Category Archives: Camden News Archives

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 NJ.com)

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.

 

Original Source: http://www.phillymag.com/business/2015/07/29/virtua-cooper-lawsuit/#Z4XmTosLhDHxt8sj.99

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.”

RELATED

 

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.

MORE COVERAGE

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.
Original Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/nj/20070410_Bryants_first_public_words__Not_guilty.html#v5xFc3w5YkW96oCQ.99

Former New Jersey State Senator Wayne R. Bryant and Attorney Eric D. Wisler Indicted on Corruption Charges

U.S. Attorney’s Office

September 27, 2010

 

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Acting United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, MICHAEL B. WARD, the Special Agent in Charge for the New Jersey Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and VICTOR W. LESSOFF, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CID”), announced today an Indictment charging former New Jersey State Senator WAYNE R. BRYANT and attorney ERIC D. WISLER with multiple counts of fraud and bribery.

According to the Indictment filed today in Newark federal court:

BRYANT was a State Senator representing New Jersey’s 5th District, which included Camden, and served as Chairman of the Senate’s Budget and Appropriations Committee. BRYANT also was a named, equity partner at a law firm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. WISLER was a named, equity partner at a law firm in Teaneck, New Jersey. Among WISLER’s clients was a private equity investment firm located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a management firm that undertook several “brownfields,” redevelopment projects in New Jersey by which contaminated land was to be made suitable for development.

In 2004, WISLER arranged for his firm to enter into a retainer agreement with BRYANT’s firm, which called for BRYANT’s firm to be paid a retainer fee of $8,000 per month. The payment was purportedly to cover fees for legal work relating to land use, condemnation, and other matters for a development project in the New Jersey Meadowlands. In truth and in fact, however, the payments made under the retainer agreement were actually bribes paid in exchange for official action that BRYANT took in favor of the various redevelopment projects undertaken by WISLER and his clients, including a proposed $1.2 billion redevelopment of Camden’s Cramer Hill neighborhood, which sat in BRYANT’s legislative district. BRYANT rendered his approval and support for this project despite significant backlash among his constituents regarding the use of eminent domain and relocation of residents in that neighborhood. BRYANT also expressed support for funding from the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Camden’s Economic Recovery Board, whose function was to allocate $175 million in funding that Camden received under the 2002 Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act (“MRERA”), which BRYANT sponsored.

BRYANT provided a consistent vote for legislation that was favorable to WISLER’s clients, such as a 2004 amendment to the Redevelopment Area Bond Financing Law that facilitated bond financing for the Meadowlands project, appropriations legislation by which the Meadowlands project received more than $200 million in loans from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (“NJEIT”) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), and “fast-track” legislation that required the NJDEP and other state agencies to expedite their review of applications for permits or have those permits deemed granted. BRYANT also sponsored a bill in 2005 for a $112 million loan from NJEIT to be used for the Meadowlands project.

BRYANT’s firm was paid approximately $192,000 in fees between August 2004 and August 2006. However, no actual legal work was performed under the retainer agreement. No attorneys at BRYANT’s firm performed any services under the retainer agreement, and no attorneys at WISLER’s firm interacted with attorneys of BRYANT’s firm with respect to the Meadowlands Project.

According to the Indictment, both WISLER and BRYANT took steps to conceal the existence of the retainer agreement. Despite working extensively with colleagues at his law firm on a variety of matters pertaining to the Cramer Hill and Meadowlands developments, WISLER failed to inform any of them about the existence of the retainer agreement. WISLER specifically drafted the retainer agreement to be for work on certain phases of the project for which the invoices were not reviewed by the public agencies that loaned money to the project. BRYANT failed to inform Camden’s Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) of the retainer agreement, despite his friendship with the COO and regularly interacting with the COO on matters regarding Cramer Hill.

In addition, the Indictment alleges that WISLER and BRYANT caused false invoices to be drafted that fraudulently indicated that BRYANT’s firm was performing legal services under the retainer agreement. These invoices formed the basis for false and fraudulent billings to the Raleigh investment firm by which it paid the retainer fees to BRYANT’s firm through WISLER’s firm.

The Indictment charges BRYANT and WISLER with twenty counts of honest services mail fraud and one count of receiving bribes. It charges BRYANT with extorting payments under color of official right. It also charges WISLER with 17 counts of mail and wire fraud in connection with the false and fraudulent billings to his client. If convicted, BRYANT and WISLER face a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison for each count, except for the receiving bribes charge, for which each faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. The Indictment also seeks the forfeiture of the approximately $192,000 in illicit payments made to BRYANT.

This investigation is being supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York due to the recusal of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. PREET BHARARA was named Acting United States Attorney for the case under Title 28, United States Code, Section 515.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS in this case. He also thanked the New Jersey Department of Labor and Public Safety, and the Criminal Investigators assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for their outstanding work.

This case is being supervised by the Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Assistant U.S. Attorneys JAMES B. NOBILE, BRADLEY A. HARSCH and JENNY R. KRAMER of the Special Prosecutions Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, are in charge of the prosecution.

Original Source: https://www.fbi.gov/newark/press-releases/2010/nk092710.htm