Daily Archives: October 25, 2011

NJ Watchdog: WILL VOTERS LET ASSEMBLYMAN DAVE RIBLE ESCAPE $650K DISABILITY PENSION SCANDAL IN NOV. 8 ELECTION?

NJ Watchdog reporter Mark Lagerkvist has uncovered yet another case of pension abuse by a double-dipping member of the NJ State Assembly.

This time the person in question is Republican Minority Whip Assemblyman Dave Rible, who is currently running seeking reelection in the newly formed 30th Legislative District.

After 5 years on the job as a police officer in Wall Twsp. Rible was injured and filed for early retirement with a disability pension that would pay him $55,000 a year for life with no further questions asked.
Fast forward to today and it seem that Rible, who retired due to a back injury, is healthy enough to strenuously work out at a local gym, go dancing and run 5K races in under 30 minutes.
He doesn’t seem disabled to me.

Assemblyman David P. Rible retired as a Wall Township police officer at age 31 with a bad back and a fat pension. He’s collected $650,000 in disability payments since a state board decided he was “totally and permanently disabled.”
Yet Rible competes in five-mile and five-kilometer runs along the Jersey Shore. He exercises at a gym, dances as a celebrity and hauls trash to the curb at his Monmouth County home, according to a New Jersey Watchdog investigation first published in June 2010.

Rible commutes to Trenton to represent the 11th District in the State Assembly, where he holds a leadership position as Republican Whip and seeks publicity as a tax-fighter. Now, he’s seeking election to the revamped 30th District, where he hopes voters in Monmouth and Ocean counties have forgotten the negative publicity.

In addition to his $49,000 salary as a legislator, Rible continues to receive a state disability pension that pays $55,000 a yearwithout a second look from authorities.

Now 44, Rible is set for life. If he lives until 80, he will pocket another $2.5 million from the state pension fund. That would raise Rible’s jackpot above $3 million, not including cost-of-living hikes or his medical coverage.

“I do oppose government waste, but I don’t see this as government waste,” said Rible, leaving his health club after a workout. “This is something that has been set forth in the rules of the pension.”

Those rules can be costly. Lottery-sized payouts threaten to break the back of New Jersey’s retirement and benefits system for public workers, struggling under the weight of $110 billion in projected debt. The state pension plans are short $46 billion, according to the most recent audit – plus retiree health benefits are underfunded by $64 billion.

A New Jersey Watchdog investigation of Rible’s case revealed how wasteful that system can be.

In 1988, Wall Township hired Rible as a patrolman. Five years later – on October 17, 1993 – the young officer was injured on the job. Rible later recalled the incident in his retirement application.

In his statement to the pension board, Rible said he and two other township detectives responded to an early morning noise complaint at a gravel pit. On foot, the officers pursued three men suspected of igniting fireworks and drinking alcohol. Rible stated he fell from an embankment during the chase and hurt his lower back.

Nearly four weeks later, Rible went to the police department’s physician with complaints of back pain. Eventually, in January 1998, he had back surgery.

Continue reading …… Here

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Filed under 30th Legislative District, Assemblyman David Rible, disability pension, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog, Republican Minority Whip, Wall NJ

Art Gallagher Turned a Dream Into A Nightmare For Betsy Penrose; Sweet deal on vending truck turned out to be a lemon

Most stories I’ve heard about nightmarish business dealings will at some point usually contain the observation, “If I had known then what I know now, I would have never done business with them.” Betsy Penrose’s account of her experiences with Art Gallagher, the MoreMonmouthMusings.net blogger who currently resides in Monmouth County Jail, was no different. She included this remark when we sat down to discuss the lengthy and expensive turmoil she went through after entering a business agreement with Art. Unlike Art’s recent business activities in an unrelated fraud case in Delaware, Art’s treatment of Betsy has not been given any significant media attention. I thought more people should hear Betsy’s story, and I wanted this blog to provide her with a space to describe her ordeal.

Betsy’s experience with Art took place after she had been unemployed and searching for work, when she eventually decided that she wanted to start her own business. It was a business that she had long dreamed about but never gave much thought to, until it was evident that she was not going to find a job by the time her unemployment insurance ran out. After much discussion with her husband, Betsy decided that she would follow through on her long time dream of operating a food truck.

