Building Open Opportunity Structures

BOOST is a creative community solutions organization that develops and utilizes innovative and customized strategies to build structured relationships between residents, businesses, organizations, and government agencies that lead to beneficial economic, social, and educational opportunities and outcomes in underserved and emerging urban neighborhoods.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sustainable Waste-Stream Solutions & Opportunities: Food, Material & Community Capital Development Strategies

Please RSVP now. Limited space: On Sunday, March 14, Priscilla Hayes from the Rutgers Solid Waste Resource Renewal Group; Rob Benjamin from Sustainable Hamilton; and Eric Hansel of EGM Green will participate as panelist for Green Jobs Jersey's first of a series of forums designed to stimulate thought and dialog around the question - "What's Greening Your Industry or Company?".

This session will take place from 10:30am until 12 noon at Beanwood Coffee Latin Bistro, located at 222 Farnsworth Avenue in Bordetown New Jersey. The meeting is free and open to the general public with a donation to the New Jersey Division of Salvation Army's Haiti relief, recovery and relocation effort. Please RSVP by reply email or by phone at 609-379-2885 or on-line at http;//

Topics on March 14 will include:

* From Food Waste to Renewable Energy

* Sustainable Community Capital from Re-purposed Land, Buildings and Waste

* Eco-Friendly Waste-Stream Solutions in furnishings, products and merchandising

Our survey will scan multiple industry sectors in the state of New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and the greater Philadelphia metropolitan region by documenting current trends and better practices in five areas of green impact:

* Food;

* Energy;

* Transportation;

* Environment (natural);

* Buildings (home, commercial and institutional)

We are surveying at least twenty (20) industry groups' by defining and assessing the impacts that one or more of the five areas of impact described above are having in each respective industry/company.

Contact us at or call 609-379-2885 for more early-bird details about being a group leader, sponsor, on-the-ground forum host. or special adviser for our Green Jobs Jersey Green Asset Survey.

Sponsors include AgServe Sustainable Land Management (, Heats In Mind LLC (, Drew Cifrodelli ( Personal Empowerment Communication (!/PersonalEmpowermentComm?ref=ts) & The BACH Foundation ( We invite sponsor inquiries at or 609-379-2885.

Also, join our networks and add commentary at:

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

BOOST's Featured in New Jersey & Company - May 2008

New Jersey & Company - May 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Green, Smart, & Sustainable Central: Trenton's Broad Street Bank Project's Smart Growth & Community Catalytic Features: Hurdles, Challenges, and Opportunities

Green, Smart, & Sustainable Central: Trenton's Broad Street Bank Project's Smart Growth & Community Catalytic Features: Hurdles, Challenges, and Opportunities

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SLUDGING THE POOR: Fertilizer tested in poor ’hoods as lead-poisoning fix

By The Associated Press (Tuesday, April 15, 2008)

BALTIMORE — Scientists using federal grants spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil. Families were assured the sludge was safe and were never told about any harmful ingredients.

Nine low-income families in Baltimore row houses agreed to let researchers till the sewage sludge into their yards and plant new grass. In exchange, they were given food coupons as well as the free lawns as part of a study published in 2005 and funded by the Housing and Urban Development Department.

The Associated Press reviewed grant documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and interviewed researchers. No one involved with the $446,231 grant for the two-year study would identify the participants, citing privacy concerns. There is no evidence there was ever any medical follow-up.

Comparable research was conducted by the Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Agency in a similarly poor, black neighborhood in East St. Louis, Ill. The sludge, researchers said, put the children at less risk of brain or nerve damage from lead. A highly toxic element once widely used in gasoline and paint, lead has been shown to cause brain damage among children who ate lead-based paint that had flaked off their homes. The researchers said the phosphate and iron in the sludge can bind to lead and other hazardous metals in the soil, allowing the combination to pass safely through a child’s body if eaten.

The idea that sludge — the leftover semisolid wastes filtered from water pollution at 16,500 treatment plants — can be turned into something harmless, even if swallowed, has been a tenet of federal policy for three decades.

In a 1978 memo, the EPA said sludge “contains nutrients and organic matter which have considerable benefit for land and crops” despite the presence of “low levels of toxic substances.”

