Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blowing His Stack

What if you had reason to believe a person you'd confided in over a period of months, a person you'd trusted, a person you'd gone out on a limb for, had been wired and taping you?

Now imagine you are the mayor of a city- powerful, influential and under scrutiny of the F.B.I.... and you discover that many unguarded moments where you spoke openly on confidential matters may exist on tapes which could be subpoenaed.

Imagine on top of all of those things you are (allegedly) paranoid about being under F.B.I. surveillance and have a hair-trigger temper.

Enter the psyche of Union City Mayor Brian Stack. 

 For the purpose of this post, we'll call Stack's trusted ally, 'Rat'.

GA hears Stack was livid when he heard that Rat had been (allegedly) taping conversations with "everyone".  Not only had Stack extended a helping hand to Rat, he had been completely unguarded in their talks, and now has no idea what he may have said or what Rat was planning to do with the tapes.  

One insider called Rat 'dead politically'... no one will ever trust him again; Stack won't talk to him, won't do more for his career.  GA imagines the mayor feels he was made a fool of and is afraid of what he may have said on those tapes...

GA hears another person not thrilled with Rat is Freeholder Anthony Romano.  Don't be surprised if he cuts ties with him.

On another note... GA hears the media is "close" to getting a look at the transcript.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Anchovy Hunt

click to enlarge
Today's F.B.I. visit: fishing for a Weehawken anchovy (green link denotes entry). WOW!

Well folks, today was the F.B.I.'s 14th visit to Grafix Avenger just this July.  (No, I don't post all  their visits. )

Earlier this month the Feds were sniffing around Beth Mason's LLP, Newton Lao Leonard & Locke.   Sniff sniff.

Today they came in through a Google search.

WHO were they looking for?

That Beth Mason political operative the lovable  Terry Castellano copies on the City's most confidential legal business, the defacto 2nd Ward Councilwoman.


The F.B.I. spent 7 minutes reading "The Mason-Finboy Non-Profit Sham"  and they clicked on the embedded documents.

(No) Sex, Lies, and Audiotape


Well folks, we are all waiting for this transcript which is reportedly "getting around" to find it's way to us.

What transcript?

The one of a secretly recorded conversation by  (GA was told) a person in a powerful, public position who has been taping his conversations with "everyone."

The news of  "secretly recorded conversations" was first broken by Al Sullivan in this week's column, and he called it "straight out political spying." He did not name names.

And no one should, until either the recording or transcript surfaces, or one of the parties goes on the record about the incident.  Because it is explosive.

Well, GA picked up a little more scuttlebutt about this "political spying"- take it for what it's worth until one of the parties involved steps forward.  For the purposes of this post, I'll call the person secretly taping  'Rat' and the guy who got taped, 'Guy'

Here it is.

One day out of the blue,  Rat called Guy and invited him to lunch.  Guy smelled a rat, so invited a mutual friend to join them.  The lunch was secretly taped.

Rat had the tape transcribed.  (Which raises questions whether any of it was cooked...).  Rat's attorney took the transcript into a deposition in a totally unrelated case. Why?  Rat's attorney's motives for using the transcript are a mystery, as  neither Guy nor Rat were involved in his case.  Ooops.  Rat might call this decision a mammoth fuck-up, because rules of evidence require the other side's attorney to get a copy.  

So the 'secret taping' was secret no longer.

All because Rat's attorney thought it was a good idea to 'use' the transcript in an unrelated case, it was unleashed into the wild.  And there is no stopping it now.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Two Under the, uh... Bus?


It's been two days since Al Sullivan broke the story of "political spying" in Hoboken.  Some have complained about his piece, saying "Why didn't Sullivan name names?"

Well... if what GA has been hearing is true about the contents of a transcript known to exist- a transcript of one of the secret recordings, then it is perfectly understandable why Sullivan will not name names.  Nor will I. Not without the transcript. 

Because what I am told is on there is absolutely explosive.   And the stenographer's transcript is an official, verifiable source which can neither be refuted nor denied.

Now, the transcript is "getting around" but the closest it's gotten to GA are the two sources who read it then filled me in on some of the incendiary bits.  In particular, a betrayal so stunning GA only believes it for the fact that I heard it from two disparate sources.

It appears the fellow secretly taping the conversation tossed two fellows 'under the bus'- only the magnitude of the betrayal called for a vehicle with bigger wheels. 

What's got bigger wheels than a Monster Truck? 



Ruben's Buzzkill

Ruben Ramos' plane buzzes crowd of 20,000 concertgoers at Pier A

Did you hear the buzz?

It came from a low-flying plane that circled Pier A during last Friday's Dylan concert, according to a witness, "for a long time... while it was light out."

