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DiFrancesco confirms forgery of his signature on a 1989 mortgage

Originally appeared in The Associated Press on 3/30/01, 6:19 PM

Editor's Note: as late as yesterday afternoon, Donnie was still trying to get away with the fiction that he had never heard of the Bavosas!

Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco confirmed a published report Friday that his signature had been forged on mortgage documents intended to secure $95,000 in real estate loans in 1989 from officials in a garbage-hauling firm convicted of price fixing.

The acting governor said he knew no details of how the forgery occurred, who might have done it or whether prosecutors were asked to examine it as a possible crime.

The loan was sought by DiFrancesco's brother, Paul, who told The Star-Ledger of Newark the money was supposed to be for a real estate deal. Paul DiFrancesco told the newspaper he could not recall which deal the money was supposed to go to, and it turned out the loan was never finalized.

The Star-Ledger, however, reported in its Friday edition that the mortgage was on record in Union County. Such mortgages are often used to secure loans.

The acting governor said Friday he does not believe the mysterious transaction reflects on him in any way.

"I guess it raises questions but I certainly don't think it affects my credibility," he told news reporters in Lambertville. "That is something that is beyond my control that I had nothing to do with. No one points to anything that I had done or signed or reportedly benefitted from."

Tom Wilson, an aide to DiFrancesco, told the newspaper Paul DiFrancesco had placed a mortgage on a tract of land in Westfield that the brothers owned jointly. Wilson said Donald DiFrancesco was not consulted about the mortgage, and that he was angry when he learned of it later.

DiFrancesco later defaulted on the $1 million loan for a building he owned in Chatham property. Friends and family, including an engineer who has gotten contracts from state agencies, loaned DiFrancesco a total of $575,000 in 1993 to help him avoid bank seizure of the Chatham building, which the acting governor still owns.

The 1989 loan deal that involved the forgery was being arranged with Frank, Angelo, Patrick and Caesar Bavosa, all brothers, the Star-Ledger reported. The newspaper reported Angelo and Frank Bavosa were officers in Highway Disposal Corp., a waste hauling business convicted of conspiracy to fix prices in 1983.

Acting Gov. DiFrancesco said Thursday he had never met or heard of the Bavosas. Paul DiFrancesco and his cousin, Ernest, later defaulted on two other loans made to them by the Bavosas for a total of $200,000. The default prompted a lawsuit and Paul DiFrancesco's filing for bankruptcy.

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