January 14, 2006

Who is Martin Statfeld?

Please access the link below, cutting and pasteing it into your browser, to review the Executive session minutes of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders - 7/7/05 -than scroll down the page to: item 1. Personnel Matter


The following column appeared in the Westfield Leader in October 2005 asking the question:

Who is Statfeld and Why Garwood?

Admittedly I snooped, rather I should say I accessed, public records containing the opposing side’s campaign reports from last year on the state’s ELEC Web site. One can learn about any political campaign by viewing reports that the campaign treasurers file including those of local municipal races for council/committee seats. I had been curious for a number of years about how in my tiny town, the Borough of Garwood, the local Democratic committee could manage to put out numerous and expensive campaign pieces while the Republican committee did not. After all, we have the same resident base to tap into for monetary support and the number of party affiliated voters on both sides has been dropping over the last couple of years, being replaced by independent voters and they normally do not make campaign contributions.

Viewing the “D’s” Oct. 29 report of 2004 I noticed that there was but one contribution in the amount of $1,500 along with the name Martin Statfeld. I was puzzled. Who was this person? Why would someone with a home address in Livingston be giving $1,500 to Garwood’s Democratic candidates? Did someone work for this person? Did he have a business in town? What was the connection? I just closed the window and forgot about it until recently.

Someone asked me to research another town’s campaign filings and the same name popped and on the same date and for the same amount. I decided to see where else Martin Statfeld had bestowed his largess. Turned out that from July ’04 thru March ’05, in nine months, he had contributed $75,000 to various Democratic county committees in central Jersey, with $32,000 going to the UCDC during one 20-day period in the fall of ’04 alone. Now, I definitely had to find the link he had to Garwood.

Turns out that Martin Statfeld is quite the philanthropist sitting on the boards of many charitable organizations and also the Treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston. Kushner - as in Charles Kushner. The same Charles Kushner currently serving time in prison, who had set up his brother-in-law with a prostitute in a motel and then sent the tapes of the seamy encounter to his own sister in an attempt to suppress evidence. The same Charles Kushner who illegally contributed thousands to the McGreevey campaigns getting himself appointed to the Sports Authority. The same Charles Kushner who Jon Corzine partnered with in an attempt to purchase the NJ Nets. Well, it seems that Kushner along with Statfeld bailed McGreevey’s other buddy and chief of staff, Gary “Billboard” Taffet, out of a potential conflict of interest situation by purchasing his benefits company Highview Planning. Highview Planning is now Statfeld Vantage Insurance in Florham Park. What a small world.

Last month in Mercer County there was a lot of finger pointing going on about county committees on both sides of the aisle accepting what has been termed “dirty money” from convicted felons; Kushner is not the only one in question. There was also a move by the “D’s” to link Republican Doug Forrester with Kushner because Highview Planning had acted as an intermediary between municipalities and Forrester’s company Benecard, as in the case of Linden here in Union County and Statfeld Vantage Insurance. Obviously this is a woefully miserable attempt to make Forrester appear to be of the same ilk as Kushner.

So what does Martin Statfeld want with Garwood? It is highly unlikely that Mr. Statfeld feels some sort of patriotic need to help with the borough’s governance as he lives in a different county all together. And because of the demographics here in town, it is unlikely that he would feel a common bond with the residents. So, his interest could be business-driven or perhaps this Garwood donation, and others like it, could be some sort of wheeling plan to get the money into the county under the state’s regulatory radar. Could it be that he is merely following directions from some higher authority to spread the wealth in such a way that it could go unnoticed? Only time will tell if and when Vantage is awarded some contracts and from whom.