October 4, 1994 |
Two government relations consultants, one of whom is also the superintendent of highways for Gloucester County, were indicted yesterday along with a former sales manager for an international gaming concern in an elaborate kickback and money-laundering scheme. The 19-count indictment charges that the former sales manager for GTECH Corp., a Rhode Island gaming firm that operates the New Jersey State Lottery, solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks in the last two years from the two consultants, who did little or no work for their pay. The two men's firm, Benchmark Group Inc., of Linwood, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts from GTECH, the indictment said.
October 5, 1994 |
This past summer, Gloucester County Roads Superintendent Joseph LaPorta looked the county freeholders in the eye and told them that even though his personal records had been subpoenaed by the FBI, he was not a target of a federal investigation. On Monday, LaPorta and two others were named in a 19-count indictment charging LaPorta with bribery and money-laundering in connection with a scheme involving GTECH, a Rhode Island firm that manages the state lottery. LaPorta said in an interview yesterday that he had told the truth and that he was "shocked" on hearing of his indictment.
January 31, 1997 |
What is probably Gloucester County's longest-running personnel dispute became longer yesterday when Gloucester County Superior Court Judge Samuel DeSimone ruled that county freeholders should hold a hearing on whether to reinstate suspended highways director Joe LaPorta. LaPorta, who sued the county for his reinstatement earlier this month, had hoped DeSimone would order the freeholders to give him his job back. In 1994, LaPorta was suspended without pay from his roughly $66,000-a-year job following his indictment on 20 federal counts in a case involving the GTech lottery company.
October 11, 1996 |
Fresh from his acquittal in the Gtech fraud case, suspended Gloucester County highways director Joseph LaPorta said yesterday that he wanted to return to his job. "I'm going to fight to get my old job back," LaPorta, 57, of Monroe Township, said in an interview. "I was innocent . . . when the Board of Freeholders denied me due process. Now I've been proven innocent. " LaPorta was exonerated Oct. 4 of all charges in the lottery scandal. A federal jury convicted LaPorta's business partner, Steven Dandrea, and J. David Smith, the former national sales manager of Gtech Holdings Corp.
February 20, 1997 |
With less than two weeks until their much-anticipated hearing on whether to fire suspended highway director Joe LaPorta, the Gloucester County freeholders voted last night to name former Camden County Superior Court Judge Barry M. Weinberg as the hearing officer. Earlier this month, attorneys for the freeholder board filed a list of what they believe are 19 grounds for LaPorta's dismissal, ranging from using county time to do personal politicking to whether he misinformed the FBI during his trial on federal corruption charges.
December 19, 1996 |
Joe LaPorta won't know if he'll get his old job back until after Christmas. For the second time in two weeks, the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders met last night to decide the fate of the suspended county highway director, but no decision was made as to his reinstatement. "The board is very anxious to resolve this," said Gloucester County counsel Bruce Hasbrouck, adding that the freeholders used the closed-door session "to talk and look at it in terms of legal matters.
October 6, 1994 |
A federal investigation into kickbacks surrounding a proposed state lottery contract has widened to include a consultant to a pay phone company with contracts throughout the state, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the probe. The FBI is examining whether Steven Dandrea, who was indicted Monday in the lottery investigation, may have engineered kickbacks in connection with contracts he helped arrange for Public Phones of Pleasantville, the sources said. Dandrea said yesterday that, in his capacity as a consultant to Public Phones, he introduced the company to numerous governments and businesses throughout the state, including Camden County but was unaware of any investigation.
January 16, 1997 |
After four months, Joe LaPorta said he was tired of waiting. So yesterday he filed a motion in Gloucester County Superior Court, asking that the county show cause as to why he should not be reinstated to his job as county roads supervisor. LaPorta was suspended without pay by the county Board of Freeholders in 1994 following his indictment on 20 federal counts of bribery, money laundering, fraud and conspiracy in the GTech scandal. Last October, he was acquitted of all charges.
January 22, 1997 |
After months of hemming and hawing on both sides, a decision in the case of Joe LaPorta is nearing. Maybe. Last week, LaPorta decided to take Gloucester County to court - for the second time since his 1994 suspension as the county's roads supervisor. This week, with his court date rapidly approaching, the Gloucester County freeholders have called a special meeting tomorrow. And yesterday, at the behest of county officials, LaPorta's court date was pushed back a week, to Jan. 30. The goal of tomorrow's meeting - which will be a closed session - is to go over material that will be presented by Steve Trimboli, a special counsel from Livingston, who was hired by the county to investigate the transcript of LaPorta's trial, other new materials on LaPorta's work in the county, and his lawsuit.
June 4, 1998 |
On the seventh day of his reinstatement hearing, Joseph L. LaPorta yesterday wrapped up his defense against charges of misconduct during 15 years as the Gloucester County roads supervisor. LaPorta, 59, of Monroe, who was suspended from his $66,000-a-year job and wants it back, testified that the 19 counts set forth by the county as reasons for his dismissal were bogus. Among other charges, he stands accused of neglecting his Highway Department duties, using county equipment and employees to perform personal tasks, fabricating financial-disclosure statements, and improperly engaging in land transactions with vendors who did business with county offices.