Barry looked a little nervous, especially when met by the team of FBI agents, who escorted him to the building. Paul J. Byrne, who was also scheduled for surrender, showed up a few minutes later, trailed by his attorney John T. Coyle. Byrne, wearing dark glasses due to deteriorating eyesight, seemed more annoyed than nervous, and apparently, he wasn't put off by the three FBI agents that insisted on accompanying him into the Newark federal courthouse. He kept asking, "Is Big Foot here?" This was the nickname federal agents had for the FBI's lead agent, William Sweeney.
Several of the other agents chuckled, despite the seriousness of the occasion. Barry and Byrne were being charged with bribery and other crimes connected to former County Executive Robert Janiszewski.
Janiszewski, who pleaded guilty to charges of extortion last year, claimed Byrne had carried bribes from Barry to Janiszewski to obtain favors illegally. Both Barry and Byrne have denied these allegations but turned themselves in as part of the process of having their day in court.
As the attorneys vanished to prepare for the actual court, both men went through the bureaucratic process that would eventually lead them to the court. It was not a comfortable moment as federal agents handcuffed both men and manacled their legs. They also insisted Byrne - who is legally blind - accept a wheelchair he did not want. Byrne later claimed he wanted to walk into court on his own two feet. Federal agents apparently feared he might fall down in the middle of the legal proceedings.
Processing did not go well. The FBI's scanner for fingerprints apparently did not work, so FBI agents scrambled to borrow one from the nearby U.S. Marshall's office.
Eventually, Barry and Byrne found themselves waiting in a bullpen area, and federal authorities brought them lunch: baloney sandwiches, cookies and orange juice.
Byrne asked Barry what it was; Barry told him. Byrne said, "Give me the cookie." A bit later, he said, "Let me have a sandwich." Barry, however, had already eaten it.
"It's the story of our relationship," Byrne said later when asked about the incident. "He gets the meat and I get bad cookies."
Byrne has had few kind words for Janiszewski, calling him "a junior FBI guy," but also noted Janiszewski would have been a free man by now if he had simply pleaded guilty. While Barry and Byrne have blasted the federal government for allowing Janiszewski to remain in office as their unpaid agent in rooting out corruption, we may wonder who actually ran the government during that time frame? Federal authorities argue that lopping off the head was not enough and that the only way to get at the fabric of corruption is to do what they did. Other names will continue to emerge, as they recently did in the aftermath of the investigation of former Essex County Executive Jim Treffinger.
Around the county
Secaucus High School Principal Pat Impreveduto is running for council. This won't be in Secaucus, of course, since he is a resident of Holmdel. But what could be a bit of an embarrassment for his brother, Secaucus Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, is that younger brother Pat is running as a Republican...
Will Jersey City Business Administrator Carlton McGee keep his job after actually supplying City Council members with the information they asked for? This was a question that came up last week when McGee actually did the job he was supposed to do and provided the council with necessary backup material without first getting the OK from City Hall. Will this set a trend?
Campaign violence appears to have grown worse. Whereas two weeks ago, Steve Lipski found his awnings cut and Lou Manzo found his office locks filled with glue, last week Republican Guy Catrillo found the windows of his car broken twice in three days.
"This is not new," he said. "I remember in 1981 when people got beaten up and places were fire bombed."
Campaign stunts don't have to be violent. At one point, Ron Dario - running for State Assembly in 1985 - was woken up in the middle of the night to find a hearse at his door and a confused driver who had been told to pick up Dario's body. One classic campaign stunt was performed by then-challenger Albio Sires, who brought a live horse into town to help highlight the tax break his opponent had given to thoroughbred horse breeders...
Assemblywoman Joan Quigley's neighborhood association meeting may not have gone as smoothly as she would have liked, since she apparently remembered to include her daughter, a committee woman, for B-2, a Westside district, but neglected to invite Rich McCormack, the other committee person. He discovered the meeting via notices posted on telephone poles around the neighborhood. McCormack did come up with a bone as he was given charge of a block watch for Fairmont Avenue.
Critics of Hoboken Mayor David Roberts claim his support for Vincent Addeo in the Third Ward special election is soft. These critics - who Roberts blasts as the usual group of negative people - claim Roberts had not done as much to assure Addeo's election as he did for past candidates.
"That's because he knows Michael Russo is going to win," said Councilman Tony Soares.
In a scathing reply, Roberts said, "I am completely committed to Vincent Addeo, one of the most sincere people I have ever met. Hoboken stands to gain a great, honest and decent [councilman] by electing him."