Patterico's Pontifications


Whistleblower Confirms Booker Didn’t Live in Newark

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Government,Race — Charles C. Johnson @ 8:30 am

Guest post by Charles C. Johnson

Mayor Cory Booker’s claim that he lives on Hawthorne Avenue has been refuted by bankruptcy documents obtained by me and by the colleague of the landlord who says that Booker paid late rent through his secretary but didn’t live at the Newark address. A personal relationship with the city of Newark to pay his rent is “emphatically an ethics violation” says a prominent attorney.

Booker also said he moved from Hawthorne Avenue to Longworth Street but a police officer claiming to be on Booker’s detail said that Hawthorne was Booker’s home on October 9th.

Booker has claimed to have moved to 19 Longworth St. while in the midst of his Senate campaign and travel to California. Booker’s 2012 ethics form reports no real estate holdings, illegally omitting the Longworth property.

In the raw tapes of an interview conducted by filmmaker Joel Gilbert and this reporter, a police officer identifying himself as Martinez replies at Hawthorne, “It’s Booker’s home” when asked if Booker lived there. Tyshaa Thomas, who lives in the adjacent building, can be heard contradicting the officer.

The bankruptcy documents provided to me show that the home was leased to the Newark Police Department and Office of Mayor, not Cory Booker personally. This fact confirms the earlier reports of neighbors and a census worker that Booker does not live at the property and that it is a police facility.

The month-to-month lease is between the “Department of Police/Mayor” and property owner Ife Okocha, who twice filed for bankruptcy, once in 2011 and 2013, and listed the 435 Hawthorne address as one of his three properties. The information is found on page 22 of the chapter 7 filing and page 20 of the chapter 13 filing.

The lease also shows serious discrepancies. In 2007 Booker told the New York Times that he was paying $1,200 a month for rent. According to bankruptcy documents in 2011, Okocha charged both the mayor and the police $2800 combined.

There does not appear to have been an arrangement concerning the property on the first floor though Booker is believed to have invited over others in the neighborhood.

A Freedom of Information request to the City of Newark for any contract or lease with Okocha was returned without any documents and sent to me

Ife Okocha would have been required to report a lease agreement with Cory Booker individually when Okocha filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and 2013 on the same Schedule G where he reported the unexpired leases with the Dept. of Police/Mayor.

If Okocha had a lease with Booker individually, and did not disclose it, Okocha would likely be guilty of perjury, and Okocha’s lawyer, if he knew, would likely be guilty of contempt of court. On the 2011 bankruptcy petition, Okocha reports $2,800 in rental income, and the only property that could produce rental income is the 435 Hawthorne Ave address.

If Booker has a sublease with the city for the Hawthorne property, that could be an ethics violation, says Eric Dixon, an investigative attorney based in New York who has worked in Newark. Dixon says that a possible personal relationship between the city and Booker on rent is “emphatically a conflict of interest” and had to be disclosed.

“The scheduling of all income is done to give the court and the bankruptcy trustee the most honest view of the debtor’s financial condition for purposes of a debt discharge,” Dixon explains of bankruptcy cases. “I’d be concerned that the lack of a written lease is either a sign of income instability, or more likely, sign that the actual income is much greater than what is disclosed.”

“It is my belief that a city agency would not refuse to enter into a written agreement, for any reason. The simplest explanation is likely the most likely: there was a desire to hide Booker’s role,” says Dixon who calls Booker’s arrangement with the city highly unusual.

Dixon continues. “As for legal liabilities – we’re talking bankruptcy fraud, we’re talking the false statements charge (similar to the perjury charge under 18 USC 1001 that tripped up Martha Stewart), even the “defrauding the United States” charge — all of this is criminal and could be pursued by an aggressive prosecutor.”

I reached out to Okocha at his phone number and through what is thought to be his Facebook but has so far received no response. Eliana Johnson, who visited Okocha at his home, was yelled at to leave his property.

