Category Archives: Camden News Archives


Lawrence Christopher Skufca


My name is Lawrence Christopher Skufca. I am a civil rights advocate and community organizer in the Camden, New Jersey area. I hold a Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law; a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University; and an A.A. in the Humanities from Tri-County Technical College. I passed the New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Bar Examinations in 2011.

While attending Rutgers Law School, I was a strong vocal critic of the concentration of political and economic power which had coalesced in Camden, arguing that self-interested economic policies had created a perpetual recession for the City’s residents. I advocated for reform of the existing political patronage system which was pilfering public funds received from state and federal grants earmarked for the City’s economic recovery. I championed giving the residents a voice in the economic decisions affecting their daily lives and putting an end to the financially incestuous relationship between local powerbrokers, elected officials and Camden’s public institutions which served to obstruct the public interest.

Post-graduation I became active in local politics and organizing community information campaigns. I argued that local business leaders enriching themselves at the expense of the taxpayers, an evaporating tax base, a crumbling municipal infrastructure and the absence of economic opportunities had combined to create inhumane conditions for the City’s residents. I worked as a consultant for primary challengers seeking to change the existing political culture and assisted them in diagnosing the problems Camden faced. I became a thorn in the side of those seeking to exploit the financially vulnerable and stifle public dissent.

The last decade has been bittersweet. My own personal efforts have amounted to little more than being an annoying Gadfly which irritates the hides of those in power.  But my persistent buzz introduced the idea that change was possible and encouraged others to join in the struggle.  One can dare to hope that their buzz will create a persistent drone which further serves to erode the foundations of the established patronage system.  One can dare to dream that the City Invincible will once again live up to its name.

Cooper Hospital

Listing Cooper’s Board Deals Companies Associated With The Hospital’s Trustees Have Gotten Some Of Its Largest Contracts

By Maureen Graham and Frederick Cusick (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Cooper Hospital Releases Report Citing $18.8 Million In Fraud

by Frederick Cusick and Maureen Graham (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Business Owner Pleads: Thomas J. Damadio Said He Helped Cooper Hospital Executives Launder Stolen Money

By Larry Lewis (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Cooper Hospital Fined in Medicare Fraud Case

By Roslyn Rudolph (Philadelphia Enquirer)

Cooper Health System Pays $12.6 Million To Resolve False Claims Lawsuit Over Kickbacks Paid To Referring Physicians

PR Newswire

The Troubles at Cooper Continue, Part 1: Historical Background

by Roy M. Poses, M.D. (Health Care Renewal)

The Troubles at Cooper Continue, Part 2: Since 2005

by Roy M. Poses, M.D. (Health Care Renewal)

Powerful Medicine: How George Norcross Used His political Muscle to Pump Up Once-Ailing Cooper Hospital

by James Osborne and Craig R. McCoy (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Christie’s Chief of Staff Headed to Cooper Hospital Job

by Maddie Hanna and Andrew Seidman (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Christie Signs Bill Giving EMS contract to Hospital Chaired by Power Broker Norcross

By Susan K. Livio (NJ Advance Media for

N.J., Christie Sued Over Law that Allows Just Three Paramedic Providers Statewide

by Jared Shelly (Philadelphia Magazine)

Camden Tent City Bulldozed (2014)

On May 13, 2014, Gov. Chris Christie ordered that a tent city in Camden, N.J. be bulldozed and its residents evicted. State Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro said the push was prompted by complaints, namely from Cooper University Hospital. “They won’t have the option to come back as they have in the past,” said Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen. Homeless residents of the tent city discuss the eviction from their tent community and the uncertainty surrounding what comes next.

RT News: Camden

After decades of public corruption in Camden, New Jersey, the city announced it could no longer afford its own police force and would reduce costs by ending its collective bargaining agreement with the police union. Despite statements by Mayor Dana Redd and Police Chief Scott Thompson that the only way to “put more boots on the ground” was to reduce salaries, Camden announced that it would only be rehiring half of the former officers as part of the new county police force. The new department will be prohibited from unionizing and the qualifications for new applicants were lowered by placing a one year moratorium on civil service testing.

George Norcross: Tales Dubbed “Bogeyman” Bunk are Rooted in Reality (2011)

Brian Donohue with Ledger Live examines how the battle over the pension and benefits reform bill passed by the New Jersey legislature raised questions about the influence of South Jersey Democratic leader George Norcross. Assertions by Norcross ally Sen. Steve Sweeney that Norcross plays little role in the legislative process contrast sharply with Norcross’ own words, as captured in 2001 recordings made as part of a state attorney general’s office investigation.

N.J., Christie Sued Over Law that Allows Just Three Paramedic Providers Statewide

Virtua says the law gives Cooper exclusive control of emergency medical services in Camden.

Virtua has sued the state of New Jersey and Gov. Chris Christie in an effort to stop a new law that gives Cooper University Hospital exclusive control of emergency medical services in Camden.

On July 6, Christie signed legislation making three hospitals (Cooper University Hospital in Camden, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and University Hospital in Newark) exclusive providers of advanced life support services and mobile intensive care unit services in the regions where they are located.

