Stender Deal

By John Bury | February 25, 2015 this afternoon posted a sensational story that revealed the sordid machinations behind Union County politics but most of you are so inured to the stench that you may have missed how utterly perverted democracy has become here.

The story was about Linda Stender being replaced by Jim Kennedy (though that was refuted later by but that’s just one ineffective political operative replacing another and hardly worth a mention.  The real scandal is this claim reported by politicker:

A deal has been made that allows Stender to keep her $90,000-a-year job as deputy director and project manager at the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA).

“[The UCIA] would get sued, and they would lose,” the source said. “She gets to keep her job, at least for now.”

This essentially admits that Linda Stender has a make-work job at the UCIA but what crosses the line is that a deal would have been made.  According to their website there was no special meeting of the UCIA board whose last action was on February 4, 2015 when, through resolution 26-2015, they approved the hiring of Linda Stender.  Was the UCIA board involved in this new ‘deal’ or are they a bunch of hacks who do what they are told in the hopes of getting personal benefit for their blind acquiescence?

For those who want another Stender clip here is one of her complaining about Sandy money not being doled out fast enough to organizations that would that could funnel that money to her to build her dream house:


Stender Now Fair Game

By John Bury | February 24, 2015

Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union), Stender’s district mate and the chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee, said Monday that

“so far everything that I’ve talked about and heard about has been basically her husband. And so far, he’s not an elected official… So at this point, it’s all about Mr. Stender, not Assemblywoman Stender. But the day she’s drawn into it, then she’s fair game.”

So what does the architect have to say?

In a brief phone interview, architect Michael De Biasse confirmed that he designed the proposed house, plans for which are filed with the Manasquan construction office.
Although De Biasse declined to answer detailed questions, he confirmed that Linda Stender consulted with him, in addition to her husband, who he primarily talked to.
“I dealt with both of them. But I dealt with Richard a lot,” he said.

Hopefully the State Attorney General’s office will now be dealing with both of them.  But dealing with Linda a lot.

Chasing More Stender Dirt

By John Bury | February 24, 2015

There apparently is now a state investigation and $11,000 to be repaid and MY9 is still chasing and coming up with Linda Stender intimidating the Habitat for Humanity folks and ratting out her husband to Jerry Green who drops the hint about resignation:

Neil Cohen, Joe Cryan, and now Linda Stender. Are there any depths of depravity to which our elected representatives in this county will not sink to embarrass their constituents?

. Continue reading “Chasing More Stender Dirt”

Lining Up for Stender’s Seat

By John Bury | February 23, 2015

Speculation as to who will habitate Linda Stender’s assembly seat has begun.  What do you think?

Quite a few responses including these 11 ‘Others’:
Armando Sanchez
bozo the clown
richard stender
she survives
anyone who is not a typical politician
Lesniak’s beard
any of the 3 STOOGES
Osama Bin Laden
B.S. Artist
Lewellen Jones

There also apparently is a state investigation and $11,000 to be repaid and some more conjectures at Plainfield Today.

Colleen Mahr is the clear favorite but number 2 might surprise you though it’s not Seb D’Elia who is currently tied with Bozo the Clown (probably not the first poll that’s occurred in).

Chasing Stenders

By John Bury | February 22, 2015

The good people at My9 kept on the Habitat Hustle story with more information and even an appearance by Richard Stender:

Retirees From Union County Municipalities

By John Bury | February 22, 2015

Updated detail on retirees in the New Jersey public pension system was just released and you can find data on all retirees here but for only those who worked last for towns in Union County this file with multiple spreadsheets shows 12,782 retirees getting an average pension of $33,302 per year.

This is not exhaustive since excluded are retirees who worked multiple jobs (for example former Finance Head Lawrence Caroselli worked for Union County and Linden simultaneously so when he retired as of May 1, 2011 on $87,275 per year his category was ‘multiple’) or who worked for a town in Union County but took another NJ government job out of the county after.

