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Free Minds & Free Markets

Stossel Confronts Politicians About Corruption Allegations

Developer claims politicians blocked their project to favor a crony who helps the politicians.

An apartment developer paid millions for prime real estate in Edgewater, New Jersey, with a beautiful view of Manhattan. Nearly 2,000 apartments would be built. The developer also offered to build public parks, parking, a ferry terminal, and a pier, all at no cost to taxpayers.

But Edgewater's mayor, Michael McPartland, and city council said: No, you may not build!

That's not that unusual. Local officials often keep new developments out.

But in this case, they also voted to seize the developer's land using eminent domain. John Stossel asks: Why would they do that?

The developer says he knows. He filed a lawsuit alleging a "corrupt relationship" between politicians in Edgewater and an established developer, Fred Daibes. The lawsuit claims Daibes was upset because he wanted the property himself. "Daibes even directly threatened Plaintiff's representatives that they 'should have come to me in the beginning,'" the lawsuit states. "'I own and built this town. Now it will be condemned; I am your neighbor on all sides.'"

The lawsuit then lays out alleged corruption: The mayor lives in a Fred Daibes' apartment building, where he gets a subsidized rent (an accustation the mayor denies).

Four city council members also received loans from a Daibes-controlled bank. The lawyer for the plaintiff tells John Stossel that many have "ongoing relationships with [Daibes]. Jobs...undervalued rentals...loans for their business purposes through a bank that Mr. Daibes started and has the controlling interest in."

But the mayor and city council say they have a legitimate reason for blocking the development. It "would kill the infrastructure. It's just too much," McPartland told The New York Times.

But then why did they approve an even bigger development for Fred Daibes? It's twice as tall as the project the city council blocked.

That sounds like possible corruption to Stossel.

Neither Daibes, the mayor, nor anyone on the city council agreed to be interviewed for this story. So Stossel went to a town council meeting to see if the politicians would answer questions.

"Are you on the take?" Stossel asks. He then lays out some of the allegations. But the council members and mayor don't respond to the issues. Their lawyer criticized Stossel's "objectionable tone" and advised the mayor not to comment.

"You've had your time. You may sit down," the mayor eventually tells Stossel.

That was that.

Developers can't tell other developers "you can't build here" unless they have cronies in government, Stossel points out. That's not capitalism, that's crony capitalism. Or corruption.

That harms people who now won't be able to live in apartments near Manhattan. It harms the developer who loses a multi-million dollar investment. It harms citizens of Edgewater who lose out on free parks and other amenities.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel, his independent production company, Stossel Productions, and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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  • Rich||

    Their lawyer criticized Stossel's "objectionable tone"

    "Why, it sounds like he's retarded!"

  • Illocust||

    I mean, these guys do legitimately need to be questioned, but asking "Are you on the take" directly, is in the same vein of public questions as "when did you stop beating your wife". There is a built in assumption to the question ethnic would have me refusing to answer ina public meeting as well. No matter what answer you give, acknowledging the question looks bad.

  • Rich||

    No matter what answer you give, acknowledging the question looks bad.

    But enough about the 2020 Census.

  • Libertymike||

    Well, if you are in the public sector, perhaps you should embrace some humility and understand that the public sector has been, and continues to be, rife with corruption.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""I mean, these guys do legitimately need to be questioned, but asking "Are you on the take" directly, is in the same vein of public questions as "when did you stop beating your wife". ""

    Not really.

    Asking, "when did you stop being on the take" is analogous to "when did you stop beating your wife".

    Are you on the take? The answer can be no.

  • Sevo||

    "The answer can be no."
    That possibility does exist.

  • Longtobefree||

    In NJ?

  • Bubba Jones||

    If a New Jersey politician says he isn't on the take, then his patrons might kill him.

  • gormadoc||

    The assumption in "are you on the take?" is that they could be. The assumption in "when did you stop beating your wife?" is that they did. One ascribes capability, the other culpability.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I disagree. Simply answering "no" to "Are you on the take?" doesn't look bad. Not answering the question looks bad.

    Frankly, these guys look very corrupt. And they should be investigated by the FBI.

    The mere fact that a developer is before them requesting approvals to develop, while they're doing business with that developer (loans from his bank, under market rent - which ought to be easy to show if one can learn what the rent is) means the ethical thing to do would be to recuse themselves from any request.

    Further, the fact that Edgewater wants to seize property via eminent domain, also suggests corruption because they can avoid all the legal costs of using eminent domain, and just buy some property (and I'd bet what they really want to do, is sell it to Dabies so he can eventually develop it). What a waste for 11 government employees, to use land where hundreds of people would like to use it for a nice looking place, instead of the way the government keeps up its property.

    These guys look like Tony Sopranos, but in government where they can legally steal and also steal via corruption.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Once upon a time I owned a shocked face. Unfortunately it got completely worn out from overuse. That only thing I have left is a mild dismay face so I'm wearing that now.

  • SQRLSY One||

    And my outrage gland is worn out, too!!!

  • Don't look at me.||

    My outrageous gland is not.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Rageous is what I call it when it's out

  • Unable2Reason||

    My outrage gland is swollen, and tender to the touch. My doctor has told me to stop picking at it.

  • Rich||

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    This is what happens when porn gets normalized.

