Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal just can’t help himself from practicing the “politics of yesterday,” as Governor Chris Christie said of him last year.
Friday evening on the Political Roundtable segment of the NJTV News with Mike Schneider, Gopal reacted to the news that the federal government had cleared Christie Administration of any errors or wrong doing with the AshBrit contract for cleaning up much of New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy by sticking to the Democratic/Star Ledger talking points. “The bigger issue is,” Gopal said, “why was so much money wasted in the process?” “Costs were higher,” he said, without saying higher than what. Certainly they were not higher than what the Army Corp of Engineers charged New York for their clean up.
What Gopal didn’t say is that he was busy helping AshBrit get business in the aftermath of Superstrom Sandy.
Click here to read an email Gopal sent me three weeks after Sandy hit asking for my help in introducing AshBrit’s agent, Laura Matos of M Public Affairs, a veteran of the Corzine administration, to Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan.
GOP political consultant Chris Russell joked on the segment that he was waiting for apologies from all the Democrats who criticized Christie over the AshBrit contract. Gopal should have apologized on the spot, especially since he was an active participant in recruiting municipalities to sign with the clean up company.
I don’t know if Gopal got paid for helping AshBrit get business but it is a safe bet that Matos and her fellow Corzine administration veterans at M Public Affairs did. Vin should ask Matos why the AshBrit contract cost so much.
I didn’t get paid. Nolan had Highlands almost entirely cleaned up without AshBrit before Vin reached out to me.
Posted: March 7th, 2014 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Frank Nolan, Superstorm Sandy, Vin Gopal | Tags: AshBrit, Chris Christie, Chris Russell, Christie Administration, Frank Nolan, Highlands, Laura Matos, M Public Affairs, Mike Schneider, NJTV, Superstorm Sandy, Vin Gopal | 4 Comments »
Ocean County GOP Chairman Geroge Gilmore is among a handful of connected lobbyists hired by AshBrit, the Florida company that won the sole state contract for Superstorm Sandy clean up, who was making sales calls to municipal officials looking for lucrative non-bid clean up work after then storm, according to an article in The Star Ledger this morning.
MMM was the first to report that former Corzine staffer Maggie Moran and her firm, M Public Affairs, was selling AshBrit’s premium priced services to Sandy ravaged municipalities. The Ledger report expands the list of lobbyists working for AshBrit in New Jersey to Gilmore, former Corzine cabinet member Kris Kullari, and former Assembly Republican director Jon Bombardieri.
AshBrit has been widely praised for the quality of the clean up work it hired subcontractors to perform. Their no-bid pricing is the issue. AshBrit charged $100 per ton for debris removal. Towns that didn’t hire AshBrit got the work done for $26 per ton.
“If this isn’t a classic example of how everything is connected in New Jersey politics, I don’t know what is,” said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who was Corzine’s running mate in 2009 when Moran managed his re-election campaign.
MMM is generally not a fan of Weinberg, but we are with her on this issue. Excess profits paid to AshBrit for making phone calls and signing contracts could have been used to rebuild infrastructure, house the displaced, etc, or not borrowed from China in the first place.
Gilmore got another new job last month. Just as MMM predicted last June during the Monmouth GOP Chairman’s race, Gilmore’s firm was appointed Assistant Monmouth County Counsel by the Board of Freeholders during their reorganization meeting.
Despite his threats to due so, John Bennett has not sued MMM for making that prediction.
Posted: February 3rd, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: George Gilmore, Hurricane Sandy, John Bennett, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: AshBrit, George Gilmore, John Bennett, Jon Bombardieri, Kris Kullari, M Public Affairs, Maggie Moran, Sandy cleanup, Star Ledger | 4 Comments »
In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Chris Christie and Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa warned New Jersey businesses, gas stations, hardware stores, food stores, hotels and other retailers who had electricity and were able to sell life sustaining products and services to a vulnerable public against price gouging. By the end of November, one month after Sandy hit, Chiesa’s office was investigating thousands of gouging complaints and had filed at least 10 civil rights lawsuits against hotels and gas stations.
In the November 28 release announcing the lawsuits, Christie said,
“The last thing people put out of their homes in a natural disaster should have to confront is price gouging from unscrupulous profiteers,” said Governor Christie. “It’s illegal, offensive and completely opposite the spirit of cooperation we saw just about everywhere else in our state in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I encourage more of the same treatment from the Attorney General for any other instances of price gouging he discovers.”
A Star Ledger article posted Tuesday morning raises questions as to whether the State and 43 municipalities were gouged by the Florida contractor, AshBrit Environmental, that was awarded a $100 million no-bid contract to clean up state roads and waterways and allowing municipalities to hire the firm without going out to bid.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 31st, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Hurricane Sandy | Tags: Anthony Mercantante, AshBrit, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Conti, Governor Chris Christie, Haley Barbour, Long Beach Township, M Public Affairs, Maggie Moran, Matt Doherty, Middletown, Mississippi, Point Pleasant, Randal Perkins, The New York Times, The Star Ledger, William Schroeder | 4 Comments »