Lesniak planning a gubernatorial run, won’t seek re-election to Senate

assetContent (45)TRENTON — Longtime Democratic state Sen. Raymond Lesniak said Thursday he’s planning to run for governor in 2017. Lesniak (D-Union) said he plans to focus “on the issues I championed in my legislative career,” and will not seek reelection to the state Senate. He’s served in the Legislature for 37 years. “I’m not running for reelection.… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 30th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Kyrillos and Lesniak Fast Track Sports Betting Legislation

Sen. Joe Kyrillos

Sen. Joe Kyrillos

Senators Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) and Ray Lesniak have teamed up to sponsor legislation that will counter the professional sports leagues latest attempts to block sports betting in New Jersey.

The bill, which will be introduced during the Senate’s next session, would explicitly abolish language in state law that prohibits sports betting, a move that would reinforce the state attorney general’s effort to lift the injunction preventing the state from moving forward on plans to allow casinos and racetracks to accept wagers on sporting events. The measure would also prohibit the transport of sports-betting equipment across state lines and set an age requirement of 21 years old.

Last month acting Attorney General John Hoffman issued a directive that instructed law enforcement not to prosecute sports betting at racetracks and casinos.  The Christie Administration asked U. S. District Judge Michael Shipp to rule that New Jersey is not violating federal law by decriminalizing sports betting  and allowing private entities to operate and regulate the betting.

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Posted: October 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Atlantic City, Horse Racing Industry, New Jersey, News, Sport Betting | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Kyrillos and Lesniak Fast Track Sports Betting Legislation

Scudiery Speaks Out In Opposition To A Gas Tax Increase

Democratic leaders in Trenton are working on increasing the only tax in New Jersey that is not one of the highest in the nation, the gasoline tax.

In a February meeting with  The Star Ledger Editorial Board, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said he favored increasing the 14.5 cent gas tax and that he favored a tax on water consumption.

Senator Ray Lesniak proposed a 29% increase in the gasoline tax in March.

Former Monmouth Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery

Former Monmouth Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery

Former Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor V. Scudiery wrote Lesniak to oppose an increase in the gasoline tax on March 25.  Not having heard back from Lesinak, Scudiery sent his letter to all members of the legislature yesterday and released it to the press:

March 25, 2014

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak

985 Stuyvesant Avenue

Union, NJ 07083

Dear Senator Lesniak:

I was disappointed to read that you are proposing raising the tax on gasoline here in New Jersey to pay help for repairs to our roadways.

Have you considered taxing the oil companies I believe that the road repairs should be their responsibility; after all, it appears we have no control over the increase at the gas pumps each week. In 2008 gasoline was $1.89 per gallon, look what has happened in just six (6) short years.  We continue to see a rise in gasoline prices weekly and the average person just cannot afford the current prices let alone another tax.

If the current taxes collected on gasoline were used solely to repair roads as was the original intent, instead of using it for other items in the state budget, it would not be necessary to add any new taxes.  These taxes would be more than enough funds to repairs our roads, bridges and tunnels, which incidentally are one of the highest labor and material costs in the nation.

It is time for all our Elected Officials to look for ways to cut and control spending and keep our residents financial hardships at the forefront.

Your consideration in this matter is appreciated.


Victor V. Scudiery

Victor V. Scudiery, President

Scudiery Enterprises, LLC

Posted: April 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth Democrats, Vic Scudiery, Victor V Scudiery | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Scudiery Speaks Out In Opposition To A Gas Tax Increase

Christie Nominates Camden County Assignment Judge To State Supreme Court

Justice Helen E. Hoens. photo via NJ Courts website

Justice Helen E. Hoens. photo via NJ Courts website

Governor Christie announced the nomination of Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina to replace Justice Helen Hoens on the State Supreme Court during a press conference at the State House this afternoon.

Hoens, who was up for reappointment after seven years, will not be re-nominated, Christie said, because State Senator Ray Lesniak, a senior Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently said that Hoens would not be reconfirmed as political retribution for Christie not re-nominating Justice John Wallace in 2010.  Christie said that Hoens took the news as a professional and thanked him for not putting her through an arduous and fruitless re-confirmation hearing.  Hoen’s term expires in late October.

There are currently two vacancies, of seven positions, on the State Supreme Court. Christie nominated Monmouth County Judge David F. Bauman and Board of Public Utilities President Robert Hanna to fill those vacancies in December of last year.  The Democratically controlled State Senate has not acted on their nominations, despite the fact that both men have been previously confirmed by the Senate for their current positions.

