Category Archives: Monmouth County Sheriff

NJ Watchdog: THE “GOLDEN” AGE OF DOUBLE-DIPPING IN MONMOUTH COUNTY

NJ Watchdog yesterday posted a follow-up to it’s story “43 TOP NJ COUNTY COPS DO THE BIG DOUBLE-DIP: HOW 16 SHERIFFS & 27 UNDERSHERIFFS POCKET MILLIONS IN PENSIONS PLUS SALARIES” by investigative reporter Mark Lagerkvist, which I posted about back in September.

The update titled “THE “GOLDEN” AGE OF DOUBLE-DIPPING IN MONMOUTH COUNTY” details the abuses of the Monmouth County Sheriffs Department and specifically names both former Monmouth County Sheriffs Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and current Sheriff Shaun Golden, as being complacent in the hiring of and promotions of 3 current Monmouth County Undersheriff who all are politically connected, retired from well paying state jobs and started collecting their pensions, then were hired to work for the Sheriffs Department.

This practice of complacently allowing Double-Dipping by in Monmouth County by our current and former Sherriffs is even more disturbing when you consider that they have been rewarded for their actions, Guadagno going on to become Lt. Governor and Golden recently being named as Secretary of the statewide organization the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey (COANJ), which is a nearly century-old professional organization of the elected constitutional officers of all 21 counties who’s membership includes Sheriffs, County Surrogates, County Clerks, and Registers of Deeds and Mortgages.

Why do the Monmouth County Freeholders allow this abuse of tax payer dollars to go on?

Below is an excerpt from NJ Watchdogs update:

Three of Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden’s undersheriffs are guilty of double-dipping – not a felony or misdemeanor, just a costly reality in the world of New Jersey politics.

The most controversial of the three is Undersheriff Michael W. Donovan Jr. Donovan’s double-dipping – revealed by a New Jersey Watchdog investigative report last year

As Monmouth County sheriff in 2008, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno hired Donovan as chief in charge of law enforcement. There was an obstacle: Donovan had retired as a county investigator three years earlier. Since a sheriff’s chief officer is a position subject to the rules of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), Donovan faced the prospect of giving up pension checks by going back to work.

To help Donovan double-dip, Guadagno informed payroll officials Donovan was her chief warrant officer – a similar sounding but completely different position not subject to PFRS rules. In contrast, Guadagno’s own memo and organizational chart identified Donovan as her chief in charge of law enforcement.

With Guadagno’s help, Donovan pocketed $85,000 a year in retirement pay along with his new salary of $87,000. He scammed $245,000 from PFRS – $227,000 in pension pay, plus $18,000 he should have contributed to the pension fund after being re-hired.

Faced with controversy, Sheriff Shaun Golden – Guadagno’s successor – found a way to protect his office and Donovan. In February, Golden gave Donovan a raise and promoted him to undersheriff, a position not subject to PFRS rules. So Donovan continues his double-dipping ways, more lucrative than ever…..

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Filed under double dipping, Kim Guadagono, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, New Jersey Watchdog, Shaun Golden

NJ Watchdog: 41 TOP NJ COUNTY COPS DO THE BIG DOUBLE-DIP: HOW 16 SHERIFFS & 25 UNDERSHERIFFS POCKET MILLIONS IN PENSIONS PLUS SALARIES

Very good investigative report by Mark Lagerkvist posted over at NJ WatchDog that chronicles the double dipping(those that receive a state salary while also collecting a state pension) of many county cops around the state.

Of particular interest to those who live in Monmouth County is the excerpt below that pertains the Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who went out of her way to provide a double-dipping job opportunity to Michael W. Donovan in 2008 while Monmouth County Sheriff.

Current Monmouth County Sheriff, Shaun Golden has been complacent on the issue and has given Donovan a pay raise while promoting to the position of Undersheriff.

The double-dipping of Michael W. Donovan Jr. – revealed by a New Jersey Watchdog investigative report last year – provides an inside look at how powerful politicians can conspire to cheat pension funds.

As Monmouth County sheriff in 2008, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno hired Donovan as chief in charge of law enforcement. There was an obstacle: Donovan had retired as a county investigator three years earlier. Since a sheriff’s chief officer is a position subject to the rules of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), Donovan faced the prospect of giving up pension checks by going back to work.

To help Donovan double-dip, Guadagno informed payroll officials Donovan was her chief warrant officer – a similar sounding but completely different position not subject to PFRS rules. In contrast, Guadagno’s own memo and organizational chart identified Donovan as her chief in charge of law enforcement.

