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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
New Jersey
New Jersey Developer Fined
Saturday, 29 July 2006

$763G fine imposed on Chester builder
A Chester developer who received 18 prior warnings was fined $763,500 for various violations, including failing to stop stormwater runoff from infiltrating nearby pristine streams in the development he was building in Budd Lake.

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New Jersey Builder Selling Heroin
Saturday, 15 July 2006

Builder charged with selling heroin at job sites
Customers would buy the drug at Howard's city construction sites in pre-packaged "bricks" for $500 each, Onofri said. A brick is the equivalent of 50 doses of the drug... Law enforcement officers searched Howard's Garfield Ave nue residence and a detached ga rage behind the house at around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Inside the garage, detectives found 24 bricks of heroin with a street value of $12,000 and $20,000 in cash in the rafters of the garage, investigators said.

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How to Prevent the Construction of Nightmare New Homes
Sunday, 18 June 2006

Commissioner for the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation
How to Prevent the Construction of Nightmare New Homes
Maybe the builder disappeared in mid-construction. Perhaps the subcontractors abandoned the job refusing to come back until they are paid. Now you are living in a motel for six months with all your possessions in a paid storage facility waiting for the house to be completed. Or, maybe the construction process went very smoothly. That is, until you moved in. That is when you find out that the house was built two feet short, that your foundation is cracked or your roof trusses are unattached to the rest of your home. Your garage doesn't fit the mid-size sedan you just bought. Maybe the tiles in your kitchen are cracking or the water in your basement is causing dangerous mold. Maybe you find out that the proper fire walls were never installed and you are concerned about your neighbor, the chain smoking narcoleptic. Read more...

 
Home-buyer protections sought
Monday, 12 June 2006

N.J. lawmakers react to new-home nightmares
Lawmakers in New Jersey are planning to change how developers build and buyers purchase new homes in reaction to frightening tales of shabby construction... The committee is taking up the issue after a state investigative agency reported bewildering episodes in recent years of watery, tilted, badly measured, ill-fitted, leaky and fire-prone new-home construction.

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Newark developers pay state thousands
Wednesday, 24 May 2006
Builders fined for failure to register
Manuel Rosa, a longtime ally of Mayor Sharpe James, paid $29,000 -- or $1,000 per unit -- for homes he built and sold, said William Connelly, director of code compliance for the state Department of Community Affairs. In settling with the state, Rosa, who employs one of the mayor's sons, registered his primary construction company, Lilac Development, and several building firms in which he is a partner.
Read more...
 
New Jersey In The News Again
Friday, 17 March 2006
FBI seizes documents of builder and lawyer
Federal agents swarmed the offices of a Freehold lawyer and developer yesterday, carting away boxes of documents for a criminal probe. Marlboro Township has been a focal point of one of the most extensive corruption investigations in the state. Former Mayor Matthew Scannapieco pleaded guilty to charges last spring and admitted accepting $245,000 in payoffs. Developer Anthony Spalliero is awaiting trial on charges that he paid most of those bribes.
Read more...
 
New Jersey Looking at Home Lemon Law
Thursday, 19 January 2006
New Jersey Looking at Consumer Protection for Defective Homes
“As early as August 2001, HOBB members met with State Assemblyman Christopher Bateman to discuss the introduction of the Home Lemon Law as a solution to the growing problem of defective home building in New Jersey.  Now that SCI has confirmed the seriousness of the problem we are optimistic at moving forward with the prospects of a State Home Lemon Law that would give equal consumer protection when buying a home as one gets when buying a new car,” Ahmad continued.
Read more...
 
Township Engineer Pleads Guilty
Friday, 16 December 2005
Former Old Bridge official admits corruption
Old Bridge's former community development director pleaded guilty Thursday to receiving illegal gifts from a developer doing business with the local government.
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Asbury Park Press four-part series
Thursday, 08 December 2005
Broken hearts, broken deals
Marlboro developer Anthony Spalliero, accused of using bribes and go-go dancers to buy officials' support of his projects, has a history of accusations that he used and abused women to get his way.  For years, Spalliero, 63, the developer of an estimated 1,000 houses in Marlboro, maintained two separate families, and had ready access to a supply of potential girlfriends for himself and his friends.
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New Jersey code official charged with taking bribes
Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Ronald Estepp accused of accepting free meals and work in exchange for approving a construction project
HILLSBOROUGH -- After a seven-month investigation into his department, the township's chief code enforcement officer was charged Monday with receiving $14,000 worth of work on his home and free meals in exchange for approving a construction project without proper inspections or permits...in violation of New Jersey State Uniform Construction Code -- a set of regulations and safe building standards that Estepp himself had helped to create as a member of the International Building Code Council and a former president of the New Jersey Building Officials Association. Estepp was named Builder of the Year by the association in 1999 and also sat on several committees that made amendments to the state Uniform Construction Code.

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New York Times - New Jersey Officials Pleaded Guilty
Monday, 11 July 2005
Officials Pleaded Guilty, but Town Was Changed Forever
The price of corruption in this New Jersey town may best be seen in the many rooflines that snake down Woodcliff Boulevard at a uniform 25-foot setback from the curb. Or perhaps in the postmodern stylings of the luxury five- and six-bedroom homes in the planned community of Lexington Estates.
Read more...
 
