February 28, 2017 •
New Jersey Appellate Court Upholds Agency Enforcement of State Pay-to-play Law
The state Appellate Division recently upheld two state agency decisions related to contractor pay-to-play violations.
Della Pello Paving, Inc. lost two contracts totaling roughly $7 million and was barred from contracting with the state for the remainder of Gov. Chris Christie’s second term because it made a $500 contribution to Somerset County Republican Organization.
State pay-to-play laws prohibit a contractor from receiving a contract exceeding $17,500 if it contributed more than $300 during the previous 18 months to a county political party committee.
Della Pello Paving challenged the state agency decisions claiming the contribution was intended for Sheriff Frank Provenzano’s campaign and not for the county political committee. The inadvertent contribution needed to be returned within 30 days to avoid a pay-to-play violation. Della Pello did not request and receive reimbursement until more than a year after making the donation; moreover, Provenzano was not running for re-election the year the contribution was made.
Following the decision of the appellate court, Della Pello’s attorney sought emergency review by the state Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear the case.
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