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Mulch Man Meet Mulch Man
04/04/04: Connecticut Republican Governor John Rowland and New Jersey Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey have become the northeast bookends of federal corruption probes. Complete with historical firsts of subpoenas lodged in gubernatorial places. Their supporters scream political witch hunt. To partisans, corruption is naught but a campaign plank in the other guy's eye.

In Row-land, the storm swirling around free rehabs done by public contractors on John and Patty Rowland's summer cottage has given way to an Enron tornado. A energy deal between Connecticut and Enron went belly up in the late 90's. Costing state pension funds a quarter of a mil. That deal has moved to the crowded forefront of suspect financial transactions with roots in the Rowland administration. This one was largely the baby of enigmatic X chief of staff and waste-into-energy visionary Peter Ellef. His lips stay sealed. Not so those of antique hawker Wayne Pratt, who holds forth on PBS's Antique Roadshow. Yet another life style tout turned white collar crim. Pratt has been sharing collectable tips with the feds. About a condo in Washington D.C. which Pratt and a Connecticut contractor helped juggle for then Congressman John Rowland. The condo was rented and sold for double market value. The contractor is presently busy with major public projects in the state of Conn. A whiff of real estate fraud with pay-for-play over tones hangs in the air. In Jersey, the smell is coming from mulch.

Giant piles of mulch can be seen at the 75 acre Cornell Dairy Farm in Carteret, New Jersey. Right off a Jersey Turnpike exit. Not exactly a rural area. The mayor of Carteret says the mulch smells like a mountain of rotting wood. An unattractive odor for a town engaging in the act of redevelopment. Some claim mulch isn't the only cash crop on the farm. A few years ago the township contended an illegal solid waste (aka garbage) transfer station was operating on the premises. Carteret is in the process of forcing the farm's owners to sell the property to the town, via the use of eminent domain. Claiming Cornell Dairy Farm needs to be part of a Farmland Preservation Program. A mulchless one presumably. The owners, one of whom is a major fund raiser for Governor Jim McGreevey, don't mulch like the deal. The rest is mulch as you'd expect.

Mulchgate is just one part of federal investigations into Democratic fund raisers who've claimed to have an inside track with McGreevey for state contracts and favors. The latter allegedly include favorable resolutions of tax liens. When first elected, Governor Jim McGreevey seemed a nice clean boy from Woodbridge City Hall. Yet during his time in Trenton there's been a persistent problem with odors in the state house. A number of his choices for appointments have gone down reeking. Such as a top cop with alleged mob ties and rumored plans to snuff a snitch. Though supporters did pooh pooh those stories-- saying they were mulch ado about nothing.

Moving eastward from Trenton on the Delaware, to Hoboken on the Hudson, be sure and stop in at the spiffy, mulch raking website of Ed Mecka. A link follows. Mecka's site is well organized and info rich. His topic is primarily Hoboken politics, but since Hoboken is within Hudson County, Mecka's rake moves in wide circles. The late great political columnist Peter Weiss once asked in the Jersey Journal: "What is it about Hudson County government and politics that makes so many elected and appointed officials go bad? How does it start? Where does it stop?"

Peter Weiss probably now knows the answers to these questions but unfortunately, can't share them with those left behind in The Garden State. The veil between life and death being what it is...

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Ed Mecka's Hoboken Activist Community Home Page


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Copyright (c) 2004 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

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