BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. -- Governor Chris Christie is pulling a Ralph Kramden on the Bergen County Prosecutor.
He's telling him to "get out."
Prosecutor John Molinelli is spinning it a little differently.
In published reports, he’s saying it’s all cordial and he's getting time to find another job. But the move comes while Molinelli is under fire for several incidents during his tenure of almost 14 years.
They include PIX11 catching him red-handed selling off bogus sports memorabilia.
“I dispute the accuracy of what you’re saying,” is just one of the responses Molinelli gave us when we confronted him last year about his memorabilia auction.
He’d seized it from a rogue drug store owner. But Molinelli had been warned in litigation back in 2008 it was mostly phony.
We showed how his hand-picked authenticator, Drew Max, was someone no major sports memorabilia auction house we contacted would use. We revealed the prosecutor's office made false statements in a memo to county freeholders so max could be hired with a no bid contract.
When we pressed Molinelli last fall he ultimately bolted from our camera, saying “I’m not going to answer your questions.” Eventually, Molinelli offered a refund for any auction bidder who wanted it.
But there's much more.
Self-styled government watchdog Bill Brennan filed a criminal complaint and pressed county legislators to request the AG remove Molinelli.
The New Jersey State Supreme Court blasted Molinelli this year for abusing his authority and denying pre-trial intervention to Carlstadt's Mayor, Will Roseman.
“The time has long since passed that he should have been removed,” Roseman told us.
Roseman was prosecuted for years over an error in his health insurance. The municipality paid for his wife’s insurance even after the couple divorced. Roseman found the error and reported it. Molinelli prosecuted him and his ex-wife anyway.
“It was a clerical error on the part of the town…I had a stroke over it. Financially it was devastating and it was probably the most difficult time of my life.”
PIX11 spoke with a woman who told us how 12 years ago she was abused by Bergen County physician, Dr. Gangaram Ragi years ago. But Molinelli's office lost the undercover tape she'd made and then twice allowed the physician pre-trial intervention so he could keep practicing and avoid trials.
“My personal experience and what I’ve read, I don’t believe that justice is being served in Bergen County,” she said.
She requested that we not use her name.
Neither Molinelli’s office nor the governor’s office responded to our requests for comment. A spokesman for the Attorney General gave us only a “no comment,” as did the man the Governor chose to replace Molinelli in 2013, Assistant US Attorney Gurbir Singh Grewal.
Grewal’s nomination never made it through the New Jersey State Senate. There’s speculation that he may now replace Molinelli.