Lou’s NACogate Defense

The Reminder newspaper published this letter from Lou on Wednesday, August 19.  He defends himself on the NACogate charges, saying no public money was used to finance his run for NACo office.  He also says he came back from his travels with good ideas for the county.  He mentions the prescription card, the value of which we have previously questioned.  He says his travels also gave him the ideas of making Cumberland County a federal Empowerment Zone and selling county property on the internet.  We wonder if these were really all Lou’s idea or whether other parties were involved.  Our sense is that Lou likes to take credit for everything, regardless of the size of his role.

Lou also takes a few swipes at the Independent Democrats.  Word is that they are the ones that really have Lou riled up, not so much the Republicans.

Private Trips Reaped Huge Public Benefits For Our County
by Louis N. Magazzu, Director, Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Jennifer (Lookabaugh) Swift served as a freeholder for 12 years; Bruce Peter­son for almost 9 and Jane Christy for 6—combined total service of 27 years.

They felt they could not get the support of the Cumberland County Dem­ocratic organization for this election so they are running as independents.

I suspect to the great joy of the Cumberland County Republican leadership, especially Jennifer’s step son, Jim Swift, Millville Republican chairman who also ran for freeholder last year as a Republican.

Swift, Peterson and Christy have logged 27 combined years as freeholders. You would think they would want to brag about their performance.

Instead they choose to carp about my attendance at conferences of the N.J. Association of Counties and National Association of Counties in an effort to learn from others for the benefit Cumberland County residents.

Let me set the record straight. No public money was used for the literature, travel, housing or food for my recent campaign in Nashville to be NACo second vice president; none—period!

I funded that race just like the way both Swifts, Christy and Peterson funded their campaigns; from contributions from family, friends and supporters. I will report all expenditures and how funded in thirty days even though I am not legally required to do so.

I make no apologies for going to Detroit—where I came back with the idea of making Cumberland Coun­ty a federal Empowerment Zone.

That application resulted in over $25 million in federal money, $225 million in private money and almost a thousand jobs in Cumber­land County.

I also make no apologies for going to Richmond— where I came back with the idea to join the NACO prescription card program.

That card program has helped nearly 15,000 Cum­berland County residents save 26 percent ($400,000) on their prescriptions.

I also make no apologies for going to Kansas City—where I came back with the idea of selling county surplus property on the internet rather than using a local auctioneer.

This has resulted in the county making more from what we sell at a fraction of what we used to pay.

Jennifer Swift, Bruce Peterson and Jane Christy never looked beyond the borders of Cumberland County to help our residents.

Maybe that is why after 27 years they have nothing better to talk about other than my travel.


21 Responses to Lou’s NACogate Defense

  1. Salary Sam says:

    Wasn’t the EZ designation the result of a long bi-partisan collaberation with our Congressional Delegation, state representatives and count government. I doubt if it depended on Lord Lou going to a NACO meeting. If sou, our two Dem. US Senators and our Rep. Congressman would not have been doing a very good job. As for the prescription cards Lord Lou was talking about them years before he went to that NACo meeting. Right now every drug store chain is offering their own discount plans tht are at least as good. The cards were a good idea but to attribute them to NACo is excessive. I would be interested in seeing attendance specifics as to what sessions Lord Lou actually attended. When you’re trying to advance politically in an organization you don’t wast valuabel convention time going to working sessions. You schmooze and glad hand. I’d be surprised if he went to any substantive sessions. But that’a just a guess.

  2. Salary Sam says:

    Wait a second. You just printed Lord Lou’s article. Wait until Knot Head sees that and accuses you of being a mindless stooge for Lord Lou. My god. You’re printing things just because they are relevant to the discussion and are newsworthy. Get a grip man.

  3. tryagain says:

    Going to conferences is not unususal. Most all elected officials attend a big conference in Atlantic City and most of the adminisrtative staffs of municipalities and counties attend conventions. All at taxpayers expense!! Seems because of your hatred of Magazzu he is chastised for attending conferences! What a bunch of BS. You would think the citizens would be happy to have elected officials active in these otganizations. School adminisrtators, school board members, chambers of commerce members, numerous professional and trade organizations attend conferences and I’m sure most if not all of the costs are borne by the taxpayers. Why single Magazzu out ? Just because he was active and held or was seeking to hold office in these organizations! As far as contributions for his expenses, what about the lavish parties held by the businesses and vendors at these conventions that ALL the other elected officials attend? Don’t you think the vendors have something in mind or are they just good guys who want to party with elected officials? This is business as usual for everyone yet you continue to single out Magazzu!! Why not look at ALL elected officials who attend conferences at taxpayers expense?

  4. Rev. Higgs Boson says:

    I agree with amlou, let’s look at all politicians who vacation on the taxpayer’s dime. And since lou magazzu is the highest ranking elected official in the County, I’d say that’s a pretty good place to start.

    When the others come up for re-election, we can hold them accountable, but for now, let’s start at the top. How many other conferences have you billed the taxpayers for lou?

  5. Salary Sam says:

    There is absolutely NO question being raised about Lord Lou’s attending conferences. This is about the public money spent on his PRIVATE quest for an officer position at NACo. Even Lord Lou acknowledges that it was inappropriate to spend public money for his travel expenses and the travel expenses of the entourage he brought on the junket. He acknowledged that tacitly by apparently paying for most of it himself (or through the mysterious PAC) and he admitted it overtly and specifically in various press reports. So why, if Lord Lou admits that these expenses should have been his personal expenses is Knot Head arguing that they were appropriate? Come on Knot Head. Some of do have memories that last more than 15 minutes.

