walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_The Jersey Sting_, Ted Sherman, Josh Margolin (kindle)

Subtitled: A True Story of Crooked Pols, Money-Laundering Rabbis, Black Market Kidneys, and the Informant Who Brought It All Down

A friend of mine was looking around for the revised version of this to give as a holiday present; there was some e-mailed debate about where best to do this and then some subsidiary discussion of its contents. While I was not initially all that interested, in an effort to understand some of the snarky commentary, I looked at the Amazon detail page and at that point, I figured between the friend liking it a lot (he has generally very good taste in non-fiction) and the juiciness of the description, it was worth a shot.

Written by two journalists at the Star-Ledger (a paper which has a positive association in my husband's family because it employed one of my mother-in-law's cousins for a long while), _The Jersey Sting_ is about how the feds, under Christie (while he was New Jersey's AG), used a man who had run a massive ponzi scheme based on real estate, to entangle candidates and office-holders, and rabbis for very conservative Jewish groups. The only connection between all this was Solomon Dwek, and the only reason it worked is because Dwek was apparently the kind of guy who could talk the kind of people he was dealing with into just about anything -- well, on the political side, a lot of this is apparently a whole lot of cash sloshing around with minimal enforcement.

It is indeed a well-written, juicy tale, which sheds a limited amount of light on the rise of Chris Christie and the fall of Jon Corzine, and a lot more light on an obscure community of Syrian Jews. There are also some lessons here about one party states, corruption, the interaction of these states with national politics and -- if that sounded yawn inducing, it really isn't. It's worth it just to understand why some people in NY/NJ are so opposed to favorable tax treatment of charitable donations.
Tags: book review, non-fiction
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