A man leaves a halfway house in Newark and steps into a Cadillac that whisks him to downtown. NorthJersey.com says that so begins another working day for Charles Kushner, the real estate developer who directed $1.5 million to former Gov. James E. McGreevey through an elaborate contribution scheme involving his real estate partnerships. Kushner was forced to resign and convicted of campaign finance violations and tax evasion. What propelled Kushner to tabloid infamy were revelations that he had sought to capture his brother-in-law in a sex trap in order to blackmail his sister from testifying against him.
When Kushner was sent to federal prison for a two-year stay in April 2005, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie said a disgrace had been removed from society. Kushner these days is able to enjoy many of the trappings of freedom and power he once commanded as lord of a five-million-square foot commercial and residential real estate empire. Kushner’s successful application to the halfway program — after completing a 500-hour alcohol abuse treatment program at Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Al. — got him out of jail after 11 months. He is scheduled to leave the halfway house Aug. 26, four months before his two-year term would have ended. Kushner must phone into the halfway house when he arrives at work and before he leaves, and he receives random monitoring calls during the workday. He must sleep in the same dormitory block with 15 to 20 other convicts, who use common showers, bathrooms and eating areas. “Mr. Kushner was sentenced to be in a federal prison for two years and that’s where he should be,” said a spokesman for Christie’s office. “We strongly believe he never should have gotten into that program.”