She started to research her dream by searching on Craig’s List, seeking information on what a food vending truck might cost. Those searches lead her to stumble upon an advertisement seeking individuals that would be interested in partnering up on the operation of one or more vending trucks. This potential opportunity peaked Betsy’s interest and it led her to Gallco Enterprises in Middletown and Art Gallagher, a meeting that turned her dream into a nearly two year long nightmare.

After a few months of back and forth communication and meetings between the two, Betsy thought it better if she just purchased the used vending truck from Art Gallagher and Gallco Enterprises, rather than entering into a further business relationship with him. She placed a $5000 deposit down on a vending truck and had to wait until February 2010, when she refinanced her home before she could give Gallagher another $5000 deposit to take the truck home.

On the day that she went to pick up the vending truck, Betsy was happy and excited to sign paperwork that appeared to be on the up and up, and get started on her new business of selling hotdogs and soup roadside.

It didn’t take long though for that happiness to wear off.

After starting up the truck and then pulling out onto the highway, Betsy noticed that none of the gauges on the dashboard were working. As a precaution, she stopped off to fill the gas tank at the nearest gas station before heading back to her home in Middlesex County. She was flabbergasted when the bill for the tank full of gas cost her $89; she had thought that Gallagher would have filled the tank as a courtesy.

Betsy was forced to stop several times on the way home because the truck was not running properly. The truck had difficulty climbing the incline of the Edison Bridge which spans the Raritan River. As she neared home, Betsy found herself stuck across 4 lanes of traffic after attempting to pull onto her street. The truck lost its steering before she got it home. She immediately called Gallagher to inform him of her situation. Gallagher told her to keep him posted and paid to have the steering fixed. During the course of the next few months however, the vending truck spent more time in the shop than on the road. Betsy Penrose, not even once, was ever able to serve a single hotdog or bowl of soup from the truck.

After giving Gallagher $10,000 and making 3 – payments on the truck, Betsy never gained possession of it. However, she had enough with the lemon that was sold to her, and requested that Gallagher refund her the monies that she had given him.

After several attempts at reclaiming her deposit, Gallagher repeatedly told her that she signed a valid contract and she would not receive any refunds.

Art’s obstructionism was not the only problem Betsy encountered. She contacted the Northern Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce (NMCC), but was told that they could not help her. Betsy’s feelings of frustration and helplessness from not having an operational vending truck and no source of income led her to an unconventional idea for possibly getting her deposits refunded on the vending truck. Betsy turned to the news media; she contacted Howard Thompson of WPIX Channel 11 News.

For those unfamiliar with Howard Thompson’s work, he produces a weekly segment titled “Help Me Howard”, where he helps those who feel they have suffered injustices or have been wronged in someway by unscrupulous, shady business owners or others that provide services, by confronting them on camera and demanding that they live up to the promises that were made to customers or clients.

After speaking with producers, it was decided that Howard Thompson, along with his “Help Me Howard” crew and Betsy, would confront Gallagher in his Middletown office one morning in April of 2010.

When they arrived at Gallco Enterprises, Thompson and his film crew were told that Gallagher was at the diner next store having coffee. As they walked through the entrance of the diner with cameras on, the crew had arrived in time to catch Art Gallagher attempting to flee the diner through the kitchen only to be turned back by employees and return to the booth at which he was sitting. When confronted by Howard Thompson and Betsy Penrose with repeated requests to return her money and make right on the vending truck, Gallagher stated that he had done nothing wrong and that the contract which Penrose had signed was valid. He then called police to get him out of the awkward situation he found himself in.

Before heading back to the studio, Howard Thompson assured Betsy in the parking lot that they had all the video they needed for his report and that his producers would be calling her about an airdate for the segment. When Betsy received the phone call from the producers later that day, she was told that her story would air the following day.

In her excitement to get the word out and expose Art Gallagher as a business person who was not to be trusted, Betsy Penrose made, what in hindsight, turned out to be a big mistake. Betsy called everyone that she could think of.

She called the Northern Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce (NMCC), the online newspaper The Atlantic Highlands Herald, the Two Rivers Times and any other local media or business group that she could think of. She even called the offices of the Monmouth County Democrats. Thompson himself was also promoting the segment on his “Help me Howard” facebook page.

The following day, word leaked back to Art Gallagher through his many friends at the NMCC and Atlantic Highlands Herald, that Betsy was contacting everyone to tune into that evening news. He went into defense mode and called the producers of the Howard Thompson’s “Help Me Howard” segment and WPIX to threaten legal action.