With Guadagno’s help, Donovan pocketed $85,000 a year in retirement pay along with his new salary of $87,000. He scammed $245,000 from PFRS – $227,000 in pension pay, plus $18,000 he should have contributed to the pension fund after being re-hired.

Faced with controversy, Sheriff Shaun Golden – Guadagno’s successor – found a way to protect his office and Donovan. In February, Golden gave Donovan a raise and promoted him to undersheriff, a position not subject to PFRS rules. So Donovan continues his double-dipping ways, more lucrative than ever…

Some schemes are enabled by superiors who have already gamed the system for themselves…

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Filed under Kim Guadagono, Michael Donovan, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, nj watchdog, Shaun Golden, undersheriff

>NJ TREASURY BOTCHES MONMOUTH PROBE; STATE IGNORES $245K PENSION SCAM IMPLICATING LT. GOV. GUADAGNO

>Back on October 19th of last year the website New Jersey Watchdog broke the story about how Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, while acting as Monmouh County Sheriff in 2008, allowed and participated in a scheme allowing a high-ranking Monmouth County Sheriff’s employee to blatantly violate pension laws giving him a full pension and a full County paycheck at the same time.

Now New Jersey Watchdog is reporting that after an investigation into the allegations, the NJ Treasury botched it’s investigation into this troubling story, by ignoring evidence that clearly shows that Michael W. Donovan Jr. was employed as Chief Warrant Officer, which has allowed him to collect $85,000 a year in pension benefits while collecting a county salary of $87,500. To date New Jersey Watchdog says that Donovan owes the County in excess of $245,000 for pension payments that he was not entitled to:

Here is what NJ Watchdog is reporting:

A botched investigation by the New Jersey Treasury is allowing a Monmouth County sheriff’s executive – and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, his former boss – to get away with a double-dipping scam that has cheated a state pension fund out of nearly a quarter-million dollars.

Ignoring evidence to the contrary, state officials concluded Michael W. Donovan Jr. was employed as “chief warrant officer,” according to a letter from Florence J. Shepherd, acting director of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits.

Records obtained by New Jersey Watchdog clearly show that Donovan was actually the Sheriff’s Chief Officer in charge of law enforcement. That evidence includes:

  • An Aug. 21, 2008 memo written and initialed by then-Sheriff Guadagno, introducing Donovan as the “new Chief of the Law Enforcement Division.”
  • Organization charts for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, covering the period of Sept. 22, 2008 through Feb. 13, 2011. Each identifies Donovan as the “Chief” in charge of law enforcement.
  • A Sheriff’s Office web page describing Donovan’s duties as “Sheriff’s Chief,” including the department’s day-to-day activities.

While the job titles of sheriff’s chief officer and chief warrant officer sound similar, the difference is defined in state statute. Another difference is the money this charade has cost the state pension system, as first exposed by a New Jersey Watchdog investigation in October 2010.

Listed as chief warrant officer in payroll records, Donovan has been able to collect $85,000 a year in benefits as a retired county investigator, plus an $87,500 annual salary for his job with the sheriff.

Chief warrant officer is considered a temporary position exempt from the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS). In contrast, a sheriff’s chief officer is covered by the PFRS. Under state pension rules, Donovan should have been required to re-enroll in the plan, which would have stopped his retirement checks.

To date, Donovan has improperly received $227,000 in pension payments. In addition, he should have paid $18,000 in contributions to the plan since returning to work in 2008.

On behalf of the PFRS, the Treasury could sue to recover $245,000 from Donovan. But first, the agency would have to face facts that implicate Guadagno – and would likely embarrass the Christie Administration.

The Feb. 11 letter from Acting Director Shepherd was sent in response to an inquiry from Anthony Wieners, president of the New Jersey State Policeman’s Benevolent Association. Wieners could not be reached for comment.

Three days later, Donovan was given a new job title – plus a raise. As Monmouth County’s new undersheriff in charge of law enforcement with essentially the same responsibilites, he now receives a $90,125 annual salary – plus nearly $86,000 a year in state pension checks.

With all that is going on today about how public employees are bankrupting states with their generous health and pension benefits, it’s nice to know that Governor Christie can look the other way when it involves one of his own from the Monmouth County “Good ol’ Boy” network.
Based on what NJ Watchdog has uncovered, I think it is time for Christie to intervene by firing Michael Donovan as Chief Warrant Officer for Monmouth County and asking his Lt. Governorr for some straight answers before asking for Guadagno’s resignation.

