This week, a federal appeals court ruled the FBI can keep its spy mission secret.

No one doubts the value of national security. But dangerous, discriminatory policies — particularly those directed at Muslim Americans since 9/11 — undermine trust between law enforcement and those communities. In the end, we’re all less safe.

To read more click here.

Government Must Get Warrant for GPS for Car, Appeals Court Rules

By Andrea Peterson
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled Tuesday that the government must obtain a warrant to attach a GPS unit to a car.

The case involved alleged pharmacy burglaries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland: the authorities suspected a trio of brothers and slapped a magnetic GPS unit to one of their vehicles after consulting the U.S. Attorney’s office — but without obtaining a warrant. Using the evidence gathered from the device, the vehicle was tracked to a recently burglarized RiteAid. Police stopped the brothers shortly afterward, and a search allegedly revealed items from the RiteAid.

In the resulting case, U.S. v. Katzin, the brothers argued that the evidence obtained as a result of the GPS unit should be inadmissible because the police had not obtained a warrant.

To read more click here.

Justice Department Intervenes in Dispute over Sports Betting in New Jersey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Saying the 20-year federal ban on sports betting is unconstitutional, New Jersey is challenging the law in hopes of legalizing sports betting at casinos and racing tracks, NJ.com reports.

But the U.S. Department of Justice struck down the argument Friday, saying New Jersey can’t challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, NJ.com reported.

The DOJ intervened on behalf of a lawsuit filed by the National Collegiate Athletics Association and professional leagues – the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL.

“(The federal law) is a constitutional exercise of congressional authority,” the lawsuit reads, “and it should be upheld.”

New Jersey officials claim the law is unconstitutional because, for one, four states are allowed to bet on sports but the others, including New Jersey, are not.

Sen. Menendez Wielded Influence to Help Businessman Accused of Providing Him with Young Prostitutes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Before FBI agents raided the office a South Florida eye doctor accused of paying for young prostitutes for Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democratic senator from New Jersey helped used his influence to advocate for a $1 billion business for the doctor, the Miami Herald reports.

The Herald wrote that Menendez was urging the Obama administration in July to help Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Palm Beach County eye doctor, intervene in a contract dispute with the Dominican Republic.

According to the Herald, Melgen was hoping to enforce a contract his business won to X-ray Dominican Republic port cargo.

“You have another company that has American investors that … has a contract actually given to it by the — ratified by the Dominican Congress — to do X-ray of all of the cargo that goes through the ports,” Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said at the July 31 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. “And they don’t want to live by that contract either.”

Menedez’s office said the senator did nothing inappropriate.

Attorney Charged with Orchestrating Murder of FBI Informant on Trial – Again

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Prominent New Jersey attorney Paul Bergrin, who is accused of using his law firm to commit crimes, including drug trafficking, prostitution and the murder of an FBI informant, is on trial in Newark federal court, Reuters reports. 

The trial began Tuesday and is the prosecution’s second attempt at landing a conviction against Bergrin.

The 57-year-old is charged with 24 counts of charges, including orchestrating the 2004 murder of Kemo DeShawn McCray, an FBI informant who was a witness against one of his clients.

The first trial ended in a hung jury in November 2011.

FBI Launches Another Investigation Involving Trenton City Hall

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Trenton, N.J. housing projects started under former Mayor Douglas Palmer are the subject of an FBI corruption investigation, the Trenton Times reports.

Developer Robert Kahan, who was involved in all five projects, is named in the subpoena obtained by the Trenton Times.

Palmer, who often used Kahan as a developer, told the Times he has not been contacted by the FBI and believes the probe is directed at Kahan and not the city or him.

The investigation appears to be unrelated to another investigation that led to the indictment of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, who pleaded not guilty to six corruption charges in December.

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