That night when Betsy turned on the news, looking to watch Thompson, Gallagher, and herself, she was dumbfounded and confused as to why the segment wasn’t aired. She called the producers the following day.

The producers assured her that the WPIX legal department signed off on the airing of the program segment but someone at the station had decided not to air it. When she pushed the matter further and questioned why someone would have pulled the segment after being approved by legal, she was told, “Let’s just say, Mr. Gallagher used all the right buzz words”.

Upset and disappointed, and feeling that Gallagher had robbed her once again, she decided that her final recourse was through the courts. Betsy cashed in her small pension that she had earned while working for the U.S. Postal Service, hired a lawyer and filed a civil suit against Gallco Enterprises to recoup her deposit and the 3 loan payments she had made on the vending truck.

Over the course of the next year, Gallagher drew out the court proceedings, requesting several postponements. It wasn’t until this past September 24th, that Betsy Penrose finally made it into a courtroom to face her adversary. However, Gallagher never showed up. The judge ruled in Betsy’s favor and awarded her triple damages, which equated to a judgment of more than $40,000 against Gallco Enterprises and Art Gallagher.

Betsy’s feelings of relief after the judgment were short lived. She quickly found out that, more than likely, she would never collect the money owed her. Gallagher had filed for Chapter 7-bankruptcy protection on July 14th, which seems to explain why he didn’t show up in court that day.

Penrose is not the only person that has gone to court with Gallagher this year. A quick Google search of court proceedings showed that Gallagher had been in court concerning other civil matters related to his business on 3 earlier occasions this year. He is also scheduled to be in court on Oct. 24th in yet another civil matter, but as he is currently awaiting extradition, it seems unlikely that case will proceed as scheduled.

Needless to say, Betsy deeply regrets getting involved with Gallagher and not checking him out fully before doing business with him. She has always considered herself a trusting person, who has always looked for the good in people as opposed to the bad. Never in her wildest dreams could she have thought that someone would take advantage of her in such a way as Art Gallagher had. It is a mistake that she learned the hard way, but it is a mistake she has vowed never to repeat.

What makes Betsy most upset about her experience is that she was ready to start her business when she bought the truck from him but the long fight over it killed her financially and affected her health. Her unemployment ran out, she amassed a large credit card debt and needed to refinance her mortgage while trying to recover from the setbacks that were caused by Gallagher. And due to the stress that she was under, Betsy spent two weeks hospitalized.

Walking back to her car, Betsy seemed to have resided herself to the fact that she may never recoup the money that she had given Gallagher. She has no money at this time available to hire an attorney in order to pursue a personal civil case against Art Gallagher, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility of doing so in the future. She wants people to know that her motivation for telling her story isn’t to be vindictive. She wants others to learn from her mistakes, so that they can learn from her unfortunate experience and be wary of, in her opinion, unscrupulous business people like Art Gallagher.

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Filed under Art Gallagher, Betsy Penrose, chapter 7 bankruptcy, Gallco Enterprises, help me howard, vending truck, WPIX News

LD-11 Assembly Candidate Vin Gopal On My-9 Talking Issues

http://www.my9tv.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=11212

New Jersey Now: October 16, 2011: My9TV.com

If you missed it last weekend LD-11 State Assembly candidate Vin Gopal was interview by Brenda Blackmon on a segment New Jersey Now on My9 news.

Vin talks about his campaign and the issues that are effecting the 11th legislative district

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Filed under 11th Legislative District, Brenda Blackmon, Interview, my9news, Vin Gopal

LD-12 Senate candidate Brown racks up Public Safety Endorsements

Old Bridge – State Senate candidate Bob Brown has received the endorsement of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) and Firefighters’ Mutual Benefit Association (FMBA) in his campaign against Assemblyman Sam Thompson for senate seat in the newly-former 12th district. Himself a former policeman who was shot in the line of duty, Brown is committed to providing public safety personnel with the necessary resources to keep all of us safe.

“My opponent voted to gut collective bargaining, leaving the police and firefighters who protect us every day vulnerable to pay cuts and benefit losses,” said Brown. “Meanwhile, he leaches off the system by receiving a public pension and public salary at the same time, totaling over $100,000. Voters need to know that I stand for their safety and protection, while all Thompson stands for is his own fat bank account.”

