Tuesday, July 24, 2012

America's Culture of Corruption: Spotlight on New Jersey

Although recipient of a $216,000-a-year salary, Peter Burnham, disgraced president of Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, pleaded guilty to two counts of official misconduct and theft by deception today. Another headline of a failed leader entrusted to inspire character; but instead represents greed, dishonesty and selfishness.

As noted in my articles, newest book and blogs over the years, such as referenced below from August 7, 2009, the crisis of ethics continues its affliction of moral depravity on our nation. America must rise again to its destiny as a great moral nation by reawakening its heart with character:

Massive New Jersey Corruption Bust: A Crisis of Character

For many years I have addressed the issue of a crisis of character in articles, blogs, and presentations, as well as in my newest book Listen To Their Cries. But on Thursday, July 23, 2009 the pervasiveness of moral decay exuded a suffocating stench in the state of New Jersey for all law abiding citizens struggling to make ends meet during this economic crisis.

At a press conference in Newark on the day of the arrests, Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun said, "We hope that our actions today will be the clarion call that prompts significant change in the way business and politics are conducted in the state of New Jersey. Those who engage in this culture of corruption should know the cross hairs of justice will continue to be focused on them."

According to a Department of Justice Press Release posted on the Federal Bureau of Investigation Newark website, the arrests were based on a two track investigation of political corruption and International Money Laundering Rings which led to the arrest of 44 individuals. Tragically, these individuals are in positions of trust demanding the highest levels of dedication to their communities such as mayors, assemblymen, political operatives and even rabbis. These individuals violated their oaths of public office and desecrated the very faith they profess.

Reprinted from the FBI Newark Website
Department of Justice Press Release
July 23, 2009


Among those charged in criminal Complaints are:

  • Peter Cammarano III, the newly elected mayor of Hoboken and an attorney, charged with accepting $25,000 in cash bribes, including $10,000 last Thursday, from an undercover cooperating witness.
  • L. Harvey Smith, a New Jersey Assemblyman and recent mayoral candidate in Jersey City, charged along with an aide of taking $15,000 in bribes to help get approvals from high-level state agency officials for building projects.
  • Daniel Van Pelt, a New Jersey Assemblyman, charged with accepting a $10,000 bribe.
  • Dennis Elwell, mayor of Secaucus, charged with taking a $10,000 cash bribe.
  • Anthony Suarez, mayor of Ridgefield and an attorney, charged with agreeing to accept a $10,000 corrupt cash payment for his legal defense fund.
  • Louis Manzo, the recent unsuccessful challenger in the Jersey City mayoral election and former state Assemblyman, and his brother and political advisor Robert Manzo, both with taking $27,500 in corrupt cash payments for use in Louis Manzo’s campaign.
  • Leona Beldini, the Jersey City deputy mayor and a campaign treasurer, charged with taking $20,000 in conduit campaign contributions and other self-dealing in her official capacity.
  • Eliahu Ben Haim, of Long Branch, N.J., the principal rabbi of a synagogue in Deal, N.J., charged with money laundering of proceeds derived from criminal activity.
  • Saul Kassin, of Brooklyn, N.Y., the chief rabbi of a synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, charged with money laundering of proceeds derived from criminal activity.
  • Edmund Nahum, of Deal, N.J., the principal rabbi of a synagogue in Deal, charged with money laundering of proceeds derived from criminal activity.
  • Mordchai Fish, of Brooklyn, N.Y., a rabbi at a synagogue in Brooklyn, charged with money laundering of proceeds derived from criminal activity. His brother, also a rabbi, was charged as well.

Most of the defendants were arrested early this morning by a large contingent of federal agents, led by Special Agents of the FBI Newark Division and IRS Criminal Investigation Division (See addendum of defendants, charges and arrest status). Court-authorized search warrants were also being executed approximately 20 locations in New Jersey and New York, to recover, among other things, large sums of cash and other evidence of criminal conduct. Additionally, 28 seizure warrants were being executed against bank accounts in the names of the money laundering defendants and entities they control.

One criminal Complaint charges a Brooklyn man, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, with conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant, at a cost of $160,000 to the transplant recipient. According to the Complaint, Rosenbaum said he had been brokering the sale of kidneys for 10 years.

Perhaps my response to these latest headlines of shameful corruption is best expressed through the words of an article of mine entitled America's Resolve in a New Era of Leadership published in 2006:

Moral outrage in a calm, demanding and persevering manner must be the order of the day and America must respond with a new resolution to leadership; highlighted by character, to expedite transformation from a culture of corruption to the ideals of service and dedication to community. America need only reflect retrospectively on the leadership and events of its noble past to be reignited with the call of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "this generation has a rendezvous with destiny."

Abraham Lincoln is admired as a leader with masterful communication and persuasion skills. Lincoln developed these skills by keenly understanding the philosopher Aristotle's Treatise on Rhetoric which explains a leader's ability to persuade as: "Persuasion is only achieved by means of a moral character that renders the speaker worthy of confidence. Credibility is the most powerful means of persuasion."

If only the character of Abraham Lincoln were truly taken to heart by those in authority, life would ultimately be transformed within American society. Messages are more often heard and followed when the communicator is understood to be honest, sincere and truly concerned about others.


USDOJ 23-JUL-2009 Press Release Click here to visit site
America's Resolve in a New Era of Leadership Click here to visit site

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