As a member of the scandal-plagued NJ Council on the Arts, it?s time for Freeholder Alisa Cooper to come clean on every detail of her knowledge as a member of the troubled agency following the resignation yesterday of the group?s Executive Director Steve Runk, charged Atlantic County GOP Chairman Keith Davis.
A series of investigative reports by the Star-Ledger over the past year, as well as insistent pressure from Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, revealed that the agency ? which is responsible for distributing $16 million in taxpayer-funded grants ? regularly handed out no-bid contracts, is ?a throwback to an era when free lunches and tickets (on the taxpayer dime) were the norm,? that the council ?operates under its own interpretation of the ethics rules,? that members pay scant attention to the arts in South Jersey, and that there are ?questions about how much monitoring of the arts the council members (like Cooper) actually do.?
?Since her appointment to the Arts Council by Jon Corzine, Alisa Cooper has proudly trumpeted her membership. But now that the heat is on the Council, Cooper?s silence is deafening,? charged Davis. ?As a candidate for State Assembly, it?s time she comes clean on what she knows and when she knew it.”
?She either knew of these ethics violations and looked the other way or was completely asleep at the switch as a member of the council. Whatever way you slice it, she has some explaining to do.?
Davis called on Cooper to release any and all records relating to her activities as a member of the council, including her attendance record at meetings, whether she knew that Council members were receiving free tickets to concerts and the theater, and her knowledge about no-bid contracts approved by the Council.
?Taxpayers deserve to know it all,? said Davis. ?And as someone who aspires to serve in the state legislature, Alisa Cooper has an obligation to address these issues.?