Press of Atlantic City published an editorial today, which takes Mayor Lorenzo Langford to task for attempting to award legal contracts to his campaign contributors. Mayor Langford is engaging in pay-to-play and has the nerve to state that his motivation is saving the taxpayer money.
Despite all the talk about ending pay to play, it’s still the same old story in many New Jersey municipalities: Lawyer donates to candidate’s campaign. Candidate wins. Lawyer’s firm gets lucrative public contract.
Trust Atlantic City to take this plot line and run with it for all it’s worth. Not only does Mayor Lorenzo Langford want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire the high-powered law firms that donated generously to his campaign, he cleared the way by firing four of the city’s six staff attorneys and then boasting of the savings to taxpayers.
Mr. Langford’s pay-to-play is another reminder that Atlantic City is desparately in need of two major reforms: reducing the budget and reducing corruption.
The two law firms – Philadelphia-based Stradley, Ronon, Stevens and Young, and Bergen County-based DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Wisler – gave Langford a total of $45,000 in contributions through his Citizens First political action committee. Now, Langford has presented City Council with contracts for six law firms – a total of up to $505,000 in contracts, with up to $300,000 of that work going to the two firms that donated to Langford’s campaign.
Under these circumstances, voters are quite justified in questioning whether it’s the two law firms – not city taxpayers – who are getting the biggest bang for the buck here.
This June (and maybe December) will show if citizens are outraged over the kickback contracts to Mr. Langford’s Lawyers. Or are AC voters programmed to accept such flagrant corruption as normal?
The point here is not that Langford’s administration [is] playing in the old pay-to-play game. Take that as a given.
The best commentary is from “Joe” on the Press’s forum:
Hopefully that thumb Langford is waving from his nose to the residents of Atlantic City will get stuck up one of his nostrils.
Atlantic City, Vote NO LANGFORD in 09!