But in the late 1990s the government began underwriting studies such as those in Baltimore and East St. Louis using poor neighborhoods as laboratories to make a case that sludge may also directly benefit human health.

Meanwhile, there has been a paucity of research into the possible harmful effects of heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, other chemicals and disease-causing microorganisms often found in sludge.

A series of reports by the EPA’s inspector general and the National Academy of Sciences between 1996 and 2002 faulted the adequacy of the science behind the EPA’s 1993 regulations on sludge.

The chairman of the 2002 academy panel, Thomas Burke, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says epidemiological studies have never been done to show whether spreading sludge on land is safe.

“There are potential pathogens and chemicals that are not in the realm of safe,” Burke told the AP. “What’s needed are more studies on what’s going on with the pathogens in sludge — are we actually removing them? The commitment to connecting the dots hasn’t been there.”

That’s not what the subjects of the Baltimore and East St. Louis research were told.

Rufus Chaney, an Agriculture Department research agronomist who co-wrote the Baltimore study, said the researchers provided the families with brochures about lead hazards, tested the soil in their yards and gave assurances that the Orgro fertilizer was store-bought and perfectly safe.

“They were told that their lawn, as it stood, before it was treated, was a lead danger to their children,” said Chaney. “So that even if they ate some of the soil, there would not be as much of a risk as there was before. And that’s what the science shows.”

Chaney said the Baltimore neighborhoods were chosen because they were within an economically depressed area qualifying for tax incentives. He acknowledged the families were not told there have been some safety disputes and health complaints over sludge.

“They were told that it was composted biosolids that are available for sale commercially in the state of Maryland. I don’t think there’s any other further disclosure required,” Chaney said. “There was danger before. There wasn’t danger because of the biosolids compost. Composting, of course, kills pathogens.”

The Baltimore study concluded that phosphate and iron in sludge can increase the ability of soil to trap more harmful metals including lead, cadmium and zinc. If a child eats the soil, this trapping can let all the material pass safely through a child’s system.

It called the fertilizer “a simple low-cost” technology for parents and communities “to reduce risk to their children” who are in danger of lead contamination. The results were published in Science of the Total Environment, an international research journal, in 2005.

Another study investigating whether sludge might inhibit the “bioavailability” of lead — the rate it enters the bloodstream and circulates to organs and tissues — was conducted on a vacant lot in East St. Louis next to an elementary school, all of whose 300 students were black and almost entirely from low-income families.

In a newsletter, the EPA-funded Community Environmental Resource Program assured local residents it was all safe.

“Though the lot will be closed off to the public, if people — particularly children — get some of the lead contaminated dirt in their mouths, the lead will just pass through their bodies and not be absorbed,” the newsletter said. “Without this iron-phosphorus mix, lead poisoning would occur.”

Soil chemist Murray McBride, director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute, said he doesn’t doubt that sludge can bind lead in soil.

But when eaten, “it’s not at all clear that the sludge binding the lead will be preserved in the acidity of the stomach,” he said. “Actually thinking about a child ingesting this, there’s a very good chance that it’s not safe.”

McBride and others also questioned the choice of neighborhoods for the studies and why residents were not told about other, possibly harmful ingredients in sludge.

“If you’re not telling them what kinds of chemicals could be in there, how could they even make an informed decision. If you’re telling them it’s absolutely safe, then it’s not ethical,” McBride said. “In many relatively wealthy people’s neighborhoods, I would think that people would research this a little and see a problem and raise a red flag.”

The Baltimore study used a compost of sludge mixed with sawdust and wood chips packaged as “biosolids,” the term for sludge preferred by government and the waste industry.

“What we did was make the yards greener,” said Pat Tracey, a Johns Hopkins University community relations coordinator who recalled helping with the lawn work. “They were bald, bad yards. It was considered sterile fertilizer.”

Baltimore environmental activist Glenn Ross says choosing poor neighborhoods destined for demolition makes it hard to track a study’s participants. “If you wanted to do something very questionable, you would do it in a neighborhood that’s not going to be there in a few years,” he said.

HUD documents show the study’s lead author, Mark Farfel, has pursued several other studies of lead contamination including the risks of exposure from urban housing demolitions and the vacant lots left behind.

