Never let it be said that crime doesn’t pay. It surely paid for one crooked politician. You Might remember Tom D’Alessio. He was one of New Jersey’s most powerful Democrat politicians until he was caught in an extortion, bribery and embezzling scandal. Well it looks like he’s up to his old tricks.
The New Jersey Star Ledger Reports:
Two months after he was released from federal prison after serving time for political corruption charges in 1998, the former Essex County Executive set up a charitable foundation.
D’Alessio called it the Evergreen Fund and has bankrolled it with more than $1.8 million of the nearly $2 million that was left in his campaign fund.
Last year, the foundation reported it gave out $37,750 in contributions of $500 or so to dozens of organizations like the March of Dimes, the United Way and the Boy Scouts. It also paid D’Alessio an $81,708 salary as executive director, leased a $45,665 Mercedes-Benz for him and purchased a $432,000 luxury condominium on Marco Island along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
And it was all perfectly legal.
But this is nothing new for D’Alessio.
D’Alessio, once among the state’s most powerful Democrats, was indicted in 1992 on charges of siphoning funds from his campaign accounts to pay for a trip to Aruba and using money raised from supporters for personal investments and real estate ventures. A jury two years later found him innocent on those counts, but convicted him of extortion, bribery and money laundering in accepting a $59,000 bribe from a Florida garbage-hauling company. He was sentenced to a 46-month federal prison term.
And what do you think the IRS is going to do about it? According to Trent Stamp, executive director of Charity Navigator in Mahwah, which evaluates philanthropic groups they probably won’t do a thing.
“They gave tax-exempt status to a convicted felon in the first place,” he said. “Why do you think they will come back and scrutinize the operations of that organization now?”
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