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(Cherry Hill) — When scandal engulfed the NJ Economic Authority last week, the multiple, bombshell media reports read like something from The Sopranos: greed, coercion, corruption, exploitation, and a malignant brand of fidelity.
Camden Democratic machine loyalists Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Louis Cappelli were quickly dispatched to defend the embattled NJEDA while ignoring troubling revelations about an organization that awards billions of dollars in tax subsides to firms aligned with George Norcross, the pater familias of South Jersey’s democratic machine.
Some of the more eye-popping revelations about EDA include that time they let the lobbyist write the billion dollar bill. Or the falsified applications for massive, multi-million dollar tax subsidies.
It looks bad.
But despite that stench, Cruz-Perez and Cappelli came out swinging.
When I read their seething, full-throated defense of NJ-EDA it reminded me of the angry screeds I used to send out when I was extremely high on meth. That was long ago but I won’t forget the paranoid, frenetic, super defensive emails I’d send, oozing with contempt and always impugning the motives of everyone not on my side. It was crazy.
I was crazy.
And Crazy Jay On Meth immediately came to mind when I read Cruz-Perez/Cappelli’s hysterical statement defending the indefensible.
A few days later, they fired off another EDA-related defense that was even more hysterical than the first. This time they took direct aim at Ron Chen, a distinguished professor of law at Rutgers University and all around mensch. Cruz-Perez and Cappelli called on Chen to resign from a task force investigating the EDA’s curious behavior.
“We will not let the Governor’s hypocrisy, a task force with political DNA, a conflicted chair and his New York lawyer to hurt the businesses and residents of this great city,” Cruz-Perez and Cappelli said, devoid of self-awareness and willfully ignorant of the multiple warning signs that taxpayers are getting hosed.
This is one man’s opinion, but Ron Chen has a stellar, unimpeachable reputation. Unlike Nilsa and Louis who prize machine loyalty over all, Ron Chen is not conflicted. Frankly, we should all aspire to Ron Chen’s level of integrity and respectability.
In any event, a bunch of former mob prosecutors are exposing Norcross’ self-serving conspiracies so we can surely expect more breathless, hair-on-fire statements from the Camden County Democrats who’ve turned billions of dollars of tax subsides into their own personal gravy train.
Speaking of gravy trains, Holtec International got a $260,000,000 EDA tax subsidy in exchange for a promise to create local jobs WHICH HASN’T HAPPENED! In fact, Holtec’s CEO Kris Singh won’t hire locals because they “can’t stand getting up in the morning and coming to work every single day.”
This guy is crapping on Camden residents and instead of angry statements from Nilsa and Louis we got crickets when that happened!
Camden residents are not lazy. But instead of building Camden folk up, Kris Singh’s inclination is to tear them down. Right after he gets a No Strings Attached $260,000,000 tax subsidy.
To add insult injury, when Holtec began building their brand new, heavily-subsidized headquarters, the construction displaced Camden’s only needle change site, a mobile van, that operated nearby.
So for the next three years, there was nowhere in Camden for heroin users to drop off their dirty needles.
Presently, Holtec’s only tangible legacy in the city of Camden is more HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne cooties. And it only cost the rest of us chumps $260,000,000.
We could have used a hair-on-fire press release when all that was happening, but revealingly Senator Nilsa Curz-Perez and Freeholder Louis Cappelli had nothing to say when HIV transmissions spiked because there was nowhere for heroin users in Camden County to exchange their contaminated syringes.
Nothing to say.
Jay Lassiter spent a decade shooting meth, went to rehab, then immediately jumped into New Jersey politics. Find him on Twitter and ask him which world was shadier.