Cory Booker named in Newark corruption suit

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker, who is also the mayor of Newark, was named in a lawsuit for allegedly failing to investigate a former Newark deputy mayor’s “theft” of city money.

The company Kennebec GEP LLC is seeking damages from its perspective as a taxpayer over alleged corruption in Newark, according to Courthouse News Service. Kennebec claims it “has been damaged by the theft of assets and revenue from the city of Newark.”

“Beginning in the 1980’s, Alfred Faiella began to create corporations as instruments of commerce to effectuate the ongoing financial enterprise of diverting and converting the assets and revenue of the Newark Economic Development Council from the City of Newark and its taxpayers,” according to Kennebec’s complaint, which alleges that Faiella’s nonprofit organization NEDC Financial Management obtained public funds that were used as assets by NEDC’s for-profit corporate affiliates. Faiella later severed the affiliates from NEDC.

“The assets of the corporate defendants were acquired through the use of public funds obtained by the NEDC from federal, state, and local public sources,” according to the complaint.

“The corporate defendants also developed projects for the city of Newark,” the complaint claims. “These projects were developed through the use of public funds from federal, state, and local public sources.”

Faiella, who was deputy mayor under Mayor Sharpe James until 2001, also allegedly used his wife and another woman to purchase lots owned by the city of Newark for “very little money and resell the lots at a great profit.” Their scheme, according to the complaint, allowed Faiella to “to acquire the lots so that his name and the corporate defendants’ names would not appear on the deeds to the lots.”

And Booker?

“Rather than hold Faiella accountable for his actions, Booker has permitted Faiella to retain control of some corporate defendants by entering into a transfer and release agreement with Faiella and the corporate defendants,” according to the complaint, which claims that Booker’s agreement does not force Faiella to make specified payments back to the city of Newark but only “vaguely requires the corporate defendants to turn over unspecified amounts in their bank accounts.”

“Booker has failed to make Faiella account for the income wrongfully received by both Faiella personally and the corporate defendants… Booker has inexplicably permitted Faiella to retain control of some of the corporate defendants and continue to generate income from assets stolen from the city of Newark,” reads the complaint, which does not seek punitive damages from Booker.

Booker, who lost to legendary Newark mayor Sharpe James in the 2002 mayoral race, won James’ old office in 2006 after then-prosecutor Chris Christie successfully prosecuted James and sent him to prison for fraud. James’ crime? Conspiring to secure his mistress’ purchase of city lots. His mistress decided to re-sell those lots for hundreds of thousands of dollars shortly after obtaining them.

Booker’s campaign did not return a request for comment. Counsel for Kennebec declined to comment at this time.

This post has been updated

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