State PBA President Anthony F. Weiners has sent a letter to all police households in the district praising Brown and urging members to vote for him. In the letter he says: “[Brown] is a passionate voice that law enforcement should be promoted and defended, not scapegoated by politicians who follow party bosses.”

Thompson is not only a “double dipper,” he is also a party boss – the Chairman of the Middlesex County Republican Party. Last month, he made offensive remarks about police officers who seek a second career after retirement, equating it to his own “double dipping” and has refused to issue an apology.

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Filed under 12th Legislative District, Bob Brown, Democratic Candidate, double dipping, fraternal order of police, NJ State Senate, Sam Thompson

Crime Scene Middletown: Burglary Suspect Apprehended Fleeing Residence on Marion Drive

Written by Middletown Township Police Department
Monday, 24 October 2011 -Arrests do not indicate convictions

On October 21, 2011 at approximately 12:00 pm Corporal Bernard Chenoweth and Corporal George Freibott, responded to a residence on Marion Drive in reference to a burglary in progress. Upon arrival at the residence Corporal Chenoweth observed a subject, identified as Scott Gibson, age 27, from Bartram Road in Englishtown, NJ, running from the residence carrying a bag of stolen items. Corporal Chenoweth chased the subject on foot and was able to take him into custody after a brief struggle.

Corporal Chenoweth and Corporal Freibott continued their investigation and determined that Gibson was working with a second subject. The officers identified the second subject as Robert Molchan, age 21, from Deer Way in Manalapan, NJ, and provided his name to officers in the area. Patrolman Richard Belmonte was working a traffic detail on Middletown Lincroft Road and observed a subject fitting Molchan’s description walking in the area. Officer Belmonte stopped the subject and confirmed it was Molchan at which point he was placed under arrest.
Detective William Strohkirch and Detective Adam Finck conducted a follow up investigation and determined that the pair was also responsible for committing a burglary on Courtney Way earlier in the day. Gibson was charged with Burglary, Conspiracy, Theft, Resisting Arrest, and Criminal Mischief. He was held on $30,000.00 bail with no 10% option. Molchan was charged with Burglary, Theft and Conspiracy. He was held on $20,000.00 bail with no 10% option.

Police believe the two subjects are responsible for other burglaries in the area and are continuing their investigation.
On October 22, 2011 at approximately 3:20 pm Patrolman Anthony Dellatacoma responded to the Foodtown store in reference to a report of a shoplifting. Upon arrival he was advised by the store manager that he had observed a subject, identified as Michael Rusignuolo, age 28, from Johnson Avenue in Union Beach, NJ, enter the Liquor section and place two bottles of Hennessy Liquor in his sweatshirt and leave the store without paying at which point he was detained by the manager.
Officer Dellatacoma conducted an investigation which resulted in the arrest of Rusignuolo for Shoplifting. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.
On October 22, 2011 at approximately 1:50 pm Patrolman Michael Reuter was on patrol in the area of Cherry Tree Farm Road and Highway 35 when he stopped a vehicle because there was an outstanding warrant issued for the registered owner’s arrest. Officer Reuter stopped the vehicle and approached the driver, identified as Michael Thacke, age 23, from Blossom Circle West in Middletown, NJ, and asked for his driver’s credentials at which point Thacke began to yell and scream profanities at the officer.
Officer Reuter continued his investigation and determined that there were four outstanding Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Hazlet Municipal Court. Officer Reuter placed Thacke under arrest and transported him to police headquarters for processing. Once at headquarters Thacke became extremely uncooperative and refused to answer questions necessary to complete processing. He was charged with the additional charge of Obstructing an Investigation and was held on $2,500.00 bail.
On October 21, 2011 at approximately 2:40 pm Patrolman Raymond Sofield was on patrol in the area of Tindall Park when he was flagged down by two subjects who advised the officer that they observed two subjects who were possibly smoking Marijuana in the park.
Officer Sofield located the two subjects and conducted an investigation which resulted in the recovery of a Marijuana pipe and the arrest of a 16 year old male juvenile from Middletown, NJ, for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Obstructing an Investigation. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.
On October 21, 2011 at approximately 7:40 pm Patrolman Keith Hirschbein was on patrol in the area of Port Monmouth Road when he stopped a vehicle for Speeding and Tailgating. Officer Hirschbein approached the driver, identified as Anthony Colacino, age 18, from Crystal Court in Middletown, NJ, at which point he observed a Marijuana cigarette in plain view on the floor of the vehicle.
Officer Hirschbein conducted an investigation which resulted in the recovery of a bag of Marijuana and drug paraphernalia and the arrest of Colacino for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.
The Middletown Police Department reports the arrests of the following subjects for various offenses;
Kevin Krilla, age 29, from Kings Highway East in Middletown, NJ, arrested on October 22, 2011 by Patrolman John Mele for Simple Assault. He was released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance.
Luis Velez, age 53, from Park Avenue in Belford, NJ, arrested on October 21, 2011 by Patrolman Donald Coates on an outstanding warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was released after posting $2,248.86 in bail.
Georges Fiori, age 40, from Bonnie Drive in Middletown, NJ, arrested on October 22, 2011 by Patrolman John Mele on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Holmdel Municipal Court. He was released after posting $164.00 bail.
Steven Mago, age 21, from Church Street in Belford, NJ, arrested on October 21, 2011 by Patrolman Brian McGrogan on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Court. He was held on $250.00 bail.
John Turner, age 48, from Worth Street in South Tomas River, NJ, arrested on October 23, 2011 by Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia on a Non-Support warrant issued by the Ocean County Superior Court. He was held on $934.00 bail.
William Graham, age 24, from Charles Street in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on October 22, 2011 by Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Woodbridge Municipal Court. He was released after posting $299.00 bail.
Kenneth Dellapietro Jr, age 23, from Carr Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on October 18, 2011 by Patrolman Anthony Gigante and Patrolman Felipe Benedit of the Quality of Life Unit on warrants signed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force Bayshore Unit for Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance as a result of an investigation conducted by the task force. He was released pending a court date.

