The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Exasperated, Council President uses the 'E' word

Exasperated at the slow pace of the Plainfield City Council's investigation into Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' payment of $20,000 to WBLS to broadcast a community forum last summer, Council President Annie McWilliams used the 'E' word last night, twice.

That would be 'Escalate'.

Saying she wanted to update the public on the WBLS matter, Council President McWilliams revealed that while some documents the Council's special counsel Ramon Rivera had requested were delivered, the majority were not. She further added that Mr. Rivera had not heard from Mayor Robinson-Briggs' special counsel, Stephen Edelstein, in two months.

Then, in a perfectly even voice, she continued, 'the Council is aware that it can escalate the situation through the use of subpoena powers'.

A discussion was kicked off by Councilor Williams who asked, 'who is this Edelstein guy anyway' and why is the Council dealing with him.

Councilor Mapp pointedly addressed acting city administrator Kochel, saying that though he understands Kochel is new and temporary, Mapp considers him responsible for seeing to it that Department and Division heads promptly supply the requested documents.

Council President McWilliams once again used the 'escalate' word, saying she was considering filing an OPRA request as Council President, since the items are all public records.

One has to wonder if Mayor Robinson-Briggs doesn't understand how this foot-dragging makes her look like she is hiding something.

Meanwhile, as to Mr. Edelstein, the sense of the Council was that he has no standing in the matter of their request for documents.

As to Edelstein's history, he was in fact Her Honor's attorney in her 2006 residency case, as Bernice notes (see here). He was also Robinson-Briggs' attorney in 2003, when her residency was challenged in that year's school board race by former Board of Ed member Roni Taylor.

In 2002, there were widespread rumors that Assemblyman Green had pressured the Board of Ed to make Edelstein their board attorney after longtime local attorney Victor E.D. King was dropped (they did not). A longtime Democratic operative (see The Auditor for some background here), Edelstein supported Christie over Corzine and was general counsel to Christie's transition team (see here).

Let's see if the Acting City Administrator Kochel can get this logjam broken up.

As Councilor Reid noted, we're almost at the first anniversary of the WBLS event. 

-- Dan Damon

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Bob said...

Well done Annie McWilliams. I'm glad someone on the City Council is standing up for the citizens of this city. This mayor does appear to be dishonest and most of us believe she is and her political career is over!

Anonymous said...

There he goes again. Green that is. I'm not even going to get into his nasty rumor mill crap. But what I will address is Green's reference to a court case his challenger, Joan Van Pelt handled. Here is what I said on Green's blog, but he won't publish it because I can only guess Green does not believe in free speech or anyone else's point of view, only his own. That's saying something, especially considering he is an elected official. (NOT FOR LONG I HOPE)

"Joan Van Pelt SAVED his life after the guy CONFESSED. This was not the attorney's fault. Perhaps it was the fault of our PUBLIC SERVANTS, like COPS OR PROSECUTORS, some of whom don't care about the truth. This man is not the first man to end up in jail when he was INNOCENT. IT IS NOT JOAN VAN PELT'S fault."

I plan on campaigning for Joan Van Pelt. And HARD. We have to get rid of Green.

Anonymous said...

The guy's life was saved because one juror refused to go along with the death penalty. That's a fact--you can look it up. Assemblyman Green was an early and vocal supporter of abolishing the death penalty, and spoke out strongly during the Assembly debate. That's a fact, too, although 4:18 pm may not like it.

Anonymous said...

Two words people :TAX STRIKE!