The low-flying plane pulled a large banner for Ruben Ramos' Vision for Hoboken campaign.

I asked a friend who'd attended the concert if he'd seen the plane with the banner and he said:  "Yeah, we couldn't read what it said and were distracted and irritated by it.  The people next to us were commenting on how annoying it was.   It was buzzing... making noise that competed with the music, like a mosquito buzzing in your ear."

GA wonders who in the Ramos campaign thought this was a good idea.

Our City is fresh off a jihad against noisy helicopters, so Ramos thought he'd rent a noisy plane to harass 20,000 people at a Dylan concert?  Probably most from out-of-town who can't vote for him anyway? 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hoboken Intrigue: When Friends Tape Friends


Once again, thanks to Al Sullivan for breaking this bombshell:
But this fad of secretly recording conversations seems to be taken hold in other parts of the county, especially in Hoboken. People may soon start hugging each other, not out of love or friendship, but because they want to check for wires. This differs from Bid Rig III or any legitimate law enforcement effort. This is straight out political spying, the kind of which has friends taping even friends, and has the potential to make enemies out of former allies.
Straight out political spying.

Doesn't Hoboken just have it all?  Villains, superheroes, now... spies.

Or is it spy.  As in one.

The rumors converge on one person who has allegedly been taping conversations with friends and foes.  GA was told- and this is unconfirmed, naturally- that this person has been taping all these conversations since last January.  That's 2013.

Of course, gossip- particularly mean stuff- has a way of circulating about any person in the public eye, particularly a person who may hold an appointed or elected office.  If you listen to the doofus blogging as Dov A./ Daria Gluck on Patch, then you know Mayor Zimmer went to New Hampshire last week to smoke weed.

That's politics, right?

But, in this case there is more to back it up than wagging tongues.  There's a transcript. 

One of the recorded conversations was transcribed for purposes unknown.   For perhaps, a legal matter.  Unless... the transcription serves other purposes.

Intriguing, no?

This Mile Square has it ALL: an  ongoing FBI investigation focused on stealing the Mayor's email,  a NJ Attorney General investigation into Occhipinti 2010 campaign election fraud,  secret FBI recordings of a City Council member (Russo) accepting a bribe,  another City Council member (Mason)  giving $1,000 to a prosecutor the week before she represented the Councilwoman's paid political operative employee (Matt Calicchio) against an online critic (wears horse shoes), a conspiracy to sue nearly 2 dozen bloggers between a City Councilwoman (Mason), a Weehawken political operative and two  'underground' operatives, a lawsuit by 4 Council members (Mason, Russo, Castellano, Occhipinti) which has halted businesses, developers and residents from getting zoning approvals costing untold financial damages and logjams into the forseeable future,  a political operative run amok- reading our City's private communications,   losing a BoE campaign with a Nazi Truck, behaving like an unhinged adolescent on Patch threads, 7 tons of goods from Louisiana's Train of Hope' are picked up in Newark by Occhipinti and Mason, who drive them to Bayonne, and are never seen again... and so much more.

Now, someone who (I am told) is a person in a powerful, public position has been taping "everyone".

Why?

We'll know more if and when this transcript surfaces.

It will.  Because GA hears it is "getting around"...

And Al dropped a curious clue. 

Note, that although the individual taping is Hoboken-based, the item appeared in the 'West New York' Section of his column, not Hoboken.  That says to me that the tentacles of this scandal go beyond Hoboken into Hudson County.

And beyond?  Different states have different laws for taping another party without notifying them. This is going to get very interesting.

Does anyone else out there wonder what secrets this transcript holds?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Line-up

Graphic inspired by Jersey City resident DickShepHCNJ's encounter at the City Council
Identify the perp.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Anatomy of an HR Hatchet Job


In hindsight, the disclosure at the tail end of yesterday's post deserved a post of it's own.

This is the post, and here's the disclosure:

The Hoboken Reporter used the Plaintiff in the 'blogger lawsuit' as a media contact for the Mason for Mayor campaign, and in the words of a former reporter there knew him to be "an operative" yet....


...on August 19, 2012 The Hoboken Reporter wrote a lengthy article (3-pages) on the 'blogger lawsuit', a complaint predicated on claims that Plaintiff "is not a political operative"and omission of all political activities in Hoboken and all work for Councilwoman Beth Mason.  The Plaintiffs' claim "not a political operative" is repeated 12 times (¶ 27, 34, 43, 49, 55, 58, 80, 83, 89, 92, 112, 120) and yet, The Hoboken Reporter did NOT question the veracity of what they knew to be false.

