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Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River-Vale)

Schepisi incensed after Verniero report

By Nikita Biryukov, February 06 2019 1:29 pm

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi was incensed after an independent investigation by former State Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero failed to find out who was responsible for hiring former Schools Development Authority chief of staff Al Alvarez.

“I find it absolutely, beyond-the-pale absurd that they are unable to identify who hired this guy,” Schepisi said.

Verniero’s report, released Wednesday morning, largely mirrors the findings of the Select Committee on Oversight, on which Schepisi sits.

While investigators noted that they could not identify who hired Alvarez, they suggested that Jose Lozano, who was executive director of Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition team, and former Murphy chief of staff Pete Cammarano, who were among the first high-level officials to learn about the sexual assault allegations against Alvarez, may have played some part in his getting the job.

State Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency chief of staff Katie Brennan has alleged that Alvarez sexually assaulted her in April 2017, when Alvarez was in charge of Muslim and Latino outreach for Murphy’s campaign, for which Brennan would later volunteer.

The fact that the report so closely mirrored testimony publicly given to the Select Committee made Schepisi question the depth of Verniero’s investigation.

“With respect to identifying how did he have a job? No,” Schepisi said when asked if she thought the former state attorney general’s investigators did everything they could. “Somebody’s got to be lying.”

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