But Virtua President and CEO Richard P. Miller argues that it’s been providing paramedic services to Camden for 38 years and has been “a standard bearer of quality for the state, with faster response times for the City of Camden residents than recommended through New Jersey Department of Health’s EMS Blue Ribbon Panel.”

He also said “Virtua paramedics are the only provider in the state approved to administer medications to assist with intubation in the field without a physician’s order, a reflection of their skill and expertise.”

Capital Health System is also a plaintiff in the suit and is suing the state because Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital has been granted the same permission in Hamilton, N.J.

Filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Law Division in Mercer County, the lawsuit alleges that the new law would “result in the piecemeal and inefficient delivery” of advanced life support services and disrupt Virtua’s and Capital Health’s long-standing relationship with the communities.

“Simply put, the Act will not create better coordination of services, contain the costs of [advanced life support] and [basic life support] services, or increase the quality of these services,” the lawsuit alleges.

A Cooper spokesperson declined to comment. Philip Lebowitz, an attorney for Virtua, did not return a request for comment.


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Camden School Closings Illegal, NJEA Asserts

Hespe urged to rescind approval of Renaissance Schools

Published on Monday, April 20, 2015

NJEA attorneys today filed a motion imploring State Education Commissioner David Hespe to rescind his approval of the corporate takeover of four public schools in Camden and reopening them this fall as Renaissance Schools.

NJEA believes that the closures of Bonsall Elementary School, Molina Elementary School, McGraw Elementary School, and East Camden Middle School violate the Urban Hope Act and the state’s No Child Left Behind Act waiver.  Under the Urban Hope Act, Renaissance Schools may only open in newly constructed buildings or substantially renovated facilities.

“The school district is attempting to circumvent the terms and spirit of the Urban Hope Act to allow the corporate takeover of Camden Public Schools,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer.  “The district is merely waiting until the end of the school year to do superficial renovations, at which time it will simply call these schools Renaissance Schools so they can be turned over to private management companies.”



The Urban Hope Act, which originally passed in 2012 but was twice amended, allowed Camden, Trenton, and Newark the opportunity to open up to four “Renaissance Schools” in newly constructed or substantially renovated facilities.  Camden is the only one that proceeded.  Unlike charter schools, Renaissance Schools are approved by the local Board of Education and must enroll students from the local neighborhood.  Renaissance schools also receive 95 percent of district  per pupil funding, five percent more than charter schools.

In addition to violating the Urban Hope Act, NJEA argues that the closures of these schools also violate the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver application. The waiver requires schools to address performance issues through the Regional Achievement Center (RAC).  Further, the closures violate the state’s turnaround regulations, which call for a three-year turnaround period and do not allow for the schools to be handed over to charter school operators during that time frame.

NJEA believes that the closures and transfers of these schools to corporate entities were done improperly and without the input of stakeholders.

“Parents deserve to have a say before their children are transferred to a Renaissance School, and students and teachers have the right to be treated with fairness and dignity,” added Steinhauer.  “All of the people who are directly impacted by these decisions were left out of the conversation. Meanwhile the school district is handing property owned by the taxpayers over to a corporate entity. These actions must be stopped.”

Bryant’s first public words: ‘Not guilty’

After his latest court appearance in Trenton yesterday, State Sen. Wayne R. Bryant gave his characteristic blank stare to reporters asking him about the charges of fraud and political corruption facing him.

But for the judge, he lodged his first public statement on the matter.

He pleaded not guilty.

Bryant, who was indicted March 29 while on vacation in Mexico, has been charged with using his influence to collect three no-show jobs with public bodies that nearly tripled the value of his pension.


During yesterday’s 20-minute, largely procedural hearing in federal court, the Camden Democrat was placed under oath before answering questions about his educational background and whether he had taken any alcohol or drugs that would prevent him from understanding the proceedings.

Bryant, 59, then waived the reading of the indictment against him and entered his plea. A trial date was set for Jan. 28.

Defense lawyers said they expected to review “voluminous” amounts of evidence in the case, and the judge set several dates for filing motions and conferences on the case’s progress.

Bryant’s co-defendant, R. Michael Gallagher, went through the same process and also entered a not-guilty plea. Gallagher, former dean of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, has been charged with helping get Bryant a no-show job at the school.

He is also charged in a separate fraud scheme to pay himself bonuses. Gallagher, 59, resigned from his position in 2006.

Bryant, the former head of the powerful Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, is accused of steering millions of dollars to the osteopathic school after getting his $35,000-a-year, part-time job there.

He also held positions at Rutgers University-Camden and the Gloucester County Board of Social Services, two jobs in which prosecutors said Bryant did little or no work. He held all three jobs, as well as his seat in the Senate, from 2003 to 2005, the last three years before Bryant would have been eligible for his public pension.

In those three years, he increased the value of his pension from $28,000 to $81,000, prosecutors said.

By the time the trial date arrives, Bryant will have left behind his 30-year career in public life. He announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection.
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