N.J. Senator demands clarification on missing $33 million ahead of hearing on Murphy’s treasurer

Kristin Corrado

TRENTON, N.J. — The Murphy Administration is looking to exponentially boost New Jersey government’s spending, Save Jerseyans, but it’s nominee for State Treasurer may have done a less than stellar job as a steward of taxpayer dollars in her former role.

A new memorandum produced by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) highlights alleged financial irregularities which arose during Acting Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio tenure in local government.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee has a responsibility to carefully vet gubernatorial nominees to confirm that they’re qualified and fit for the office to which they’ve been appointed,” said State Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40), the former clerk of Passaic County and a current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “During our routine research into Acting Treasurer Muoio’s time as a Mercer County Freeholder, we were disturbed to learn that the county could not account for the receipt or appropriate use of $33 million of state and federal grants. Further, we were shocked to learn that hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing, which an independent auditor was unable to locate. Given Acting Treasurer Muoio’s indication to the Judiciary Committee that she worked ‘closely’ on budgets during her time in local office, we’d like to know if she can explain these financial discrepancies that occurred on her watch.”

The OLS memo at issue references the results of a 2003 audit which found “an inability of management” in Mercer County government; specifically, the powers-that-be can’t account for the fate of $22 million of grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and $11.4 million from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“I’m concerned that during Acting Treasurer Muoio’s time managing Mercer County’s money, tens of millions in grants couldn’t be accounted for, nearly half-a-million dollars went missing, and county property tax bills skyrocketed,” added Corrado. “We need to know if she assumes responsibility for these irregularities, or if she overstated her involvement in managing the county’s fiscal affairs. These are questions that Acting Treasurer Muoio must be prepared to answer.”

Muoio is a career Mercer County politician (both a former freeholder and councilwoman) who has also served as Mercer County’s director of Economic Development and Sustainability.

Corrado says Mercer County’s property taxes increased by 86% during Muoio’s time in county government.

The bigger issue moving forward, Corrado noted, were the implications as to how well the Acting Treasurer would manage New Jersey’s money if she is confirmed.

“We must presume that Acting Treasurer Muoio helped to craft the Governor’s budget proposal, which includes the most spending in New Jersey history and a $1.7 billion tax increase,” Corrado added. “New Jersey taxpayers need assurances that the fiscal mismanagement that occurred during her watch in Mercer County won’t be repeated at the New Jersey Treasury.”

Muoio’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 26th.