Rabbis and Mayors Arrested in New Jersey Public Corruption Probe

mayorpetercammarano1ElwellA group of rabbis were among the 30 or so people arrested in New Jersey with two mayors in a major corruption probe. Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III (left) and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell (right) were among those arrested in what is described as a “high-volume, international money-laundering conspiracy” where the rabbis used their their religious organizations to launder the money. There are also allegations of cash-filled envelopes going to politicians in garden-variety corruption claims.

In addition to Cammarano and Elwell, the arrested included New Jersey Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt and Leona Beldini, a Jersey City deputy mayor. Cammarano was only elected in June and sworn into office on July 1st. If found guilty, he may hold the record for a New Jersey mayor arrested on corruption charges. Ironically, he ran on a promise to lower taxes and fight crime but money laundering was not one of the suggested reforms.

The rabbis come from Syrian Jewish communities of Deal on New Jersey’s northern shore and in Brooklyn, New York.

Here is Cammarano’s bio:

The Honorable Peter J. Cammarano III was elected the 37th mayor of the City of Hoboken on June 9th 2009. His inauguration took place on July 1st, 2009.

Peter J. Cammarano III was born on July 22, 1977, in Wayne, New Jersey. After graduating cum laude from Boston University in 1999 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History, Cammarano settled in Hoboken and attended Seton Hall Law School. During law school, Peter worked on the Gore-Lieberman 2000 presidential campaign, attended the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, and was a speechwriter and legislative aide to State Senator Garry J. Furnari (D-36). Upon graduation from law school in 2002, he was admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York. Shortly thereafter, Peter published one of the earliest law review articles to examine the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law (The Colorado Cases and Costly Campaigns: An Invitation to Reform, 26 Seton Hall Legis. J. 499), and accurately predicted the U.S. Supreme Court’s treatment of the law.

Here is Elwell’s bio:

Mayor Dennis Elwell has served Secaucus for more than two decades as mayor and a member of the Town Council. Secaucus has enjoyed historic tax stability under Mayor Elwell going 8 years without a municipal tax increase. The Secaucus Home News has said this about the Mayor: “Mayor Dennis Elwell has brought vitality to the town that was lacking for many years, and his enthusiasm for his hometown is contagious.” Mayor Elwell is the president of a family-owned trucking company. He’s also a former Secaucus Board of Education member and a decorated Vietnam combat veteran.

For the full story, click here.

20 thoughts on “Rabbis and Mayors Arrested in New Jersey Public Corruption Probe”

  1. Buddha Is Laughing,

    Hello! Thank You So Much for checking out my artwork. I’m glad you liked it. Do you have yours posted anywhere? I’d love to see it…

    And your avatar and name gave me a great belly laugh! Thanks!

    Okay, we now return you to your regularly scheduled political discussion:

    (Thank You Jonathan Turley for sharing your space so graciously!)

  2. Corruption and New Jersey?????? What a Shock to my conscience. I thought everyone that used to be anybody was either in Florida or in the Custody of the Department of Corrections…..

  3. On topic.

    New Jersey.


    Color me not surprised as well. Although I must admit the scale is impressive for such a small state. Usually one has to go to Louisiana to see this level of vile self-serving behavior from such a large group acting in concert.

  4. FM,

    As a painter myself (although I prefer pen and ink), I must concur with mespo. Lovely painting. I’d be perfectly happy with an object of such beauty adorning my abode. Well done indeed.

  5. FM:

    “Because it seems every time we turn around either a politician or religious leader or someone of much public righteousness gets busted for doing something very unethical.”


    Claiming virtue is far different from living it. Here are the words of Adlai Stevenson stating the axiom much better than my paltry attempt:

    “The dedication of a lifetime — these are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty assignment. For it is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.”

    –(Speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952))

  6. GWLawSchoolMom asks why I’m not surprised.

    Because it seems every time we turn around either a politician or religious leader or someone of much public righteousness gets busted for doing something very unethical. Common occurrence. The older I get….I dunno….just doesn’t surprise or even upset me anymore. As the sun will rise, someone else will take a dive. Life. People. Humans. Circles.

    Anymore when I hear of something like this, the only thing about it that surprises me is that people are surprised! But I understand the feeling of betrayal and anger when someone we’ve looked up to or whose morals we’ve tried to exemplify turns out not to be what they professed.

    Okay….I’m done! Thanks!

  7. Scorp1234 should be ashamed. It is easy to spout facts and figures without really explaining them. It isn’t as effective when you give the whole truth is it?

    The organ procurement community made billions of dollars last year, shame on them. Catchy, has a nice ring to it. However, you didn’t mention that that was before expenses. When you don’t talk about expenses GM, Ford and Chrysler are looking pretty fabulous right now too, oh wait, they had expenses, never mind.

    Any idea how much OR time costs in this country? I do, it starts at around $6,000 per hour and climbs to over $10,000 an hour in some places. Any guesses on how many hours organ procurement requires? Try four to six hours. Any idea how much it costs to have an anesthesiologist and four transplant surgeons in the room? I won’t even get into how much the hospitals bills cost for days in the ICU, IV drips, heart catheterizations, chest x-rays, echocardiograms, bronchoscopies and endless laboratory tests. Oh wait, don’t forget the cost of organ procurement staff, those people who work 24 hour shifts to save lives.

    Greedy people found a way to capitalize on something. Not a shock at all. Will there be new safeguards put in place to prevent people from claiming to be a friend or relative and getting away with it? Without a doubt.

    People across this country choose to donate their organs when they die, or their family does so on their behalf. That should not change because 44 people in New Jersey figured out a way to make a quick buck.

  8. Two red flags:

    1. “was a speechwriter and legislative aide”
    2. “Mayor Elwell is the president of a family-owned trucking company.”

  9. Forrester McLeod writes: Why is there not one cell in my body that contains surprise?

    what part of this comes as no surprise? that corruption exists in NJ? that elected officials were involved? or that Jews were involved?

  10. scorp1234, thank you for the heads up on the lucrative organ procuremet organizations or industry citing that just compensation for donors is a moral hazard. Why do these organization or how do these organizations justify it as a moral hazard? I believe with you that any donor should receive appropriate just compensation and would hope that the black-market donor parts business would cease. I was astonished that this industry made $4 million dollars free each year. This again shows that even in the most sensitive industry of helping people it is not alturistic but about making money. I also like your comment about having the donor’s families having their medical bills paid for by the body parts industry and I initially agree such would be a very powerful incentive for people to donate. You have done your homework.

  11. The real tragedy in this story is the strangle hold that organ procurement organizations have over the body parts industry in America. Organ procurement organizations have convinced state legislatures that just compensation for donors and their families is a moral hazard. Just the opposite is true. While organ procurement organizations generate millions of dollars of revenue every month, they demand that donors should get nothing for their donation.

    If states allowed an honest economic exchange between organ recipients and organ donors, this blackmarket body parts business would cease immediately. Organ procurement organizations are estimated by Milliman $ Associates to earn about $4 billion a year in revenues on the free body parts trade. Allowing donor’s families to have their final medical bills paid by the body parts industry would be a powerful incentive to make a donation. We might then see the estimated 20,000 usable body parts wasted each year diverted from the casket to those in need.

    Visit http://www.donottransplant.com to learn more about the body parts industry and your rights under the law.

  12. I hope they catch everyone involved. Politicians and religious leaders taking money for nefarious purposes.

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