Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hoboken Funny Papers

page 291- The 2005-2006 BoE wrote a $560K P.O. to itself- and paid itself $55.9K- BoE unable to provide supporting documentation to auditor.    The SAME crew are behind the Move Forward BoE slate.

My Dad used to call the comics section of our newspaper the 'funny papers' .

We've got funny papers here in Hoboken, they're called The Hoboken Reporter.

Unlike the  funny papers I grew up with, ours are darkly comic.  The punch lines are actual punches delivered by operatives whose spin goes to straight to print without fact-checking, concern for accuracy or fairness.  

These funny papers never come with a retraction or an apology.  The operatives are friends who confide in the paper about their next dirty truck.  After it's done, the paper 'reports' the 'news' with a straight face, protecting the operatives while bleeding their victim in black and white.  It's a symbiotic relationship; the ops churn out narratives, the paper gets news.  Like making sausage.  Everybody wins.

Read how this political operative tried and FAILED to plant a 'Nazi story' about this blog in the HR!

Except for the losers.

And of course, real news which doesn't get reported.

Like Councilwoman Beth Mason's 501(c)(3) fraud charity.  It employs political operatives, uses an alias, did not submit mandatory income and expense reports to the NJ Attorney General ever, and files e-Postcard federal tax returns instead of the required 990 form  for charities with gross receipts of over 50K.   GA sent all that to the Hoboken Reporter with documentation. 

You'll never see it.

Because there is only one kind of news  the Hoboken Reporter prints. The kind that helps their political friends.  Friends who advertise, support the interests of its management and dispatch operatives to plant spin.

So what was in this week's funny papers?

Nothing about a Blogger's imaginary excursion to Queens. No ginned up political-operative dirty trick on another Blogger ( alleged 'threats' on a "toddler", a non-existent 'criminal investigation' or rigged Nazi 'death chamber' story.) 
This week's funny papers 'exonerate' Russo on the the missing $18K from the Russo for Hoboken account.  GA will look at that this week.

What caught my attention was the sappy letter from BoE member Peter Biancamano.  In it he  bemoans his vote to approve $268K in legal fees, which reminded me of this famous John Kerry stinker from 2004:

Peter B. was AGAINST it before he voted FOR it.


GA found the reason for his public opposition to paying our lawyers- "taking money out of the classrooms" to be laughably ironic.

Because Biancamano is allied with Frank Raia to 'take back' control of the BoE from Kids First.

Kids First, the majority of whom are public school moms, and have been 'cleaning' the mess left by Raia and his ilk since they took control in 2009.

And Biancamano wants to give Raia, Russo and Castellano control of the School Board  because THEY won't take money out of the classrooms?

Read all about it!

HAW HAW HAW... oh, those funny papers.

Frank Raia and Carmelo Garcia were President and VP of the BoE in 2005-2006,  the year THEY "took money from the classrooms" like it was going out of style.  Jobs! Cell phones! Steak dinners! 

The 2005-2006 Board used the schools' money like a personal slush fund.  Jobs! Cell phones! Steak dinners!

Read all about it!
And Baiancamao wants them BACK while whining to The Hoboken Reporter about voting to pay legitimate legal bills?

GA sympathizes;  no juicy steak dinners at fancy restaurants, mysterious hires, junkets for friends to Atlantic City, or free cell phones under Kids First.  It's rough, actually using money for running the district.   


Read all about it!

Well, Biancamano's disingenuous complaint inspired GA to peruse the 2005-2006  audit- all 297 pages, and oh boy...  you'll see MORE shocking misappropriation of our kids' education money here in the days to come.

Folks, our schools are FINALLY being managed properly, and the hard work is getting done, but the people who ran our schools into the ground want their snouts back in the $60M kitty.  We CAN'T let them.

So have a gander at the top image- a screenshot from the audit which shows the 2005-2006 BoE making a purchase order for $560K to ITSELF.  And paying ITSELF $55.9K.  What the hell for?   The auditor couldn't say-- there was NO back-up documentation.

Under Kids First, those days are OVER.   And that's why the Dark Side is fighting hard to Move Forward to the dark past.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Has HobokenDads Become a PAC?

