Reality corruption

The recent reports that 47 people in Hudson County may have been subject to tapping by the FBI leaves many officials in a quandary.

While they may fear having said something that could be mistaken as illegal while talking to Former County Executive Robert Janiszewski, they may also feel left out if their phone was not also tapped.

After all, people excluded by the FBI probe may not have been considered important enough for federal authorities to bother with.

Of course, anyone tapping into Paul Byrne’s phone (the only name so far disclosed as having been tapped) would have to have some sense of humor, leaving the public with the ultimate question as to whether or not the FBI has the necessary funny bone to understand the ins and outs of Hudson County politics.

When asked (in a phone interview) if he thought his phone was still bugged, Byrne immediately spoke very loudly, saying, "I think U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie will make a much better candidate for governor than Bret Schundler did, and he can count on my vote."

All this bugging is set against the backdrop of the bribery trial of Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon, who has been charged with acting as a conduit to Janiszewski while her one-time boyfriend Dr. Oscar Sandoval – the man who is said to have actually supplied the $20,000 to keep his contracts with the county – has not been.

This is something that Davila-Colon’s attorney, Peter Willis, seems to want to rectify, if his statements made at the pretrial motions are any indication. Willis has claimed that Sandoval, who was dating Davila-Colon at the time, supplied the freeholder with prescription drugs at the same time as the bribes were being exchanged. While Janiszewski is expected to testify against Davila-Colon at the trial, the U.S. Attorney’s office has not made it clear whether Dr. Sandoval – who played a pivotal role in Janiszewski’s 2000 arrest – will. Willis has hinted he may call Sandoval as a witness instead. Rest assured, Willis will call Davila-Colon to the stand, asking detailed questions about her romantic liaison with Sandoval, prescription drug use and other matters – at the end of which Davila-Colon will likely break down in tears and break the hearts of jurors’ judge and the press. You won’t find an episode of reality television to equal this.

Conspiracy or incompetence?

Frank MacCormack, a Secaucus Republican candidate for state Senate in 32nd District, has only one more obstacle to face so that he can run against current Democratic incumbent Senator Nicholas Sacco: the whole Republican Party.

MacCormack, who ran for the same seat two years ago and lost, is convinced his own party is working to keep Sacco in office.

In an election cycle that has already seen withdrawal of the entire state slate of Republicans in the 33rd District, anything is possible.

MacCormack was led to believe that he would get the Republican nomination for Sacco without a primary challenge, and then discovered that John Pluchino of North Bergen was on the primary ballot against him, leaving MacCormack to scramble to get his own paperwork in so that he could still run.

MacCormack has challenged Pluchino’s petitions in court, and has tried to replace Pluchino’s name on the ballot with his own.

While representatives of the Republican Party said MacCormack has no case, MacCormack said he has brought in handwriting experts who showed that out of the first 50 signatures on Pluchino’s petition, 36 were fraudulent and 10 were not at the address claimed.

Superior Court Judge Arthur D’Italia has divided the case in two, ruling against MacCormack for replacing Pluchino. D’Italia said MacCormack had failed to challenge the petitions within four days of filing as dictated by election law. The judge did allow MacCormack to continue the case as to whether or not the signatures were fraudulent.

MacCormack, who points to the fact that the same Republican leadership was forced to withdraw candidates in the 33rd District on similar charges, believes that these cases were no accident, and would remove all competition to Democrats come November.

In a tape recording presented to the court, MacCormack uncovered the alleged plot to keep him from running for fear that ongoing federal probes in North Bergen might allow him to win the seat against Sacco.

Republicans have denied these allegations.

And to their credit, they might be right. Republicans have managed to lose nearly every election in Hudson County over the last century. They do not need to conspire to lose.

It just comes naturally.

Friends of Rev. Chess hold event for medical bills

On a serious note, friends of Rev. Tyrone Chess are going to hold a fundraiser on June 5 at the Moose Lodge, 60 West Side Ave. in Jersey City. Chess is the pastor and founder of the Holy Ghost Tabernacle ministries, a one-time member of the Jersey City Board of Adjustment and an executive aide to Mayor Bret Schundler. He was a Hudson County corrections officer and was the chairman of the Jersey City Human Rights Commission. In 2000, Chess ran unsuccessfully for a Ward F council seat on a ticket in which Tom DeGise ran for mayor.

Known for his flamboyant preaching style, sometimes available for viewing in Jersey City on Comcast cable TV, Chess was admitted to Hackensack Hospital for testing in an effort to treat his diabetes. He had a reaction to the dye used in one test and became seriously ill.

His friends, who seem to cross over the current political bickering of the Democratic primary, are selling tickets to the fundraiser to help defray some of Chess’ medical costs. These tickets cost $50 and the event will feature hot dogs and such, as well as a 1950s style doo-wop singing group.

"He is a really good guy," said DeGise.

For more information or to obtain tickets, call DeGise at his County Executive office at (201) 795-6200 or Marsha Hill at (201) 433-9113 after six.


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