Blog


Engineer gets no jail for paying ‘gratuity’

BY DANIEL HOWLEY
Staff Writer

Howard Schoor, 70, a founding member of the Schoor DePalma engineering firm, was sentenced in federal court on Feb. 10 to two years’ probation for paying a $15,000 “gratuity” to Stephen Kessler, the former chairman of the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority (TOSA).

Schoor must perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $7,500 fine for his admission to the crime. The crime carried a maximum sentence of.five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Justin Walder, Schoor’s attorney.

Schoor DePalma engineering is now known as CMX and Schoor has no connection to the firm.

“I think it was a fair and appropriate sentence under the circumstances,” Walder said. “Mr. Schoor has had no prior involvement in the criminal justice system. He is 70 years old. He has been an ideal citizen with his philanthropy and charity, and besides giving money to worthwhile causes, he was active in working with them.”

In his plea deal, Schoor said he made the payments to Kessler without the knowledge of anyone at Schoor DePalma.

Additionally, it was the government’s finding that Schoor DePalma would have been awarded a contract to perform sewage projects in Ocean Township regardless of Kessler’s vote, because the majority of TOSA members also voted in favor of the firm.

gmnews.com

Editorial Overreacted to Error in Judgement

Your Feb. 11 editorial “Schoor sentence badly engineered” about Howard Schoor was a vitriolic diatribe filled with misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Passion is important, but overzealousness is damaging and dangerous.

Schoor is a friend of mine – a fact I am proud of. He did not admit to bribing a public official, as stated in the opening sentence, but to giving a gratuity. There is a significant difference. The prosecution found that Schoor had long sold his interest in the engineering firm and was, in fact, only serving as honorary chairman.

The claim that the payments were made to enable the firm to receive more than $850,000 in work was false and slanderous, to both the individual and the firm. The government established that the firm received no benefit as a result of the act, which is why the firm was never indicted. In fact, Schoor Engineering previously had held the contract for about 20 years and was awarded the contract by an almost unanimous vote each year.

Schoor’s gift to a long-term relationship was wrong — he will be the first to admit It. In fact, he did and he is paying an appropriate penalty. Shame and discrimination for a man of his stature is a steep price to pay.

One of his greatest laments throughout the process was the need to resign from the boards of the various charitable organizations that he has supported for decades. The pall of indictment prevented him for raising monies for these organizations. One of his first comments to me after the sentencing was that he could finally resume those charitable activities publicly. Even good people commit errors in judgment.

Eli Kramer
MANALAPAN

Asbury Park Press

This whole thing to me is … quite frankly I don’t get it

Schoor DePalma co-founder is spared prison on conspiracy

by Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger
Monday February 09, 2009, 5:17 PM

The 70-year-old founder of a prominent engineering firm, one of New Jersey’s biggest government contractors, was spared a prison term today for paying what federal authorities called a $15,000 “gratuity” to two corrupt Ocean Township officials.

“There’s just no way this man should be in jail and I’m not going to put him there. He’s 70 years old and has never committed a prior offense,” said Judge Cavanaugh, prompting Schoor’s friends and family to openly applaud.

They took turns hugging Schoor as he left court, ending a case that, when he was initially indicted in 2006, ignited speculation among New Jersey political insiders that a larger public corruption case would follow because of Schoor’s extensive dealings with public officials for 40 years. The firm has worked statewide on projects ranging from the Asbury Park waterfront redevelopment to the Jersey Gardens Mall and the Turnpike’s Interchange 13A in Elizabeth.

But federal authorities absolved the firm of any wrongdoing, Schoor said he acted alone and the $15,000 payment was never linked to any project involving Schoor DePalma or any attempt to influence a public agency.

“Quite frankly, I don’t get it,” Judge Cavanaugh said of the case. “There’s no bribe. … Schoor DePalma didn’t get anything for it.”

Federal prosecutors claimed the payment, made between 2000 and 2001, rewarded two members of the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority for helping the firm get work in the past. The case stemmed from a larger public corruption probe in Monmouth County that netted a dozen officials, including former Ocean Township Mayor Terrance Weldon.

But Justin Walder, Schoor’s attorney, said his client gave the money only to Kessler and not as a bribe.

“My client and Kessler had become friends, and Kessler ran into a number of problems, including a divorce, and had financial troubles. He asked for money, and my client helped him out. … It was never a bribe,” Walder said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Nobile, arguing that the payment was illegal and merits prison time, said the plea-deal given to Schoor already took into consideration his minor role in the corruption scheme.

Cavanaugh pointed to more than 30 years of charity work by Schoor, saying society is better served having him free on probation. He also ordered Schoor to perform 250 hours of community service.

Copyright © 2011 Howard Schoor Comanies

Powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS)

Web Design & Search Engine Optimization - Jennings IT