Farfel has since moved to New York, where he directs the World Trade Center Health Registry surveying tens of thousands of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. He denied repeated requests for interviews and referred questions to Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, the children’s research facility that was the recipient of HUD grants with Farfel as project manager.

The institute referred questions to Joann Rodgers, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins. She said a review board within its medical school approved the study and the consent forms provided to families that participated. “The study did not test children or other family members living in the homes,” she said.

Some of Farfel’s previous research has been controversial.

In 2001, Maryland’s highest court chastised him, Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins over a study bankrolled by EPA in which researchers testing low-cost ways to control lead hazards exposed more than 75 poor children to lead-based paint in partially renovated houses.

Families of two children alleged to have suffered elevated blood-lead levels and brain damage sued the institute and later settled for an undisclosed amount.

The Maryland Court of Appeals likened the study to Nazi medical research on concentration camp prisoners, the U.S. government’s 40-year Tuskegee study that denied treatment for syphilis to black men in order to study the illness and Japan’s use of “plague bombs” in World War II to infect and study entire villages.

“These programs were somewhat alike in the vulnerability of the subjects: uneducated African-American men, debilitated patients in a charity hospital, prisoners of war, inmates of concentration camps and others falling within the custody and control of the agencies conducting or approving the experiments,” the court said.

How Not to Develop New Jersey -

Courtesy New York Times (April 15, 2008)

Note: Please visit for more green building, sustainable community design, and smart growth events and resources.

Anyone who drives around New Jersey should realize that the last thing the state needs is a return to the unregulated home-building boom that left it marred by scattershot housing and clogged highways. The Garden State is likely to get even more of this sort of misguided development, however, if the recently released draft recommendations of a housing task force are adopted. Gov. Jon Corzine must prevent that from happening.

With little public notice, the state’s new commissioner of community affairs, Joseph Doria Jr., set up the task force and loaded it with builders and their supporters, along with a few advocates of affordable housing. The result: a blueprint for rolling back environmental protections and allowing greater traffic congestion.

The task force recommended, among other things, permitting sewer lines to be laid in environmentally fragile areas and making it easier for builders to construct access roads from their developments that empty directly into main roads, slowing traffic. The recommendations would also make it easier to build homes close to rivers and streams and even in flood hazard areas.

The proposals closely match the building lobby’s wish list. Although Mr. Doria larded the task force with developers, he did not include a single representative from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection or other groups likely to resist the developers.

Mr. Doria argues that the recommendations would spur construction of affordable housing, of which New Jersey clearly needs more. But the state’s developers have a record of promising to create affordable housing as a pretext for building several times as many units of luxury housing. The recommendations look like a formula for locating affordable housing in remote areas rather than closer to jobs and public transportation.

New Jersey clearly needs to plan for future development. But it needs a blueprint that carefully balances market-rate construction, affordable housing and environmental protection. Mr. Doria’s task force was so unbalanced, and produced such skewed recommendations, that it is necessary to go back to the drawing board.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mitchell Joachim to speak in Trenton: Saturday, June 7 for BOOST's GSS-SET Launch

For another sneak peak at Mitchell's work, please watch video at City, Ecology, Mobility - With Mitch Joachim

Building Open Opportunity Structures Together (BOOST) will launch their 2008-09 Green, Smart, and Sustainable Stakeholder Education and Training series of public awareness forums and community capacity building workshops from 11am noon until 4pm on Saturday, June 7 at Classics Used and Rare Books located at 117 South Warren Street. This event is free to the public and will feature a screening of Sundance "Big Ideas for a Small Planet, the Build" episode and a special appearance by Mitchell Joachim, principal with Terreform, a nonprofit philanthropic architectural design collaborative that integrates ecological principles in the urban environment. The GSS-SET launch will coincide with Classics Book Fair and Trenton's 30th annual Heritage Days Celebration.

Mitchell Joachim insists that his plans are not futuristic. As the Executive Director for Terreform, a “philanthropic design collective,” he is responsible for progressive solutions for current problems. Save for the overt reliance on CGI imagery, the plans he presented at Postopolis! seem robustly conditional on collective goodwill, but still grounded on hard statistics and grounded feasibilities. In the video above, he outlines his company’s plans in three main areas: the city, ecology, and mobility.

