Something is Rotten in the State of New Jersey

Posted: October 29, 2006 in 2006 Elections, October Surprise

Another October surprise, this one possibly bigger in impact than the one in the Florida governor’s race because if it becomes an issue in the Kean-Menendez race, it could affect which party controls the Senate next year.

Menendez added to corruption lawsuit
Friday, October 27, 2006

By OSHRAT CARMIEL
STAFF WRITER

Complete coverage: Election 2006

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has been added as a defendant in an ongoing lawsuit being brought against Hudson County by a Union City psychiatrist.

The revised federal suit, filed Wednesday by psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval, says that Menendez, as a congressman in the late 1990s, spearheaded a coordinated campaign by Hudson County officials to squeeze political donations and favors from Sandoval, a county contractor.

Sandoval is a controversial figure who was ensnared in a Hudson County corruption investigation that led to the conviction of former County Executive Robert Janiszewski in 2003.

Political pressure

The suit accuses Menendez and his political allies of pressuring Sandoval to give political contributions as a condition of keeping his psychiatric services contracts with Hudson County — and a condition of getting new ones. The pressure came after they learned that the psychiatrist was an FBI informant in the Janiszewski corruption probe, the suit says.

The lawsuit also hitches Bergen County to the tangled ordeal. It claims that Menendez was playing a behind-the-scenes role in 1999 in awarding a contract to provide psychiatric services to the Bergen County Jail. The psychiatrist who made the proposal, however, did not get a contract.

The legal accusations come in the final sprint of an acrimonious — and close — U.S. Senate race between Menendez and Republican Tom Kean Jr., who has made Menendez’s ethics the central issue in his campaign.

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