Steve Lonegan, the Republican challenging Cory Booker for Senate, says the Newark mayor must come clean about the money he received from a law firm that was awarded contracts by the city.
"The question is, is it a payout or a payoff? Right now it looks like a payoff and it's up to Cory Booker to prove otherwise," Lonegan told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
Booker recently gave reporters his tax returns, which revealed he earned $688,500 from the law firm of Trenk DiPasquale Della Fera & Sodono, P.C., while he was mayor. Trenk DiPasquale raked in at least $2 million in contracts with the Newark Housing Authority the Newark Watershed.
Booker's campaign insists the $688,500 was an equity payment and not affected by Trenk DiPasquale's business.
But, as the Newark Star-Ledger reports
, on the mayor's tax returns, a box detailing the income was checked off, stating that Booker "materially participated in the operation of this business."
The campaign has called it a clerical error and denied any impropriety.
But Lonegan is not convinced.
"While being mayor the last seven years [he] has received $680,000, — almost three-quarters of a million dollars — in what's called a payout. You know, we're not sure, payout, payoff, from this law firm that simultaneously received millions in contracts from state agencies," Lonegan said.
"This law firm, these are either very bad business people because they give this guy a partnership with two years to go before he comes mayor and then they give him an enormous amount of money and they just happen to get big, fat, juicy contracts. I mean come on, I wasn't born yesterday."
"This is the kind of thing where he needs to come clean. Let's see the contract. Let's see in writing what they signed back in 2005 that would entitle somebody to be a partner for a short term and get an enormous amount of money in return. It just doesn't make sense."
Lonegan also roiled the Booker campaign by standing in front of an abandoned building Booker has owned.
"I call it a crack house, okay? It was disgusting — broken-down, dilapidated, busted windows. This was the mayor's property and they had drug addicts in it and vagrants while he was mayor," he said.
Booker and Lonegan are vying for the Senate seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
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