Will Bridgegate spawn a Fulop scandal? | Editorial

The Bridgegate trial opens in just three weeks, and Chris Christie’s political fate isn’t the only question on our minds. Here’s another: Is Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, a man aspiring to be governor, also going to be one of its casualties?

Fulop is not charged in the case, but he has been asked to testify, likely regarding the attempts by the governor’s office to win his endorsement. The problem for the mayor is this: E-mails released during the pre-trial maneuvering suggest that the governor’s office tried to buy Fulop’s endorsement by doing favors for a private firm the mayor represented.

In the end, Fulop did not endorse Christie. The question is whether he engaged in those slippery discussions, and how far they got. If he made a deal, and later reneged, even that could be a crime. It would most certainly be a stain on his already troubled reputation.

Read more at The Star Ledger

Slippery Steve Fulop and Donald Trump: Perfect Together

Slippery Steve Fulop welcomed Trump to Jersey City with open arms and a five-year tax abatement worth millions to the billionaire Trump and his partner, son-in-law Jared Kushner. That would be the son of convicted felon Charles Kushner, who served time for making illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering. The elder Kushner even hired a prostitute to set up members of his own family.

“I think the Trump brand is a real positive thing… I think it’s great.”

So gushed Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop in welcoming Donald Trump to town to develop an apartment complex.

Yep, the same Slippery Steve Fulop who wants to be governor, cutting deals with the egomaniacal Republican who has morphed into the most reviled presidential candidate in American history.

Many believe that Jared Kushner, convicted felon Charlie Kushner, or even Donald Trump himself, may be the shadowy figures behind the anonymous $400,000 contribution to a super PAC created to fund Fulop’s gubernatorial campaign. The super PAC returned the donation, without explanation, after civic activists uncovered its possible illegality.

Fulop should have known the dubious gamble he was exposing his constituents to by dealing with Trump, who was notorious for projects that ended in bankruptcies that bailed him out, while leaving the taxpayers and others holding the bag.

If Fulop didn’t know, a simple Google search would have raised enough red flags to send even the most naive official running for cover.

Trump, after all, had left a lurid trail of shuttered buildings, broken promises and shattered dreams stretching from coast to coast. Thousands of workers lost their jobs, bills to contractors went unpaid, small businesses got the shaft. All in the name of Trump.

But Fulop overlooked the shabby record and fell for Trump’s bombast and braggadocio.

If Slippery Steve can be so gullible when faced with the slick huckster from across the Hudson, how can we trust him to protect our wallets as governor?

Lip service doesn’t bridge disparity in minority hirings for Jersey City projects | Morgan

Developers with projects in Jersey City are supposed to employ local labor and minorities on construction sites as part of the city’s policy for their receiving tax abatements. But are they actually adhering to that policy?

To date, there’s been no report of information or updates made public by either Pierre Leandre, the director of the Jersey City Office of Tax Abatement and Compliance, or Rev. Reginald McRae, the city’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, detailing concerning what, if any, steps they have taken to address the reported disparities.

Read more at The Jersey Journal

Fulop’s 2012 job with Port Authority tenant draws scrutiny

legal brief filed last week in the ongoing Bridgegate scandal is leading to increased scrutiny over a job Mayor Steve Fulop once had with a car company that works out of Port Newark.

Fulop’s job with FAPS, Foreign Automotive Preparation Service, wasn’t widely known until May 1, 2015, when a federal indictment against two key Bridgegate included a reference to Fulop having “represented FAPS.”

The detail led to some raised eyebrows in Jersey City. FAPS modifies foreign cars to add accessories like navigation systems and backup cameras on a 119-acre site owned by Port Authority in Newark. Fulop was a Wall Street trader for most of his eight years on the City Council. What was he doing at FAPS?

Read more at The Jersey Journal

Fulop Administration won’t answer questions on FAPS job

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop will not answer any more questions about his work for a company that was in a lease dispute with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, partly because the U.S. Attorney’s office advised him not to, his administration said Thursday.

“We have been advised by counsel and the U.S. Attorney that it is inappropriate to have any comments about a case pending for trial,” Fulop spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said. She was responding to several questions from POLITICO New Jersey about the job after Fulop and his administration gave only limited answers about his role with the company, FAPS, Inc., on Wednesday.

But Morrill’s answer doesn’t square with what a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said after POLITICO New Jersey asked if the office told Fulop not to talk about his work with the company.