Okocha is a nurse at a Veterans Affairs hospital. A colleague of Okocha who asked not to be named but whose identity has been confirmed through a phone call and a records search wrote the following last night:

“I thought you might want to know that Mayor Booker has had several problems paying his rent at 435 Hawthorne to Ife Okocha. He often goes several months without paying. Booker’s rent is paid to Ife by his secretary, and it often goes several months without being paid.”

The source continued.

“[Okocha] has shown me the text messages between himself and Bookers secretary discussing the rent being 2 and three months late at times. He had told me that Booker rents the house. I didn’t believe him, but he said that even though he rents it he doesn’t actually live there.”

Interestingly Okocha’s property taxes went down while his neighbors went way up.

The average property tax assessment in Booker’s alleged neighborhood increased by 9% between 2012-2013, while Okocha’s assessment decreased by 22%, according to assessment documents.

The Booker campaign and Booker personally did not respond to a request for comment.

The Booker campaign did answer a request from friendly Booker reporter, Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed. Cramer claims to have seen check payments from the Booker campaign and inferred that Booker must live at Hawthorne but I never reported that Booker doesn’t pay rent—only that he doesn’t live there according to his neighbors and Cassandra Dock, a former census worker.

Unanswered in Cramer’s piece is the following:
Why does Cory Booker need 24/7 security paid in a home that he allegedly moved out of weeks ago?

Why does Cory Booker need 24/7 security on two homes?

David Weigel writing for Slate has also criticized my reporting erroneously claiming that Cassandra Dock, who was a census worker and says that she was told Booker’s purported address is a police station, is a Chris Christie supporter.

Filmmaker Joel Gilbert and I interviewed her at length on her views on Christie whom she and Donna Jackson repeatedly called a fraud. In a two-hour interview in Jackson’s car in front of city hall, Dock and Jackson criticized all of the ruling class in New Jersey, including the media, the charities, Booker, Zuckerberg, Oprah, Mayor Sharpe James, Senator Menendez, and many others.

Weigel is correct that Christie made reference to Dock during a speech a few years ago but Dock told me that she did not like being mentioned in such a prominent way. At the time it was thought that Booker and Christie might have a battle royal for the governor’s race and that Christie’s invocation of a constituent of Booker’s was a shot across Booker’s bow.

54 Responses to “Whistleblower Confirms Booker Didn’t Live in Newark”

  1. Next this filmmaker will tell us who Obama’s real father is.

    MPence (d4ec50)

  2. T-Bone is crying somewhere in heaven.

    Patricia (be0117)

  3. a corrupt politician?

    totally unexpected plot twist… as is the lack f party affiliation in the news coverage.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  4. Seems this serial troll is obsessed with calling people Birthers.

    JD (4f54f8)

  5. Like all Democrats, Cory Booker actually resides in Fantasyland.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  6. Booker or Lautenberg, it makes no difference, and he served as a good stalking horse in answer to those who saw Christie as the Great Obese Hope.

    nk (dbc370)

  7. Yes, I know there’s a guy named Lonegan in the race. God bless him, and I hope he does not give up because of this.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Maybe Booker moves around a lot for security reasons or to find endangered pets in different neighborhoods he can rescue.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  9. Simple basic rules are for other people.

    JD (4f54f8)

  10. Great post. Devastatingly well detailed.

    It sure seems like the ‘I’m super cool’ motif politicians are even more corrupt than the rest of them.

    Dustin (303dca)

  11. Nk, today is election day. Vote Steve Lonegan.

    NJRob (31eb7d)

  12. Permanent residences are for white people.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. Cool website, this is the first time i have been to it. will follow up and see what others have to say

    Becton (0d3185)

  14. Booker could put an end to this pronto by inviting reporters into his actual residence. They could see his mail, his personal effects, his pets. That he has not done is suggestive of one thing: that these loci are not even pieds a terre (which would at least have furniture, books, and dishes.

    The business about an entire floor dedicated to a security detail which is there day or night whether or not the mayor is is stupefying.