  • Jerryskids||

    They stole that idea from Donald Trump.

  • ||

    That's just a freaking tragedy...

  • Jerryskids||

    Forget it Jake, it's Jerseytown.

  • Jerryskids||

    Although, come to think of it, I do have to wonder about Edgewater having a garbage service, I thought all the waste hauling in Jersey was controlled by the Legitimate Businessman's Social Club.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    I hear you can get a great Manhattan mixed at that club.

  • JWatts||

    I'm sure the FBI will get right on this. Oh wait never mind .. there are bigger fish to fry.

  • tlapp||

    Not bigger fish, just bigger butts to cover.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The lawsuit then lays out alleged corruption: The mayor lives in a Fred Daibes' apartment building, where he gets a subsidized rent (an accustation the mayor denies).

    Four city council members also received loans from a Daibes-controlled bank. The lawyer for the plaintiff tells John Stossel that many have "ongoing relationships with [Daibes]. Jobs...undervalued rentals...loans for their business purposes through a bank that Mr. Daibes started and has the controlling interest in."

    I wish them luck with their lawsuit, but something tells me this Daibes scumbag probably has some judges in his pocket too.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    What's the point of being rich if you can't buy a town?

  • Don't look at me.||

    +1 Biff Tannen

  • R. K. Phillips||

    Unless Daibes has ALL the judges in his pocket, it doesn't matter.

  • emkcams||

    A friends' aunt-in-law died several years ago and my friend went out to clean up and sell the house. The front walk needed fixing and he was told by the city (it was in the north of New Jersey) that to get it to pass inspection, he would have to use a certain contractor. The fix was evidently simple and he could have done it himself in an afternoon (he is handy). It cost him around $1500. That is New Jersey (I lived there for just under a decade); everyone has their hand in the till (except people like you and I).

  • Juice||

    And people wonder why places like Camden and Trenton are such shitholes. You can't do anything to fix the place up without paying double or triple for everything. And then there are the taxes...

  • BYODB||

    I'll say it: I love Stossel and won't apologize for the man-love. One of the best writers / idea men at Reason.

  • Juice||

    that's crony capitalism. Or otherwise knows as corruption

  • inotice||

    This dosnt surprise me at all. I live in Connecticut. I had to deal with devious developers, crooked bankers, crooked city mayors and town officials (from 2 different municipalities), other people that I would rather not mention, developer bankruptcies, millions lost and decades of litigation. This is just one of many developments (on the water) in my state. I thought this was normal. One thing is for sure for sure--the governments were involved in all of it. See Stratford and Bridgeport.

  • gamegame||

    Your article completely convinced me. Thank you for sharing. slope

  • No Yards Penalty||

    In my Left Coast Canuckistani city, you can't cut down a tree - or trim branches beyond a certain thickness - without city hall's permission. How do you get that permission? Well, first you have to hire an arborist to examine the tree and tell you which branches are eligible for trimming. Which arborist? The one city hall recommends of course. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
    Your. Own. Gawddamn. Tree.

  • IceTrey||

    Remember when liberals stood against The Man? Then they learned being The Man is very lucrative.

  • Longtobefree||

    You don't own that.

  • BlondeJustice||

    We in Arizona don't have tree-trimming issues. We trim them how we want them or hire someone to do the job and they aren't union.

  • Mark22||

  • ||

    Stossel has balls.

    Where are the coward sycophants at the NYT or New Yorker who should be doing this dirty work anyway?

  • BlondeJustice||

    They're too busy chasing fake dossiers paid for by the Demwits.

  • DaliaDestiny||

    very good post thanks admin good post
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    nice post

  • Gerald4||

    Refer to the Houston Chronicle "HISD to rebid contracts after audit finds lax process" By Ericka Mellon - Thursday March 12, 2015, and to "Ex-HISD trustee Marshall liable for up to $2.1 million" By Gabrielle Banks, January 26, 2017

    Our local elected and appointed Houston Independent School District (HISD) and Houston Community College (HCC) officials and administrators have probably observed and adopted the Federal Government (Chicago type) methods of getting "PAY TO PLAY" local and US federal Treasury money (Solyndra & CGI Federal) into the HISD and HCC politicians pockets via political contributions and bribes to obtain no-bid type contracts, real estate agent commissions, and then HISD and HCC officials implemented these federal government methods of getting themselves tax collected HISD and HCC money into HISD and HCC board members and HISD and HCC Bureaucrat's pockets in payment for awarding no-bid government contracts, job orders, and etc. to enrich those that "PAY TO PLAY."

    "PAY TO PLAY" no-bid work orders are awarded to job-order contractors when they provide political campaign contributors, perks, and various other benefits to elected and appointed HISD and HCC school district officials.

    This takes tax money from the schools and places that money into the pockets of our local elected officials.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    Just need the Right Top Men

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Later that day in the mayor's office:

    "I want everything there is to know on that little faggot mustache prick! Crawl up his motha's ass to find out any fuckin' dirt you can get. I sweahz I'm gonna cut him down! That fuckin' prick!"


    *snorts cocaine and throws vodka bottle across the room*


    "I'll fuckin' kill the prick! Who does he think he's talkin' to? That little fuck. I'll fuckin' bulldoze his goddamn fuckin' house!"

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