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RE: Schoor sentence badly engineered

The Editors
The Asbury Park Press
3601 Highway 66, Box 1550
Neptune, NJ 07754-1551

March 9, 2009

RE: Schoor sentence badly engineered

Dear Editors:

ASBURY PARK PRESS FOUND GUILTY by New York State Psychologist and friend to victim, Howard M. Schoor. Yes, Mr. Schoor is a victim.

My dear editors, for a moment separate yourselves from wanting to sell newspapers or defending your lapse in judgment when you printed the “Schoor sentence badly engineered” editorial on February 11, 2009.

When you stated, “Howard Schoor, a prominent engineer who admitted bribing a public official…” you lied. The facts are as follows:

The Court records (from both the Plea and Sentencing) indicate: Schoor DePalma “the firm” provided engineering and consulting services to the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority (TOSA) in a professional and proper manner. The Court heard, and the U. S. Attorney agreed, that: Kessler and Weldon solicited Mr. Schoor, not the reverse. Mr. Schoor did not benefit from the offense. Since February of 1992, some eight years prior to the solicitation, Mr. Schoor had no involvement in the day-day operations of Schoor DePalma; he didn’t even have an office there. Messrs. Kessler and Weldon never approached anyone at TOSA to influence a vote for or against Schoor DePalma. Schoor did not know that Kessler or Weldon had some scheme among themselves. The words of Judge Cavanaugh at sentencing and the government’s response:
“There’s no benefit to anybody. This whole thing to me is just – I don’t – quite frankly, I hardly get it.” And here are the words of Mr. Nobile (Government), “Your Honor, the record indicates that Mr. Schoor received nothing personally from the turnover of this $15,000 gratuity…” And here again, the judge is clear regarding what went into his sentencing. “And the instance alone (referring to the gratuity) has me a bit confused anyway. And there was no bribe; No one seemed to have received much of a benefit, I guess, except these two guys that got the $15,000. Schoor DePalma didn’t get anything for it, other than the headaches that we’re dealing with now.” “There was no gain or benefit, no victims really.”

Clearly, the record discloses, there was no bribe. Contrary to perhaps your good intentions and worthy desire to be champion of the people in exposing public corruption (which I admire as a purpose). you are, here, disingenuous, at best, in regard to Mr. Schoor. The facts do not support your editorial position.

You might want to hold onto your view that because money changed hands, it is for the reason you think, but in doing so you have judged against all evidence to the contrary, and that, unfortunately, puts you in the category of biased against Mr. Schoor and renders him victim of that prejudice. You must certainly admit that The Honorable Dennis Cavanaugh was the single individual, having read Briefs and having listened to arguments from both parties, in the best position to reach an unbiased judgment.

I don’t know your politics, nor do I know the politics of your county or state. I do know, however, that in all walks of life, forces beyond the surface influence attitudes and behaviors as they just might have on your opinion page. I would hate to think your inaccuracies were more than simply a rush to judgment based on lack of facts rather than on some other more unconscionable and devious agenda. I will give you the benefit of that doubt and not carelessly accuse you of a destructive nature that may not exist in the essence of your being. I wish you would give Mr. Schoor that same benefit. Who knows, it may even sell more papers.

It’s a hard, tough, often-unconscious world we live in. Perhaps, instead of expressing your disappointment in the sentence of Mr. Schoor for a one-time error in judgment where neither he nor his former company received any benefit, you could focus on all the good this extraordinary human being has done for society with his personal efforts and financial support of organizations such as Collier Youth Services, Centra State Healthcare, Temple Beth Shalom, The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the American Heart Association, etc. In this instance, perhaps the public’s money would have been better spent on the pursuit of deeper truths.

I always cringe when people are lumped together and sacrificed to the zeitgeist of the times without due press process in the pursuit of facts. As you say, in your February 11th Editorial, “How about justice?”

Sincerely,

Jaqueline H. Becker, Ph.D.
JHB:bb

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