Strange week.  In New Joisey, the culmination of years of investigation resulted in the arrest of forty four (44!) people on charges ranging from money laundering to bribery to bank fraud.

This was not small potatoes.  They snagged three mayors, two NJ assemblymen, five rabbis, and lots of political operatives.

And it got weird.  One payoff was a box of Apple Jacks cereal – except inside, instead of sugar-coated crunchies, there was $97,000.  That will open your eyes in the morning!

Then it got even weirder.  There were fake Gucci handbags involved.  And the only Republican taken down by all this (who just happens to be both a town mayor AND a state assemblyman) had someone in his office who said this when asked for a comment:

Mr. Van Pelt was arrested today and is out of the office.

Ho-hum.  Just another normal day in New Joisey.

And then there were five rabbis involved in the money laundering – pumping money through the local yeshiva for a small fee.  Only in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Strangest of all is the sale of human kidneys.  Levy Izhak Rosenbaum would arrange for someone from Israel to come to the US, and donate a kidney for ten grand.  He’s also make the connection with the recipient, who paid a hundred and sixty grand.  I’m not sure who covered the medical bills, but Mr. Rosenbaum had $150K to play with – and that’s per kidney.  There were apparently lots of kidneys.

A hundred miles down the road from Deal, NJ, is the seaside town of Avalon.  That’s where my extended family (without my brother and I) were spending the week at a family reunion.  I doubt that they were part of the operation before the arrests, but the family probably discussed it over lunch at Oceanside Seafood, or carry-out from Avalon Seafood.  And my dad probably bought inches of newspapers daily from the Paper Peddler.  Lucky guy.

So I’m glad that my family was able to enjoy the shore without the metal bracelets that others were wearing a hundred miles north.  Wish we could have been there to share it.