If all three of Christie’s current nominees are confirmed, a majority of the Court, 4 Justices, will be Christie appointees. Justice Anne M. Patterson was nominated by Christie in May of 2010. She was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in 19 months later in September of 2011.

Judge Fernandez-Vina, a Cuban-American and a Republican, was first nominated to the Superior Court in Camden County by Governor Jim McGreevey in 2004.  He was re-nominated by Christie an reconfirmed by the Senate in 2011.  In 2012, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, a Corzine appointee, named Fernandez-Vina the Assignment Judge of the Camden County Vicinage.

Posted: August 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Oxley judicial nomination on hold over FBI files

The Star Ledger is reporting that Joe Oxley’s nomination to the New Jersey Superior Court is in jeopardy because the U.S. Justice Department will not release FBI files from the investigation into the former sheriff resulting from Solomon Dwek’s allegations.

Dwek accused Oxley of sharing information about foreclosures before such information became public, thereby giving the real estate swindler a leg up to acquire those properties. No wrong doing was discovered during the FBI investigation which included recording Oxley.

State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a member of the judiciary committee that screens judicial nominations, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the Oxley files after The Star Ledger reported there existence last June.  The FBI declined the request, citing Oxley’s privacy.  Oxley did not respond to Lesniak’s request that he authorize the release of the files.  The Justice Department declined Lesniak’s appeal if the initial rejection.

State Senator Nicolas Scutari, chairman the the senate judiciary committee, was non-commital about Oxley’s nomination:

“I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely over, but I would say that’s certainly a piece of information that we’d like and it does jeopardize it to some degree,” he said. “I don’t think Senator Lesniak is wrong in requesting that information.”

Oxley declined to comment and referred questions to Governor Christie’s office.

Oxley, an attorney in private practice, could have numerous legitimate reasons, including attorney-client privilege, for declining to authorize the release of his recorded conversations.

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Joe Oxley, Monmouth County Court, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

Jersey Style Appointments and Hearings

Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw, Jr was nominated by Governor Chris Christie to become a Superior Court Judge on June 14.  The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold his confirmation hearing today.  He is likely to be confirmed by the full Senate before the end of the week, ending his 18 month tenure as county prosecutor.

First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni is expected to be nominated to replace Warshaw as the chief prosecutor in Monmouth County.  Word in the legal community is that Gramiccioni, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney under Christie, was the governor’s first choice to become Monmouth County Prosecutor in 2010 but that he was 18 months short of the residency requirements.

Former Monmouth County Sheriff Joe Oxley, also former Monmouth GOP Chairman, was nominated to the Court on May 14. Oxley’s confirmation has yet to be scheduled by the Democratically controlled Judiciary Committee, due in part to a Star Ledger report that federal informant Soloman Dwek accused Oxley, Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin of trading favors for campaign contributions.  

Dwek’s allegations were revealed in discovery documents in the civil case of former Hudson County Assemblyman Louis Manzo who unsuccessly sued the U.S. Attorney’s office to recover $100K in legal fees that resulted Manzo’s 2009 Operation Bid Rig indictments. Manzo was accused under the Hobbs Act of accepting bribes from Dwek in exchange for future help in zoning and permit applications should Manzo be elected Jersey City Mayor.  Manzo was running for Mayor for the fifth time when the alleged bribe occurred.  Federal Judge Jose Linares threw out the charges on the basis that the Hobbs Act applied only to elected officials, not candidates.  The Appellate Court affirmed Linares’ ruling.

The discovery documents in Manzo’s civil case miraculously found their way to the Star Ledger in what Kyrillos called an “oppo (opposition research) dump” by U. S. Senator Robert Menedez’s reelection campaign.  Kyrillos is the GOP nominee to unseat Menendez and a minority member of the State Senate Judiciary Committee which reviews judicial nominations.

Expect the Judiciary Committee to schedule Oxley’s confirmation hearing in September or October as the general election campaign is heating up.  Democratic Senator Ray Lesniak has called for Dwek, who is in federal prison, to testify at Oxley’s hearing.  That would put Kyrillos, as a member of the committee and also accused by Dwek of trading favors for contributions, in a hot seat at the height of the U.S. Senate campaign.

In another potential twist in this tangled web, Gramiccioni was one of the federal prosecutors working on the Bid Rig investigations, including Manzo’s, according to Bob Ingle and Michael Symons in Chris Christie: The Inside Story Of His Rise To Power (page 90).  Should Gramiccioni be nominated Monmouth County Prosecutor, as expected, his nomination will also be subject to a Judiciary Committee hearing.

Gramiccioni’s wife, Deborah, is Governor Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Cabinet Liason.


Posted: June 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County Prosecutor, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »