From our friends at inthelobby.net
NYU AND CORZINE, PERFECT TOGETHER
You have to give this to the governor. He is stubborn. He also must keep a ready supply of blinders on hand.
In fact, he almost sounds a bit testy that any one would have the audacity to raise any questions about it, telling the Star Ledger that “New Jersey residents should not be ‘prejudiced’ and lose the services of groups simply because of his personal ties.
Don’t you love that? An out-of-state group that he sits on the board with two of his closest friends, and that he donated millions of dollars to gets a $2 million state contract, and somehow we’re “prejudiced” for questioning if there’s conflict of interest.
He also said this to the Ledger: “History and general recognition would say this is a good organization,” he said. He was quick to add, “some in New Jersey are good organizations.”
Only “some” in New Jersey are good organizations? Hey, thanks for the shout out to the home state governor.
But, to make all of us worrywarts feel better, the gov has promised that his counsel will take a look at the process and make sure it was “transparent and fair play.”
Sure, like a counsel who is appointed by the governor and reports to the governor is going to find anything but.
Did you know that he thinks so much of this New York University Child Study Center that he gave it $2 million to endow a “Corzine family professorship” at the university.
But, no, there’s no conflict of interest here.
His two good friends on the board – Dan and Brooke Garber Neidich (she’s the board chairwoman, by the way) – also gave a total of $40,000 to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, according to information dug up by Eric Sedler over at redjersey.net, who found that the Neidichs each gave the Democratic State Committee a total of $10,000 in 2005 and 2007, for a total of $40,000, as well as $2,000 each in 1999 and 2001 to Corzine, for a total of $8,000.
So maybe the governor is right. Maybe it is just pure coincidence that:
1) The governor sits on the board;
2) Was a founding member of the center;
3) Gave the center $5.7 million;
4) Endowed a $2 million Corzine family professorship;
5) His two very close friends are also on the board, with one being the chairwoman;
6) His two very close friends are contributors to Democratic causes, and to the New Jersey State Committee and the governor himself;
7) That the center had to supply the state with a list of board members when they applied for the grant, so the governor’s name and relationship would be well known to those who awarded the contract; and
8) The center was the only one of 18 applicants not from New Jersey, yet New Jersey state employees decided to bypass 17 in-state organizations and pick the lone applicant from New York.
The governor insists that he had no idea that the center was going for the contract. “Didn’t know it was taking place,” he told the Ledger.
His good friends, we are to assume, didn’t either? Are we also to assume it never came up in conversation? (These friends, by the way, are so close that they were the only people outside family who were permitted to visit the governor in the hospital while he was recuperating, according to the Ledger.)
Are we also to assume none of these board members knew that the center had applied to the state for a $2 million grant? Grants that, by the way, centers like this need in order to stay in business?
Why can’t the governor see that this looks bad? Sometimes, we wonder if he thinks everything he says is so, and therefore, no other explanation is needed.
Except that he doesn’t get to decide what is a conflict and what isn’t.
In a state where corruption and politics too often are linked, the governor needs to be like Caesar’s wife, above reproach. There may be nothing wrong with giving a New York outfit a $2 million state contract, even as New Jersey is hurting for jobs. Maybe the governor doesn’t have a vested interest in making sure that an organization with a Corzine family professorship succeeds. Maybe the fact that he sits on their board, and has donated millions to the center, is just a coincidence.
But it sure doesn’t look good. And Corzine, or at least his people, ought to understand that.