Al Kelly rips off taxpayers – Lou Magazzu is silent

Lou Magazzu’s friend, Al Kelly, rips off taxpayers once again.

I have to thank my friend Haystacks Calhoun for the tip that led to this expose. He directed me to the legislative publication about the deplorable performance of non-profit agencies that received millions upon millions of tax dollars to weatherize homes.

Al Kellie’s Tri-County received by far the lion’s share, at $8.5 million to weatherize 1107 homes. They have only succeeded in weatherizing 155 home. So far they have expended about a half a million, and have a bit more than $411,000 approved. The rest of the money, it seems, is in limbo – doing absolutely no good for anybody.

But where is Lou? Why haven’t Van Drew, Milam and Albano made a stink about this drastic waste? Could it be because of Kelly’s GOTV efforts, almosy always ensuring victories for the Democrats.

Why is our Freeholder board silent? Perhaps the deafening silence has something to do with Al Kelly’s “Progress Through Partnerships” donating $4,000 to the Pepitone/Thompson campaign?

This is politics at its worst. Al Kelly can get away with wasting over $7.5 million, while families in Cumberland County could definitely use the assistance.

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17 Responses to Al Kelly rips off taxpayers – Lou Magazzu is silent

  1. new2cumberland says:

    So to clarify is that an average expenditure of approximately $3226. per home or am I missing something ? Thanks.

  2. Calhoun says:

    New2cumberland, Tri-County was awarded 8.5 million dollars to weatherize 1107 homes. According to my math that’s $7678 per unit (I would assume one unit to be one home). For the life of me, I don’t understand why an agency like Tri-County has to be involved in this program. If the government wants to make sure the homes of the poor are better weatherized fine. Why, then don’t they directly contract to ummm I don’t know people who are actually experts in weatherization? By going through Tri-County, the government is assuring that less money will go where it is intended. Sure a list of homes for weatherization has to be identified before the weatherizers can begin, but I can’t believe the government can’t do that. I doubt there is any one on Tri-County’s staff that is an expert in weatherization. Indeed, Tri-County’s employment page currently lists three positions for people in weatherization. Basically we the taxpayers have given 8.5 million dollars for weatherization to a non-profit that is not an expert in weatherization. These community action organizations need much more scrutiny. Certainly their CEOs should not be elected leaders (like Kelly) or extremely active (like Kelly) in the political process — the very process that leads to them getting awarded multimillion dollar grants.

  3. Who knew? says:

    Someone needs to look at the Tri-county payroll, how many people Kelly employs, and what are the top, including Kelly, salaries?

  4. new2cumberland says:

    Calhoun,
    Sorry, my math was a bit off—I was going by the approximately 500K over 155 homes. I read the report once, I’ll have to read it again( is it me or are these things written with the intent that a lay person has a hard time deciphering them??)
    What really seemed off-putting to the taxpayer was the weak explanations at the end —I think the one for the refrigerator with the extra cost for a premium color-Wow!
    Are these homes that are being upgraded privately owned?? Please tell me with Tri-County being involved, the gov’t wouldn’t allow this on rentals,would they?

  5. new2cumberland says:

    Oh and one other thing—-why all the costs for vehicles?? Are they actual purchases or car allowances for the contractors? It looked like the recipients of the grant were buying new cars/trucks gps?? Is that correct? And why not come forth in the report and say how each agency spent the money they we granted–this seems like 101 to me. Or do you have to go through FOIA or something for that info.

  6. WuLi says:

    One possible reason public tax dollars are funneled to non-profits such as Tri-County is that neither this information, nor the agencies are subject to OPRA. The only info that you can see via OPRA would be documents that had county or state involvement.

    The best you can hope for is a FOIA, and don’t hold your breath. The federal government is not subject tot he same rules as New Jersey municipalities – the feds will take up to two years to get you any information that you would be entitled to see.

    The best tact is to hold our elected officials responsible – force them to put the heat on these organizations. Al Kelly received close to $170,000 in compensation in that year. Vice President Ed Bethea received about $130,000. Susan James, Housing VP, received almost $102,000, and Ronald Johnson, Director of Finance, received almost $92,000. It seems that Tri-County is all about eliminating poverty, one employee at a time.

  7. LC says:

    I’m confused. How is Al Kelly “ripping off” taxpayers? If the funding isn’t being misappropriated then that assertion is completely off base. The program requires people to apply for funding. If homeowners don’t apply, how is it Kelly’s fault?

  8. new2vineland says:

    I agree with LC, What is the problem, Tri-Counties rate of completing the work under the grant is the same as the rest of the grantees. Tri-County only recieves the funds for the grant when the work is completed, they aren’t sitting on the rest of the funds.You guys are constantly looking for conspiracies.

  9. WuLi says:

    All one need do is check Tri-County’s record – they have had employees convicted of misusing funds – they are top heavy with administration with way too much money going towards salaries and little to show for it. This seems to be endemic with these sorts of agencies across the board. the fact is – that money is encumbered for a purpose. Tri-County failed to deliver on their promise (as did the others) and that money sits – useless for other projects that actually might benefit somebody.

    Meanwhile, the people in charge of the program still collect their salaries and benefits all the while performing abysmally.

