With Bob Menendez in mind, Testa highlights bill to address developer bribes


With U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) corruption case in mind, state Senator Michael Testa (R-1) is highlighting a bill to address developer bribes.

State Senator Michael Testa (R-1). Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Corruption in New Jersey is not relegated to Senator Menendez. Many have been content to look the other way as dirty money changed hands in places like Hudson and Newark for kickbacks and favors,” Testa said in a statement.

“While these bribes and shady development deals have consistently flown under the radar, this administration has failed to take aggressive action to intervene where obvious corruption exists. My legislation seeks to end the persistent culture of corruption.”

In June, Testa introduced S-4075 to empower the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to monitor and provide oversight for, or take control of, certain local development offices when corruption is identified.

The bill requires the EDA to take over when three or more officials are charged, indicted, or convicted.

Additionally, the bill would apply retroactively to criminal convictions, indictments, and charges occurring three years prior to the legislation’s enactment.

Menendez and his wife are facing a three-count federal indictment from the U.S. Southern District of New York: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color and official right.

Three New Jersey businessmen, Jose Uribe, Wael Hana, and Fred Daibes, the latter being a prominent North Jersey developer who has pleaded guilty to bank fraud, are accused of bribing Menendez with tens of thousands of dollars.

Overall, the indictment charges that the Menendezes accepted corrupt payments for their mortgage, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300, $486,471 in cash, another $79,760 from the safe deposit box, two one-kilogram gold bars, and 11 one-ounce gold bars.

They have all pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan.

Specifically, Testa also cited recent development scandals in Newark as to why the bill was essential.

Newark’s former deputy mayor, also a former Hoboken Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, was indicted on charges of soliciting bribes for property redevelopments and could be heading to trial at the end of the year.

In 2022, a former Newark councilman pled guilty to receiving bribes from contractors and developers and attempting to defraud the city. Furthermore, a former director of the Newark Housing Authority also pled guilty to stealing nearly $594,425 a year ago.

“Newark’s development efforts were under state oversight until Governor Murphy released the city in 2018. Shortly thereafter, the deputy mayor was indicted, a councilman and developers pled guilty to charges of bribery, and a housing authority official was convicted of theft,” Testa added.

“It’s no secret that corruption is just routine business in places like Newark. If the Executive Branch refuses to reign in this culture of obvious corruption then the Legislature must pass this long overdue bill.”

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  1. I see it coming:

    Albio/Sacco and Turner should be sh@ t their pants. Their years of Waterfront developments and local tax abatements are nothing but payoffs and schemes. Prob 100’s of millions by now.

    Lets hope Gold Bars Bob has a rainy day file and exposes his friends.