Lies about Bigley…

The Press of Atlantic City ran an article yesterday about the new Cumberland County Prosecutor, Jennifer Webb-McRae. From all reports, Jennifer appears to be an excellent candidate for the job. However, the interesting part of the article was the part where they talked to Lou Magazzu about the Bigley action, and Lou flat-out lied to the press.

The deal-killer for Casella’s reappointment came five years before he was replaced, when in January 2005 he sued county freeholders in a lawsuit known as a Bigley action. At the time, Cumberland County spent just 2.7 percent of the county budget on the Prosecutor’s Office, when the state average was 4.7 percent, according to the New Jersey Association of County Prosecutors. Cumberland had one of the state’s highest crime rates (and still does), the state’s largest caseload for its judges and took longer than any other county to prosecute its cases, state records showed.

Casella won a settlement in a case overseen by Judge George Stanger, for whom Webb-McRae clerked. Freeholders settled because, they said, they were sure they would lose. Casella doubled his staff and budget and won promises of a new building.

The case won Casella new critics, such as Magazzu, who felt the extra spending wasn’t something the county could afford. The freeholder board almost unanimously supported replacing Casella, but continued working with him for more than year.

“Ron and I have spent the last year and a half working on the new building and budget issues,” Magazzu said. “Ron was extremely cooperative, even knowing about my opposition. That says a lot about his character. He was terrific to work with in this last year and a half. I told Ron – and I will say publicly – that I regret we didn’t get the chance to negotiate the budget directly (without proxies) before he filed the Bigley action.”

The emphasis is mine. The truth is, the back room discussions toward Ron were ugly, argumentative, loud, nasty, and it even came down to finger-pointing and name-calling.

It was definitely not an atmosphere for an open negotiation.  Ron wanted to hire two people.  That is all he wanted, two more employees. Cumberland County had the highest crime rate in the state, and a tremendous court backlog. Public safety was the main factor, and Lou and Doug thumbed their noses at the public, throwing concern for public safety out the window. Why? Doug Rainear wanted a “zero” budget because he was running for office. How nice – people can get murdered, and Doug Rainear could not care less, because all he wanted was tobe reelected!

Casella  said several times that he could not do his job without  two new hires, and he would file a Bigley if he had to. Neither Lou nor Rainear made an offer to negotiate and avoid the Bigley.  They dug in their heels, and Ron was forced to file. This is the real story, as has been told by Magazzu watch. It comes from the testimonies of people that were actually in the meetings. Lou Magazzu and Doug Rainear had EVERY OPPORTUNITY to avoid the Bigley, all they had to do is approve two new hires for the prosecutor’s office. But pig-headed Lou, and selfish Rainear had to force the issue, and they are the sole reason that the county faces extraordinary expenses with the prosecutor’s office. The courts decided, correctly, that the county was responsible to run an efficient and effective prosecutor’s office for the sake of public safety.


23 Responses to Lies about Bigley…

  1. whatup says:

    Just more of your so called insider information that is based merely on rumor and conjecture. You and this site really would be better served if you checked your insider “friend’s” so called facts. Perhaps an independent source would serve you and the site well. Maybe the story from someone like Gary Simmerman or Ken Mecouch or perhaps even Ron Casella, who I would assume were at these so called back room discussions would give you another perspective. Your comments are really over the top.

  2. WuLi says:

    Hey brainless – you were not there, unless you are Lou Magazzu – which I guess you are – but this is NOT conjecture. This is fact – confirmed by more than one person that was in those meetings.

    Run this story by Ron, please. Really, I mean, if you can get him to go public with his side of the story – but I bet he is too much of a gentleman, unlike Lou.

  3. YOUHAVE TO GO says:


  4. GoGoCumCo says:

    Does anyone really think that Casella’s exit has anything to do with right/wrong or the job he did? Why are we even discussing it? Van Drew took the opinion of a partisan freeholder board over the opinion of the county law enforcement community. Why do we think that is? And everyone ignores the fact that this is a democrat attacking a democrat. How embarrassing for the party. No wonder the rest of NJ doesn’t take Cumberland Co seriously…or even know where it is !!