Events where the sponsors promote political candidates are in-kind campaign contributions

HobokenDads, a terrific non-partisan group of community-minded fathers  appears to have been shanghaied by founder Brian Murray for the political campaign of a slate of School Board candidates.   Murray charges a  $25 annual membership fee to join HobokenDads, money which presumably goes toward the expenses of activities and events hosted by and for members, their families and the community-at-large.

But what if Murray is using his non-partisan group to host campaign events for Move Forward (MF), candidates in the upcoming school board race?   As the sponsor for events which endorse and promote candidates,  doesn't Murray's group become a  campaign contributor subject to NJ Campaign Finance and Lobbying Regulations?

On September 22, Murray's group, HobokenDads, sponsored Kiddiepalooza 2012 , a children's event in the park.  Presumably,  membership fees cover- at least part- of the cost of Kiddiepalooza.  

Here are disturbing questions raised by a parent who took her child to  Kiddiepalooza, and discovered it swarming with politicos, campaign literature and the FOUNDER of HobokenDads manning a table covered with campaign literature.
So I went to the Kiddiepalozza that was organized by the Hoboken Dads Group at Church Sq Park today...

It was pretty sparsely attended throughout the day... though you had the usual suspects.  Perry Belfiore standing by with an armful of Literature for the Oland/Markevitz/Vazquez ticket, Vazquez and Ines Garcia Keim handing out campaign lit.

Oland, Raia and Michael Holmes and Anthony Romano and Ruben Ramos in attendance along with Benny Love blowing up the bouncy houses..don't forget Carmelo Garcia he was there too.


Campaign literature at Kiddiepalooza- at the Hobokendads table

Look, GA is the first to tell you it is every citizen's right to advocate for the people he/she wishes to govern, and against those he/she wants OUT.   

Like I do here.

But when the leader of a non-partisan PARENT'S group hijacks it for political endorsements while collecting MONEY from it's members, well... that's not kosher.

How does this square with NJ Campaign Financing and Lobbying Regulations? 

While HobokenDads may not be collecting donations, the value of their membership-paid events which "aid or promote the candidacies of individuals for elective office" may require that organization to formalize it's status as a PAC, or Continuing Political Committee, as it's called in NJ. 

GA thinks Murray ought to notify his members that on their behalf he is engaging in political endorsements  and participating in campaign events.  And of course, coordinating with Move Forward Campaign manager John Castellano who is also the Treasurer of Russo for Hoboken (who has yet to explain where that $18K went)

By virtue of the campaign endorsement at Kiddipalooza, Move Forward is required to note it as an in-kind campaign contribution on their ELECs. 
Politics with your 'free' bouncy house- from the event SPONSOR

Kinda slick, no? 

 A parent brings their kid to the Kiddiepalooza 'free' bouncy house, enjoys some 'free' music, and the event sponsor is seated at a table covered with "Move Forward" campaign literature... whatever happened to truth-in-advertising?    

Like those 'free' weekends in the Poconos where you end up being sold a Time Share...your 'free'  bouncy house comes with a pitch for a BoE slate.
Continuing Political Committee (CPC) – includes any group of two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership, or any other incorporated or unincorporated association, including a political club, political action committee, civic association or other organization, which in any calendar year contributes or expects to contribute at least $4,300 to aid or promote the candidacy of an individual, or the candidacies of individuals, for elective public office, or the passage or defeat of a public question or public questions, and which may be expected to make contributions toward such aid or promotion or passage or defeat during a subsequent election, provided that the group, corporation, partnership, association or other organization has been determined by the commission to be a continuing political committee in accordance with N.J.S.A. 19:44A-8(b). Frequently referred to as political action committee (PAC) or special interest group.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Case of the Disappearing Blog Post

Gather 'round conspiracy theorists and FBI watchers.

GA got word yesterday of a strange occurrence on

Faster than you can say:  'what happened to the $18,420.81 in the Russo for Hoboken bank account on September 10, 2008 gone now with no ELEC filings or bank records to confirm whether the $5,000 promised by FBI informant Solomon Dwek on April 29, 2009 was deposited?  Scott Siegel's blog post, Michael Russo: Did He or Didn't He? DISAPPEARED.

The 'official' word from Patch Editor Tom Troncone was the post was yanked for innacuracies.

