No corruption in the Democratic party...Oh really.
come on mr. and ms. naiveman
Party boss pleads guilty
John Lynch, former Senate president, admits fraud and tax evasion.
By KEN SERRANO
Gannett New Jersey
NEWARK -- John Lynch Jr., the state Democratic party kingmaker for decades, admitted in federal court Friday that he committed fraud and tax evasion while he was a state senator.
Lynch, 67, a former mayor of New Brunswick, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Newark, to one count of mail fraud in connection with a South Brunswick project, and one count of tax evasion for the 1999 tax year related to $150,000 he received from a deal involving land along the Raritan River in New Brunswick.
His business partner, John E. Westlake, 76, of Red Bank, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion for failing to report $350,000 in income in 1999 in connection with the same land deal.
Lynch faces from 33 to 41 months in federal prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 19, although District Judge Stanley R. Chesler, before whom Lynch entered his pleas, can digress from those guidelines. The maximum penalty for the two counts is five years each. He could also be fined more than $250,000 on each count.
Lynch was released on a $100,000 bond posted by his wife. Neither Lynch nor Westlake's wives attended the hearing.
Westlake faces between 10 and 16 months in prison.
"Today an era of corruption and influence peddling for personal profit has been put to an end," U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said at a news conference after the hearing.
Christie said Lynch's plea to taking $25,500 in corrupt payments and tax evasion was the result of a four-year probe that began with an investigation into officials of the "corrupt McGreevey administration."
The FBI and a federal grand jury were looking into allegations that two aides to Gov. James E. McGreevey used their positions to win $2.2 million in the sale of billboards they owned. Neither were charged.
Christie said the Lynch plea was "not where we thought we would end up in this investigation."
Leslie Wiser, special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Newark division, mentioned the 97 public corruption convictions won during Christie's tenure.
"Our team is not done," Wiser said. "Put this on the billboard: 97 and 0 and counting"
But Christie said no one in his office was exchanging "high-fives" over the guilty plea.
"When you see someone of John Lynch's talent and ability standing in a courtroom admitting he defrauded the people of his state, it is a sad moment, and I take no satisfaction from that moment," Christie said.
Christie added that the investigation that stemmed from the billboard deal is not over. He declined to elaborate.
Through all his years of deal-making as one of the state's greatest powerbrokers, a mere piece of paper came back to haunt Lynch: the Senate letterhead he used to write in 1998 to the state Department of Environmental Protection to push a project for a client, Dallenbach Sand Co. in South Brunswick.
According to court documents filed in the case, the sand company sought to obtain property adjacent to land it owned in South Brunswick in 1995 to increase its mining operation.
The company wanted to mine the land and then transform it into a recreation park.
The company entered into an agreement with Alma Ltd., the consulting company owned by Westlake, in 1995 to help the company deal with the DEP and other state agencies.
Dallenbach paid Alma between $120,000 and $200,000 for its help with several projects, according to the court documents.
According to the court documents, Lynch lobbied the DEP on behalf of Dallenbach. He sent a letter to the commissioner of the agency on March 2, 1998, using state Senate stationery, saying that the recreation park plan had "great appeal to the general public," according to the documents. He also concealed payments he received from Alma for his services.
When Alma sent a letter seeking payment on March 10, 1998, the company only referred to Lynch as "our friend" to conceal his identity, according to the documents.
Dallenbach paid Alma $30,000 on June 18, 1998, and Lynch got $12,000 of it, according to the documents. Another payment was made in December 1998 for $25,000, of which Lynch received more than $13,000 in what the court documents called "corrupt payments."
The money was passed through Alma and Executive Continental, a consulting firm owned by Lynch and Westlake, to conceal Lynch's connection to Dallenbach, according to the information.
Christie declined to say whether Lynch would have stayed within the law if he wrote that letter on Alma letterhead.
The tax evasion charge pertains to a land transaction on which Alma served as a consultant. Middlesex County bought 10 acres of land along the Raritan River in New Brunswick for $800,000 in July 1999. Alma received $500,000 days later and Lynch was paid $150,000 of that, but never declared it as income, according to the court documents. The information also says Alma's unnamed accountant was told to "eliminate" the $500,000 payment to Alma from its records.
The 10 acres was split off the Raritan Heights subdivision, the remainder of which developer Jack Morris of Edgewood Properties bought in 2004. Morris and New Brunswick Mayor James M. Cahill touted plans for Raritan Heights' 400 luxury condominium units and retail space in September 2005. The sprawling development would surround Loews New Brunswick theater on Route 1 on the bluffs overlooking the river.
Lynch declined to comment before or after Friday's court hearing.
After the hearing, Lynch's attorney, Jack Arseneault of Chatham, read Lynch's prepared apology outside federal courthouse.
Lynch, the former mayor of New Brunswick who rose to the position of Senate president, wrote, "I wish to apologize, publicly and personally, to my family, to my friends, to my supporters, to my former colleagues from all sides of the political spectrum, and most important to the citizens of New Jersey whose trust I betrayed by engaging in the misconduct which I acknowledged in court this morning. I accept full responsibility for that misconduct, and I deeply regret it, not merely because it will irreparably stain my reputation, but more importantly, because it will further erode both the citizens' faith in their public officials and the country's perception of this great State."
Christie said he hoped that Lynch's fall would alter corruption in the state, but he tempered those hopes.
"You get rid of one set of corrupt bosses in New Jersey and another seems to come in and replace them," Christie said. "In the end, its up to the public and the leaders in our state to determine whether they're going to change that culture or not."http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060916/NEWS/609160329