Patterico's Pontifications

10/16/2013

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.

7/30/2010

Texas Officials to Feds: Don’t Mess With Texas’ Oil and Gas

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 4:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ten top Texas officials including Governor Rick Perry have written an open letter to the Texas Congressional delegation asking them to oppose legislation that would replace state authority to regulate oil and gas production with federal control:

“Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement regarding legislation contemplated by Congress that would effectively strip states of the right to regulate oil and gas exploration and production within their own borders:

“This week, I joined a number of state leaders in urging the Texas Congressional delegation to fight back against this latest encroachment into states’ authority, which would effectively strip states of the right to regulate oil and gas exploration and production within their own borders.

“This pending legislation represents a sad continuation of Washington’s ongoing efforts to seize control over every facet of American industry and life, efforts that continue to place untold numbers of Texas jobs at risk. This latest takeover attempt is as unprecedented as it is illogical, given that it essentially hands authority over all gas and oil exploration to the same people who were overseeing the process when the Deepwater Horizon exploded.”

Here is the letter.

– DRJ

7/29/2010

Rangel Charged With Ethics Violations

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 6:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former House Ways and Means Chairman and current Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) has been charged with 13 ethics violations.

I suspect Rangel’s age, status and longevity makes him think he can survive this politically, much as President Bill Clinton survived impeachment. If so, I think Rangel has misjudged this situation.

– DRJ

7/20/2010

Shirley Sherrod (Updated x3)

Filed under: Government,Race — DRJ @ 5:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Updates on the Shirley Sherrod story:

  • The Washington Examiner explains why we shouldn’t be so quick to forget about Shirley Sherrod.
  • NAACP and Glen Beck agree: People rushed to judgment on Sherrod.
  • The [EDIT: or maybe A] white farmer and his wife strongly defend Ms. Sherrod.
  • How did the white farmer know Sherrod’s anecdote was about him? Maybe he wasn’t the one … but if he is, did he recall “acting superior” or was he the only white farmer she helped?

    – DRJ

    UPDATE: My thanks to Dustin who provided a link to the NAACP website that posted the full Shirley Sherrod speech. As Dustin notes, this section at 21 minutes is most relevant and evidences Sherrod’s racial reconciliation theme:

    “Working with him made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who don’t. You know, they could be white, they could be black, they could be Hispanic … and it made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people, those who don’t have access the way others have.”

    She also discussed the history of slavery that impacted poor whites and poor blacks, which she said led to racism created by elites to divide the poor.

    UPDATE 2: Dustin watches the rest and summarizes it here and here. Like Dustin, I’d like to know what was in the edited section of the NAACP video.

    UPDATE 3 — The AP reports President Obama agrees with the decision to oust Sherrod:

    “A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said President Barack Obama was briefed on the matter after Sherrod’s resignation and stands by the Agriculture Department’s handling of it.”

    7/19/2010

    Racism Within (Updated)

    Filed under: Government,Race — DRJ @ 5:38 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Today Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment released a videotape of Obama appointee and U.S. Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod “regaling an NAACP audience with a story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy:”

    Sherrod has resigned.

    Will House Majority Whip James Clyburn add Sherrod and the NAACP to his list of racists?

    – DRJ

    UPDATED: Shirley Sherrod says the White House forced her to resign, even though she claims the point of her story was racial reconciliation.

    Washington Post Intelligence Series

    Filed under: Government,Terrorism — DRJ @ 12:03 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The Washington Post series “Top Secret America” exposes the “hidden world” of U.S. intelligence:

    “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”

    Last week’s teaser suggested the series would reveal the names and locations of top secret military contractors, perhaps not only at home and in the war zones but elsewhere around the world. Please update this in the comments as you read the report.

    – DRJ

    7/17/2010

    The Ruling Class vs the Country Class

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 1:35 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    This American Spectator essay by Angelo M. Codevilla, a professor of international relations at Boston University and former U.S. foreign service officer, is a must read for every American. Codevilla defines America’s ruling class and country class and reviews the decisions we Americans have made that will decide our and our children’s futures.

    Implicit in Codevilla’s essay is the following question: Will Americans choose to be governed by a ruling class or will we return to self-governance by the country class? I think most blue states have already chosen the ruling class with its comfortable promises and European-style goals. I pray most red states and especially my fellow Texans will choose the Country Party, but at this point I have little hope it will be enough.

    – DRJ

    7/15/2010

    Congress Passes Financial Reform

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 11:57 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Congress passed financial reform legislation today but very few people know what’s in it:

    “Even so, 38 percent of Americans have never heard of the overhaul and 33 percent have heard of it but know almost nothing about the legislation, according to an Ipsos Public Affairs online poll. Another 18 percent said they know “a little bit” about the measure.

    The Ipsos poll found 3 percent are very familiar with the legislation, and 8 percent are somewhat familiar.”

    Passing legislation Americans don’t understand or know about? That’s par for the 111th Congressional course.

    – DRJ

    7/13/2010

    Oakland Police: Don’t Call Us

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 11:25 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    In an amazing coincidence, Oakland city officials and police union leaders are returning to the bargaining table following a recent police threat to refuse to respond to 44 crimes (including grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism) if the city implemented its plan to reduce the police force by 10%.

    – DRJ

    7/10/2010

    Disaster Preparedness, HEB-Style

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 8:01 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    South Texas HEB grocery stores are finding alternatives to FEMA that help people after hurricanes and similar disasters:

    “In a battle of nature versus big business, H-E-B is fighting to win by adding power generation systems that will operate several stores immediately following hurricanes and other storms that knock out power.

    The company, which has more than 315 stores in Texas and northern Mexico, began installing the system in its Rockport location Tuesday, H-E-B spokeswoman Shelley Parks said.”

    Rockport is on the Gulf Coast and exposed to Gulf hurricanes.

    – DRJ

    Next Page »

    Powered by WordPress.

    Page loaded in: 0.2660 secs.