A New York Times editorial today exposed the allegations of mismanagement under former Newark, N.J., mayor and now U.S. Sen.Cory Booker’s administration. Currently, Sen. Booker is one of only two black senators. The other senator is black tea party Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. The article revealed that the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation, which Booker supported and funded, has serious financial irregularities bordering on the criminal in its scope. The information regarding these issues was revealed in a New Jersey Comptroller investigative report.
The director of the agency, Linda Watkins-Brashear, received over $1.98 million in compensation over a seven-year time span from the troubled agency according to the state. In addition, she has been accused of giving out “no-bid contracts” to family, friends and an ex-husband and cutting herself personal checks from the agency. It was also revealed that the lawyer for the agency, Elnardo Webster, has received over $400,000 without any contract for his work being on file.
But the state comptroller also noted Booker’s role with the agency itself. The agency is responsible for maintaining and developing over 35,000 acres of land in New Jersey. Booker was accused of giving out no-bid contracts also totaling in the millions of dollars. Booker sidestepped the issue and put the blame on a special administrator who was responsible for contract oversight. The problem is this administrator left his position and the vacancy was never filled, so there was no financial oversight.
These facts and allegations reported by the New York Times, if proved true, could affect Sen. Booker’s long-term political future.