    Here is a guess: you will not find Booker’s name on the lease where he actually resides. He is shacked up with someone somewhere, perhaps in Newark and perhaps elsewhere.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  15. I thought about – well, he rescued someone from a fire- that was a place he had taken up residence – what address was taht?

    And I did a Google search and discovered:

    NEWARK — Mayor Cory Booker has repeatedly claimed he saved his neighbor from a fire in 2012, but two of the neighbor’s longtime friends say Booker’s story is not possible and the neighbor — a woman with an extensive criminal record — is not to be believed.

    Zina Hodge was allegedly rescued from a kitchen fire by Mayor Booker in April 2012….In Booker’s telling of the story, he entered the burning building next to his own property, after breaking the restraints of a police detective, in order to rescue Hodge. He claims he threw Hodge over his shoulder and carried her to safety while sustaining second-degree burns on his hand. He later appeared on “Oprah’s Next Chapter”…

    …According to neighbors and community activists Donna Jackson and Cassandra Dock, the entire story is a fabrication.

    “I don’t believe he went in there,” Dock told The Daily Caller. I don’t believe he saved her. I don’t believe he put her over his back and brought her out. First of all, the hallway is too narrow for both of them to fit through that hallway so I don’t believe none of that.”

    Dock told The Daily Caller Hodge reacted by “laughing” when Dock confronted her about the holes in her story.

    “Laughing every time when we had the conversation about the fire and how it happened she just chuckled, which leads me to believe that none of it is true,” Dock said. “I said to her ‘Zina do not go on Oprah and allow him to continue with this lie.’”

    While Booker claims he was coming home and saw the fire, his own security detail, Detective Alex Rodriguez, contradicts his version of events.

    In an interview on CBS, Gayle King asked Rodriguez what he was doing there, and Rodriguez said he was “waiting for the mayor.” When asked if many people had already left the building he said “yes.”

    Rodriguez said that he noticed the building was on fire and started to alert residents, raising the question of why he was waiting for the mayor.

    Sammy Finkelman (d28b55)

  16. All this is coming out extremely late in the campaign.

    A few days ago we were hearibg – you know Cory Booker is famous for getting rid of crime, improving education – the statistics do not bear him out. Crime is up, not down.

    It did impress Michael Bloomberg, who decided to spend alot of loey to help Booker (meanwhile he si doing nothing to help Lhota, who had a debate last night where he didn’t really do that well)

    There’s a Lonegan commercial on the radio where a woman’s voice repeats over and over “Vote for lonegan. Polls open till 8 PM” It is all anti-Booker.

    Sammy Finkelman (d28b55)

  17. I’m in Illinois, NJRobb. A different New Jersey.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. Would _you_ live in Newark, NJ if you could possibly live somewhere else? There are likely bridges somewhere that would be preferable to Newark.

    Soronel Haetir (02427a)

  19. Lot of information here. Just not sure what it’s about. Some issue with a residence I gather, but if there is more info than that it is buried 20 paragraphs deep.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  20. No problem nk. Just getting the word out in case there are any other New Jerseyeans lurking around.

    NJRob (ef07de)

  21. Would _you_ live in Newark, NJ if you could possibly live somewhere else? There are likely bridges somewhere that would be preferable to Newark.

    There are 278,000 people living there and the place covers 24 sq. miles of land. I would wager there are some satisfactory neighborhoods therein. The homicide rate is 33 per 100,000. I lived for several years in a blotch of urban territory with a homicide rate in that range and there were still some agreeable places to live – small islands within the decay.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  22. He was in Camden yesterday. How long would it take to drive back to Newark with reporters in tow and show them his bachelor pad? Either the place is a sty or he is holed up with someone he does not want reporters to meet, whether that person be in Newark or Maplewood or wherever.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  23. The idea that politicians shouldn’t brazenly lie to the public about details of their private lives died with Bill Clinton and was buried by Barack Obama. It’s a-ok as long as it serves progressive goals.