“I can’t speak to what his counsel advised. Our office did not so advise him,” said the spokesman, Matt Reilly.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2016/08/fulop-administration-wont-answer-questions-on-faps-job-104678#ixzz4H7kgPyUF

Sleazy Steve Fulop can’t lie about Christie endorsement under oath in fed court…

There’s a disturbing pattern emerging when it comes to Sleazy Steve Fulop.
Everyone else seems to be a liar except Sleazy Steve…
FULOPGATE takes center stage…
Courtesy of court documents released this week, we see that while Fulop was running for mayor of Jersey City, he entered into discussions with top Christie aides about renegotiating a lease for a car import/export company — and resolving the company’s $2.8 million debt — with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which was staffed by Christie confidants. Also negotiating for the company were former Sen. Robert Torricelli, who resigned his seat amid an ethics investigation, and Michael DeCotiis, an attorney and a top Fulop campaign contributor.
Fulop and the Christie surrogates were simultaneously discussing a political deal that would see the Jersey City Democrat desert his party’s candidate to support the Republican Christie’s reelection. A classic example of mixing business with politics.
To Christie’s team, Fulop seemed prime to make the switch.
“Good meeting with Fulop today. (He was) Very open about his intent to endorse,” wrote David Wildstein, then a Christie-appointed executive with the Port Authority, in an email to Bill Stepien, Christie’s campaign manager.
Federal prosecutors contend that Christie aides in the governor’s office and at the Port Authority used the authority to extend favors or exact revenge on Democratic mayors and other elected officials, depending upon whether or not they crossed party lines to support the governor.
Fulop’s negotiations with the governor’s aides paid off. The Port Authority extended the company’s lease. And although Fulop never formally endorsed Christie, he refused to endorse Democratic candidate Barbara Buono.
Fulop should come clean and answer some key questions:
 
–Was there the promise of a quid-pro-quo by the governor’s team in return for the lease extension?
–How much was Fulop paid by his employer for his lobbying work? 
–Was Fulop a registered lobbyist at the time?
–Why is his work for the company missing from his official biography?
Fulop may be able to get away with lying to the media and the public about his expected endorsement for Chris Christie, but he won’t be able to lie in federal court, especially with credible witnesses under oath.
Stay tuned…

Emails shed light on Christie effort to get Fulop support in 2013

New emails released as part of the ongoing Bridgegate case shed light on Gov. Chris Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign’s effort to win the endorsement of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, an effort that appeared to center around Fulop’s pre-mayoralty gig with a Port Authority tenant.

The emails between Bill Stepien, Christie’s 2013 campaign manager, and David Wildstein, then a Port Authority executive, show the effort to nab Fulop’s endorsement began more than eight months prior to Fulop’s May 2013 election as Jersey City’s mayor.

They also reveal that Christie’s team believed even then that a Fulop endorsement would be a longshot and that the Republican governor’s allies did not think much of then-Councilman Fulop, a Democrat who ended up not endorsing Christie in October 2013.

“Quite the snake,” Stepien emailed Wildstein about Fulop on Nov. 28, 2012.

Read more at The Jersey Journal

Baroni wants Fulop communications excluded from Bridgegate case

In a September 12 email from Fulop to Wildstein, the mayor wrote “FYI. I think things are set on our side. Let
me know if there is anything I can do to help close from your side.”

The subject of the email was “FAPS,” referring to Foreign Auto Preparation Service, a major processor of imported foreign vehicles owned by the Port Authority.

Then, on October 17, 2012, Wildstein emailed Bill Stepien, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff and 2013 campaign manager, stating “I expect to be disappointed but worth taking a shot.”

In the same email chain, Wildstein tells Stepien “Fulop owes you big time” for working out a deal with FAPS.

Read more at Hudson County View

Leaders of nonprofit that gave pro-Fulop PAC $400K won’t talk about it

Nobody associated with a nonprofit “issue advocacy” organization whose only record of activity is a big donation to a super PAC aligned with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop wants to talk about it.

Progressive New Jersey was formed in June 2014 and registered to the North Brunswick address of Gary Hirsch, a Democratic activist from Middlesex County. The group had no public record of activity until last year, when it contributed $400,000 to the super PAC Coalition for Progress.

Read more at Politico NJ

N.J. gubernatorial hopeful Fulop must denounce shady $1M donor | Editorial

We’ve finally learned the identity of a mysterious $1 million donor to a Super Pac supporting Jersey City mayor and aspiring governor Steve Fulop.

It’s the wealthy mogul behind the most notorious price-gouging hospital in the nation. Fulop once recommended this man’s company for a city contract. Which raises the question: Could it look any worse?

Vivek Garipalli and the for-profit hospital system he owns, called CarePoint, donated nearly a third of the $3.2 million raised last year by the Pac with close ties to Fulop, called “Coalition for Progress.” More than three quarters of that total stash was from people who do business with Jersey City, either personally or through their companies, like Garipalli.

Read the full Star Ledger editorial