    It is only by luck and the grace of God that we ended up with an abundantly competent replacement. She was the third choice that we know of… I don’t get the impression she’s going to cower to Team Magazzu. Unfortunately, they may turn on her and, like with Casella, stab her in the back.

  5. Jerry says:

    The real question is which senior dem talked Casella into filing the Bigley? It wasn’t his idea originally. You might be surprised to know who it was.

  6. Guess-Who says:

    Who was IT? the Senior Dem who you claim Talked him into IT?
    Just the Facts that You know about!

    Lets Hear all the Details that YOU are Claiming to know Jerry…

  7. whatup says:

    Seems to be an awful lot of claiming of fact by unnamed sources. I suggested someone ask MeCouch, Simmerman,or perhaps Casella himself. Only then will the REAL truth come out. The story has reported here is nothing more than pure conjecture and innuendo. Only with named and confirmed sources will anyone really know what transpired. To blame Magazzu or anyone else without confirmed facts and based upon unknown sources is not only in poor and unfair taste, but simply ridiculous. Who was the REAL mastermind behind the Bigley inside the Prosecutor’s office?

  8. Guess-Who says:

    Here goes the BLAME GAME Again for a few of U;
    So & So said that So & So said that Blah Blah Blah.
    This is RIDICULOUS!

    Have anyone of U that are Bitching & Complaining ever had a Family Member MURDERED?
    Believe me until u have had a Violent Crime or any type of Crime for that Matter Committed against You or a Family Member or even a Close Acquaintance or a Friend.
    You have know Idea what IT is like to be the VICTIM!

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ this was NOT a Dem or Rep Issue it was a VICTIMS of CRIME Issue that was Proved in a COURT of LAW.

    Doesn’t any VICTIM of a Crime have the RIGHT for JUSTICE to be SERVED?
    This is Provided in the Constitution & the Bill of Rights for American Citizens, These Facts are Stubborn Things!
    The Prosecutor’s Office has to be FUNDED in a way that Supports the People in the Community as a Whole & the United States of America also.
    This is a Common-Sense situation & has EXPOSED plenty of Individuals in this Community of Cumberland County,NJ & their Narrow Minded Thinking!
    If u THINK that the P.O. was Wrong for Seeking the Money that was/is Needed to Provide for PUBLIC SAFETY, Then U should Check ur FACTS!

    Who gives a (deleted) WHO suggested to File the Bigley Lawsuit; The Facts are the Prosecutor’s Office has been given FAIR COMPENSATION to Perform their Duty they have been Charged with Doing which is JUSTICE for the PEOPLE/Citizens/VICTIMS of a Crime.

    So keep Talk out of your Ass as it only REVEALS the Truth about U!

    Checks & Balance make the County a Better Place.

  9. Lucky the Dog says:

    Guess Who is right. The County needed the money and still needs a new building, BUT. The hate on Cassella is because he was the point man.

  10. WuLi says:

    Casella was the face behind the Bigley, and he had the guts to do what was necessary for the county.

    There are many places to cut back on county expenditures, but I am firm that public safety is NOT the place to cut. This is especially the case when your county ranks dead last in regards to public safety.

  11. GoGoCumCo says:

    I have to agree with WuLi….Public Safety is NOT the place to cut. Yet, for some reason, I suspect that Magazzu would love nothing more than to challenge the new Pros and exact some revenge upon the office. Of course, he’d be not only hurting the office staff, but the county residents as well. I can only imagine that the freeholder board is going to attempt to take advantage of the new Pros at the hearings and intimidate her into excessive cuts. As residents we cannot allow our safety to be compromised.

  12. Deep Throat says:

    Whatup is hinting that Ken Palughi was the driving force behind the Bigley filing. This partially true.
    Palughi was pushing for it because of the terrible working conditions and lack of staff. Casella was under pressure from his top two assissants to file the Bigley. The morale of the staff was extremely low.
    Ron kept telling the freeholders that he wanted to work with them in good faith to solve the problems at the prosecutors office.
    He needed to see some sign of a good faith effort.
    He was clear that two new hires were critical. He wanted then to setup a multi year plan to improve the working conditions, low salary, and staff levels.
    The two positions were cut to one. Then, without notifying Casella it was cut to none. This was because Doug Rainear wanted a 0 tax increase because he was running that year. Same year the county bond rating was lowered because of the excessive use of the surplus to balance tha budget.
    So what up Magazzu can blame Palughi all he wants.
    The truth was that Casella tried to work with the freeholders. Magazzu knew he was doing the wrong thing with the budget. He gave Rainear what he wanted because he Rainear was the only freeholder that would always do whatever Magazzu wanted.
    Magazzu will never admit to himself or the public that he could have avoided the Bigley.He simply had to work with Casella and put politics second. Magazzu can never put politics second to anything.

