By Mark Lagerkvist | New Jersey Watchdog
Is it the sound of time passing on a conflicted, year-old criminal investigation of an alleged $245,000 pension fraud involving New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno?
Or is it the countdown to an embarrassing scandal for her boss, Gov. Chris Christie — a rising political star who declared pension reform as his “biggest governmental victory?”
As a county sheriff in 2008, Guadagno made false statements to enable her chief officer to pocket nearly $85,000 a year in retirement pay while drawing an $87,500 annual salary. The double-dipping scheme first was reported by New Jersey Watchdog in 2010.
The state’s investigation is assigned to the Attorney’s General’s Division of Criminal Justice, a unit where Guadagno once served as deputy director. Despite the apparent conflict, Christie has not appointed a special prosecutor.
A spokesman for Christie and Guadagno refused comment. The Attorney General’s Office did not respond to questions.
Public pension abuses are so rampant in New Jersey that even the agency investigating Guadagno has its own controversy.
Twenty-three supervisors and investigators for the Attorney General and DCJ are using legal loopholes to draw salaries and pension pay, New Jersey Watchdog found. On average, each pockets $164,000 a year — $96,000 in salary and $68,000 in pension.