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Land Acquisition Deals in Middlesex County

As a result of the SCI’s exposures in this investigation, the Administrator of the County’s Land Acquisition Department was suspended and the County government moved to institute a more stringent process of checks and balances on land acquisition procedures. Even before the SCI completed its hearings in January 1976, arrangements were being formalized voluntarily by state officials, alerted by the Commission’s findings, for the transfer of the Green Acres appraisal and post-appraisal review and control system from the Department of Environmental Protection to the Department of Transportation one of many general and technical recommendations by the Commission that were implemented. The SCI reported its findings in its 7th Annual Report for 1976.

SCI data was referred to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office, which investigated the conduct of the County Land Acquisition Department. In September 1976, a Grand Jury returned a presentment in which it said that while it found “no provable criminal act” by the department’s former administrator, his activities “indicated an insufficient expertise and lack of concern to perform his office in the best interest of the citizens.” The presentment also criticized the collection of political contributions from appraisers, “which if not improper under law certainly gave the appearance of impropriety.”

 

 

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