    JVW (93c84b)

  24. An Obama/Booker national ticket would be fun and mysterious…nobody would be able to locate their next door neighbors, nobody could locate their classmates from Columbia University, nobody could locate their paper birth certificates, nobody could locate their honesty.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  25. “An Obama/Booker national ticket would be fun and mysterious”

    ES – It might be a little hard, but probably doable for a Democrat, for Obama to run with his good buddy Kwame Kilpatrick right now. That would be a fun race for whatever.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  26. Weigel is correct that Christie made reference to Dock during a speech a few years ago but Dock told me that she did not like being mentioned in such a prominent way.

    Really? She wanted to avoid that spotlight?

    Christie mentioned her in his 2012 State of the State address, WHICH SHE ATTENDED. She sat in the gallery, and stood and smiled when he mentioned her name.

    Sky Captain (e889c5)

  27. Sky captain, three unconnected sources offer testimony that Cory Booker did not live there: the next-door-neighbor, the census enumerator (whom you maintain is tainted), and the bankruptcy filing. One might also infer from the rude evasions of the landlord that something in not on the level and the round-the-clock multi-man security detail is downright bizarre.

    Now, you may wish to offer that its all a concoction, but the ball (and the burden of proof) are in your court.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  28. The idea that politicians shouldn’t brazenly lie to the public about details of their private lives died with Bill Clinton and was buried by Barack Obama. It’s a-ok as long as it serves progressive goals.

    Well, I guess it does not serve progressive goals to have an idea of the Mayor’s domestic circumstances, notably where he lives. And the media are completely incurious about it, as they were with Richard Lugar.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  29. No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  30. or he is holed up with someone he does not want reporters to meet, whether that person be in Newark or Maplewood or wherever.

    Or NYC. Which makes it an issue. Because if he wins tonight, he should be made to prove that as of this morning he was actually living at an address somewhere in New Jersey. If he can’t prove that, he must be disqualified, and Lonegan must be awarded the seat by default.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  31. Booker could live on the moon and the
    liberals and minorities will elect him.

    Hoss (d80bb8)

  32. Does anybody from Chicago/Cook County remember John Marcin? elissa, daleyrocks, Chuck …? He was City Clerk under old Mayor Daley, and a Machine ward committeeman with his own pet alderman. When the Machine dumped him as City Clerk, he threw out the alderman so he could still suck on the public tit. Loyalists to the alderman snitched him out that he lived in a lakefront luxury home in Wisconsin while maintaining, as his Chicago residence, a mom and pop four-room apartment above a neighborhood grocery store (they had those back then). Seems to me to be exactly what Booker’s been doing.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. Is there any conservative — meaning normative right-leaning — counterpart to the Newarks of the world? Not that I’m aware of. It seems that every very corrupt, dishonest, dysfunctional community or society out there is dominated by the left.

    I can’t imagine a Detroit or, less so, Venezuela (since its voters aren’t as monolithically liberal as some urban American areas are) where a huge percentage of the electorate is conservative to center-right. As far as I know, such an entity doesn’t exist.

    Mark (58ea35)

  34. Mark, the pestilential hole of poverty, misery, disease and filth that is Switzerland.

    SPQR (768505)

  35. Lonegan needs to follow this up, and if it pans out he needs to challenge Booker’s election. The constitution is clear that he had to be a resident of NJ as of today.

    Milhouse (7bc1c3)

  36. “Does anybody from Chicago/Cook County remember John Marcin? elissa, daleyrocks, Chuck …?”

    nk – I’m a transplant. I did not live out here then.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  37. It’s a good thing there are no voting irregularities being reported in New Jersey today, otherwise Mr. Johnson’s very nice story here might have had an impact.

    Double heh.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  38. he has the character america has come to expect of her senators

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  39. Cory Booker was elected to the United States by a vote of 55% to 44% (closer than you might have expected earlier)

    This is only for the remainder of senator Lautenberg’s term, which exppires after the 2014 election. (Jan 3, 2015)

    Another election will be held in November 2014, and Steve Lonegan says he is not running. He says he has done his part.

