Authorities probe Union County Democrats
by Ian T. Shearn
Friday November 09, 2007, 12:10 AM
State officials have opened an investigation into matters involving some of Union County's most powerful Democrats, The Star-Ledger has learned.
The focus of the ongoing investigation points toward county Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo, the former freeholder who heads the Union County Improvement Authority and is a legislative aide to Assemblyman Neil Cohen (D-Union).
Patti Sapone/The Star-LedgerUnion County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo at her Hillside home last year.
DeFilippo confirmed the existence of five subpoenas that demand documents and information about her public and private business dealings. The contents of the subpoenas, which were served in September and October, were described by DeFilippo this week in an interview.
"When you wear several hats, you acquire enemies over the years," she said.
DeFilippo is a towering political figure in Union County, where Democrats dominate most town councils and have held a 9-0 lock on the freeholder board since 1997. She does not hold elected office. But as head of the county committee, DeFilippo hand picks the Democratic candidates for freeholder, mayor and council in the county.
According to DeFilippo, the subpoenas seek:
-- Financial and other documents for the last three years from the Improvement Authority, which each year awards millions in contracts to construction, law and engineering firms.
-- An explanation of her duties as Cohen's aide. Cohen said he also received a subpoena in late October, asking for any records pertaining to his employment of DeFilippo.
-- All records relating to the county Democratic Committee's involvement in last year's primary election in Roselle, in which allegations of voter fraud are being investigated by the state Division of Criminal Justice.
-- A client list and financial records from Camelot Title Agency, a Woodbridge company in which DeFilippo owns a minority stake.
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