The City

Urban settings pose all sorts of problems for professionals who work with infrastructure, but even more so for those who are environmentally conscious. One of the biggest problems, argues Joachim, is circuity. Because cars have no intelligence and “will drive off a cliff and take you with it,” they spend a whole lot of time not knowing where they’re going, looking for parking, and being stuck in traffic. These preventable problems will be responsible for 60% of the entire energy usage in the United States by 2050.

Joachim sees the solution in intelligence.

The key is designing automobiles so the entire car is in the wheel, linked to other wheels on a municipal grid. In this model, the city is composed of interconnected networks.


After explaining the obscene energy usage in the life cycle of a house, from chopping down trees using power tools to building remains dumped in landfills, Joachim brings back the idea of the living tree house.

Alongside MIT architects Laura Greden and Javier Arbona, Joachim presents their proposal for the Fab Tree Hab.

The proposed construction materials are organic, and we don’t mean metaphorically. The materials really are alive. Ficus, a parasitic plant that is soft during growth but hardens when exposed to air, can be given a certain structure to grow around and within. It can become a wall. It is a parasitic wall, but if you give them a structure to grow into or around it will grow.


While eco-warriors see automobiles as evil, Joachim takes a different approach. He sold his Honda years ago, but he doesn’t think that’s anywhere near enough. He is looking for redemption and — according to him — we should be too.

“Efficiency essentially means playing a piano with a two-by-four,” says Joachim. “You hit every key and, great, you did an efficient job… efficiency means the car is still doing some damage… If you get it down to zero emissions, you’re not doing anything bad, but you’re not doing anything good.”

Enter his Concept Car, developed with GM and Frank O. Gehry.

These cars are SOFT (Sustainable Omni Flow Transport), soft (so soft in fact, that they “look like hug-and-kiss lamb cars”) and ecological. They move in herds. They are powered by the human buttocks. And they’re not the first of their kind. Not entirely, anyways.

In the 1920’s, Henry Ford extensively experimented with alternative materials for car manufacturing. Because he believed the booming automobile industry and American’s agricultural economy were “natural partners”, he sought to amicably unite them.

This is how he became a proponent of the soybean.

Ford used plastic made from soy meal to manufacture everything from glove box doors and accelerator pedals to steering wheel and dashboard panels. Even the entire body of the car could be (and was) made from soy-based plastic. The Model T’s paint and plastic parts, in fact, contained 60 pounds of soybeans.

It was a car just as durable, lighter, and more reasonable economically and environmentally. But then war broke out. After World War II, the petrochemical industry experienced a boom and the soy-based plastic car fell into oblivion.

Until now. The ailing Ford Motor Company, in partnership with the Lear Corporation, sends a nod in the direction of history with the launch of a new car. The seat backs and cushions of the 2008 Ford Mustang are made with soy-based foam.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Green, Smart, & Sustainable Central: Cash Flow Games BOOST Trenton's Downtown - SUCCESS LINKS LLC Seeks to Highlight Downtown Brightspot, Promote Financial Literacy

Green, Smart, & Sustainable Central: Cash Flow Games BOOST Trenton's Downtown - SUCCESS LINKS LLC Seeks to Highlight Downtown Brightspot, Promote Financial Literacy

Friday, August 24, 2007

Now a Lobbyist, an Ex-Senator Uses Campaign Money

Now a Lobbyist, an Ex-Senator Uses Campaign Money

By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ and DAVID W. CHEN - August 24 - New York Times

When he was last running for the United States Senate from New Jersey in 2002, Robert G. Torricelli collected donations from thousands of people who apparently wanted to see him re-elected. They might be surprised to see how he spent a portion of their money.

Mr. Torricelli, a Democrat who was one of the Senate’s most flamboyant personalities and prodigious fund-raisers, abruptly quit the 2002 race amid allegations of ethical misconduct and became a lobbyist. Since then, he has given $4,000 from his campaign fund to Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress, $10,000 to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and more than $40,000 to Nevada Democratic Party organizations and candidates linked to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid.

