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 thirty years. From Jimmy Hoffa purportedly being buried
somewhere beneath the end zone in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands,
through allegations of a 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 named after the HBO mobsters. Where else
would: A state attorney general show up after police pulled over
her boyfriend for driving with his seatbelt unfastened? 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 tape to his sister?
A U.S. senator about to run for governor break up with his union-leader
girlfriend then give her a reported $6 million parting gift? Only
in The Soprano State. It’s real, but it reads like fiction. And
makes everywhere else seem downright normal. But The Soprano State
is more than just a litany of strange New Jersey events. The book
is a call to arms for taxpayers interested in cleaning up government,
wherever political expediency has pushed ethical behavior into a
Bob Ingle is a New York Times Best Selling Author, blogger, columnist, radio and TV news analyst, photographer, media critic and Twitter feeder read in 75 countries. He is hell on corruption and big on conservation.
is a multiple award-winning veteran reporter whose New Jersey statehouse
stories, first for The Trentonian and then for the Gannett State
Bureau, span three decades from Republican Gov. Tom Kean to Democrat
Gov. Jon Corzine. She also spent two stints in Pennsylvania covering
government and corruption for five newspapers.
Q. How long
did it take to write The Soprano State?
A. It took two years from the writing of the book proposal to publication.
But the news reporting spans three decades.
Q. How can
two people write a book?
A. Some of it was written by both of us, as the research also was
shared, but Bob wrote more of the book and Sandy did more of the
Q. Whose hands
are on the cover?
A. That's a secret known only to St. Martin's Press.
Q. What was
the hardest part?
A. The documentation, making sure all the i's were dotted and the
Q. Why do you
A. They're there in case someone thinks we made it up. It reads
Q. What has
been the best part of the experience after the book came out?
A. All the people we met at book signings and in interviews -- some
really wonderful folks.
Q. Did you
have to leave anything out?
A. The book is about 30 percent less copy than the manuscript.
Q. Why was
the manuscript cut?
A. The book had to be affordable and a size that wouldn't cause
a hernia when you carry it around.
Q. How can
I know what happens next?
A. Check out the authors' Web site, http://www.thesopranostate.com
for updates on the characters in the book.
In The Soprano
State, Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure explain why New Jersey is the
most corrupt state in the nation. What do you think makes New Jersey
the worst? Or do you disagree? What similar problems do other states
see political and government corruption at a state level often believe
their own government representative is exempt from the corruption.
Is that the way you feel? Does that contribute to the problem in
New Jersey and other states?
his dramatic announcement, Jim McGreevey is probably the most well
known New Jersey governor. Do you believe what he said? If not,
why did he resign? What was the worst thing he did during his tenure
If you could
be the judge and the jury, how many years in jail – if any -- would
you give John Lynch and Sharpe James? Who else in the book do you
think should go to jail? For how long?
In most states
citizens look to law enforcement and the courts to protect their
interests. In Chapter 5, the authors discuss the people named to
the bench and to the post of attorney general. Do you think the
New Jersey system is designed to look the other way when there is
political corruption? What is the rational explanation for so many
ill-equipped people in such jobs? Do appointments reflect badly
on the people of New Jersey or the governor and state senate?
are the puppet masters behind the scenes, in effect choosing which
candidates the voters get to vote for or against. Thus, an important
decision is made before ballots are drawn. Is this something unique
to New Jersey?
the chapter on Atlantic City and its mob influence, do you think
gambling contributed to the corruption? If there were no gambling,
would the mob still be there?
What is the
single worst example of corruption in New Jersey? Who could have
stepped up to prevent it? Could it be prevented from happening again?
10, the authors propose solutions to New Jersey’s corruption. Are
they realistic? Can the problem ever be cured? What do you think
will curb corruption?
fleeing New Jersey. Is that the answer? Should they stay and fight
for better, cleaner government? Will they take New Jersey’s corrupt
system with them to other states?
ABOUT THE SOPRANO STATE
For more information
on The Soprano State and its authors and for updates of New Jersey
corruption, visit http://www.thesopranostate.com.