New Jersey Builder and Homeowner Support New Reforms
Saturday, 25 June 2005

Builders group backs construction reforms
"Even now, in reading this letter sent to Governor Codey by the New Jersey Builders, it is almost laughable the way they (builders) still skip around the current system," said Marie B. Crosby of Jefferson. "The way many of them use the courts as a merry-go-round and in the meantime livelihoods are lost, and families suffer irreversible damage."..."The public should not waste time on the recommendations, task forces, and reforms because this is all after the fact; things have already gone wrong," said Manalapan resident Violet Peterson. "We should concentrate on upholding the law, properly inspecting new homes, requiring developers to repair homes that are not code compliant, and holding violators identified in the SCI hearings — builders and construction officials — accountable."

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More Arrests in New Jersey
Thursday, 23 June 2005
Developer identified in latest bribe case
MARLBORO,  Anthony Spalliero, already facing federal charges that he bribed a former mayor here, has been identified by sources as one of two developers who bribed a longtime Planning Board member...The money continued to roll in the next year. Young said he took $1,500 from the first developer as his usual reward and $2,000 from the other. That year, he also accepted the $20,000 from the second developer that was meant to be parceled out to other board members. Sources said the $20,000 came from Spalliero.
Read more...
 
New Jersey begins sweeping changes for builder regulation
Tuesday, 10 May 2005
Governor orders ethics code for state's building inspectors
Reacting to a damning state report on shoddy new construction, acting Gov. Richard J. Codey yesterday ordered up a new ethics code for building inspectors and a push to advise homeowners of their rights. The SCI investigation found the program -- one of the nation's first -- riddled with problems. Buyers testified that they were strung along by builders until warranties expired and that arbitration tended to favor builders. It is unclear when the Legislature might act on more sweeping recommendations, such as the lemon law requiring builders to buy back defective homes, regulating some building trades not now licensed and bringing new housing under the Consumer Fraud Act, which would make builders liable for triple damages.
Read more...
 
Another Arrest in New Jersey
Wednesday, 04 May 2005

FEDS ARREST MARLBORO DEVELOPER AT EX-WIFE'S HOLMDEL HOME: Faces four counts of giving Scannapieco, Larrison a total of $143,500 in bribes
Federal agents rousted Spalliero, 62, from bed at 6:30 a.m. at the palatial home of his ex-wife in Holmdel. He was handcuffed and taken to FBI offices in Tinton Falls for processing and then driven by federal agents to U.S. District Court in Newark.

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FBI Investigation of Public Corruption
Friday, 29 April 2005
LARRISON CHARGED WITH TAKING BRIBES
FEDS SAY EX-FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR TOOK CASH FROM DEVELOPERS
FBI: Was to get $10,000 for help in Marlboro but received $8,500
Former Freeholder Director Harry W. Larrison Jr. — the patriarch of Monmouth County government for nearly four decades — was charged Wednesday with accepting at least $8,500 in bribes from two developers, the most stunning accusation yet in an ongoing FBI investigation of public corruption.  Related Article: Ashbury Park Press - Prosecutors turn spotlight on Howell development project
Read more...
 
Editorial: Chairman of the NJ State Commission of Investigation
Friday, 22 April 2005
Home-building report seeks to fix broken system
W. Cary Edwards is chairman of the State Commission of Investigation
The State Commission of Investigation, of which I am chairman, recently completed an inquiry into new-home construction and inspections in New Jersey, and the picture that emerged is not a pretty one. The final report of this unprecedented investigation sets forth a catalog of shoddy and deficient construction practices, lax regulatory oversight and poor remediation options that routinely plunge unsuspecting new-home purchasers into a quagmire of waste, fraud and abuse. And it's not just in one community, but all over the state — in single homes and housing developments, high-priced and affordable, in suburban and urban areas across New Jersey, particularly with regard to large-scale production builders.
Read more...
 
New Jersey/Georgia Contractor turns FBI Informant
Thursday, 14 April 2005
A productive informant is spared jail
Crooked contractor's effusive apology and his history as FBI ally move judge to leniency
Jerry Free, the Tennessee contractor who bribed officials statewide, then helped the FBI build cases against targets in New Jersey and Georgia, was sentenced yesterday to six months of house arrest and three years' probation... It was Free's cooperation after he left New Jersey that particularly impressed the judge. Free met with antitrust prosecutors in Philadelphia and Atlanta. And, working with the FBI in Georgia, Free posed as a corrupt contractor there willing to pay bribes for contracts. The ensuing chain of cases culminated last fall with the indictment of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell on corruption charges...Free argued that the virus of graft that plagued New Jersey was active long before he arrived. "I was solicited all the time by e-mails, faxes, requests, things charged to me," he said. "These individuals, I did not have to give them the virus."
Read more...
 
New Jersey - ExMayor, Bribes, Housing and Developers
Thursday, 14 April 2005

New Jersey
EX-MARLBORO MAYOR: I TOOK $245K IN BRIBES
Former Marlboro Mayor Matthew V. Scannapieco pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting $245,000 in bribes from a developer in exchange for his support for housing and commercial developments opposed by many residents.

Read more...
 
New Jersey Judiciary Committee to hold public hearing
Thursday, 07 April 2005
Senator calls corruption hearings in response to Monmouth scandal
A state Senate committee will hold hearings next month to examine how to deter corruption by public officials.
Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said he decided to hold public hearings in the wake of the recent federal probe in Monmouth County that has so far nabbed 14 elected officials, public employees and contractors on corruption charges. "When you have that many people in one county indicted, it suggests the problem is pervasive in every level of government and we have to find ways on a statewide basis to deter it," Adler said. "One way to deter this crime is to more effectively punish the corrupt officials that commit the crime. Another way is to catch them more often."
Read more...
 
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Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
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