  13. whatup says:

    More conjecture from Deep Throat! Would be nice if you could site just a single piece of factual information in your interpretation of the events. No matter you will obviously believe what you want. Ever find the other JFK shooter on that grassy knoll?

  14. WuLi says:

    Seems like we touched a raw nerve here! The facts are clear and simple – Lou Magazzu could have prevented the Bigley by allowing a mere two new hires. This fact has NEVER been challenged, it has been reiterated to me personally by no less than three independent insiders, one of them who was very close to Lou himself.

    Why are you so touchy when we bring this up? Is it because Lou thought he could LIE, and blame Casella on his own doings?

  15. whatup says:

    Not touchy here at all just have not seen any named source that will verify your claims. Why not ask Casella himself if the Bigley would have been prevented for a “mere” two hires. My guess is that it would not have been given what the Prosecutor’s office wound up requesting and getting according to news accounts. Would seem unusual and greedy if you only requested a “mere” 2 hires and were refused and then you sued for at least 40 times more than(money wise) that in a Bigley. If it doesn’t make sense it probably ain’t true!

  16. WuLi says:

    Stop with the misdirection – to claim that Casella sued for “40 times more money” is misleading and untrue, and if you know anything about the Bigley, you know that.

    The COURTS came to a decision, much publicized, giving MUCH MORE than Casella was asking for in the suit.

    Since you are so set on getting Casella’s opinion, why not go and ask him yourself?

  17. Guess-Who says:

    Mr. Cassella only filed the Lawsuit (Bigley) for FAIR COMPENSATION for Prosecutors Office & for the Office to be Able to Perform the Duties this Office is RESPONSIBLE to Perform for the PUBLIC & their SAFETY.

    Most of If not All of the Citizens of Cumberland County,NJ are very Grateful that Mr. Cassella had the Ability & Foresight to see through the POLITICS & NOTICE that the P.O. was UNDER-FUNDED & Needed to be COMPENSATED in a Way to ENSURE that JUSTICE could be Served for every Resident/Citizens/Tax-Payer in Cumberland County, the State of NJ & the United States of America to Ensure their Safety.

    Every American has Rights that are Protected by Our Constitution.

    Here is another EXAMPLE of some members in the Community (County) that can NOT Accept the FACTS & JUDGMENT.
    The Public was being Short Changed & the FREEHOLDERS were RESPONSIBLE as this is a FACT!
    The Court of Law RULING on this Supports these Claims!

    Lou & the other Freeholders did more to HELP the People & the P.O. Financially with their DENIAL of the 2 Additional Employees than all the Crime Stats Combined.
    They (Stats) could NOT even get this Community the Amount of Money that was NEEDED to Operate the Prosecutors Office to its Fullest Capacity as a Whole.
    For that the Citizens of CC would like to say Thank You Lou for being CLUELESS on this ISSUE.

    Checks Balance make the County a Better Place

  18. whatup says:

    The point I was trying to make is the FACT that no named source EVER came forward, including Mr. Casella, saying that he only wanted 2 more employees or he was going to file the Bigley. That is what you seem to take as Gospel from your unnamed sources. My guess is that situation NEVER presented itself to the Freeholder Board which at the time was served by 4 Dems. and 3 Reps. including Rocco who I think was a former cop and worked at the Prosecutor’s office at one time prior to his serving on the Freeholder Board. That is why I find it difficult to believe your unnamed sources. It would seem incredible that the ENTIRE Board would have been so unreasonable without any public discussion either before or afterwards.

  19. whatup says:

    Maybe time to move away from the Bigley and give the new Prosecutor the support she will need. They certainly have been given ALL the tools they would need according to all accounts.