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Filed under arrest warrants, burglary, conspiracy, Contempt of Court, Criminal Mischief, drug paraphernalia, drug possession, Marijuana, Middletown Police Report, shoplifting, simple assalt, theft

As A Matter Of Fact…New Jersey Offers Goya $80 Million to Create Nine New Jobs




October 24th, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

Imagine you are a New Jersey job seeker (one of 418,000 unemployed in the state as of September, 2011, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development) and you read in the news that a firm will be getting a state subsidy to hire 175 new workers. You would be thrilled to see those new job opportunities in the state, right?

But, in the case of Goya Foods, Inc., only nine truly new jobs are being created.

Nine.

Of the other 166 “new” workers, 66 would be moved from Goya’s location in Bethpage, New York and 100 already work for Goya as contractors based in Secaucus, according to documents from the state Economic Development Authority (EDA). So these “new” workers are actually existing employees.

Those 100 current contractors may be counted as new workers because they will be converted to direct payroll employees or become part of a professional employer organization (PEO). The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations describes PEOs as enabling “clients to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employment benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation.” Counting current workers as new workers might be technically correct under the subsidy law — but it just doesn’t make sense.

The state’s tax subsidy for these nine new workers is being offered under the newly revised Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit (UTHTC) statute. It is intended to provide an incentive to a firm by lowering its state corporate business tax obligation so that a company will make capital investments in buildings in urban areas near transit and create jobs.

Earlier this month, the EDA approved the $80 million-plus UTHTC for Goya Foods. The company would get that tax credit for building a new 600,000 square foot headquarters/distribution center in Jersey City, a half-mile from the Jersey City PATH station. Aside from the 175 “new” workers, 316 current Goya workers would move to the new facility from Secaucus. Goya’s current headquarters in Secaucus would be converted to a manufacturing facility and 53 jobs would be moved there from elsewhere in Secaucus, but would not be part of the $80 million subsidy.

Further, Goya is to benefit from the expansion of one of the state’s Urban Enterprise Zones to include the part of Jersey City where Goya plans to relocate, according to the Jersey Journal. Urban Enterprise Zones offer companies a host of tax benefits. The company is also seeking a 20-year property tax abatement for its new headquarters/distribution facility in Jersey City, which would lower the firm’s property tax bills; the Jersey City Council will vote to introduce the measure this week, with final approval to possibly come in the second week of November.

But that all may not be enough to keep Goya in New Jersey, according to EDA documents.

New Jersey is competing with New York state, because Goya is also considering moving North Jersey workers to an 892,943 square foot site in Suffern, New York, in Rockland County. No public information was provided by the EDA about the subsidies that may have been offered by the state of New York to woo Goya.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, blog, Economic Development Authority, Goya Foods, Jersey City NJ, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, New Jersey Policy Perspective, tax abatements