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Filed under Chief Warrent Officer, Gov. Chris Christie, Kim Guadagono, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, New Jersey Watchdog, pension fraud

>PENSION SCANDAL IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE: Acting Sheriff Golden Promotes Pension Fraud By Head Of Law Enforcement Division

>FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2010
Press Contact: Jon Evans (732) 739 8888

Hazlet, NJ – This week, New Jersey Watchdog.org broke news casting another ominous cloud over the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. The information, which has been verified, shows that in 2008, the previous Republican Sheriff allowed and participated in a scheme allowing a high-ranking Monmouth County Sheriff’s employee to blatantly violate pension laws giving him a full pension and a full County paycheck at the same time. Despite his knowledge of this fraudulent act, acting-Sheriff Golden continues to employ this person under the same arrangement.

Specifically, Monmouth County acting-Sheriff Shaun Golden has authorized Sheriff’s Chief Mickey Donovan to sidestep pension rules allowing him to collect more than $85,000 a year in retirement pay while at the same time still making an annual County salary of $87,500 for a total in excess of $172,000.00 per year. This “double-dipping” scheme is in violation of the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System rules and regulations.

In May 2005, Donovan retired as a detective lieutenant from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and began collecting his annual $85,000 pension. In an August 21, 2008, memo it was announced, by then-Sheriff Kim Guadagno, that Donovan would be hired as the “new Chief of the Law Enforcement Division”. However, in order to avoid having to give back a pension, his title was changed and Donovan was hired and sworn in as “Chief Warrant Officer” on September 22, 2008. Although Donovan was hired as “Chief Warrant Officer,” permitting circumvention of the pension rules, in actuality, the position of “Chief Warrant Officer” was eliminated on September 16, 2008- a week before Donovan was hired to the fictitious position- under Sheriff’s General Order 98-20 setting forth the organizational structure of the Sheriff’s Office. As a result, Donovan was hired and continues to occupy a position that does not exist in the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. Clearly, this scheme was concocted so that Donovan could continue to double dip at taxpayers’ expense. Donovan continues to be listed on the County’s web page as “Monmouth County Sheriff’s Chief” and is described as “the Chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office” and not as “Chief Warrants Officer.” On July 6, 2010, acting-Sheriff Golden signed an amendment to the organizational structure of the Law Enforcement Division, yet did not include the position of “Chief Warrant Officer” and there is currently no such position within the organizational structure of the Sheriff’s Office.

Democratic Sheriff Candidate Eric Brophy responded to the ongoing situation, “This continuing fraud cast upon the taxpayers of Monmouth County by sworn officers of the law is the most egregious example yet of Golden’s complete and utter mismanagement of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. His complete disregard for the taxpayers of Monmouth County or for the laws and rules of this State is appalling. Someone who is charged as the Chief Executive Officer of a 600 person police agency must know the status and job titles of his division heads. If he doesn’t, then he has no business running such an operation. If he does know but disregards these acts, he is complicit in perpetuating this fraud and can no longer be trusted to hold the position. Monmouth County needs a Sheriff who will be responsible with taxpayer dollars and who not only talks about pension reform, but who actually ends abuses of the system. ”

For more details as well as evidence of all facts cited herein, visit New Jersey Watchdog Online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/10/19/1286/

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Filed under Eric Brophy, Monmouth County Sheriff, pension fraud, press release, Shaun Golden

>Friends of Amit Will Hold Rally In Freehold To Demand Justice On Oct. 20th, Update: Family holds rally over Marlboro man’s death in jail

>If you have been keeping track of the Amit Borestien case that has become a major issue for Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department, you may be interested in reading/watching the coverage of today’s rally in Freehold.

Borestien was the 22 year old man who was taken into custody by sheriff officers over the summer and died while in custody 22 hours later, apparently from injuries sustained while being beaten by several members of the Monmouth County Department of Corrections.

News12 covered the rally in Freehold today and has posted it’s story online with an accompanying video that unfortunately I can not post on the blog.

The one thing that I will say about the video is that Sheriff Golden, who is seeking to be elected to his first full term as Monmouth County Sheriff on November 2nd, did not present himself well while talking to the News12 reporter. He didn’t seem very confident on what he was saying and fumbled through the brief segment.

