Union County Surrogate James LaCorte responded to Facebook comments posted by Lisa McCormick, by saying that the woman is not qualified to do his job.
Known as New Jersey’s most prominent progressive champion, McCormick earned 159,998 votes in a primary against a US Senator whose bribery case ended in a hung jury and earned a reputation as a corruption-fighting candidate.
“You are totally unqualified for the position,” said LaCorte, a 20-year incumbent whose father was the last Republican mayor of Elizabeth. “You don’t even know what the Surrogate does.”
That struck nerve with McCormick, who grew up in Edison and attended Rochester Institute for Technology after graduating from JP Stephens High School.
“Apparently James LaCorte does not think women are qualified for important jobs,” she replied, noting that she raised a child, ran a business and ‘hired and fired lawyers.’
McCormick, the incumbent’s sole challenger and the leader of more than 100 Democrats running on Column C in the June 4 Democratic primary election under the slogan Democrats United for Progress, had previously challenged Lacorte to debate and she questioned him about appointing a deputy county surrogate who appears to be illegally registered to vote.
Along with an illustration showing some recipients of a $15 million pay hike for top salaried politicians and judges, McCormick asked, “Why do politician pay hikes & corporate welfare move faster than matters critical to working people?”
Her post explained: “Assembyman Jim Kennedy makes $75,625 at taxpayer expense from a part time job and pension, so he thought it was important to give Column A candidate #JamesLacorte a $24,000 #payhike to lift his salary to $189,000. But he did not think it was important to rush our #MinimumWage legislation so working people are still making $8.85 an hour a year and a half into the Murphy era. That @PSEG nuclear subsidy did not take very long. @SportsBetting did not take this long.”
In response, LaCorte wrote: “I am not going to debate you . You are totally unqualified for the position. You don’t even know what the Surrogate does.”
“I have the endorsements of 15 former Union County Bar Association Presidents,” said LaCorte. “They realize my background is far superior and that I am much more qualified to help Union County residents through the legal process when a loved one passes away.”
Nobody from the Bar Association has reached out to inquire about McCormick’s qualification, she said, but she and her campaign team have had candid discussions with attorneys that handle estate work.
LaCorte also told McCormick, “And stop falsifying my salary I don’t earn anything near what you say I do.”
Legislation sponsored by Senator Nick Scutari, the county political boss, and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy increased to $189,000 with three $8,000 installments. The final pay hike takes effect in January.
Randy Pollack, a Hillside resident whose comments are shared on the site, said he has had an unpleasant experience with the Union County Surrogate’s office while LaCorte has had the job.
“That is a pretty damn arrogant response,” said Pollack. “Basically ‘sit down shut up do as we say ask no questions we are of superior intellect we know what is right for you.Yup that is how it works.”
“Folks I get around,” said Pollack. “I recently did some work for a car dealer. One of his customers was an employee of the Morris County Surrogates Office. We were talking. He told me if you want your family to get a fair deal after you are gone to die in Morris County. Your buddies loot estates. You enable that to happen.”
While LaCorte boasted that he has the support of of 15 former Union County Bar Association presidents, only McCormick has discussed the position’s importance for protecting widows and orphans.
“When a person dies, part of the Surrogate’s job is to make sure unscrupulous attorneys do not fleece the heirs, who are often blinded by grief over losing a loved one,” said McCormick. “I
Pollack told La Corte, “you completely dropped the ball on my case. When my mother passed without a will your office handled the case.
Pollack said La Corte brought in a lawyer in and property liquidator, both of whom he accused of being people with “questionable character.”
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