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Grapevine: Christie circle's career shuffling

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Before accepting his new job with Gibbons, Bill Palatucci met with Ed Deutsch about possible employment at McElroy, Deutsch, the firm with the most New Jersey attorneys, according to a tipster. (Editor's note: On Nov. 26, Palatucci contacted NJBIZ to say he had never met with Deutsch and never even had a conversation with Deutsch about employment.)

Palatucci isn't the only one in Chris Christie's inner circle with a new gig. A well-placed source reports Todd Christie has landed a job at Ernst & Young. The tipster did not know the exact title, but it was something high level, like vice chairman. A call to E&Y's New York City office last week revealed Todd Christie is not on the phone list for all of the accounting and consulting firm's North America offices. Todd Christie's Facebook page lists his most recent job as director of trading at Sica Wealth Management from March 2011 to July 2012.

Mary Pat Christie left Cantor Fitzgerald to become a managing director at Angelo, Gordon & Co., an investment firm that manages about $25 billion. The Star-Ledger reported the governor's wife moved to the new job in September.

The moves will likely have fans of the popular parlor game "is Christie running, and for what and when?" trying to discern what it all means.

In League with AshBritt?

It was interesting to see Maggie Moran listed as a contact for a recent New Jersey League of Municipalities letter to mayors about the state's contract with AshBritt for Hurricane Sandy cleanup work.

One hard-hit Shore town that has already hired AshBritt is Belmar, where Moran's husband, Matt Doherty, is mayor.

"I don't involve myself at all with Belmar," said Moran, adding she wasn't involved in AshBritt getting the state contract or in Belmar signing up with AshBritt. Moran said she actually is working for Conti Group, not AshBritt, and the league's letter does list her at a Conti e-mail address, along with her M Public Affairs phone number. The league's letter also says AshBritt has "a field office" at 1700 Main St. in the Lake Como section of Wall, the same street address for Moran's M Public Affairs office.

Moran, a veteran Democratic campaign operative, said her work with Conti isn't lobbying, but simply getting out the word that the state contract exists.

"Unlike normal lobbying, where you're actually lobbying a town to hire a contractor, all that our firm did was to communicate publicly what was available under the state contract," Moran said. "I didn't even meet them (AshBritt) until they started partnering with Conti."

Conti is partnering with AshBritt to help identify local contractors and coordinate the work. People in the construction industry and related fields reportedly are concerned New Jersey companies won't be picked as AshBritt subcontractors.

Moran, who previously worked for Ray Pocino at Laborers International Union, said AshBritt/Conti are working with the Utility Transportation Contractors Association, and a "tremendous" amount of work will be done by local contractors and local workers. Moran predicted other out-of-state competitors wouldn't use as many New Jersey laborers as AshBritt/Conti will.

No salary deluge for Flood

Kyle Flood may want to call his agent.

Rutgers' head football coach makes around $760,000 annually, the lowest salary in the Big East, according to a USA Today database. Compared to his predecessor Greg Schiano's $2.3 million annual contract, which was tied for tops in the Big East, Flood already is a bargain.

But compared to his future Big Ten counterparts, Flood is a downright steal. Salaries in the Big Ten range from $970,000 for Purdue's Danny Hope to $4.3 million for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Fellow Big Ten newcomer Maryland pays its head football coach, former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, $1.6 million, which is closer to the Big Ten average pay.

Top execs, top secrecy

On Nov. 19, the Rutgers Foundation packed a room with an impressive array of Rutgers alums who are now leaders in the world of business to hobnob with Dr. Robert Barchi and Christie. Motorola Solutions CEO and Rutgers alum and board of governors member Greg Brown reportedly was the host.

"The Rutgers Foundation organized a private gathering of a group of alumni, many of whom are CEOs, in order to give them the opportunity to meet President Barchi and Governor Christie, and discuss the future of Rutgers University and higher education," a university spokesman said.

Some 30 people attended the event at an undisclosed Jersey City location, but Rutgers would not release their names, since it was a "private gathering," the spokesman said.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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