All of those politicians had one thing in common: influence over Mr. Torricelli’s, or his clients’, business interests.

In early 2006, for instance, Mr. Torricelli contributed $10,000 from his Senate account to the mayor of Trenton and his slate of City Council candidates, just as city agencies were reviewing an ultimately successful proposal by the former senator to develop retail and office space in the city.

There is no evidence that Mr. Torricelli, who declined to be interviewed for this article, violated federal rules, which allow retired officials to give leftover campaign funds to charities, candidates and political parties. Sean Jackson, Mr. Torricelli’s campaign treasurer and a partner in his lobbying firm, said in an interview that any suggestion that the contributions were tied to his business interests was “ridiculous.” He said that Mr. Torricelli contributed to people he knew or with whom he shared policy goals.

“Bob has supported people who he believes in, and he doesn’t regret doing it,” Mr. Jackson said.

Mr. Torricelli had more campaign money, $2.9 million, than any other senator who has retired in the last 20 years, except John Edwards, who is running for president, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group.

In all, he has spent almost $900,000 from his account since leaving Congress, much of it on gifts to charities and nonprofit organizations like hospitals as well as political campaigns and parties. At least $65,000 went to politicians, or organizations linked to them, that had influence over business interests of Mr. Torricelli or his clients.

Campaign finance watchdogs say Mr. Torricelli’s spending raises questions about federal regulations dictating how former politicians can spend unused campaign contributions.

The rules prohibit former officials from using their leftover campaign money for personal expenses. And although Mr. Torricelli has not done that, campaign finance watchdogs say he seems to have found a legal wrinkle to spend those funds in ways that could buttress his private business. His case, they say, underscores the need to tighten the rules.

Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics, said Mr. Torricelli could have considered giving the money back to donors or to charity. “Contributors should reasonably expect that their money will go for campaigning and not that it will sit in an account for years and be doled out to build someone’s personal business,” he said.

A day after being asked about Mr. Torricelli’s spending from his Senate account, Mr. Jackson called The New York Times to say that the bulk of the remaining money would go to a foundation that Mr. Torricelli had established earlier this year to help causes like breast cancer awareness and open space preservation.

Mr. Torricelli quit the 2002 race in October of that year, several weeks after the Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter “severely admonishing” him for accepting three gifts from a contributor, David Chang.

Two months after leaving the race, Mr. Torricelli founded a lobbying practice, Rosemont Associates, which now has clients including the government of Taiwan and the owner of Cablevision.

The business has taken him far beyond New Jersey. In February 2005, Aveta Holdings L.L.C., of Hackensack, which provides managed care to Medicare recipients in Puerto Rico and other places, hired his firm for $10,000 a month as it was moving to acquire a managed care company that served Medicare recipients on the island, according to a copy of his contract. He was to build support for the company and meet with political leaders on its behalf.

In May 2006, Mr. Torricelli made two contributions totaling $4,000 from his Senate campaign account to Luis G. Fortuno, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress. Three weeks later, executives with Aveta Holdings and their relatives made donations of $12,000 to Mr. Fortuno’s campaign committee.

Mr. Fortuno’s office said that he advocated an approach that would foster competition in the Medicare program by allowing more companies to participate. Federal regulators eventually adopted such an approach, the office said. Mr. Torricelli, in turn, dropped in on Mr. Fortuno this year to thank him for his efforts, according to a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

Mr. Jackson said that Mr. Torricelli’s donations to Mr. Fortuno had nothing to do with Aveta, and were made because he, like Mr. Fortuno, has long supported Puerto Rican statehood. Contributors to Mr. Fortuno connected to Aveta did not return phone calls to their offices and homes. Aveta’s chairman, Daniel E. Straus, also declined to comment.

Mr. Torricelli has also tapped his campaign account to make sizable donations to Nevada politicians, including several Democrats close to Senator Reid. In 2003, $25,000 from the Torricelli for U.S. Senate account was given to Silver State Victory 2004, the committee coordinating the Democratic effort in Nevada that year.

