Murphy staffer was caught up in Bermuda political finance scandal, report says
Another day, another Murphy hiring scandal.
Gannett reported Monday Gov. Phil Murphy's administration paid more than $2 million during its gubernatorial campaign to a firm headed by longtime political operative Derrick Green — even though he'd been a figure in a Bermuda political scandal known as Jetgate, where several questions about his role remain.
As outlined in the report, Green and a partner had set up a secret account that they didn't disclose to the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, later known as the One Bermuda Alliance, which had hired it for similar political work. But they didn't disclose the account to alliance leadership, and it's unclear what became of the $350,000 it collected form "wealthy American businessmen" after Green and an associate withdrew most of it, the report says.
The report also cites public payroll records showing Green has been hired for a $140,000-per-year job with the New Jersey Secretary of State's office — just $1,000 less than the secretary of state makes — but multiple people connected with the office told Gannett they'd never seen him. His role in public payroll records "govt rep 1."
And it said Green Consultants had also hired former Passaic Councilman Marcellus Jackson — the same official who recently resigned from his role from his role as a special assistant with the Department of Education amid another Murphy staffing scandal.
Murphy was scheduled for a mid-day press conference where reporters were expected to hit whim with questions about several staffing scandals.
• The Green matter had newly come to light with the Gannett report Monday. A message to the governor's office seeking information on Green's role in his state office, as well as how he was hired and whether his connection to Jetgate had been considered cause for concern, was sent Monday afternoon and has not yet been returned.
Green has faced no charges in connection with Jetgate, though the matter was the subject of multiple investigations and prompted new regulations.
• Following media reports Murphy had hired Jackson despite his past conviction for taking bribes in office, Murphy doubled down, saying repeatedly — sometimes, without prompting — that he believed in giving convicts who've cleaned up their lives second chances. But Murphy's own Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, said Jackson should legally never have been a candidate for a state job given his conviction, and Jackson has resigned his role.
• Allegations a former Murphy administration staffer sexually assaulted a then-campaign volunteer are being newly reviewed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. The revelation Monday opens the possibility Albert J. Alvarez could face criminal charges in a case already reviewed by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office — which declined to bring charges last year after determining it was unlikely to secure a conviction.
Katie Brennan — now chief of staff at the state's housing agency, and a campaign volunteer at the time of the alleged assault — has said Alvarez, then a campaign aide, had raped her in April of last year. Several months later, Alvarez was hired chief of staff of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Brennan' said "several senior members" of the administration were aware of the alleged assault, but "failed to take meaningful action."
Mahen Gunaratna, a spokesman for Murphy, confirmed to New Jersey 101.5 that the accusations against Alvarez had come to light during the transition — but said Murphy wasn't aware of their nature until this month. Alvarez was hired after a background check turned up no criminal charges. Gunaratna said Brennan had emailed the Murphys in June 2018 about a "sensitive matter," and the governor had forwarded the matter to his campaign counsel, who spoke to Brennan and her attorney. But despite Brennan's request, no meeting with Murphy was scheduled.
Despite their ousters from public office, both Jackson and Alvarez were invited Oct. 10 to an Oct. 18 "mandatory fun" staff reunion.
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