Main Menu | NJ Bicycle Routes | Great Jersey City Stories | New Jersey History | Hudson County Politics | Hudson County Facts | New Jersey Mafia | Hal Turner, FBI Informant | Email this Page
Removing Viruses and Spyware | Reinstalling Windows XP | Reset Windows XP or Vista Passwords | Windows Blue Screen of Death | Computer Noise | Don't Trust External Hard Drives! | Jersey City Computer Repair
Advertise Online SEO - Search Engine Optimization - Search Engine Marketing - SEM Domains For Sale George Washington Bridge Bike Path and Pedestrian Walkway Corona Extra Beer Subliminal Advertising Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Pet Care The Tunnel Bar La Cosa Nostra Jersey City Free Books

Misjudgments by an Acting Governor

Originally appeared as the New York Times lead editorial on Thursday, March 29, 2001

As the replacement for New Jersey's former governor, Christie Whitman, who joined the Bush administration two months ago, Donald DiFrancesco has rocketed from the relative obscurity of the New Jersey Legislature to political prominence. The question is whether he is ready for it. After Mr. DiFrancesco, the State Senate president, took on the high-profile job of acting governor in addition to his Senate duties, several lapses in judgment have been brought to light. These include two questionable financial transactions in which he participated and a mystifying blindness to the ethical missteps of his initial nominee for state treasurer.

In the latter case, the acting governor failed to respond properly this week to concerns raised about Isabel Miranda, his first choice for state treasurer. Mr. DiFrancesco tried to railroad her nomination through his old Senate colleagues, who wisely delayed their vote on Monday because of accusations - which she disputes - that she was fired from Citibank after misusing her expense account for personal trips. Even more troubling, the governor and Ms. Miranda overlooked a clear conflict of interest posed by her decision to take only an unpaid leave from her present job at U.S. Trust Company of New Jersey, a subsidiary of Charles Schwab, instead of resigning completely to take the state job. The state treasurer oversees billions of dollars in investments of potential interest to U.S. Trust and Schwab. Ms. Miranda yesterday decided to step down, thus removing the conflict of interest problem. But Mr. DiFrancesco showed an alarming indifference to the requirements for holding public office.

Earlier, within weeks after becoming acting governor, Mr. DiFrancesco, a Republican, was forced to defend two questionable transactions in which he received financial help from friends or companies doing business with the state while he was in a position to help them as Senate president. Mr. DiFrancesco has denied any personal wrongdoing, saying the financial assistance helped him bail out his relatives in several real estate ventures. But in one case, he borrowed $575,000 from an uncle and close friends at a below-market interest rate of 5 percent. Two of the friends have been longtime appointees to state commissions, and one of these two friends was also later awarded a subcontract for state auto inspections valued at more than $3 million.

Another transaction involved a $225,000 payment Mr. DiFrancesco received from the state's largest homebuilder, whose projects often require legislative or regulatory approval. Mr. DiFrancesco has said there was nothing improper and that the money was an advance on his relatives' real estate project that was lost when the property was foreclosed for failure to pay property taxes. Both transactions, at the very least, display bad judgment for a public official who has held the most powerful job in the State Senate since 1992.

Jersey City History
Your Ancestors' Story
Asbury Park
Bruce Springsteen's Jersey Shore Rock Haven!

The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and The Central Railroad Terminal
Visit Liberty State Park!

Questions? Need more information about this Web Site? Contact us at:
297 Griffith St.
Jersey City, NJ 07307