  20. Deep Throat says:

    Rainear announced the cut and the tax rate without discussing it with his fellow freeholders. Same game Magazzu is famous for. Announce something to box his fellow freeholders in. I have spoken to some of the freeholders from the board at that time. It was understood that the 2 positions were promised to Casella. It was also understood that Casella was becoming frustrated with the terrible working conditions at the prosecutors office. The freeholders were aware that Casella was being encouraged to file a Bigley by the Attorney General’s office.
    These are FACTS.

  21. whatup says:

    They may be FACTS in your mind but with only unnamed and anonymous sources they are nothing more than conjecture to objective thinkers. Doubt that anyone from the Attorney General’s office would leak such information. Certainly would put their job in jeporady if they behaved so wrecklessly. Still doesn’t answer the question as to why the 3 Reps. went along with anything if the situation was as reported to you from your anonymous sources. Given the 3 Reps. and the 2 very independent Dems. on the Board it all just doesn’t add up taht none of them would have spoken publicly about the RUMOR Casella only wanted to hire 2 people. If it doesn’t make sense then it probably isn’t true. Believe what you want because obviously you will.

  22. Guess-Who says:

    Lou knows the Truth about this Issue as to the FACTS!

    This back & forth with Rumor & Innuendos to the Actual Facts is/has been Cumbersome for some Individuals.

    There are $12,000,000.00 Reasons to say Thank You Lou Magazzu & the rest of the Chosen Freeholder Board for Under-Funding the Prosecutor Office for so many Years.

    The Public has been Watching & L{.}{.}King very Closely into this & Plenty of other Issues at the County Level for some time NOW;
    These FACTS are Stubborn Things!

    If you’re wanting someone to take the Credit for the Bigley Lawsuit, One of the 1st Places to Start would be with the 156,000+ County Residents that NOW know that the PO will be able to do the JOB to the Fullest Capacity.
    This Ensures the Public that JUSTICE will be SERVED!

    This Office was AWARDED this AMOUNT $ because of ?

    This Office was asking the Freeholders for 2 more Personal/Staff & was DENIED the HELP.

    This Office Followed the Guidelines & Filed a(Bigley) Lawsuit.

    This Office was only Following Procedures that were in Place & APPROVED through the Attorney Generals Office.

    Nobody in an Elected Public Position will say Publicly they Disapprove or Question these FACTS!

    What was Resolution 2008-77?

    Checks and Balance make the County a Better Place

  23. Guess-Who says:

    This is for the History Buffs here at MW:

    In the Lewis vs Board of Chosen Freeholders of Hudson County back in 1874, the Court held the County was “Morally Obliged to PAY Expenses Incurred by the Prosecutor in Discharging his DUTY.”

    The State Legislature made it a LAW in 1874 also, and that Law has Survived numerous Appeals, Revisions and Challenges.

    The actual Bigley name that is referred to today comes from a Decision in 1969 when the Camden County Prosecutor by the name of A. Donald Bigley sought more Staff and Money from the Chosen Board of Freeholders and the Court held that
    “the Assignment Judge for the County continues to have the final and conclusive authority to Approve Expenditures beyond the Appropriations.”

    That Case went all the way to the State of NJ Supreme Court, which upheld Bigley, and said that the Assignment Judge was acting
    “as a Legislative Agent rather than as a Judicial Officer. He does not sit in review of the Action or inaction of the Freeholders but rather makes his own Original Determination.”

    The January 2005 Filing of Bigley in CC that was Settled between the Two Parties involved; with the CC Prosecutors Office being Awarded the $12,000,000.00 that Included a Total of 51 Additional Employees over a 3 yr period of Phasing these Employees in and for a Permanent Building the (P.O.)can call HOME, to be completed within 4 years of the Settlement.

    Have they (CC Freeholders) Honored this ORDER & Lived up to the SETTLEMENT?

    Does the P.O. have a Permanent Home,Yet?

    How about the BUILDING that was part of the Bigley Settlement?

    When will the Freeholders Fulfill their Total Obligation that they Settled with the P.O. pertaining to the Bigley Settlement?

    How many more Years will they (PO) have to WAIT for their BUILDING to be Completed or BUILT?

    Checks and Balance make the County a Better Place

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