(WEST ORANGE, NOVEMBER 3)- Schundler campaign manager Bill Pascoe today issued the following statement accusing Jim McGreevey of hiding the tax-raising truth about the legal contracts he steered to his political contributors in Woodbridge:
“Yesterday, Bret Schundler and the Empowerment Express went to Woodbridge to demand public records detailing over $5.5 million in lucrative, no-bid legal contracts that Woodbridge Mayor Jim McGreevey doled out to his political boss, Senator Ray Lesniak. But instead of receiving the public documents we asked for over two months ago, all we got was more double-talk from the McGreevey campaign. That’s business as usual from the guy who can’t answer questions without talking points.
“On August 29, McGreevey defended his $5.5 million in no-bid contracts to Boss Lesniak by claiming that his political godfather helped recoup $4.7 million in judgments for the taxpayers of Woodbridge. That very same day, the Schundler campaign made a very simple request -- PROVE IT. Show us how and where the people of Woodbridge received $4.7 million in legal judgments.
“In response to our request to produce these public documents yesterday, Rich McGrath told the Associated Press that the records ‘do not exist.’ He later told the Gannett News Service that, ‘this is information that has been out in the public domain. They’d have to put blinders on not to see it.’ Which is it Rich? Either the records don’t exist -- because the $4.7 million figure in supposed judgments is a fiction -- or, the documents exist and Jim McGreevey is breaking the law by refusing to release them to the public.
“What public records we do have about Jim McGreevey’s penchant for giving six-figure lucrative, no-bid legal contracts to politically connected law firms should make every taxpayer in New Jersey queasy. Consider this: Over the past ten years, Jim McGreevey has increased the Township’s legal expenses by MORE THAN 650 PERCENT -- from $226,000 in 1991 to a whopping $1.7 million in 2000.
“And a quick look at Jim McGreevey’s campaign finance records show that he has more legal friends than OJ Simpson and Bill Clinton COMBINED! In fact, seven of the top ten largest benefactors to Jim McGreevey’s campaigns are politically connected law firms that have contributed more than $500,000 to the McGreevey campaign war chest.
“If Boss Lesniak collected $5.5 million in legal fees for contributing just $40,000 to the tax-hiking campaigns of Jim McGreevey, how many millions in no-bid legal contracts will State taxpayers have to shell out to these seven, high-powered law firms in return for contributing over $500,000 to Jim McGreevey’s life-long quest for power at the mercy of taxpayers’ wallets? No wonder Jim McGreevey refuses to take a ‘No Tax Increase Pledge.’”