Would you believe that Cory Booker, who arguably didn’t even live in the city he was nominally Mayor of while he was gallivanting around the country prior to his anointment as Senator, would you believe that there was rampant corruption on his watch?
NEWARK – Newark officials said they were dismayed by the former head of the Newark Watershed Conservation Development Corporation’s guilty plea on corruption-related charges earlier this week – an outcome many felt could have been prevented.
Linda Watkins-Brashear, who presided over the non-profit agency until 2013 – just one year before it was dissolved amid widespread allegations of corruption and mismanagement – is facing up to 23 years in prison and $350,000 in fines for conspiracy and filing a false tax return.
She is the second person to plead guilty to charges related to the scandal, though many in the state’s largest city consider it a reflection of an agency run amok thanks to the wandering eye of now-U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who was mayor over the entirety of Watkins’ tenure.
What’s so special about her tenure in Newark, you ask?
Other than that she got caught?
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.
Until a judge appointed trustees to dissolve the agency last year, the Newark Watershed Conservation Development Corporation managed the city’s 35,000 acres of reservoirs and treated water for more than 500,000 customers in northern New Jersey.
Between 2008 and 2011, the state comptroller alleges that agency leaders and insiders absconded with millions of public dollars.
“This report documents an egregious and yet preventable abuse of public funds that was allowed to continue unfettered for years because of poor oversight,” said comptroller chief of staff Melissa Liebermann in a statement issued today with the 45-page report.
Acting State Comptroller Marc Larkins was recused from the matter. Much of the inquiry was headed by his predecessor, Matthew Boxer.
Linda Watkins-Brashear, the agency’s director and a political ally of former Newark mayor, now Sen. Cory Booker, 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.
…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.
Yes, Booker’s a perfect fit for Washington.
And isn’t it funny how the Media ignores this.