Then in October 2004, he gave $10,000 to the Nevada State Democratic Party, of which Mr. Reid is the titular head. The same month Mr. Torricelli also gave $250 to Josh Reid, the senator’s son, who ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Torricelli began reaching out to Mr. Reid on behalf of a client that retained him for $15,000 a month: the government of Taiwan. On Feb. 2, 2005, before contacting any other senator, Mr. Torricelli called Mr. Reid to set up a meeting with Taiwan’s representative in the United States, according to federal lobbying records, to discuss Taiwan’s opposition to a new Chinese law that authorized the use of force if Taiwan declared independence.

By February 2007, Mr. Torricelli had contacted Mr. Reid or his staff some two dozen times about Taiwan’s interests, going beyond what he did with other Democratic Senators, the records show.

A spokesman for Mr. Reid said that it was unfair to single out the donations that Mr. Torricelli made in Nevada, given that the state was drawing significant attention from Democrats around the country who viewed its role as crucially important in the presidential election.

Mr. Jackson said Mr. Torricelli’s donations to Mr. Reid stemmed from their long relationship, not his lobbying on Taiwan.

“It would be surprising — it would be amazing — if he didn’t support Harry Reid,” Mr. Jackson said.

Money has gone elsewhere. On Oct. 29, 2003, Governor Blagojevich of Illinois made a fund-raising trip to New York and had a private meeting with Mr. Torricelli and Leonard Barrack, whose law firm, Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, had hired the former senator as a consultant, according to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Five days after the meeting, Mr. Torricelli and the firm itself each gave $10,000 to Mr. Blagojevich’s reelection campaign account, according to campaign disclosure reports. (Mr. Torricelli drew on his Senate campaign account for his donation.)

On Feb. 20, 2004, the law firm was placed on the Illinois State Teachers Retirement System’s list of preferred outside attorneys, according to a spokeswoman for the state fund.

The retirement system’s board of trustees decides who is placed on that list, not the governor. But the governor appoints 4 of the 11 members of the board.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Blagojevich said that the governor’s office was unable to comment on the meeting because she did not have access to the governor’s campaign schedule and it appeared to be part of a campaign-related trip. Mr. Jackson said that Mr. Torricelli does not recall meeting Mr. Blagojevich.

As a lobbyist in Trenton, Mr. Torricelli counted his biggest client in 2006 as CSC Holdings, the operator of Cablevision, which paid him $162,000 that year. In early 2006, Mr. Torricelli’s firm was lobbying state regulators to seek changes in a bill sponsored by State Senator Joseph V. Doria Jr., a Democrat, that would have allowed telephone companies like Verizon, a chief rival of Cablevision’s, to provide pay television service.

In May, Mr. Torricelli contributed $5,000 from his Senate campaign account to a slate of municipal candidates headed by Mr. Doria, who is also the mayor of Bayonne. Eventually, the bill passed, but Cablevision succeeded in weakening some provisions, according to lobbyists in Trenton.

Mr. Doria did not return a call last week seeking more information about the law. Mr. Jackson said that Mr. Torricelli has supported Mr. Doria for years.

Mr. Torricelli has also given contributions from his campaign account as he has pursued real estate deals in his home state.

In September 2005, Mr. Torricelli purchased the Golden Swan, a boarded-up historic building situated a couple of blocks from the State House in Trenton, for $1 from the City of Trenton, according to real estate records. Mr. Torricelli and Trenton’s mayor, Douglas H. Palmer, were signatories. Mr. Torricelli then began investing at least $3 million in restoring the building.

But he needed city approvals. In the spring of 2006, Mr. Torricelli contributed $10,000 from his Senate campaign account to Mr. Palmer, and his slate of City Council candidates for the June municipal election.

Those donations came as city agencies, including the Council, were reviewing Mr. Torricelli’s proposal for the Golden Swan, which called for the creation of retail and office space in the building. That fall, the Council, including Mr. Palmer’s slate, gave Mr. Torricelli an $89,000 grant to install an elevator in another building he was developing in Trenton’s downtown. This March, the Council also approved a state loan application for the Golden Swan.

“It’s not like if you give me money, you’re going to get stuff — it doesn’t work like that,” Mr. Palmer said. Mr. Jackson said: “If anything, Torricelli did something to help people and the city.”

Margot Williams contributed reporting.