The Soprano State New Jersey's Culture of Corruption

Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

352 Pages


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The Soprano State details the you-couldn't-make-this-up true story of the corruption that has pervaded New Jersey politics, government, and business for the past thrity  years. From Jimmy Hoffa purportedly bring buried somewhere beneath the end zone in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, through allegations of a thoroughly corrupt medical and dental university, through Mafia influence at all levels, to a governor who suddenly declares himself a "gay American" and resigns, the Garden State might indeed be better names after the HBO mobsters.
Where else would:—A state attorney general show up after police pulled over her boyfriend, who was driving without a vaild license?
—A state senator and mayor of Newark (the same guy) spend thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money on a junket to Rio days before leaving office?
—A politically connected developer hire a prostitute to tape sex acts with his own brother-in-law and then send the tapes to his sister?

Only in the Soprano State.


Praise for The Soprano State

"It's difficult for an educator to get the idea across to students (without being too preachy) that we all need to be aware of our moral compasses and make sure from time to time that we don't drift off course. The Soprano State performs this task admirably. It is shock treatment for students who have grown up in a world of moral relativism. Many of the cases in the book involve people who probably didn't intend to steal from the public trough, but were only gradually drawn into this culture of corruption. One can't get such a message across to students using a typical undergraduate Political Science textbook.  I used the book last year as a voluntary assignment in my American Government class. Six students accepted the assignment.  All said that the book opened their eyes to a world they never knew existed. I plan on making the book a mandatory supplementary text for my 300-level State and Local Politics class."—Professor Bill Felix, Political Science, Rutgers University

“[Bob] and Sandy left a big impression on this campus: the main presentation by [Bob] and Sandy was a big hit with all, and the dinner conversation . . . was a big hit with the students.  First thing this morning I received an email thank you from a student.  As class was starting this afternoon, I heard two students discussing the presentation and dinner, and last thing this afternoon as I was leaving class another student stopped to tell me how much he was looking forward to the documentary.”—Bruce Caswell, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Political Science, Rowan University

"This book makes me proud as a New Jersey Citizen.  Not only are we first in highway cloverleafs, first in gas stations named after historical figures and football coaches, first in waste management companies, but also first in corruption . . . As a scholar of misfeasance, malfeasance, and no feasance in government, even I was amazed by Ingle and McClure's hilarious story about our state's achievement.  Reach it and laugh—or cry."—Marvin Kitman, Media Pathologist,

"Should be required reading for every budding journalist.  It shows just how far the egotists we keep electing and entrusting with government coffers will go to advance themselves.  It's a delightful read even if politicians aren't that bad in your state . . . you think.  The two authors have done a masterful job in capturing the laughter and larceny that abounds in the state house and it senvirons."—Barbara Knowles, News Editor, Newton Citizen (Georgia)

"Their nonfiction tale reads like a pay-per-view epic, hence the Tony title."—Athens Banner-Herald (Georgia)

"As the writers say, 'You can't make this stuff up.'"—Asbury Park Press

"This book is a page-turner. You start out laughing and end up pounding the table for reform. May the book inspire those who care about New Jersey to imagine a better place."—Tom Curley, CEO, The Associated Press

"New Jersey is arguably America's most corrupt state, and it is not an achievement to be proud of, as Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure starkly demonstrate. Only the people of the Garden State can stop the jokes—both the ones elected to office and the ones told about the crooked truth of political life there."—Dr. Larry J. Sabato, author of A More Perfect Constitution and director of the Center for Politics, University of Virginia

"A pair of seasoned investigative reporters catalogue New Jersey's epic political dishonesty. Gannett Newspapers Trenton bureau chief Ingle and veteran journalist McClure demonstrate that, for Garden State pols, there is indeed such a thing as a free lunch-with lots of gravy. They point to the appointed culprits who administer the state's medical school, the thieves who manage various school districts, the municipalities carrying costly double dippers, long-dead pensioners and unborn employees. Law enforcement is selective, the authors note, with bench and bar contaminated by patronage. As far as the mob is concerned, ethnicity, gender and political affiliation matter not at all. Chiefly by recapping their own investigative articles, Ingle and McClure present a cheerless story of oligarchy and kleptocracy covering the length of the Turnpike from Cape May to Fort Lee, the executive mansion in Princeton to the statehouse in Trenton, horse country and the Pineys, Sinatra's native turf in Hoboken and Joe Piscopo's down at the shore. They nail the backroom intrigues in impressive scope and detail . . . The authors close with a few suggestions for improvement. Readers won't be laughing: The Garden State doesn't smell too sweet here."—Kirkus Reviews 

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Bob Ingle is Trenton bureau chief of Gannett Newspapers. Sandy McClure is a veteran political reporter. Their work is read by more than a million people daily.

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  • Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure

  • Bob Ingle is Trenton bureau chief of Gannett Newspapers.
    Sandy McClure is a veteran political reporter.
  • Bob Ingle © Gary Gellman
    Bob Ingle
  • Sandy McClure




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