Corruption- You From Jersey?

Suffice to say the Garden State, my home by way of full disclosure, has had its problems with corruption before.

Three ex-mayors of Newark, the state’s largest city, have been convicted of crimes.

Yet the arrest of 44 people, including the mayors of three municipalities and five rabbis takes the notion of corruption to a whole new level.

corruption arrests

It’s a twisted tale, this one, and involves allegations of kidney selling, fake Prada bags, and a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000 dollars. And it should surprise no one living in New Jersey that it all began with a real estate developer.

Developers in Jersey, you see, have almost become synonymous with double dealing. In order to get profitable projects built, the logic goes, they’ve got to grease the wheels. That sometimes means making nice with elected officials who hold the fate of an office tower or condo block in their hands. In this case, the developer is one Solomon Dwek, who himself was charged with scamming a bank out of millions back in 2006.

Solomon dwek

The feds turned him into an informant, and what a snitch he turned out to be! All of what follows are allegations, and those charged are innocent until proven guilty.

Most of the rabbis involved are accused of laundering Dwek’s money through charities they controlled. Some of them also allegedly laundered their own profits from the sale of fake Gucci and Prada bags in a similar fashion. The politicians allegedly took bribes to make sure Dwek has those necessary permits and approvals to get projects finished.

Yet the most outrageous allegations are against Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum.

*Jul 23 - 00:05*

He’s allegedly been running a kidney peddling operation that makes the $10,000, to $25,000 bucks the pols were scamming pale in comparison. According to prosecutors, Rosenbaum would buy kidneys from people in Israel for $10,000, then resell them here for $160,000. The story goes that Solomon Dwek introduced the kidney merchant to an undercover agent posing as his secretary. She told Rosenbaum her uncle needed a transplant, to which he allegedly assured her he’d been in the business for a long time.

Even more startling is word that many of the key players involved in the corruption dealt with Dwek knowing that he’d been a government target for his bank scam. The probe that netted the 44 suspects began a decade ago out of two cases, and Thursday arrests involved 200 FBI and IRS agents. In one case, the Mayor of Hoboken, NJ, Peter Cammarano had just been sworn in at the beginning of the month.

One wonders what the politicians are thinking now that they know the money they got was pitifully small when compared to the $3 million dollars allegedly laundered by the rabbis. No matter. The one person who must really be sweating after all this is New Jersey Gov. John Corzine. Facing a nationally watched election some say he could lose, the last thing this “corruption fighting” governor needed as to see a bunch of predominately Democratic elected officials led away in handcuffs.

Yet this is the public perception of New Jersey anyway, isn’t it? Should it be? You tell me.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. sekanblogger says:

    Been to Jersey.
    Glad I don’t live there.
    Even without corruption I just don’t wanna live in the crowd.
    Small town Kansas is nice.

  2. sanda says:

    Well…….when I was a kid, my half WASP grandmother lived in Atlantic City, to where I’d go by bus from the edge of Borough Park, Bklyn. My Bubbie, the Orthodox Jewish
    grandmother (Bubbie), ruled our family, but the other one lived in a small apt. over the board walk and beach until the mid1960s. (An apt. just like the one in the Burt Lancaster movie, “Atlantic City”.) My Atlantic City grandmother would note the corruption in Atlantic City as regular. It was as regular as corruption to the folks of NOLA, who knew all about it, corruption in gov’t.

    My first reaction when I heard of the arrests and investigation was: what is relation to Bush Admin. and timeline. When I heard the rabbis were Syrian, I wondered if any
    profiling was going on (mid-East).

  3. sanda says:

    I am adding a comment, knowing more than I did.
    Last night, I tuned in to the Right Wing Jewish radio show where I go to find out what
    my far-right “peeps” are talking about. (I am a Jew, but atheist who grew up Orthodox, not ultra-O.
    My very religious Orthodox grandmother, Bubbie, was also a socialist, feminist,and for
    a Jewish state of Israel after WWII. She died in the late 1960s. My childhood is
    full of memories of her crying when reading the Jewish newspaper during the
    1940s, collecting coins from neighbors in our apt. house, raffle books and clothing to send to
    orphans in 1948.)

    It’s a perspective that I can listen to for a few minutes at a time. (I can’t listen
    to the regular radio R wingers at all, such as on WOR and WABC.)

    There was a guest defending the rabbi in NJ who allegedly “brokered” as he
    called it, the donor program. The very R wing host kept asking, “but it’s illegal”
    to trade in organs. The guest said he wouldn’t do it, but it allowed people who
    wouldn’t get organs, to get them. He wouldn’t go so far as to condone getting
    organs from China where people are allegedly given the death penallty and
    hanged for their organs to be sold. He said, if the allegations are true,
    the rabbi is saving lives and the law is bad and the gov’t should be taking care of
    organ donations and who gets them.

    I kept waiting for it to get beyond “but some say it is exploitation”, which was
    never addressed. What I mean is, the desperation of a person needing money
    so badly that they would sell a body organ. (There has been scandal about it
    in re India, if I recall, but not associated with this rabbi.)

    The guest only saw it as sacrifice to help someone in need.

    On organ donations: as a person with disabilities, I know about people with
    disabilities being “hastened” to their deaths so their organs can be “harvested”,
    right after “induced” death. I get nausea while typing it. It has been covered
    on the wonderful group, Not Dead Yet website, the blog location of Stephen
    Drake on assisted suicide and related.

    As money is “tight” in an economy giving money to banks, war(s), occupations, but not to health care for all, there is a “push” to “help” people out of our lives of
    disability or advanced age with illness/disability. In the name of “saving money”.
    I used to think of the movie “Soylent Green” a lot. Please visit

  4. edbstratt says:

    Ah, no surprises for this BnR Jersey-ite residing in Hoboken.

    What does surprise me, however, is the fact that there’s a right wing Jewish radio show, as referenced by ‘sanda’.

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