Um... respectfully, given the heaping piles of political operative truthiness that site hosts, since when does management vet its blog posts?


GA is reminded of the mystery of  another cyber-bath; the scrub-a-dubbing of Janett Ricciardi's postings.  Not to mention those of loveyourtaxmoney (ex-hubby Patrick Ricciardi)

Remember those?

In the days after Patrick Ricciardi's November 9, 2011 arrest, the ex-Mrs. went on a cyber-tear and almost as quickly- 5 days later- her posts were GONE.  GA screen-capped some:

Here's one that ought to give you pause:

Remember, these alleged meetings between Russo and Ricciardi happened AFTER that $5,000 from Dwek  DID or DIDN'T get deposited into Russo for Hoboken.

Whatever the case, Russo apparently DID  NOT tell the FBI what Ricciardi was up to- if he even knew.  If, if, if.

Lots of IFs.

Add to that a disappearing blog post about the disappearing 18K with no account records or ELECs from the Russo for Hoboken account and all we need is this:

grassy knoll

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mason Newsletter: Let the People Decide

Another MF Kidnapping!

Uh-oh.  Those Move Forward (MF) candidates (opposing non-kidnappers, Kids First) have done it AGAIN!

They've force ANOTHER unconsenting victim into Facebook Friendship!  The heist took place last Saturday night, as reported to GA by an actual friend of the victim!
happened again!

another friend added to M.F without her knowledge. She said she hasn't been on facebook in weeks, yet she was added to their list last Saturday night..

She has NO idea who they are and no idea how she got added to the list. This is a district employee...who is horrified with their stance on "using publics schools as a resource"! No WAY she friended them!
Oh, the humanity!

Surely such a pathetic act as stealing Friends is borne of  of a desperate NEED to be  wanted... to be loved... to convince OTHERS that you are in demand...

Paging Dr. Shrill!

Imagine how SAD it is not to earn Friendship but to be forced into kidnapping and theft... a life of CRIME all because... because... because...without STEALING Friends, you could be... Friendless.

Attack of the Flyers!

Nasty, lying flyer found in Hoboken this morning

Oh my goodness, the Dark Side hasn't figured out who they're FOR but they sure know who they're AGAINST!

No Dark Side candidate has yet to emerge from the ooze; to observers it appears there is no clear frontrunner to take on the popular, powerful (and under-estimated) Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

GA supposes a series of phone polls done in late August/September produced bad news and this conundrum: which of their apples is the least-rotten of the whole rotten bunch?  Given the public's response to such an unpalatable buffet the question the Dark Side faces is: who wants to lose in 2013?

No one.

So, as the opposition tries to find a least-worst pick, someone has taken a swipe at the mayor with a very-early midnight flyer.

GA was told they were scattered all over the 2nd Ward, and found littering Washington Street...

Litter on our streets left by callous, lying politician(s)

WHO could be responsible for this blizzard of dreck?

The slick graphics show it's not the run-of-the mill operative's handiwork- it was done at some cost by a graphic artist/team.  But the flyer lies with a pretty face as it 'sources' a quote from this JJ article published on September 11, 2012:  "Hoboken announces new finance director; transportation director stepping down"

Problem?  The quote is FABRICATED.  Here's the quote (then look for it in the article):

"The Director of the Hoboken Parking Utility resigned so he can move to Europe, but Zimmer is keeping her friend on the payroll for a NO SHOW JOB"

Didja find the quote there?  No?

Sacs' alleged "no show job" is actually consulting on an as-needed basis- he gets paid for the hours he works- for projects he was involved in or those requiring his expertise.  And Sacs will use new-fangled electro-powered gizmos called 'computers' and 'telephones' that can teleconference and email so business can be conducted from anywhere, even Europe! 

Ask Ricky Mason, who reads Grafix Avenger from Europe on some wireless fruit he calls a 'Blackberry':

You see?  Just imagine all the trees that were sacrificed to lie about Zimmer and Ian Sacs. And like manure spread on a pasture, these flyers have left a field of litter for City workers to clean.

WHO is responsible?

It appears to GA like it was hatched by the same nitwits that carpet-bombed our mailboxes back in 2009 with this brain-dead dreck:

Remember THAT idiocy?  Voters were so offended by this campaign of over-the-top nastiness they fled to Zimmer.