    So there might be abetter candidate next time – or a worse one.

    Sammy Finkelman (982d84)

  40. I got lost in the pits of Newark very late one night when I was going to meet my husband’s fight at the airport. Not a pleasant experience. The people standing around fires they had burning in oil drums kinda freaked me out.

    But as far as Booker’s residence irregularities and possible living “arrangements” I am certain that 60 minutes or 20/20 will be on the case stat.

    elissa (3961c8)

  41. I have no problem with Cory Booker being elected if that’s what New Jersey wants.

    I have no problem with Ted Cruz being elected if that is what Texas wants.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  42. I don’t know what more Cruz could do, Ag80. Resign?

    nk (dbc370)

  43. yeah we took a route through the heart of newark once on accident

    god bless america what a hole

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  44. i’d vote for the “Rents too damn high’ guy if I lived in New Jersey..but I don’ I won’t

    pdbuttons (335acf)

  45. Mr. buttons I’m a terrible person I’m a email you yet I swear

    this new job

    it don’t let me be sunup to well past sundown

    not complaining it’s just a big adjustment

    last job mostly I just got paid to look purty

    and I was damn good at it

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  46. nk:

    I don’t know why he should resign. He did exactly what he was elected to do based on his campaign promises. I have not doubt he will be elected again. I would certainly vote for him again. He is a very smart guy, despite what you hear.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  47. Considering McMillan lives in NY, tat would be problematic, but not impossible,

    narciso (3fec35)

  48. The Democrats are probably going to have a staging company decorate a very cool loft, they’ll be backdating some rent checks, and the media will fall in line.

    The NJ unions would vote in lock step for Booker even if he lived out in Vegas with a tranny fan dancer.

    steveg (794291)

  49. 2001 Big Space Baby is always a favorite write in vote…opposed to that bastard Eraserhead baby

    pdbuttons (335acf)

  50. Another BS artist joinsThe World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. Yawn.

    Funeral Guy (c4b0a5)

  51. None of this counts, the laws don’t apply, Booker’s untouchable, he gets the mother of all automatic exemptions, he’s a gay black Democrat who looks and dresses well enough to go on TV and not frighten the stupid white vote.

    The Left’s reliable Journolistas can be counted on to muddy the water, smear critics into silence, and conjure up more than enough compelling excuses to paint Booker as a victim of racist homophobia so they can grant him a pass on the grounds he had to break the law to protect himself from the prejudiced whispers of those mean spirited TEA Party bigots.

    (Begging the question is a Journolista’s stock-n-trade.)

    ropelight (22c164)

  52. What is disconcerting about all this is that there does not appear to be a significant slice of the Democratic electorate who have a reaction to shameful or silly behavior. That has been manifest for 15 years or more. Recall how Gary Hart’s presidential campaign imploded in 1987 when his sojourns to the Turnberry resort, trips to Bimini, and Donna Rice came to light (conjoined to his attempts to lie his way through it). It seems so remote now.

    The substrate of this would be a comparison of the evolution of Newark’s homicide rate over the last dozen years with that of East Orange. Two city governments, challenging conditions in both loci, and the latter makes remarkable improvements in public safety and the former does squat. He failed. The Booker hype goes all the way down.

    The imperial security detail, the dodgy business over his residence, and the T-Bone and kitty cat trumpery should have made him a punchline.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  53. The Democrats are probably going to have a staging company decorate a very cool loft, they’ll be backdating some rent checks, and the media will fall in line.

    Nailed it.

    What a world we live in.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  54. Here’s the real question:

    Is Booker a legal resident of NJ? If not, can he be a Senator from NJ?

    I’ve seen reports that he actually lives in NY. I’ve seen nothing indicating that he lived in any of the addresses in NJ that he’s claimed as his residence.

    Aarradin (bab74a)

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