Terri Langford

WNYC/NJPR Reporter

Terri Langford appears in the following:

Six Arrested in NJ brothels Ring

Thursday, July 18, 2013

They were promised jobs as house cleaners and babysitters. But instead New Jersey officials say women from Mexico and other Latin American countries were forced into prostitution and served as many as 40 clients a day. 

New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced the arrests Thursday of 38-year-old Jose Cruz Romero-Flores and a crew that included his girlfriend and four other men. The six are charged with moving an unknown number of women through a brothels based in Lakewood and other states.
“Once the woman are brought into the United States, they are made to work what is called ‘the circuit,’ “ explained Hoffman. “Which is a number of brothels in New Jersey and surrounding states where they are shipped from brothel to brothel.”
The six were the first defendants to be charged under New Jersey’s new human trafficking law. 
Romero-Flores, also known as “Chato” was charged with first-degree human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime and third-degree promoting prostitution. The first degree charge of human trafficking carries a 20 year to life penalty, plus a criminal fine of $200,000. 
Two other defendants, Felix Rios-Martinez, 47, of Lakewood and Raul Romero-Castillo, 30 of Lakewood were charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking, second dwegree promoting organized street crime and third-degree promoting prostitution. 
Santos Lazaero Flores Cruz, 58, of Union City, and Haliro Bueno, 21, of Lakewood were each charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking, second-degree promoting organized street crime and third-degree promoting prostitution.  
Odulia Bedran Trejo, 22 was charged with second-degree promoting organized street crime and third-degree promoting prostitution. 
Hoffman would not disclose how many women been rescued as a part of the arrest. He said the investigation, which includes brothels in New York, is still ongoing. 
His office is looking for other victims in this case and asked that anyone with information to call the 24-hour NJ Human Trafficking Hotline at 877-986-7534
Terri Langford I NJ Government Accountability Reporter New York Public Radio I New Jersey Public Radio I WNYC I WQXR 160 Varick Street, New York NY 10013
T: 718.490.5480 I E: tlangford@wnyc.org


109 New Jersey Officials Lie to Get Free Lunch

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


A investigation by the New Jersey comptroller’s office has found that dozens of New Jersey government employees and six elected school board members have been lying for years about their salaries just to get their kids a free or reduced lunch at school.

The investigation of 15 New Jersey school districts, released Tuesday, found that 109 people, including 83 public employees and six school board members were involved in the fraud, said Comptroller Matthew Boxer.

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Union Chief Optimistic About Star-Ledger Future

Friday, July 05, 2013

New Jersey's largest newspaper, the Star-Ledger in Newark, has been making headlines itself and raising concerns about the future of a Pulitzer-winning publication.


Dawn Quixote? Buono Challenges Christie

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


New Jersey Public Radio's Terri Langford reports the State Senator could use a new hand to play in her struggle to take on Governor Chris Christie.


Incumbent Gill Faces Former Obama Campaign Manager In Primary

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Most of New Jersey’s primary races are expected to be handily won by the incumbent. But one race political observers are watching closely is the fight State Senator Nia Gill is facing with a former Obama campaign director.


Sandy Damage Prompts Some to Walk Away Instead of Stay

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


In some places, Sandy’s wrath is a reason to walk away from their homes as opposed to staying on and fixing them up.




For many Sandy’s wrath is a memory that happened six months ago.

But some home buyers and sellers are just now feeling its power surge through the real estate market in coastal areas.


“Not one property has closed to date in Sea Bright since the storm,” said Donna Markowitz, broker-manager at Gloria Nilson and company real estate in Keyport, New Jersey.


In parts of New Jersey, coastal properties are selling for much less than they were worth before the storm. 


Many homes that were flooded will have to be raised up to new flood elevation standards set by FEMA.  And they’ll also incur increased costs for flood and homeowner’s insurance.  Those increased expenses, combined with the uncertainty of what new regulations will be, could be spooking buyers and coaxing sellers to drop their prices.


“There’s the uncertainty of the [FEMA flood] zones - we don’t have anything firm yet, we don’t have firm maps or elevations,” said Steve Acropolis, the Mayor of Brick Township, New Jersey.


The uncertainty is causing some to walk away. 


In the working class town of Keyport on the Raritan Bay, two Sandy-damaged homes on the market in Keyport are on the market for about $70,000.


“Before Sandy, they would have been, in this market,  like a $240 to 250,000 home,” said agent Markowitz.


It’s a similar situation in tony Mantaloking, father south, where only one home sold on the open market since the storm struck. 


“It was on the market for $5.5 million before the storm.  The house was destroyed [during Sandy] and sold for $2.7 million, about half the value after the storm,” said Peter Zanowic, with Gloria Nilson and Company real estate in Bay Head, NJ.




According to Zillow, the online real estate site, there’s not enough data yet to determine via sale listings, if there’s a high volume of short selling going on.


But Zillow economist Svenja Gudell says there is added pressure on owners of homes seriously damaged by Sandy, particularly in the Garden State.


She said that in New Jersey, 25 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were underwater before Sandy hit, meaning they owe more on their homes than their property is worth.


“You’re getting the double whammy if you will,” Gudell said of those homeowners. “Not only were you underwater before, but now you’re even worse off because your home has been damaged.”


And some of those financially ‘underwater’ are more likely to sell at distressed property price instead of trying to cobble together a way to pay for repairs on what is already, a losing investment for them.


“That makes it easier for people to say: ‘It’s going to take so long for me to reach positive equity again in my home, I’m going to walk away from my home now,’ ” Gudell said.


This homeowner fatigue is expected to shake out overtime, experts say. 

As powerful as Sandy’s storm surge was, it’s not likely to influence buyers of shore properties a few years from now, if tradition is any guide. 


“The older homes that were destroyed, there will be brand new homes in there.  So the houses will be worth more, the market will rebound, and people will want to live here and spend money for it,” said Zanowic.


But some fear the rebuilding will force working class families away from the beach.


“It’s going to change the character of some towns, and I worry about young people being able to afford being on the water,” added Steve Acropolis, Mayor of Brick.


But in some storm-ravaged areas, like Long Beach, and on Long’s Island’s North Shore too, sales this spring have been less affected by Sandy.


“Waterfront [property] is a limited commodity [here] and it still commands the high numbers,” said Risa Ziegler, a licensed broker with Douglas Elliman in Huntington, Long Island.


The North Shore still lacks inventory, and it’s a desirable area.


Long Island’s South Shore sustained much more Sandy damage, and initially, home prices of flooded properties fell sharply.


But now, in anticipation of summer, sales are trending upwards.


“When Sandy first hit, I thought my career was over, I didn’t know how I’d sell another house here,” said Long Beach real estate agent Joyce Coletti.


But over time some started buying damaged homes on the South shore, and prices began rising, even for homes that had been gutted after storm damage.  In Long Beach, nine homes burnt after a car blew up during Sandy.


“I had a bidding war on burnt homes, that were burnt to the ground,” and we sold them,” added Coletti.


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Controversy and the Future of Rutgers

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

At a contentious town hall forum yesterday, Rutgers President Robert Barchi took questions about the lingering controversy over abuses by basketball coach Mike Rice, and his plans to merge the school with other New Jersey campuses. Governor Christie defended Barchi's response to the Rice scandal. Karen Cerulo, professor of sociology at Rutgers University and Terri Langford, investigative reporter at New Jersey Public Radio, discuss where faculty and students think the university should go next.

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