The spreadsheet is broken down into tabs sorting retirees by:

a) municipality and name

b) summary of total payouts and retirees by towns with the highest average annual pension ($37,067) going to retirees in Union Township.  Lowest average annual pensions (and the only ones under $30,000) are in Winfield ($26,724), Mountainside ($27,132) and Garwood ($27,415).

c) amount of pension – highest being Joseph Martino of the Linden Board of Education who retired January 1, 2009 and now gets $150,909 per year

d) retirement date: earliest retiree is the beneficiary of Frank J. Nelson of Elizabeth receiving a pension, now at $13,392 per year, for 62 years

Chasing Stender

By John Bury | February 20, 2015

First a clip on how Habitat for Humanity is supposed to work:

But in real life we have one case of possible abuse and a reporter is confronting the abuser (note: as far as I can tell this is the real Linda Stender and not an actor doing a slapstick routine as the last minute of the video might lead you to conclude):


This is no widowed mother of seven who put 300 hours of sweat equity into a new home. This is a politician at her low-show $90,000-a-year-job trying to deflect attention from this story that just appeared on WNBC:


This story seems to have gone international.

UCCF 2/19/15: Winning Strategies for Exacting Tax Money

By John Bury | February 20, 2015

2015-139: Authorizing the County Manager to enter into an agreement with Winning Strategies Washington, Washington DC, to provide services for comprehensive federal government relations and lobbying services for the contract period of January 1, 2015 through December 341, 2015 in the amount of $138,000.


Winning Strategies has gotten $1,398,500 from Union County from 2004 to mid-2014 and is currently getting monthly stipends of $11,500 for providing access to legislators.

Assemblywoman Linda Stender’s family receives more hand outs

By Tina Renna | February 19, 2015

Matt Friedman writing for NJ.Com reported— Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) tonight acknowledged her husband got help from a non-profit group that assists low-income homeowners in demolishing a shore home severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy that records show had been purchased for nearly a half-million dollars.

Richard Stender only registered to vote in Monmouth county on 8/6/13. Which could mean he was not a full-time resident of Manasquan during Hurricane Sandy.

Voter Information
Residence Address: MANASQUAN **
Registration Effective Date: 08/06/2013

Earlier this month Assemblywoman Stender was hired to be the Assistant Director of the Union County Improvement Authority, with a salary of $90,000. Former freeholder Daniel Sullivan is the Director.

An Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) investigation report released on January 22, 2015 found that Union County paid in excess of $1.5 million over a four-year period to a non-profit agency that produced a biannual newsletter and little else in return for the public’s money.

The County Watchers published evidence in 2008 that when Stender was a freeholder her husband’s printing business d/b/a SVO Printing was given no-bid county contract to print the Direction’s Newsletter even though his bid was $50,000 more than the next highest bidder.

Linda Stender began her political career in 1988 as a Fanwood Borough Councilwoman, in 1994 she was elected to the Union County Board of Freeholders and in 2001 she became assemblywoman of Legislative District 22.

Stender was a double dipper since the day she left her Union County freeholder seat in 2001 to be an Assemblywoman. She was promptly placed on the county payroll that January with the title “Volunteer Coordinator” for Runnells Hospital, with all the implications that title suggests, she was paid $66,083 to supervise people who were volunteering selflessly for free.

Around the time Assemblywoman Stender announced her first run for Congress, her county job title changed to Runnells Hospital Foundation Director. The Foundation was established as a non-profit 501(c) 3 with Stender’s salary being paid in part by grant money. Under her leadership, this organization did not meet the threshold of raising over $10,000 which would require them to file an IRS 990 form. This doesn’t stop the taxpayers from having to pay Stender’s $72,858 county salary for her fundraising efforts along with her staff. The then Union County Manager, George Devanney who is the nephew of State Senator Raymond Lesniak, mother-in-law Glenna Bowen was hired in 2005 to be Stender’s assistant with a salary of $40,430.

Runnell’s Hospital has since been sold.

UCCF 2/19/15: Questioning Raises

By John Bury | February 19, 2015

We are still a couple of weeks from seeing an executive budget for 2015 with hearings on the budget tentatively scheduled for March 3,10 17 and one other day at various locations around the county including the Galloping Hill Superadequacy but a major component of the tax increase to come was discussed at tonight’s freeholder meeting: