Bryant goes down

Former State Sen. Wayne Bryant, who was one of the state’s most powerful legislators at one point, was convicted Tuesday of using his clout to steer millions of dollars in extra aid and support to a state medical school in exchange for receiving a no-show, pension-padding position there.

R. Michael Gallagher, the former dean of the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, was also convicted of numerous charges in connection with his hiring of the legislator for the no-show job after Mr. Bryant used his power to make Mr. Gallagher dean at the same school, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie announced Tuesday.

Under federal sentencing guidelines each defendant faces over 15 years in prison, although U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson has discretion to impose sentences outside of the range provided by those guidelines.

The investigation revealed that Mr. Bryant, who had past connections with some powerful Mercer County Democrats, took salaries from the medical school, the Gloucester County Board of Social Services, and Rutgers University Camden, despite doing little to no work for any of the institutions.

At the Gloucester County Board of Social Services Mr. Bryant worked a little over 14 hours from 2002 to 2006 yet received $200,000 in compensation, plus contributions to his state pension. Similarly, Mr. Bryant worked roughly one day a week at the medical school and successfully boosted his pension from $28,000 in 2002 to $81,000 in 2006 through this fraud, Mr. Christie said.

Mr. Bryant becomes the latest in a series of high-ranking public officials to go down on federal corruption charges brought by Mr. Christie.

The U.S. Attorney, who has secured a conviction or guilty plea from every person he has prosecuted, is resigning his office at the end of this month to make room for President Barack Obama’s eventual attorney appointee and perhaps pursue a run at the Republican gubernatorial nomination for 2009.

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One response to “Bryant goes down

  1. fig tree

    Kudos to US Attorney Chris Christie for his excellent record in attacking public corruption in NJ. Here in Trenton we have in the open different forms of political arrogance, appointina police director in violation of the City residency law and then spending taxpayer dollars in a losing effort to defent that action, or appointing people to highly paid executive positions when that money would be better used putting polce on the streets of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Trenton, thus protecting the law abiding citizens who live there.

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