You can watch the Video and read coverage from News12 >>>Here

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Filed under Amit Bornstien, Monmouth County Department of Corrections, Monmouth County Sheriff, News12, Shaun Golden

>Friends of Amit Will Hold Rally In Freehold To Demand Justice On Oct. 20th

>

Press release;


AMIT BORNSTEIN BEATEN TO DEATH BY OFFICERS IN MONMOUTH COUNTY JAIL


10 Weeks Later, Still No Answer from Sherriff’s Office:Victim’s Family to Hold Rally&PressConference

By Friends of Amit

FREEHOLD, NJ – On July 29, 2010, Amit Bornstein, age 22 of Marlboro was arrested at his home by Monmouth County Sheriff’s Officers on a bench warrant for failing to appear in Court for minor misdemeanor and traffic infractions. Seven hours later Correction Officers dropped Amit’s dead body at CentraState Hospital. Little is known about what happened while in custody, as surveillance tapes were seized by the Prosecutor’s Office and have not been released. Two months after Amit’s death, Sherriff Shaun Golden has yet to make any statement about the incident; now the Bornstein family is demanding accountability for the death of their son.

According to investigators at least eight (8) Correction Officers were involved in the incident. Though the CO’s initially claimed Mr. Bornstein “tossed them around like dolls,” autopsy photos show that Amit was shackled and beaten to death after asking to make a phone call home. Amit’s family and neighbors are demanding the release of the county jail video and audio tapes, and a fair and full investigation into his death, with appropriate disciplinary and criminal charges filed against his killers.

In response to the silence from the Sherriff’s office, a press conference and rally is being organized for Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm in Freehold Borough to demand scrutiny of officer misconduct, human rights violations and to demonstrate concerns over the mismanagement of the jail by Monmouth County’s Sherriff’s Office. The family is also asking witnesses to come forward with any helpful information.

— We are asking for concerned people and organizations to rally with us against officer brutality and for the protection of human rights —
*** Come to the rally!! Buses will be providing transportation for folks throughout the city (Manhattan and Brooklyn) – e-mail Justice4Amit@gmail.com for pickup locations! ***

*** send email to Justice4Amit@gmail.com to sign a petition for the release of surveillance video ***

— If we all ask at once, the Sheriff’s Office will hear our demand to release the surveillance video from the jail, and for a full and fair investigation of Amit’s case. —

This rally is also endorsed by the October 22 Coalition and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

Note: This is expected to be a big event 200-300 are estimated to be attending. This is a protest supported by the Bornstein family over the failure of the Monmouth County Medical Examiner to release its report on the death of Amit Bornstien 70+ days after his death.

I find this news disturbing, I have a number of good friends that are Monmouth County Correctional Officers, I have not spoken to any of them about this case. I hope and pray that they are not involved in any way with this cover-up.

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Filed under Amit Bornstien, Friends of Amit, jail death, Monmouth County Sheriff, protest rally

>Monmouth Jail Death: Brophy Asks "Why, How And Under What Circumstances Did Death Occur?"

>BROPHY FOR SHERIFF

Press Contact: Jon Evans (732) 739 8888
September 28, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WALL, NJ – On July 29, 2010, Amit Bornstein, age 22 of Marlboro was arrested by Monmouth County Sheriff’s Officers on a warrant for failing to appear in Superior Court. Eight (8) hours later he was dead. Why, how and under what circumstances this death occurred have yet to be released by acting-Sheriff Shaun Golden. In fact, sixty (60) days after Bornstein’s death, Golden has yet to make a public statement about the incident.

Eric Brophy, candidate for Monmouth County Sheriff commented, “I am appalled that Mr. Golden has not stepped forward to address the residents of Monmouth County about this event. Part of a Sheriff’s job is to assure the public that they are safe and that he is in control of his agency.”

In his campaign literature, Mr. Golden touts ‘effective, responsible leadership’. His lack of public acknowledgement of the events surrounding Mr. Bornstein’s death is neither ‘effective’ nor ‘responsible.’ Failing to acknowledge the event does nothing more than fuel speculation about what occurred on July 29, 2010.

It is now two (2) months later and the only facts the public knows are that (a) it wasn’t a suicide; (b) the family hired Dr. Michael Baden; and (c) the Bornstein family lawyer has obtained an order preserving evidence in the case. “The lack of information from the Sheriff’s Office raises many questions about Golden’s crisis-management abilities,” said Brophy.

As a result of Golden’s inaction, there is now speculation about whether the Sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation; whether any corrections or other officers have been suspended pending the outcome of any investigation; whether a criminal investigation is underway; or whether the medical examiner has determined the cause and manner of death.

Brophy further commented “Monmouth County needs a Sheriff who is open with the public, who will be accountable for his office, and who will take the steps necessary to investigate potential wrongdoing. Golden should have stepped forward publically on July 29, 2010, and announced the specifics of this serious situation that occurred on his watch – and furthermore, he should have announced what steps, precisely, he is undertaking to get to the bottom of this potentially criminal situation. Instead, he remains silent and the public continues to speculate.”

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Filed under Eric Brophy, jail death, Monmouth County Sheriff, press release