So Much Corruption There's Now A Hotline - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

So Much Corruption There's Now A Hotline

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Wall, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

Former Wall school district Superintendent James Habel awaits trial for allegedly stealing over $360,000 from the township and then firing other public employees who were allegedly on to him. According to the indictment, this went on for about 7 years.

Habel is also named as a co-conspirator in the case against assistant superintendent Sandra Brower who is facing charges after allegedly covering up allegations of sexual abuse against a 4 year-old special needs student.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni says small-town corruption like these cases can lead to major tax hikes and often goes ignored in New Jersey.  He's created a unique corruption tip hotline after a community member's anonymous tip lead him to finally indict Former Wall Superintendent James Habel.

“Unfortunately in New Jersey, the opportunity for corruption and graft is bred by the fact that there are so many layers of government and your lodged between two metropolitan media's that don’t have the resources or time to pay attention to what’s going on in particularly in all these townships in N.J.,” Gramiccioni said.

The corruption tips hotline that Gramiccioni organized is the only one of its kind in New Jersey.  He’s hoping to send out a clear message to members of his community and all other New Jersey residents that if public officials are doing something wrong or you feel like something is fishy, don’t wait - call 855-7-UNJUST.

Meanwhile, James Habel has pleaded “not guilty” to the corruption charges and he’s currently enjoying his retirement in Florida while he awaits his next court date this fall.

Habel’s attorney says the statute of limitations has run out on some of the charges and there’s a lack of evidence against his client. However, Gramiccioni says the state is very confident with its case.

So just how widespread is corruption and fraud by New Jersey's public employees? Gramiccioni says it's gone largely unchecked for a long time and it's time for N.J. to fight back.

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