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Report: N.J. Senator Had No-Work Job

September 18, 2006

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) _ A powerful southern New Jersey politician was paid for a no-work job at a scandal-ridden state university while helping the school garner millions of dollars in new state funding, according to a report released Monday.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey paid state Sen. Wayne Bryant, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, $35,000 a year ``to lobby himself in his capacity of state senator,″ according to the report of a federal monitor who had investigated the school’s finances.

The report said all Bryant appeared to do at the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine was show up for three hours most Tuesdays to read newspapers.

Bryant, a Democrat, was the sole subject of the report released Monday. He did not return calls seeking comment, and did not show up to an event he was expected to attend on Monday at a college near Newark.

Herbert J. Stern, a former federal prosecutor and judge, was appointed to investigate the university in December after the school admitted overbilling Medicaid by more than $5 million. A previous report he issued suggested losses from fraud and abuse there could exceed $243 million.

The report said Bryant was employed at the university’s School of Osteopathic Medicine from March 2003 until February 2006 and that during that time, the school’s state allocation skyrocketed.

According to the report, Bryant helped deliver a total of $12.8 million over the three years _ up from $2.8 million per year before the school created a job for him.

In 2003, the osteopathic school created a position for Bryant and did not advertise it publicly, the report found.

John Crosbie, an official at the school, told investigators that Bryant was hired only for his ``political juice.″

The report said Bryant did not grant an interview to investigators.

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