TRENTON—In a vote split along party lines, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave its approval for Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Joseph Spicuzzo to replace former state Sen. Raymond Bateman on the Sports and Exposition Authority.
Batemen, the 1977 GOP nominee for governor who sponsored the law that created the sports authority, was overlooked by out-going Gov. Jon Cozine, who appointed the Spiccuzo.
GOP senators quizzed Spiccuzo, who is also the Middlesex County Sheriff, about his close relationship with former state Sen. John Lynch, who was convicted of corruption.
Sen. Gerald Cardinale explained that he grilled Spicuzzo on Lynch “because we have a nominee who has quoted to the press that he takes advice from a convicted criminal who is, in fact, incarcerated at the time he’s giving that advice.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo and Sen. Raymond Lesniak defended Spiccuzo’s contact with the one-time power broker who was convicted on charges of abusing his elected office.
State Sen. Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman, who is the son of the elder statesman pushed aside by Corzine, abstained.
State Sen. Joe Kyrillos said that the nomination went against Governor-Elect Chris Chrisite’s wish for Gov. Corzine to withhold all unessential government business.
“The Governor-Elect has asked that the nomination be pulled, and you’re going for it anyway,” he said. “This in my judgment… is the wrong nomination for the wrong time in this lame duck era, and I hope it’s not a sign of what’s going to continue in the next four months.”
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