Well, it looks like more unrelenting negativity from the Dark Side directed at Zimmer is in store; a sign of weakness as they scramble for their least-worst to market against a popular incumbent.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The FBI Loves GA

Another visit from my FBI friends! When are we going to Mamoun's?

Okay, that may be overstated.  I'm not sure the FBI loves GA- or even likes it, but... they read it.    Regularly.

Why not? 

MSV and GA write about political corruption in Hoboken and the FBI investigation is ongoing- they've had the entire city's data banks in their custody since the May 26, 2011 raid on Patrick Ricciardi's IT office.    

So they would find our sites interesting. Want to know how long they've been readers?

Take a look at The United States of America vs. Patrick Ricciardi signed by FBI Special Agent Chritian Schorle:

FBI Special Agent Schorle verified complaint against Patrick Ricciardi

Here the Special Agent Schorle describes the schism in Hoboken's political culture and points to blog discourse as 'evidence of this schism'.

And that's why they read us. We write about the stuff our 'Fourth Estate' won't.

Like the funky Mason charity that pays political operatives and uses an alias instead of its legal name.  GA sent ALL that to a reporter at the HR- did you ever read it there?  No... of course you didn't.  They're too busy making up stories about Roman Brice.  Or conflating absolute garbage about me, another blogger.

Here's what GA thinks of Hoboken's 'Fourth Estate'.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mason Gallery Hosting MF Campaign

On the heels of yesterday's Earwitness News report that Councilwoman Beth Mason is planning to fold her 'charity', this came in:
Heard there was a campaign meeting today in the Gallery 1200 space for Oland/Markevitz/Vazquez Mason and Raia in attendance along with Biancomano and Ines Garcia Keim.

Garcia Keim was out later in the day with Vazquez campaigning. Is that the kiss of death?? 
Oland, Markevitz and Vasquez are Move Forward (MF),  Kids First's opponents in the coming BoE election.  MF is powered by Raia and Mason money while Kids First is powered by Moms and Dads and members of the community who want 'sticky fingers' OFF our school budget.

Did you know this...
Frank Raia was the BoE President during the 2005-2006 era of freebie cell phones and steak dinners:

page 157

page 133

Move Forward's Treasurer, Frank Raia, presided over the Board that used BoE money like his private piggy bank.

Move Forward Campaign Manager, John Castellano, presided over the disappearance of $18K from Russo for Hoboken- he is the Treasurer of that "still-active" bank account.

Move Forward sponsor Beth Mason is holding political campaign meetings in her tax-exempt, registered 501(c)(3)-sponsored Gallery 1200.

You can't make this stuff up, folks!

501(c)(3): Intervention in political campaigns or the endorsement/anti-endorsement of candidates for public office is strictly prohibited.
It appears the The 'Mason Family Civic League'- the unregistered alias the Mason's use for their registered 501(c)(3) is not defunct yet;  it's listed in this week's Hoboken Reporter as a sponsor of a Mile Square Theater event.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Breaking Earwitness News

Ready for this BREAKING Earwitness News report?

Here's what GA heard last week:
(Councilwoman) Beth Mason's charity is shutting down.
And from a second source:
Beth and Ricky are dismantling the Mason Civic League.  I guess Ricky pulled the plug.
Wow.  GA has noticed Mason pulled her weekly Gallery 1200 ad from page 3 of The Hoboken Reporter- last week it had been replaced by one for John Castellano's BoE slate. ( John Castellano is the Treasurer for Russo for Hoboken, currently being looked at for the disappearance of 18K from it's bank account)

Here's the history of Mason's 501(c)(3) The Mason Civic League, Inc.

1.  The Mason Family Civic League, Inc.'s Certificate of Incorporation was filed on July 21, 2010.  The Board members are Beth Mason, Ricky Mason and James Barracato, Mason political operative.

2.  The Mason Family Civic League, Inc, was registered as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs on December 7, 2009 7 months before it was incorporated. 

3.  Beth and Ricky Mason opened a 'community art gallery' Gallery 1200 on October 7, 2011 in Mason's former 2nd Ward City Council campaign headquarters, 1200 Washington Street. The Gallery was sponsored by the Masons' 501(3)(c), which they refer to by the alias  "The Mason Family Civic League."   The Mason Family Civic League  does not exist as a registered business or a charity- it is not a  legal name.  

4.  Beth and Ricky Mason use the unregistered alias "The Mason Family Civic League" instead of the charity's legal, registered name "The Mason Civic League, Inc." in print media,  online, advertising,  even in Ricky Mason's Wachtell bio:   

5. The Mason Civic League, Inc. has NOT filed NJ state-mandated annual income and expense reports to the NJ Attorney General's Office since it's inception 3 years ago- See Charitable Registration and Investigative Act, N.J.S.A. 45:17A-33 (page 21):

6. The Mason Civic League, Inc. employs political operatives.
Tax-exempt charities are NOT permitted to participate in political activities.  Political operatives Matt Calicchio and Tania Garcia are employed by the Mason Civic League, Inc.   This was revealed in open court in Union City on June 7, 2012 at the trial of Matt Calicchio.  Calicchio was charged with harassing BoE Trustee Theresa Minutillo on public school premises last October 2011- in the presence  of Minutillo's 5 year-old  daughter.  In court, Calicchio AND his witness Tania Garcia (sister in law of BoE member Kids First opponent  Carmelo Garcia) were both called "political operatives" by Judge Sixto Macias.  BOTH admitted they worked and were paid for by "The Mason Family Civic"  

7. Mason filed IRS tax form 990-N( e-Postcard) federal tax returns for  the Mason Civic League, Inc.  in years 2010 ( and 2011 (    The 990-N (e-Postcard) form is restricted to charities with gross receipts of $50K or less :   The e-Postcard is extremely simple and only asks for basic info: tax period, EIN, legal name, mailing address, doing business as, gross receipts, principal's name and address.  Gallery1200's annual rent is estimated $36K-$48K, it has (at least) 2 full-time employees- Matt Calicchio and Tania Garcia, plus an 'art curator'. Instead of the e-Postcard Beth Mason SHOULD have filed IRS form 990:  a detailed and rigorous line-item audit of income, expenses, etc .

Now, how did ALL this information enter the public domain?

Here on Grafix Avenger.

Sleuth One-Eye and GA broke the story in a 3-part series on June 9, 11, 12: 

And guess what happened on June 13, 2012?

GA's first recorded visit by a certain Cincinnati, Ohio law firm. Click HERE to see what they came for.

Does anyone remember that catchy tune,"Video Killed the Radio Star"?  So what put the kibosh on Mason's charity?


Friday, September 21, 2012

Judgement Day

King James  Bible
Proverbs 16 

Pride goeth before destruction,
 and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Facebook Mystery

Yesterday, a friend alerted GA to some strange happenings with Move Forward's Facebook page. (I'll use the acronym M.F.'s
I noticed some friends of mine, at least three, on their (Facebook) Friends list. I reached out to them to see if they had a particular concern or issue that maybe we could discuss. They all replied.."huh" I have no idea what you are talking about, no idea who they are and never Friended them. Don't know who they are."

At least two promptly removed themselves from their Friend list. I don't think subsequently "defriending" them reduces their friend count.

It was hard to believe, but I woke up one morning and saw , with my very own eyes, that Facebook said that I too had sent a "friend request". WHAT? So all Move Forward Hoboken would have had to do was "confirm" and I too would have been listed among their supporters.

They must have some way to "add" people, blindly sending "friend requests" then confirm them to their list. Maybe adding though importing other people's friends? Very dishonest.
Could you believe this went to a member of Kids First?  Yup.  His/her Facebook account had automatically sent a 'Friend request' to those M.F.s., their opponents in the coming School Board election.


"Friend Request Sent" message to someone who did NOT send one to the M.F.s 
And knew at least 5 other people who had the same experience.  Kidnapped by M.F.s   

Yep, each of their Facebook accounts had automatically sent 'Friend requests' to those M.F.s- which were then accepted. Thus these 5 became Friends of  M.F.s (F.O.M.F.s) without consent.

How weird is that?

One victim of this M.F.-ing Facebook kidnapping (won't say her name) was upset because she's a business owner in town and so avoids taking sides in political battles.

Smart girl.  GA doesn't understand why any Hoboken business person would side with any candidate  publicly- unless politics IS their business. Otherwise, it's plain stupid.

Uh-oh. Just got this follow-up:
They did it AGAIN!!! It says that i sent a friend request to them!! So dishonest!!! How many on that list even know they are "supporting" a boe ticket?

Thats the thing... It is NOT an invitation. What ever auto program they have automatically sends a friend request FROM your page. Without your knowledge or consent.

Then all they have to do is confirm... If you're not on Facebook often, the whole thing happens without you and without you knowing.. Which is what happened to my friends.
Those M.F.s!

Imagine.  Has that EVER happened to you?  Did some M.F. ever kidnap you and hold you hostage as a cyber-Friend? 

What did you do?

I'd tell those M.F.'s to let me go.  Or, simply def-Friend them.  Which is like a cyber-slap in the Facebook.  (I'll bet you're not enough of an M.F. to kidnap someone.)

Are you?

Anyway, it truly is a mystery. Facebook accounts making indecent proposals to M.F.s in cyberspace.  Without their owner's consent!

Speaking of mysteries...

Whatever happened to that $18K that disappeared from the Russo for Hoboken bank account on the watch of Russo for Hoboken Treasurer and M.F. Campaign Manager John Castellano?

Thank You, Carol Marsh

Councilwoman Marsh reads her resignation letter. Marsh's resignation effective Oct. 3, 2012.

The struggles of balancing work and family obligations with public service are a challenge for all those in public life, from elected officials to volunteers on municipal boards. It is something we do. Our families understand and it's a shared sacrifice.

When Fate intervenes and forces one to CHOOSE, it is heart-wrenching for the person who must do the right thing- attend to personal demands over a commitment to public life as natural to their being as the blood in their veins.

That is what we saw last night.

I know because I spoke to Carol Marsh earlier that evening, and it's a discussion we've had before.

I can tell you this wasn't an impulsive decision or one arrived at lightly.

That is what you saw last night.

I'll write more about Carol's selfless commitment to the people of Hoboken, her passion for civic engagement and the purity of her principles.

But now all GA wishes to say is "Thank you, Councilwoman Marsh."

I wish you and your family all the best.  Don't look back. Do what you have to do, and when the time is right we want you back.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Under the Bus

"Russo said he would talk to his campaign treasurer to find out whether subsequent reports were filed properly. " -The Hoboken Reporter,  September 16, 2012

Kids First Kickoff

Wooo hooo!   As the mom of a Wallace School 5th grader, GA is so excited about this ticket- and you will be, too. 

Come and meet the GREAT candidates of Kids First:
Ruthy McAllister, proud mom of a son in Wallace School!

Jean Marie Mitchell, proud mom of a Calabro School graduate who is now attending Hoboken High School!

Tom Kluepfel, a proud Hoboken High School dad and a co-Founder of Elysian Charter School!
These parents want the best for your kids and theirs.  You see, they've all got skin in the game.

While their opponents, Move Forward, are running around bad-mouthing our schools, trashing the district's kids' performance, placing cruel ads in The Hoboken Reporter that brandish a silly WSJ real estate poll slamming the Hoboken district as the "least attractive" in America (because of the ratio of  Hoboken 5 year-olds to 9 year-olds in the 2010 Census)...  Kids First will tell you all of the wonderful things happening in our schools... and the progress they've made since taking over from the gang that used the BoE budget as a slush fund-  free cell phones and steak dinners at Frankie & Johnnies!

And WHO is running this negative campaign?  The Treasurer of Russo for Hoboken, John Castellano. 

Folks, please take a walk over to The Turtle Club this Sunday, 2pm - 4 pm and find out what's REALLY going on in our schools.  And where they're headed under HONEST leadership.

'Cause you won't hear it from the folks who want to eat steak on your dime.

Yep, the Old Guard wants their hands back on the BoE MILLIONS- our kids' money, your tax dollars.  Just take a look at the 2005-2006 BoE audit to see what the future holds if these people return.  

Russo's disappeared $18K is peanuts compared to the 2005-2006 BoE spending spree.

And guess what?  The 2005-2006 BoE President is Move Forward's Treasurer... egads.   Here's page 157 of the 2005-2006 audit:

Oink, oink!   

