New Jersey (Christopher Baxter-nj.com) – The former director of Bergen County’s Community Development Department alleged in a lawsuit filed today that she was fired in retaliation for alerting superiors about the illegal use of federal funds.
Elizabeth Musso of Mahwah claims in the suit that, shortly after taking the post in February, she found that several county employees were being paid with federal grant money despite not being eligible for the funds.
Musso said in the suit that she alerted her bosses of the problem through several e-mails, but rather than address the illegal activity, they put her on probation for sending messages that, if sent to the press, would “be front page news.”
Musso also said in the suit she was later accused of insubordination and fired in April by County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Administrator Edward Trawinski. Donovan and Trawinksi are named defendants in the suit.
“They essentially ruined my client’s political career because they wanted to cover up the misappropriation of federal grant funds,” said Adam Kleinfeldt, an attorney representing Musso. “She uncovered not only wasteful spending but illegal conduct that was ongoing in the Community Development Department.”
Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff for Donovan and a spokeswoman for the county, denied the allegations.
“We’re going to vigorously defend this lawsuit,” Baratta said. “But as you know, we’re constrained in what we can say because it’s pending litigation.”
The suit, filed in Superior Court in Bergen County, said one county employee identified by Musso for being illegally paid more than $70,000 a year with the federal grant money was fired around August. The easiest case to prove, I imagine. $70,000 a year? Yeah, people are going to sit up and take notice when you start talking those numbers. I wonder if it was someone’s assistant, or kid, or something?
Musso alleges the county violated the New Jersey Whistleblower’s law and the the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act and seeks an unspecific amount in damages.
You believe this shit, America? I wonder how long this was going on before Musso found out what was going on, and raised a red flag. Let’s take a look at what this county’s “Community Development Department,” or “Division of Community Development,” is responsible for. According to the Bergen County’s website, this department provides business loans, low-interest, or under market interest rate loans to encourage homeownership, and assistance to improve existing homes. In other words, it’s a black hole, designed to consume tax-dollars. Regardless of the intent of their mission statement’s drafters, what else is going to happen when you have an arm of the government, responsible for handing out money? Why is this the job of the government, either local, county, state, or government?
Did anyone else have to do a double take when they read the line, “low-interest,” and “under market interest rate?” DID WE NOT LEARN ANYTHING from what happened in 2005 through 2008? They’re doing this through what they are calling “public-private funding”; does anyone know what that means? Well, public funds are obviously tax-payer generated revenue, right? Where does the private funding, come from? Banks, of course…
But hey, wait a second… Didn’t those occupy people say that banks were greedy? Didn’t they say that the banks were responsible for taking all those people’s homes after they bought homes that they couldn’t afford, but qualified for them anyway? How can banks be both the bad guy AND the good guy?
They’re can’t, but truth be told, just like capitalism, banks are neither good nor bad; they just are. Here’s what’s happening: back in 2008, the federal government made this whole big schpeel about how we were facing the worst economic disaster ever, so we had to use tax-payer funds to bail out the banks. This program; the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, crammed hundreds of billions of tax-payer dollars down the throats of banks, whether or not they needed them or wanted them (contrary to popular belief, not all banks were in trouble, it was more along the lines of 1/3). In exchange for taking these funds (which the federal government wouldn’t allow them to refuse), they now have to have their books open to the scrutiny of the federal government.
That’s RIGHT! Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and his cronies get to examine them (because these guys are so good with money – see also Jon Corzine and the MF Global Scandal).
Why? Because in exchange for accepting these public bailout dollars, they banks are now at risk of the government questioning the viability of any loan, and if it is perceived to be “toxic,” they can come in, seize the banks assets, rob the shareholders blind, and then cut it up into little pieces and distribute it to other banks (who either aren’t in trouble or just so happen to be friends of the guys who sit on the president’s cabinet or in congress). So wait… the government can come in, seize private property, and give it to someone else? What’s that called again???? I know they did this in China and Cuba…. Damnintt…. it’s like right there, on the tip of my tongue.
Is it any wonder that banks aren’t lending? I think the occupy movement dumbshits need to recalibrate their brains, and have another look at what’s really going on!
Are the banks who are participating in these programs being forced to do this? If they’re selling loans (yes, that’s what loans are, a product which is bought and sold) at under market value, how do they hope to be profitable? It would seem that if they are selling a product under market price, they will have to sell more of it in order to remain profitable and keep the lights on and employees paid.
Is that what happens? OF COURSE NOT!!!!! You forgot that the other half of the loans are “PUBLIC” funds. That’s right America, YOU and I are on the hook for these loans, now. Someone defaults for whatever reason, and the mortgage is a wash. Some schmuck takes out a huge business loan with limited capital, and then runs his business into the ground, what happens? NOTHING!!!!! He skates away scott-free, and WE are stuck with the bill….
Musso caught on, saw what was going on, and opened her mouth. SHE GOT CANNED FOR THIS???????? That is total BULLSHIT, America! This woman is a patriot, and I hope she sues the living shit out of everyone over her, for this. Ms. Musso, The Gaslamp has your back, KICK SOME ASS, GIRL!!!!!
We should all be suspicious of any politician who says that in order to get out of our economic crisis, we need to make the “rich” pay their “fair share.” Obviously the problem of collecting enough money to make the government, is only a problem, when there isn’t enough money to pay both those swindling the system, and what the legitimate expenses are. C’mon, they caught some asshole making $70,000, who was fired ONLY AFTER their existence came to light. How many more of these assholes are out there, doing this? ALOT!!!!
The answer isn’t to tax people, the answer is watching what these clowns are doing, and then tossing them out of office when they start playing games. This is what happens when we pay more attention to the bling and take the easy out of things, rather than do our homework. This is NOT how democracy works, this is how cronie SOCIALISM and quasi-communism works. Whoever voted in Kathleen Donovan, this county’s executive, needs to vote her out, and the voters need to wise up and watch what’s really going on here. I’m going to keep an eye on these guys. Something tells me, this is far from over!