Corzine asks CRDA to oust its attorney

Corzine asks CRDA to oust its attorney

September 30, 2006 Press of Atlantic City

TRENTON:  Gov. Jon S. Corzine wants the man [Scarinci] at the center of the latest scandal involving U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to step down from his role as attorney for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Donald Scarinci, a longtime fundraiser and ally to Menendez, was caught on tape telling a psychiatrist that Menendez would afford him protection if he rehired a doctor he had fired a year before. The psychiatrist, FBI informant Oscar Sandoval, claims the 1999 conversation intended to send a message ‚ÄĚdelivered on behalf of Menendez that Sandoval would lose his government contracts if he did not rehire the doctor.

Menendez, appointed by Corzine to fill his vacant U.S. Senate seat in January, is involved in a close election fight against Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. Corzine has stood by Menendez, who claims he did not know Scarinci was using his name.

This is a case of a freelancing individual who inappropriately used then-Congressman Menendez's name in a manner that does not represent the standards of his firm or what we expect from a counsel to any of our independent authorities, Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley said. The governor would strongly encourage the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to cease doing business with this individual.

CRDA Executive Director Tom Carver declined comment when contacted about Scarinci on Thursday. He could not be reached Friday for a reaction on the Corzine administration's remarks.

Scarinci has served as an attorney for the CRDA since 2002. It would be up to the CRDA board to officially remove him from that role.

The announcement from the Corzine administration came hours after Republican State Committee Chairman Tom Wilson called on Corzine to remove Scarinci from positions with any state authorities.

Clearly, Mr. Scarinci does not exemplify the high standards of conduct which Governor Corzine has said needs to be maintained in order to restore public confidence in government, Wilson said. Particularly troubling should be his work at the CRDA. When casino gaming was first introduced in New Jersey, those in power were steadfast in their desire to keep unsavory figures from becoming involved in the casino industry. Mr. Scarinci has absolutely no business being anywhere near the casino industry in New Jersey.

A phone call to Scarinci's Hudson County law office went unreturned. He has declined comment on the tapes, citing an ongoing lawsuit, saying only that his conversation with Sandoval was not directed by Menendez.

Menendez spokesman Matthew Miller said Scarinci had been removed from his role as a fundraiser for the campaign.

Wilson, the Republican state chairman, said Menendez could not sever ties with a man who has been described as his right arm for decades.

If Menendez didn't know that Donald Scarinci was out making eals and wielding influence using Bob Menendez's name, then he is the only person in New Jersey who didn't know that, Wilson said.

Miller responded by calling Wilson a discredited hack and Sandoval a sleazy criminal.


Comments (1)

ed mecka
Said this on 10-1-2006 At 12:39 am
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority's enabling legislation specifies one board member seat for the State Attorney General which is currently held by Anne Milgram, Acting NJ State Attorney General. Milgram will be replaced on the Board by the new Attorney General, Stu Rabner.

No doubt Corzine was advised to "suggest" that the CRDA cancel the Scarinci legal services contract pending dual track investigations by the Federal and State law enforcement agencies. The decision to void the Scarinci contract rests with the CRDA board members.

The current CRDA board members are:

Ali Reynolds,

Robert J. (Skip) Boyce,

Peter F. Cammarano,

Joseph A. Corbo, Jr., Esq. , Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa

Daniel J. Dalton

Michael DeCotiis, Esq.

Edward H. Gant

Irene Hill-Smith, Ph.D.

Mark Juliano, Trump Entertainment

Diane C. Lusk

Bradley I. Abelow, NJ State Treasurer

Anne Milgram, Acting NJ State Attorney General

Linda M. Kassekert, Chair, NJ Casino Control Commission

Susan Bass Levin Commissioner, NJ Department of Community Affairs

Robert W. Levy, Sr., Mayor, City of Atlantic City

http://www.njcrda.com/board_members.html

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