That meal sure looks good. But GA is supporting the team that will use our money for textbooks, not steak.

Kids First.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Missing Cookies

Wow, this story about Russo for Hoboken's disappearing $18K is sweeping across town like a brush fire!

Don't expect The Hoboken Reporter or Al Sullivan to write about it again.

No, they sat on the mayor's letter long enough to whip up a 'below the fold' piece so Zimmer wouldn't 'break' the story they've collectively ignored for years.  Of course they knew about it; The Hoboken Reporter hits this site everyday and GA wrote the story last April.

Yet letters from $40 campaign workers disparaging administration allies pop up like weeds on their Editorial pages.  And if some political operative calls from Jersey City or Weehawken with manufactured 'news'  (or Photoshopped documents with ginned up Nazi-tales) The Hoboken Reporter is ALL OVER IT.

This week, Sullivan printed 2 paragraphs about Roman Brice- without calling Brice to verify the 'facts', to vet the story prior to publication, to check it's accuracy.   And he knows better. 
Sadly, you're wrong, GA. Objective reporting means telling all sides if possible. That's not what blogs do, often ignoring facts inconsistent their their preconceptions.
The fact that his source was most likely an operative- a person with an agenda and interest in the outcome- a professional spinner- is besides the point.  The fact he dumped on Brice says to me that Sullivan has little respect for Brice. It says adopted the agenda of his spinners which is to damage this blogger.

And if Al is 'sorry' that doesn't cut it.  He let political operative mud go to print.   And now the fake 'news' languishes online.   Why hasn't it been pulled?

But, I digress... the story people are buzzing about is this:

Russo for Hoboken ELEC- Treasurer John Castellano is Campaign Manager for Move Forward BoE slate

That was THEN:    The 7/15/08 filing shows an account balance of $18,420.81.

This is NOW:  Russo submitted a photo of a bank statement dated last month showing that the “Russo for Hoboken” account remains open with a small balance of $1,190.81.

Whoa... Russo submitted a "photo" of a bank statement?  A "photo"?  Oh, that's cute. Russo and the HR shared a Kodak moment.

Why a photo instead of a copy of the actual statement?  All it takes is one of these:

copy machine for copying bank statements and other stuff
Unless of course you... um, prefer to take a picture of it.  Look at the birdie and SMILE.  C'mon, show me those pearly whites.

OK, so... anyone got a calculator?  Let's see, $18,420.81 minus $1,190.81.

That's... $17,230 MISSING from the Russo for Hoboken account.

And all that dough disappeared on the watch of  Russo For Hoboken Treasurer John Castellano, now the Campaign Manager for the Move Forward BoE ticket!

Like magic!  Now you see it (2008), now you don't (2012).

You know the strangest part of all?  In April of 2009 $5,000 was accepted by Russo on an FBI surveillance video, where he directed Solomon Dwek bag-man, Khalil Maher to deposit it into that very same account!  GA didn't make it up- here you go, from the FBI video transccript:

See what I mean?

Can Russo for Hoboken Treasurer (and Move Forward Campaign manager) John Castellano get us those missing bank statements to see the activity on that bank account?  I'll bet he will.  Because here's what I read in the Hoboken Reporter:  Russo said he would talk to his campaign treasurer to find out whether subsequent reports were filed properly.

Thank you, Councilman!  Let us know when that's been "cleared up!"

In the  meantime, the buzz about this and the implications surrounding what may or may not have been deposited in the Russo for Hoboken account is growing by the minute.  MSV has a fascinating thread up, with all kinds of theories and speculation.  This one caught my eye by 'not a guest':
here's how it went down. russo took the money instead of busting him the fbi flipped him, didn't think he was important enough and had more value as a source. but over the years russo fed them dead ends and garbage. then ricciardi got nailed in 2011 and the russo double-cross was discovered.. of course he knew about the email hack. janet ricciardi told you hubby and russo were buds and used to meet up on the weekend. you think they were shooting hoops? but the feds already made a deal with the devil so instead of exposing him they punished him- closed down the russo civic association. gone. and they're not letting him reopen. when the big bust comes we'll see what they do with him.

in the meantime, someone else is being watched. very closely.

he's next.
This guy/gal sounds like he/she knows something- but what?   "Someone is being watched."