  10. new2cumberland says:

    In the report on pages 6 & 7 the audit declares that there were agencies with audit fees over 10K which received reimbursement for $32,700.00 although no services had been performed. So with this evidence I am not really sure how this can be construed as just looking for conspiracy. True, due to the wording of the report no particular agencies are named. This I really don’t understand. Also 35% of the grant money was forwarded to each agency for working capital as well. Isn’t there a grant administrator who gets paid to administer the grant? And this applies to all of the agencies within the grant. 3-county is probably looming larger because it is the local agency, and did in fact receive most of the money. The argument that 3-county is not doing anything more wasteful than other agencies???? Really???

  11. WuLi says:

    I don’t know if it is as much a conspiracy as it is a tangled web with all the same names and faces. The Tri-County website (http://www.tricountycaa.org/) is designed by Townsware Computers.

    Townsware computers is one of the contributors to Lou’s failed NACO campaign, fake PAC.

    The owner of Townsware is Sameer Boutros, who receives benefits and salary for being a CCUA commissioner. You would think that Al Kelly, mayor of Bridgeton would insist that these commissioners on the CCUA cease taking pay and benefits since the CCUA has had to raise rates for Bridgeton and Upper Deerfield. But then, why would Kelly try to stop a friend from collecting pay and health benefits from the public trough for a “job” that only requires a couple hours attendance every month?

  12. Deep Throat says:

    Boutros has moved to Upper Deerfield into expensive diggs. He is supposed to represent Bridgeton on the CCUA. He should resign. Bridgeton now has only 3 commissioners out of 9 on the CCUA. Bridgeton is 85% of the flow. Bridgeton has held the majority of the seats until Magazzu screwed it up.
    Word on the street is that Mayor Kelly wants to dissolve the CCUA. Upper Deerfield may support the effort. Time to stop milking the sewer users .

  13. Calhoun says:

    Carl’s point about OPRA is excellent. The government’s giving these huge sums of money to nonprofits like Tri-County allows the money trail to be cloaked, since one cannot OPRA Tri-County records. Some will argue that in such situations the government can ask for just about anything from Tri-County or perform an audit.

    And this is where Kelly’s omnipresence on the political scene becomes problematic. Kelly is Mayor of Bridgeton, Chairman of the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, and maintains his Progress Through Partnerships campaign fund (used for his and his council slate’s election as well as assisting the Pepitone and Thompson freeholder campaign). It is well known he is a critical GOTV person for the Ds. A recent newspaper article in the AC Press declared him the most powerful person in the County.

    Now let’s say you’re a Democratic state legislator with broad oversight over the stimulus money being sent to the states from the feds. Given Kelly’s political power and ties are you really in a good position to be carefully scrutinizing how Kelly’s Tri-County is spending the government’s money or might it be to your advantage to look the other way? Call me cynical but I think there is a strong incentive for the latter.

    Another thing that bothers me is Kelly’s new title as the most powerful man in the County. I don’t dispute the title. However, it does show how far this county has sunk, its most powerful person being someone in charge of a non-profit that derives most of its income from the government thanks to the County’s horrendous poverty rate.

  14. Calhoun says:

    Carl, besides the Tri-County website, Townsware — Sam Boutros’s company — also provides website services for the CCUA. I wonder if Townsware has a contract from CCUA, even though Boutros sits on the CCUA Board.

  15. Guess-Who says:

    Calhoun:
    In reference to Bridgeton Mayor A. Kelly,
    “declared him the most powerful person in the County”.

    There is only Speculation by a few individuals that BELIEVE this Non-Sense;
    I for one do NOT believe that he is that Powerful
    (The 2010 Freeholder Election is PROOF that his power is only a Figment of IMAGINATION’S)!

    There are Checks & Balance in Place to Monitor the Action[s] of these Officials here in Cumberland County, NJ.

    The Citizen[s] HERE in the County have the ABILITY to hold any of these Elected & Appointed Official[s] FULLY Accountable for their Action[s].

    Next on the LIST for the Citizen[s] in CC,NJ is to get the Governor Chris Christie to Dissolve these Authorities here in the County, like C.C.I.A., C.C.U.A. or any other APPOINTED Board.

    The State of NJ has to L{.}{.}K for ways where MONEY can be SAVED & the C0$T to Operate these Appointed Board[s] with the BENEFITS that Members RECEIVE is just the BEGINNING of Changes that are WARRANTED & the PUBLIC is DEMANDING.

    The Misconception of the Word POWER for Elected or Appointed Official[s] speaks Volumes and is a tell tale of the Problem[s] that PLAQUE this Community, some believe the word carries a lot of WEIGHT.

    The Reality is;
    The [PUBLIC has the POWER] to make any CHANGES that are NECESSARY to ENSURE that they will always retain this POWER.

    ———————————————-
    CHECKS and BALANCE make the County a Better Place

  16. Guess-Who says:

    Magazzuwatch could sure use a Tune/Song about NOW:

  17. Calhoun says:

    A correction. As reported in today’s Cumberland News the $4K donation was the other way around, the Pepitone/Thompson campaign contributing to Progress Through Partnerships and not the other way around as is reported here (my bad).

    However, in this case, I don’t think the direction of the money flow is relevant as contributions in either direction show that the two groups are politically in bed together. Who’s paying whom is less critical.

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