New Jersey finds 3 more convicted officials got new government jobs

A review by the state turned up at least three additional cases of convicted public officials who were able to land new government jobs, despite a law barring them from such employment.

News 12 Staff

Apr 10, 2019, 9:39 PM

Updated 1,865 days ago

Share:

By MIKE CATALINI
Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A review by the New Jersey attorney general's office turned up at least three additional cases of convicted public officials who were able to land new government jobs, despite a law barring them from such employment.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal's office provided its findings in response to a records request by The Associated Press.
Two were former school board members in southern New Jersey, and the third was a court administrator in Paterson. They ended up pleading guilty to federal crimes in 2007 for helping solicit and taking bribes, served time and were released from prison.
All three later landed low-level government jobs, the AP found, but the attorney general's office said they are no longer in those positions. One of them served as a poll worker for the Passaic County Board of Elections for $200 a day.
Under state law, public officials convicted of a federal or state crime related to their work "shall be forever disqualified from holding any office or position of honor, trust or profit under this state or any of its administrative or political subdivisions."
The three former government officials are not accused of any wrongdoing in finding jobs again in the public sector. Instead, the findings by the attorney general uncovered lapses in the notification process intended to ensure such workers are not rehired for government jobs.
Prosecutors are required to file so-called forfeiture orders in state court barring anyone convicted of a crime involving their public office from working for the government again.
Grewal began his review after it became public that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's administration hired a convicted former Passaic councilman to work in the state Department of Education.
Since discovering that paperwork hadn't been filed in the case of the councilman, the attorney general's office has identified at least eight additional cases in which documents were not submitted for individuals convicted of federal offenses, said Grewal spokeswoman Sharon Lauchaire in a statement. "Additional cases may be forthcoming," she said.
The eight included the three who applied for and got new jobs in government.
"Our view of it is that the review has shown a lot of these cases were not people in high-paying or high-profile jobs." Lauchaire said.
Government agencies should learn of the orders during the hiring process, Lauchaire said. If that doesn't happen, then the disqualification should get caught when the state's pension system enrolls the prospective worker, she said.
Former Pleasantville Board of Education members Pete Callaway and Jayson Adams admitted taking part in a bribes-for-government-contracts scheme. Callaway pleaded guilty to attempted extortion under color of official right. Adams pleaded guilty to the same charge, as well as obstruction of interstate under color of official right.
State pension records show that Adams was an Atlantic County employee beginning in 2017. Grewal's office said he was "let go" when the office raised the issue. He did not respond to a phone message left for him.
Callaway was employed with Atlantic Cape Community College. In a phone conversation, Callaway denied working for the county since his prison sentence, but an agenda from the college's Board of Trustees shows he was hired in "housekeeping" in 2010 after his release. A spokeswoman for the college confirmed Callaway worked there but is not employed currently.
Princess Reaves, a former court administrator in Paterson, pleaded guilty in 2007 to obstruction of interstate commerce by extortion under the color of official right. She was charged as part of a broader sting operation with taking $2,500 in bribes in return for steering subsidized housing tenants. In a phone interview she denied wrongdoing in that case and said she was intimidated into pleading guilty.
She worked in a temporary role for the Passaic County Board of Elections as recently as November as a "board worker," someone who helps find voters' names on the roles on Election Day.
She said she has suffered because of the conviction and lost her house. "It took me 13 years to rebuild my life," she said.
The attorney general's review started with Marcellus Jackson, a former Passaic council member who admitted taking bribes in 2007. Jackson resigned last year from his $70,000-a-year job as an assistant to the commissioner in the Department of Education.
Murphy said at the time he believed Jackson had "made a mistake" and paid the price for his actions.
"He did what he needed to do and he raised his hand and he asked for a second chance," Murphy said last year. "We have to get to a better place and give folks, Marcellus and generations to come a second chance."
___

Associated Press news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


More from News 12
1:37
Tour de Elizabeth takes cyclists through New Jersey's fourth-largest city

Tour de Elizabeth takes cyclists through New Jersey's fourth-largest city

1:38
Mostly cloudy skies and dry conditions in New Jersey

Mostly cloudy skies and dry conditions in New Jersey

0:23
Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

0:17
Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

Authorities: George Washington Bridge climber in custody

1:42
Jersey Creators Market event in Jersey City brings street designers from all over Garden State

Jersey Creators Market event in Jersey City brings street designers from all over Garden State

1:40
Red Bank's Broad Walk summer festival returns to downtown

Red Bank's Broad Walk summer festival returns to downtown

2:08
Residents get rid of junk during citywide ‘Love Newark, Keep It Clean’ campaign

Residents get rid of junk during citywide ‘Love Newark, Keep It Clean’ campaign

1:19
Bus catches fire on Garden State Parkway near Wall Township

Bus catches fire on Garden State Parkway near Wall Township

0:23
Prosecutor: Plainfield man sentenced to 5 years in prison for Bridgewater car crash

Prosecutor: Plainfield man sentenced to 5 years in prison for Bridgewater car crash

1:43
CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

CDC urges people to get vaccinated amid resurgence of mpox

0:31
Police: Jersey City man arrested following pursuit spanning 2 counties

Police: Jersey City man arrested following pursuit spanning 2 counties

2:37
‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

2:05
36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

0:25
Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

0:18
Newark police seek public’s help identifying package thief

Newark police seek public’s help identifying package thief

0:21
Officials: 3 people, including 2 officers, injured in car crash in Jersey City

Officials: 3 people, including 2 officers, injured in car crash in Jersey City

0:41
Jersey Proud: Rowan College students hold fashion show at Cherry Hill Mall with their designs

Jersey Proud: Rowan College students hold fashion show at Cherry Hill Mall with their designs

0:15
Police: Newton hospital temporarily put on lockdown amid reports of armed person

Police: Newton hospital temporarily put on lockdown amid reports of armed person

2:26
First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

2:24
New Jersey man dubbed ‘most frequent flyer’ hits 24 million miles in the sky

New Jersey man dubbed ‘most frequent flyer’ hits 24 million miles in the sky