Senator Sam Thompson (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean) urged the chairman and chairwoman of the “New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation” to open a full inquiry into the City of Newark’s abuse of tax dollars, in light of state Comptroller investigative report released today.
“This Committee is empowered to investigate any matter ‘raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power’ over the next two years,” said Thompson. “Democrats vowed that this would remain a bipartisan committee. Just as other legislative committees address many different matters during a legislative session, this committee can investigate how New Jersey’s largest city has been wasting billions of dollars from taxpayers all across this state — and potentially covering up such action.”
Senator Thompson also noted a Dec. 3 Comptroller’s Office report, detailing its three-year audit of Newark’s books also found gross abuses of taxpayer dollars and negligence by officials.
Today’s Comptroller report revealed that Newark’s former Mayor and Council failed to provide oversight of the agency, fostering an environment that allowed the agency’s director to write $200,000 in unauthorized payroll checks to herself, give out more than $1 million no-bid contracts to her ex husband and close associates and secretly authorize risky investments in an account that lost more than $500,000 in public funds.
“Today’s report is the latest unfortunate chapter in the story of persistent abuse of taxpayer dollars and negligence by the City of Newark,” Thompson said. “Clearly, we need to conduct a thorough legislative investigation into how this city has been using some $100 million a year in state tax dollars and hundreds of millions of public money from local and federal sources. This Legislature has already established a joint legislative committee that can do the job. There are many important questions for which we need answers.”
“If not this committee, then some committee, any committee needs, to look at Newark’s actions at large.”