What UCIA Is Up To Now

By John Bury | November 20, 2014

Based on the latest Bills for Approval the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) is only involved in building two county projects (a Family Courthouse and something at the UCC Cranford campus) since no other entity (not even Linden these days) seems to want to afford the vig that comes with building through the UCIA.  With so little activity it might have been difficult for UCIA counsel, DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole, LLP (DeCotiis), to get their million dollars in annual fees so what DeCotiis has steered the UCIA into is consulting on county projects which include:

  • Golf Course Project: $317,225
  • Runnells Specialized Hospital: $360,491
  • Renewable Energy (Solar Panels) and the Tioga Workout debt default that came with it: $2,807,203

Since 2004 UCIA fees for DeCotiis alone: $11,437,694

Yet Jonathan Williams of DeCotiis claims with a straight face (as he did on the Solar Panel fiasco):
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And what do the freeholders get from DeCotiis?: $30,000 per election cycle (though the 18 DeCotiis lawyers donating in 2014 only gave $1,000 each, all reported on May 27, 2014, but since the NJ ELEC website has not been updated since about June we can expect each of them donated another $666.67 more in 2014).

UCCF 11/13/14: Election Congratulations – With Sound

By John Bury | November 19, 2014

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UCCF 11/13/14: Lawsuit Money for Outside Counsel

By John Bury | November 18, 2014

Res…Case……………….Lawyers………….This Time….Total So Far
926…Laplolla v UC…..LaCorte Bundy………$10,000…….$40,000
927…Figueroa v UC…Bauch Zucker………..$25,000…….$190,000
928…Fowler v UC……Florio & Kenny……….$10,000…….$20,000
929…Fowler v UC……Antonelli Minchello…..$10,000…….$20,000
930…Figueroa v UC…Weber Dowd………….$20,000……$110,000
931…Fowler v UC…….Kologi Smitz………….$10,000…….$20,000
932…Fowler v UC…….Flori, Perrucci………..$10,000…….$10,000
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UCCF 11/13/14: Kemper Golf Contracts

By John Bury | November 17, 2014

2014-881: Authorizing the County Manager to enter into contracts with Kemper Sports Management for Golf Management Services and Concessionaire for the Pro Shop and all Food and Beverage sales for a period of 60 Months (5 years), commencing on November 17, 2014 and ending on November 16, 2019 to provide the necessary golf course management services in the total amount not to exceed $509,724.00; and a concession fee to the County of Union of seven (7%) each year of the gross revenue from the Pro Shop and all of food and beverage sales.
2014-882: Approving the operational budget for golf course operations for Kemper Sports Management, for the period of November 17, 2014 through December 31, 2015 in the amount of $4,528,207.
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Contracts to have Kemper Sports Management, Inc. (Kemper) run golf operations (GOLF) for the county and food/beverage/catering operations (CONCESSIONS) for themselves are dated today, November 17, 2014.  Highlights from these contracts:

Continue reading “UCCF 11/13/14: Kemper Golf Contracts”

UCCF 11/13/14: Employee Theft Policy – Rapuano

By John Bury | November 16, 2014

Union County landscaper admits bribing NJ Transit employee

Raymond Rapuano, 47, of New Providence, pleaded guilty to a charge of bribery during an appearance before U.S. District Court Judge William Walls. New Jersey federal prosecutors say Rapuano handed out some $3,500 in bribes to a NJ Transit employee prior to March 2012 to secure agency contracts for his company, RA Landscape & Design.

Runnells Puzzle Pieces

By John Bury | November 15, 2014

As with other initiatives that the county has embarked upon that were supposed to save taxpayer money but wound up as cash cows for DeCotiis et alia (i.e. privatizing golf operations, bonding for solar panels) the sale of Runnells is turning into another fiasco for taxpayers.  This is  due to the unaccountable nature of the political system we are stuck with where incumbents always win in this gerrymandered county so performance is irrelevant.  In the case of Runnells the issue is how much of the savings from salary and benefit cuts for county employees will wind up going to the private company that swindles the county this time.

Since negotiations have been secret and no questions to the freeholders get answered in open session we are left to guess (which I won’t do in this blog) based on these pieces of the puzzle and some missing pieces (labeled A, B, C and D below) that I am hoping some of you out there can help me with.

Continue reading “Runnells Puzzle Pieces”

What’s Going On With Runnells

By John Bury | November 14, 2014

Today’s freeholder meeting included a surprise resolution:

2014-939 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a Lease Agreement for the Cornerstone Psychiatric Unit, with Runnells Property, LLC an affiliate of Center Management , LLC for a term not to exceed ten (10) years in an amount, for year one, not to exceed four million fifteen thousand and ninety-seven dollars ($4,015,097), plus 13% of real property tax and 13% of shared common area costs.

that required a one-hour executive session:
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No further explanation was provided so I asked the obvious:
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But apparently there were more issues with this Runnells sale:
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County officials Frank Guzzo and Norman Albert respond:
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Barbara Egger with the last word (for now):
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So what’s going on with Runnells? My take:

Union County has committed to sell Runnells for $26 million to Center Management, LLC (CML) but apparently CML could not get state approval to run the 44-bed Psychiatric Unit though they can still run the 300-bed Long-Term-Care Unit (note: 44/344 = 13%) so the county is going to pay them $4+ million annually for that privilege.  We might know more by seeing the Lease Agreement (now being OPRAed) but, based only on the information we have so far, isn’t this a little like selling your house for $260,000 and then paying the guy you sold it to $40,000 a year to be able to live in the garage?

What’s your take?

CME Associates – Union County Connection

By John Bury | November 11, 2014

The Jersey Journal seems to view this as a scandal:

An engineering firm whose five partners donated to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop’s campaign has received a $1.4 million, no-bid contract from the Municipal Utilities Authority to oversee a project replacing 20,000 feet of Downtown water mains.

CME Associates, of Sayreville, is already the autonomous MUA’s engineering consultant, a $296,000-a-year job it won competitively last December.

CME Associates also has its hooks in Union County – to the tune of $240,241 through 2011 – for which the owners of CME Associates have been reliable donors to the campaigns of  Democrats throughout the state including:

Continue reading “CME Associates – Union County Connection”

Golf Operations Numbers

By John Bury | November 6, 2014

At tonight’s Agenda Setting Meeting the Department of Parks and Recreation had these two resolutions for consideration:

  1. Authorizing the County Manager to enter into contracts with Kemper Sports Management for Golf Management Services and Concessionaire for the Pro Shop and all Food and Beverage sales for a period of 60 Months (5 years), commending on November 17, 2014 and ending on November 16, 2019 to provide the necessary golf course management services in the total amount not to exceed $509,724; and a concession fee to the County of Union of seven (7%) each year of the gross revenue from the Pro Shop and all of food and beverage sales.
  2. Approving the operational budget for golf course operations for Kemper Sports, LLC for the period of November 17, 2014 through December 31, 2015 in the amount of $4,528,207.

The explanation of the numbers from this meeting:
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Union County Employee Pleads Guilty to Paying Bribes

By Tina Renna | November 5, 2014

A Union County Building Services Supervisor, Raymond Rapuano, plead guilty today in Federal court to paying bribes to an agent of New Jersey Transit in his capacity as an employee of a landscaping business.

Rapuano, a full-time Union County employee stationed at Runnells Hospital, was hired in 1987, his salary is $84,990.

F.B.I. Press Release.