My good friend and supplier of fine single malts strikes again. Haystacks Calhoun sent this little piece of reporting to me this morning.
Last summer Magazzu Watch reported on Lou’s new business venture, QES Energy. It was reported that the phones for this company didn’t work and that the website (qesenergy.com) had many typographical and grammatical errors. Given this, it was easy to dismiss QES as something that was done during a bender, like the tattoo on my ass, as opposed to a serious business venture.
However, QES cannot be dismissed. QES was present (Booths 1829, 1831, 1833) at the 95th Annual Conference of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities at the Atlantic City Convention Center held 16-18 November 2010 (njslom.org/95thconf/index.html). According to QES’s information in the directory of exhibitors, QES can “help in providing between 10-25% in the procurement of energy and lighting fixtures for municipal governments.” The contact info for the company no longer listed the no longer in service phone numbers nor did it cite the address for the company as 1120 E Landis Ave (one of Jane Jannarone’s Exit realty offices). Instead Lou’s cell number is given and the address cited is P.O. Box 812 in Vineland. Here are some others who have previously cited P.O. Box 812 in Vineland as their address: Cumberland County Democratic Organization, Vineland Democratic Committee, Committee to Elect Magazzu & Riley, EFO Rainear & Pepitone for Freeholder, EFO Thompson and Pepitone for Freeholder, Louis Magazzu (when making some campaign contributions), and Obermann Rebmann Maxwell (a law firm that used to employ Magazzu).
After Atlantic City, the QES roadshow moved on to Columbus Ohio for the 130th Annual Winter Conference of the of County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio (ccao.org) and County Engineers Association of Ohio (ceao.org) held 5-8 December 2010. At this conference, Lou Magazzu was scheduled to give the following lecture: “Utilizing Biologic Activity Enhancer to Lower Costs & Increase Sludge Quality.” Unfortunately, I could not be in Ohio to attend this undoubtedly scintillating lecture.
On the QES website there is a page devoted to a process known as Biological Activity Enhancer (BAE) that results in enhanced methane production. Last summer, I suggested that this process may involve Lou ordering large amounts of refried beans from La Mexicana restaurant. I can now report that my original suggestion was incorrect.
Biological Activity Enhancer (BAE) is legit, but it is not a product of QES. The product is made by Prodex, (prodexproducts.com) and, according to the company’s press releases BAE is “…a proprietary liquid organic formula. As proven through scientific studies and real world application, this material boosts renewable energy production and improves plant operational efficiency, reducing a plant’s carbon footprint.” The Landis and Cinnaminson Sewerage Authorities have used the BAE technology with impressive success. Both the QES and Prodex websites tout BAE as “the only proven organic bio-stimulant in the world today!” The QES website also claims “BAE has also been successfully used by restaurants to clean out grease traps without resorting to toxic chemicals.” However, I believe this is referring to the related product (based on the same technology) called Total Systems Solution (TSS) that is sold and marketed by Greenovative Technologies (greenovativetechnologies.com/index.php).
OK. So, Lou is clearly selling the BAE and TSS products developed by Prodex and Greenovative Technologies, each company a subdivision of JSH International (jshinternational.net; see the Action News video here). Further evidence of this is that JSH’s Facebook page invited people to Booth 1831 – one of the booths reserved by QES – to learn more about the company’s products.
JSH International was founded by Jirair S. Hovnanian (he died in 2007), founder of J.S. Hovnanian & Sons, developers located in Mount Laurel, with projects chiefly in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Cos. Jirair Hovnanian and family, including his brother Kevork, who founded what is now known as Hovnanian Enterprises the largest real estate company in New Jersey and one of the largest in the country, have fascinating life histories. They were born in Iraq, their parents being ethnic Armenians who fled to Iraq from the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) to escape persecution, and came to the U.S. following the Iraqi revolution in 1959.
Like all developers, the Hovnanians are politically connected. They contribute to both Democrat and Republicans causes. Of particular note, are the contributions to Louis Greenwald, Lou’s cousin, by Peter Hovnanian ($3,500 according to ELEC), son of Jirair. Given the Hovnanians’ work in and around Camden County there is, of course, a link with George Norcross III. One example nicely captured in an article by former state senator Alene Ammond (available at the PolitickerNJ Website; someone once delivered a severed pig’s head on the porch of the outspoken Ms. Ammond from Camden Co.): “Then there’s the questionable Cherry Hill-Hovnanian land deal. Hovnanian made millions within hours, having performed no site work on the property. Cherry Hill’s Mayor Bernie Platt borrowed $8.5M from Commerce Bank for this questionable transaction paying the developer more than the land was appraised for. Cherry Hill Taxpayers are still paying. Not surprisingly, George Norcross refuses to publicly release his Insurance Commissions related to public contracts. ‘No one’s business’ he says.” Hovnanian Enterprises, now run by Ara Hovnanian, son of Kevork Hovnanian (died in 2009), has previously partnered with real estate mogul and major Democratic Party donor Charles Kushner. Kushner would end up being convicted in 2005 of various crimes (illegal campaign contributions, witness tampering, tax evasion) exposed during the various scandals that sunk the McGreevey administration (for more on this see the compilation of relevant articles from the Bergen County Record at lenehan.org/McGreevey reprint.pdf).
Clearly Lou’s involvement with BAE/TSS is based on political ties. Now let’s look at another offering from QES – gsmart® technology. Again this is not a QES product. gsmart® is a product of Powerweb. Powerweb has offices in Camden and Philadelphia. Powerweb’s president is Lothar (Lou) Budike. Mr. Budike has contributed $5,500 to the Camden County Democratic Committee. The political connections here are pretty straightforward.
We all know that the Camden County Democratic political machine has been rapidly making inroads into Cumberland County and that this has resulted in Camden County interests often getting contracts from Cumberland County. Money flows from Camden County to help the Cumberland County Democratic pols and money from Cumberland County flows to politically connected business interests in and around Camden County. However, with Lou’s new business we’re seeing this influence potentially spread beyond politics. These outside interests have always helped Lou maintain his political power in the County. However, are these political connections now helping Lou make money with his new business? Lou is a lawyer. He is not an expert on alternative energy sources. Yet, he has a company that is focusing on exactly that.
Can there be any doubt that should Lou’s business prove successful it will not be because of his expertise in alternative energy but rather his expertise at developing political connections?