Weinberg: U.s. Attorney Needs To Investigate Encap Debacle

TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen today reacted to the Inspector General’s report on EnCap by saying that U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie should begin an investigation into possible criminal acts in connection with the project:

“After my initial review of this disturbing report, it is clear that the U.S. Attorney needs to impanel a grand jury to thoroughly investigate the findings of the report and determine if criminal indictments are warranted.

“The report raises serious questions, not only about the way in which the Meadowlands golf and housing project has been managed, but also about the unchecked power held by quasi-autonomous agencies like the Meadowlands Commission. Mistakes by past administrations, combined with pay-to-play tainted contracts has led to millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer money and an environmental nightmare in the Meadowlands.

“I do not believe that legislative hearings are the way to prevent such tremendous ‘duping’ of public officials from happening in the future.

“Developers are running roughshod over the residents of Bergen County because the truth stays hidden and government agencies are not doing their job to protect the citizens. We’ve already seen this with Xanadu, when a supposed ‘entertainment center’ became a megamall, and the EnCap project quickly followed suit. Bergen County can’t afford any more debacles like this.

“We must stop this corruption by all means possible. The U.S. Attorney should quickly investigate all possible criminal conduct and the Legislature must finally pass the kind of tough ethics reform that will end pay-to-play and the legalized corruption that taints our government.”

Senator Weinberg noted she is the sponsor of several bills aimed at ending pay-to-play and increasing oversight of the State’s independent agencies, including S-97, the “State Authorities Reform Act,” S-844, which requires NJ Sports and Exposition Authority to notify and receive input from the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission and Hackensack Meadowlands District municipalities concerning certain Meadowlands complex projects, and S-1020, which revises procedures for municipal redevelopment programs; prohibits certain campaign contributions by redevelopers.