  6. Salary Sam says:

    Here are Lord Lou’s own words, from the article itself quoted above:

    Let me set the record straight. No public money was used for the literature, travel, housing or food for my recent campaign in Nashville to be NACo second vice president; none—period!

    I funded that race just like the way both Swifts, Christy and Peterson funded their campaigns; from contributions from family, friends and supporters. I will report all expenditures and how funded in thirty days even though I am not legally required to do so.

    Of course, despite him saying that no public moneys was spend “none-period” he just REIMBURSED the county for expenses that the county had wound up paying. How do you wind up reimbursing the county unless county money was spent. A copy of the check that was obtained through an OPRA request is circulating. Apparently the payment was made on the last day that the county had to respond to the OPRA request.

    It is important to note that it was only OUTSIDE attention that brought this to light. This site and the Republican candidates running against Lord Lou. Where were our other 6 Freeholders. Not one raised a question.

  7. vinelandvisitor says:

    Had he not been caught with his hands in the cookie jar, Lou would have let the taxpayers pay for his junket and that of his yes-people and thought nothing more of it. Theft.

  8. tryagain says:

    Get a grip. He paid the measely 400-500 dollars taht was questionable at best!! If we are TRULY concerned with tazpayers monies then we should begin by checking ALL conference expenditures by ALL officials including appointed. Would love to see what the Boards of Eds. spend, various authorities and boards, other elected officials, and professional staffs. That would be MOST interesting! Wonder if Mr. Wymbs’s and staff expenditures are public info? Many of these CEOs also send staff on these junkets. The elected municipal officials and employees ALL go toAC in Nov. for some big party.

  9. Lou – what abiut the PREVIOUS year’s NACo campaigns, which were paid in full by county taxpayers? Why the silence?

    And – every time Lou speaks, he mentions that magic 30 days. He promises he will report in 30 days! Thirty days from when? 30 days from the time he spoke with reporters? Thirty days from his letter to the editors of the Daily Journal and The News, written a few days after he spoke with reporters? Or 30 days after the letter to the Reminder?

    The fact is, 30 days will never come. It doesn’t take 30 days to know your expenses on a trip. Everyone that has ever traveled for business knows you have those figures immediately.

    It does take 30 days to doctor the books and cook up a story, cover tracks… you get the idea.

  10. Salary Sam I beleive you are right on the money.I had heard that one fo the US Senators who worked his BUT off for this was out of the country when the Empowerment zone was approved.They all wanted to wait for him to get back to break the news.But as usual Some local had to spring it first so he would look like the shining star.The US Senator at the time was not the two who we have now.These two would not go out of there way for the hard working people of Cumberland County.

  11. SalarySam says:

    I agree with you Knot Head. Every expense at every conference should be considered and examined. That should be happening as a matter of course at every governmental body. If it isn’t then someone is not doing their job.

    This was not a matter of sending staff and professionals to serve a governmental purpose. This was Lord Lou taking a bunch of his supporters to go out and glad hand everyone they could to try to get him elected. This was about Lord Lou — not about Cumberland County.

  12. vineland visitor says:

    Tryagain says it was a measely 400 dollars. That makes it fine. Ok to try to steal if it’s only a measely 400 dollars. How would a lawyer defend a theft of $400? “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client should be excused for his theft because it was only a measely $400.” I guess that kind of thinking is why Magazzu can’t hold a job as an attorney. THEFT IS THEFT

  13. tryagain says:

    Sam, how do you know who went to conferences and whether they attended any seminars or not? I’m sure many of these conventions and seminars may be beneficial but only if people actually go to the sessions. Kind of like school boards traveling all over the country for the school boards conventions to have big partiesa nd be entertained by those they do business with!

  14. tryagain says:

    And ALL those municipal elected officials and employees going to that BIG convention in AC each year. All at taxpayers expense! At least Magazzu paid his amd others way according to reports.

  15. Rev. Higgs Boson says:

    Funny, I haven’t seen any reports about lou paying anything out of his own pockets…I thought it was the PAC. Funny how the story keeps changing.

  16. SalarySam says:

    I agree that a lot of these conventions, seminars and meetings are a big waste of time. I believe people who attend should have to establish what they did by way of attendance, etc. Many, if not most, of the hosts of those events have the ability to generate certificates regarding attendance.

    If Lou recognized, in advance, that these were personal expenses that should not be paid for by the County you have to give him credit for that. If he failed to follow up on it to make sure it happened he loses some of that credit. Unfortunately for him it has raised the question of what, exactly, this PAC is and who contributed to it.

  17. Frank74 says:

    As a first time reader I am impressed by the time and effort the author/s put into this site.I have always been a big fan of watch dog groups as they can provide a great service to citizens who don’t have the time or resources to do their own research.

    I hope that along with your reporting of Magazzu’s wrong doing on this site, you have also forwarded information regarding any violations of state/federal laws or ethics to the proper authorities for appropriate action. I would be very interested in knowing if this has been done; and if not, why not?

  18. Watcher#1 says:

    Time flies …. When does the “within 30 days” expire, Lou??? Come clean and post the names and amounts your PAC buddies put up.

  19. tryagain says:

    Frank 74, read between the lines. This site has become nothing more than a Magazzu BASH. Has gone past the watchdog and now is just an attack dog. Attacking Magazzu on EVERYTHING including bad weather and storms. Not kidding just read through some of their garbage. Be careful what you post or the Supreme Ruler aka Eyes Everywhere, who I call the Blind Woman will either delete your posts or threaten to ban you from posting on the site!

  20. AMUSED says:

    Not answering the question Mr. Magazzu…You’re 30 days are just about up!

  21. WaterLou says:

    tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…….

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