Considine on the run?
The future remains in flux for some Chris Christie cabinet members. Grapevine hears Lori Grifa is not settled on returning to Wolff & Samson when she leaves the Department of Community Affairs on Jan. 2. Despite the public announcement that Grifa will return to her old law firm, she reportedly is entertaining offers.
More surprising is the future of Tom Considine, who reportedly will be leaving the Department of Banking and Insurance. During a panel at a DOBI insurance symposium last week, a rumor was publicly discussed that Considine will challenge Bob Menendez in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.
Considine was in the room during the panel discussion, but would not address the rumor. So Grapevine just has to do some guessing here. Considine is a registered Democrat appointed to a cabinet post by a Republican governor. So he could raise funds from Republicans — essentially allowing the GOP to hit up donors twice. Considine would never beat Menendez, but he could take shots at the incumbent, helping his close pal Joe Kyrillos, who is expected to be a GOP challenger to Menendez in the 2012 race.
Bizarre or brilliant? Only time will tell.
Higher ed calling
Montclair State University President Susan Cole is actively lobbying to be the next president of Rutgers University, according to two sources. "She's out telling everybody she wants the job," said one source. "She's out stirring the pot."
Grapevine reached out to Montclair and a university spokeswoman replied: "The president says there is absolutely no truth to that rumor."
Noise about AC/DC
When the state chamber holds it biggest event after 2012, will it be AC or DC?
People are chattering that the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce might move its annual Walk to Washington train trip to Atlantic City. AC legislators have pushed for the move in the past, but it might be hell's bells from D.C. lawmakers if the event gets moved. The chamber held its Business and Legislator of the Year event at Bally's in late September; one source said that event was aimed at appeasing the Atlantic City forces.
No matter what, the 75th event is set for Jan. 26 and 27, 2012, at the Marriott Wardman, in Washington, D.C., with the governor confirmed as keynote speaker. A chamber representative told Grapevine that any discussion about moving the location of the event is still at the chamber's board of directors level.
Newark project's Greek pique
The New Jersey Institute of Technology is moving ahead with a plan to redevelop its Newark campus, starting with a $70 million mixed-use project that will be presented to the city planning board at a Dec. 19 hearing, a source with knowledge of the plan said.
The proposal calls for building a multistory residence hall and several houses for Greek organizations, the source said. The 600-bed project will also include office space for NJIT's Albert Dorman Honors College, and would be built on what is now a parking lot at Warren and Colden streets.
NJIT is building the so-called Greek Village project with Monument LLC, an Indianapolis-based developer, the source said. It will allow some of the institute's Greek organizations to relocate from houses on Martin Luther King Boulevard, while alleviating overall housing concerns around the campus.
Felix, Oscar; meet Jon, Cory
The odd couple of Jon Bramnick and Cory Booker coming together to push for Newark as the site of a 2016 national political convention had been two years in the making.
The Republican assemblyman and Democratic Newark mayor were introduced by a mutual friend, and they began talking back and forth about several issues of mutual interest, according to Bramnick. Earlier this year, they both saw the potential for a bipartisan push to host the convention at the Prudential Center.
"I like talking to him — he's a supporter of making some changes, like education reform," Bramnick said.
They don't have a specific plan for formal convention proposals to the national political parties, and as to the letter the two mailed in early November to the parties, "I don't expect a quick response," Bramnick said.
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org.