Well, GA will let you in on a little secret.  I've posted once or twice about getting those visits.  Well, they've popped in more than I've let on. 

Not going to tell you who they've read about.  (I did the other day- but no more.)  I will tell you that the visits started AFTER the raid on City Hall.

Officially, "person of interest" means..well, nothing. No one has ever formally defined it — not police, not prosecutors, not journalists. The terms "accused," "allege," "arrest" and "indict" all are dealt with in the Associated Press Stylebook, but there is no listing for "person of interest." Similarly, the U.S. Attorneys' Manual — the official guide to federal criminal prosecution — uses the terms "suspect," "subject," "target" and "material witness," but "person of interest" gets no mention. So what are reporters to do? 

"The reporter should be on notice that it is a vague term that has no real understandable definition," says Gerald B. Lefcourt, a New York defense attorney and past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. His advice to journalists: "You have to ask the police what they mean."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Let's NOT Move Forward

The buzz today is all about Mayor Zimmer's letter in The Hoboken Reporter, which GA made sure to read before tucking the rag under my cat's litter box.

In a nutshell, Zimmer returned fire on the Council Minority AND The Hoboken Reporter for trying to manufacture a scandal out of a toothless, dumb accusation while IGNORING real scandals- such as the heavy- HR ad buyer Beth Mason's wheeling over $ 20K into Occhipinti's campaign (the one where he had 575 campaign workers in an election where 2076 cast ballots) or $18K that 'disappeared' from the Russo For Hoboken bank account.

Did you know GA wrote about the missing 18K back in April? 


In another nutshell, here it is. The infamous Russo-Dwek meeting took place at the Lighthorse Tavern on April 29, 2009.   From the transcript of the FBI surveillance video, Maher Khalil, Solomon Dwek's 'bag-man' asks Russo where the $5,000 'contribution' should go- mind you, Russo was not running for election that year.  As GA had posted, here's how Russo answered:
Russo answers “Its Russo for Hoboken, is the account” making clear that the money should go to him as suggested by Khalil.

Given this – the real question is  whether Russo received contributions laundered through straw donors by Khalil as agreed upon at the meeting with Dwek.

Based on the transcript, it’s clear that was the intent at the time of the meeting with Dwek.

If he did, then he took a bribe and the only plausible explanation for the failure to prosecute is that Russo has entered into a cooperation agreement with the Feds.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell because the account Russo referred to – Russo for Hoboken – has only 2 ELEC filings available on ELEC’s website – 7/15/08 and an amendment to that filing on 9/15/08.

Oddly, that filing seems to indicate the existence of prior filings that aren’t up on the ELEC website since it shows amounts from “prior periods.”

The 7/15/08 filing shows an account balance of $18,420.81.
Well, folks that money is GONE- almost.  According to the Hoboken Reporter:

Russo submitted a photo of a bank statement dated last month showing that the “Russo for Hoboken” account remains open with a small balance of $1,190.81.

When asked where the rest of the money is, Russo said it was “used through the years for different things” related to campaigning. Russo said he would talk to his campaign treasurer to find out whether subsequent reports were filed properly. He also said he would provide canceled checks to show where the money went.
Can't wait!

Kudos to the Mayor for hitting back.

Well, GA will tell you what caught my eye when revisiting this sordid tale of disappearing cash.

Russo for Hoboken ELEC filing-2008

Move Forward Committee ELEC filing- 2012

Is this the same John Castellano?  

The John Castellano who is running the Kids First opposition School Board ticket 'Move Forward'?   

The Russo for Hoboken Treasurer who presided over the disappearance of 18K from that account?

The same guy who should know whether or not Khalil Maher had deposited the $5,000 into the account since all records are missing?  After all, the Treasurer would be responsible for the finances of that account.

Wouldn't he?

Something else worth noting: Frank Raia is the Treasurer of the Move Forward ticket.  He is certainly a pleasant and charming man.  And he also presided over the 2005-2006 School Board- as President, in fact.

Here's a sampling of the shenanigans that went on during the 2005-2006 era at the School Board:

So, I guess all that's keeping our friends from Russo for Hoboken and the 2005-2006 BoE era from getting their hands on your money is... YOU.