Category Archives: nj watchdog

NJ WATCHDOG INVESTIGATION: Senator Triple-Dipper

For Immediate Release:

NJ Lawmaker Has a Big Pension…Plus Two Public Paychecks!

MEET THE BIGGEST ‘TRIPLE-DIPPER’ IN THE NEW JERSEY STATEHOUSE: SEN. FRED MADDEN POCKETS $241,000 A YEAR IN PAY & PENSION

For New Jersey state Sen. Frederick Madden Jr., the path of public service also has been a road to personal wealth.
Madden collects more than $241,000 a year in public salaries plus retirement pay. He gets $49,000 as a legislator, a $106,983 as a police academy dean and an $85,272 annual pension as a State Police retiree.
Among the 15 legislators who draw state pensions and salaries, no one pockets more than the senator from the state’s 4th Legislative District, which includes parts of Gloucester and Camden counties.

Since he “retired” at age 48 nearly a decade ago, Madden has cashed $770,156 in New Jersey retirement checks. He will get more than $2.5 million, if he lives until age 80 — his statistical average life expectancy.

“I’ve earned that…” said Madden. “You can make it sound like I’m getting something I don’t deserve, and that’s wrong.”
For the complete New Jersey Watchdog investigative report and a list of double-dipping state lawmakers, click here – or visit www.njwatchdog.org.

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Filed under double dipping, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog, press release, state pension system, triple dipping

NJ Homeland Security’s 18 Double-Dippers Nab $9M in Pensions

For immediate release:

Inside the Gov’s ‘Office of Retirement $ecurity?’

The seal reads New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. But for agents drawing state salaries plus pension pay, it’s a symbol of their own fiscal security.

OHSP provides a bureaucratic safe haven for 18 “retired” officials who have collected nearly $9 million in state pension checks, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation revealed.

Those double-dippers currently receive more than $3 million a year – $1.3 million in state pension checks plus $1.7 million in salaries. On average, each gets $171,000 a year – $95,000 a year in salary plus $76,000 in retirement pay.

One-third of OHSP stafffers with salaries over $75,000 are double-dippers, led by Deputy Director Drew Lieb. He gets $226,000 a year – a $130,000 salary plus a $96,000 State Police pension as a retired lieutenant colonel.

New Jersey Watchdog’s analysis of state payroll and pension records for the 18 officials also found:

  • One-third “retired” from public employment for one day to start drawing state pensions.
  • Half are State Police retirees; the rest retired from other state or local law enforcement units.
  • The average age of retirement was 49.
OHSP reports directly to Gov. Chris Christie. It is a cabinet-level agency that functions primarily as a bureaucracy administering government grants and planning strategies to react to potential catastrophes

The story, along with New Jersey Watchdog’s list of “retired” officilas employed by OHSP is online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2012/01/16/homeland-security/.

New Jersey Watchdog – http://newjersey.watchdog.org – is a news site devoted to investigative reporting and public service journalism. Editor Mark Lagerkvist can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.

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Filed under double dipping, Gov. Chris Christie, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog

NJW INVESTIGATION: AG’S DOUBLE-DIPPERS GET $14M

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Sgt. State Investigator Robert W. Kent hit a million dollar jackpotKent didn't win a lottery; he is a double-dipper playing the New Jersey State Pension game.

For the past 22 years, Kent has collected two sets of checks from the state. At age 74, he currently receives a $100,000 salary plus $59,000 in retirement pay a year, though he “retired” for less than a week.

Kent is one of 23 current investigators and supervisors who pocketed nearly $14 million in pension pay in addition to their salaries from the Attorney General, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation found.

On average, each officer has collared nearly $600,000 in retirement pay while in the employ of the Attorney General. Since its initial investigative report, New Jersey Watchdog obtained records of their cumulative pension totals.

The 23 employees, now under Paula T. Dow, continue to get state pension checks at a rate of $1.5 million a year. Dow's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Click here or visit www.njwatchdog.org for the full story.  Investigative reporter Mark Lagerkvist can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.


 

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NJ WATCHDOG INVESTIGATION: Attorney General’s 23 Double-Dippers Pocket Millions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

One-Day 'Retirements?' There Ought to Be a Law!

NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL'S 23 DOUBLE-DIPPERS POCKET MILLIONS; MOST RETIRE FOR ONE DAY, THEN COLLECT PENSIONS FOR LIFE

Edgar J. Hess “retired” from the New Jersey State Police at age 50, but he never left the Attorney General’s payroll. The next day, he began work at a state unit that investigates corruption.

Without really retiring, Hess has collected $712,000 in state pension checks since 2002. He currently gets $196,000 a year – an $80,000 pension plus a $116,000 salary as a lieutenant state investigator.

Hess is one of 23 double-dipping investigators and supervisors who work for Attorney General Paula T. Dow and her Division of Criminal Justice, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation revealed. In addition to their salaries, they draw pensions as retired employees of the Attorney General. Most retired for only one day.

Collectively, the 23 “retirees” receive $3.77 million a year – $1.56 million a year in pension pay plus $2.21 million in state salaries. On average, they each pocket $164,000 a year – $96,000 in salary and nearly $68,000 from pension. 

The retirement schemes are typically inside jobs – deals that quietly slip through loopholes in pension law. Like Hess, many retirees are rehired so quickly they never miss a payday from the Attorney General, who is in charge of both DCJ and State Police.  In the 23 double-dipping cases examined by New Jersey Watchdog:

  • 14 officers were rehired the day after they retired.
  • Two others were rehired within a week of retirement.
  • Only seven officers left the payroll for at least 30 days, as required by state pension rules.

Click here or visit www.njwatchdog.org for the full story.  Investigative reporter Mark Lagerkvist can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.


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Filed under double dipping, NJ State Police, nj watchdog, pension loopholes, retirees, state pension system

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

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