Could this one scandal finish Chris Christie? First there was the Bridgegate scandal, now we find out that millions of dollars have been stolen from the Newark Watershed Conservation Development Corporation.
While Newark was laying off police officers and begging for state bailouts, one of its most important contractors was siphoning off millions of city dollars in illegal payments, sweetheart deals, and risky stock ventures right under the noses of city leaders, according to a report released today by the state comptroller’s office.
Between 2008 and 2011, the state comptroller alleges that agency leaders and insiders absconded with millions of public dollars.
“Millions of public dollars.” This should finally get the petty stuff about Bridgegate off the front page of the New York Times and even MSNBC should be picking this one up and dropping their 24×7 Bridgegate coverage.
If you need more proof that real live corruption was happening, here you go.
Linda Watkins-Brashear, the agency’s director … wrote unreported checks to herself to the tune of $200,000, was awarded $700,000 in two severance packages, gave more than $1 million in contracts to her friends and ex-husband, and lost $500,000 in dubious stock ventures, the report states.
Sounds to me like they’ve got the goods on Linda. We can’t wait for the email trail to the Governor’s office. Any politician who could be tied to something like this should be ripped asunder by the media and his big fat political career should be over.
It turns out that this will likely just be a local story. You won’t be seeing this on the nightly news or gracing the pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post. MSNBC’s coverage of Bridgegate will go on uninterrupted.
“Why?” you ask. Well, thanks for asking.
The headliner here isn’t Chris Christie. It’s former Newark Mayor and current US Senator Cory Booker. That would be Democratic Senator Cory Booker. Who happens to be untouchable and any charges that he was involved in this scandal are racist.
Well, color us racist. Here’s what Brashear had to say, through her attorney.
Through her attorneys, Watkins-Brashear said the report wrongly laid blame at her feet and said she acted at all times with the knowledge and approval of then Mayor Cory Booker’s administration.
“The report provides the public with an inaccurate depiction of how the NWCDC operated, the propriety of the transactions at issue, and how some of the perceived problems came to pass,” attorney Michael Baldassare said in a statement. “Ms. Watkins-Brashear acted as she was directed, believed at all times that her actions were appropriate and duly authorized, and faithfully discharged her obligations for over 32 years.”
Just a couple of points in passing.
First, “Mayor Cory Booker’s administration.” She’s giving the golden boy cover right from the start. You can bet there will be some “soon-to-be-named” administrative gnomes who are going to get pinned for this one. Cory never knew about it. He’ll be shocked.
Second, who’s kidding who. “…unreported checks to herself to the tune of $200,000, was awarded $700,000 in two severance packages, gave more than $1 million in contracts to her friends and ex-husband …”
You can bet there’s hard evidence of those checks and contracts. Any bets on the number of bidders on those contracts? If this woman actually thought those actions were “appropriate and duly authorized”, she’s dumber than Sheila Jackson Lee.
As long as we’re taking bets, anybody want to put something up that the news media demands more investigation into former Mayor Booker’s dealings with his former law firm and the City of Newwark? Given Booker’s history of lies and corruption, he’s got cover at the highest levels of government from the DoJ and the White House. Heck, he’s a round peg in a round hole in that crowd.
Don’t expect to be hearing about this much from anybody other than us. After all, there’s that Bridgegate thingy.