WHAT DID VAN DREW AND ALBANO KNOW, AND WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT?

First District Senator Nick Asselta and his Assembly running mates Norris Clark and Michael Donohue ? responding to news reports indicating that some of the money Assemblymen Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano voted to spend in preparation for the sale or lease of New Jersey?s toll roads has already been spent on a British consulting firm ? today called on Van Drew and Albano to share with their constituents what they knew about the contract and when they knew it.

?What did they know, and when did they know it?? asked Asselta. ?Six weeks ago, Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano voted to give the Governor a blank check to pay legal, financial and engineering consultants to prepare for the sale or lease of our toll roads, and the media has now reported that $799,000 of that blank check has been spent on a British consulting firm hired to do what?s been characterized as a ?traffic and revenue report.? In addition, another $600,000 has been spent on assorted other consultants. Did Assemblymen Van Drew and Albano know about these contracts when they cast their votes? And if they did, when did they learn about them ? and why have they not shared that information with their constituents?

?Last week, in response to questions from the media, the Administration refused to release the report and said the traffic and revenue report wouldn?t be considered final until the Administration is satisfied. But the Administration has already handed over 90 percent of the contracted amount — $799,055 ? despite language in the agreement that says that money won?t be paid until the report is finalized. Which is it ? is this report considered final, or not? And if it?s not considered final, then why has the firm been paid??

?For seven months now, the Administration has been planning to sell, or lease, or ?monetize? the toll roads,? Clark said. ?And for that entire time, they?ve had a contract with a British consulting firm. Surely Assemblyman Van Drew, as a member of the leadership of his party?s Assembly caucus, knew the details of this agreement ? or did he actually vote to spend money without having been told that the Administration had already contracted with a foreign firm? And what of Assemblyman Albano?s vote? Was he deliberately kept in the dark? Or did he know about the contract, and choose on his own not to share that information with any of his constituents?

?The continued secrecy revolving around the Governor?s plan to make money off the toll roads is becoming a larger and larger issue,? added Donohue. ?Residents of the First District oppose any move to sell, or lease, or ?monetize? the toll roads, and they especially oppose the idea of spending taxpayer dollars to prepare to sell, or lease, or ?monetize? the roads. By voting in favor of giving the Governor a blank check, Jeff Van Drew and Nelson Albano voted against the interests of their constituents. They owe it to the voters to come clean and tell us what they knew about these contracts.?

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