Treasurer’s latest no-show has Prieto talking of subpoena power

TRENTON – Assembly Budget Committee Chair Vincent Prieto is out of patience with the Treasurer’s no-show routine, and is talking about investigating subpoena power to compel his appearance in the future.

Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff declined to appear before the Assembly Budget Committee Thursday to answer questions regarding oversight of Superstorm Sandy recovery funds. Prieto said they received a phone call a few hours ago he would not appear.

He said this is the third topic the Treasurer has declined to appear before the committee to discuss, the others being lottery privatization and fiscal year revenue updates.

“It is insulting to this committee,’’ Prieto said.  “It is insulting to the public.  He is the Treasurer of everyone in the state of New Jersey and we need answers.

“It blows my mind,’’ Prieto said.

The committee was slated to deal with two bills sponsored by Speaker Sheila Oliver regarding oversight of funding and appointing monitors as the billions of dollars in Sandy reconstruction money begins to arrive in New Jersey.

The hearing comes amid questions raised in a Star-Ledger story about a contract awarded to a debris removal company, AshBritt. Democrats claim the deal was a no-bid contract. The administration defended the move, denied it was a no-bid pact, and said it was based on a similar pact in Connecticut, and that New Jersey can access such deals through cooperative agreements.

The Star-Ledger also reported this week that the head of a lobbying firm employed by AshBritt plans to hold a fundraiser for Christie.

"Let’s be clear, this was not a ‘humanitarian’ act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American."
—U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)