Instead, The Hoboken Reporter published excerpts of the Complaint that were allegations only.  Multiple allegations.  At that time, I had no legal representation nor the ability to effectively respond to the allegations which the paper disseminated citywide in print and online.  Of course The Hoboken Reporter would have  known that. 


Oh, did I mention that my comments were buried on page THREE?  But look who got a star turn on page TWO:


At the end of the day, not only did The Hoboken Reporter's dishonest coverage promote the allegations of an un-litigated complaint, in doing so it has had a demonstrably harmful effect on at least one Defendant- me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ruben's New ELEC- with a Surprise!- UPDATE*

Here we go!

Let's peek into the coffers of Ruben Ramos' Vision for Hoboken campaign, shall we?

Last April's Quarterly ELEC showed he had cumulative contributions of $8,523.18...

And now?

Wow!  Ramos has added $53, 750 to his kitty for a total to-date of  $73,880.17!  

Meeeow.   Purrrrrrrrr.

How much of that has he spent so far?

$28,157.62 or 38% of his total to-date.  Hmmm....

Ruben, I think you ought to slow down... it's summer, and only political junkies are paying attention.   That's my 2 cents. 

So who is contributing to Ramos?  ELEC data on small donors (below $300) is noted 'N/A', but it appears he's getting mainly large contributions from anywhere but Hoboken.

For comparison, here is Mayor Zimmer's July ELEC:



Zimmer's got total contributions to-date of
$69, 605.76  and spent $36,931.36-  a whopping 53%!

Slow down, girlfriend!

She'd better know that Reformers are cheap-ass skinflints and tightwads.  Ask a Reformer to reach into his pocket and you'll get handful of lint.  (No, I'm not talking about YOU.  *wink*)

An impressive 47% of Zimmer's contributions came from 'small donors' (less than $300) and her large donors are primarily from Hoboken.

So there's your apples-to-apples.

Now, for the 'surprise'...

Guess WHO was at the top of Ramos' disbursement list.... 



The former Hoboken beat reporter for The Hudson Reporter newspaper!

*Mr. Carroll is not responsible for the Editorial policies of his former employer, The Hudson Reporter, nor any of it's content following his departure in 2009.

*That former reporters working as Ramos campaign operatives, the appearance of Mr. Carroll  on a Ramos ELEC, suggests tentacles from the Ramos campaign into our local media.

But there's more... Tim Carroll was a press contact for...

click image to read
Original email on page 161 of 302- Pincus Affidavit

...that guy.

*That Lane Bajardi was the Mason campaign media contact for ANY employee of The Hoboken Reporter and 3 years later, the paper writes an article about a lawsuit initiated by Bajardi and predicated on his claim he  is "not a political operative" (a characterization he claims to be "defamed" by) and the paper DOES NOT DISCLOSE that he has been a longtime political operative in Hoboken (which the paper KNOWS TO BE TRUE)... that is dishonest and biased journalism.  By misidentifying him as a mere 'activist' and not the media/messaging person for a political campaign, the Hoboken Reporter gave credibility to the NARRATIVE of the lawsuit ("Hoboken couple") and produced a biased piece of journalism.  Not to mention other obvious bias, like letting Beth Mason rant about "bully bloggers" on PAGE TWO, posting the Defendant's comments (mine) on PAGE THREE of the print edition.  

*And so this email belongs in any discussion of the reporters or former reporters of The Hoboken Reporter working on a political campaign and what that may mean in terms of the articles written by that paper.  I don't believe the crossover to the Ramos campaign is an accident or coincidence.   


Last August the paper wrote an article captioned:  lawsuit claims that Hoboken bloggers and internet commenters defamed local couple.

Huh?

Really?  Read the email above- one of dozens showing the "local couple" were seasoned political operatives for Councilwoman Beth Mason.  The Plaintiff was a political operative for the Mason for Mayor campaign and communicated directly with The Hoboken Reporter.  

NOWHERE did last year's coverage of the lawsuit disclose that chummy relationship with the Plaintiff.

Indeed, the Plaintiff fed press releases, statements, campaign messaging to The Hoboken Reporter  yet the paper covered a civil complaint where this same political operative whom THEY TAPPED denied being a "political operative" 12 times (¶ 27, 34, 43, 49, 55, 58, 80, 83, 89, 92, 112, 120).   And the paper 'played ball' with that false narrative: no mention of working for Beth Mason, no mention of being political operatives, no mention that they themselves blog anonymously.

Again, The Hoboken Reporter never disclosed their relationship with the Plaintiff.

SHAME.


(Updated,  7/25/13- 2: 30 PM)
*GA Note: Based on the lively discussion below, please note some edits for clarification indicated in bold with an asterisk.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Earwitness Rumor: The Third Ticket


Dark Side grumbling about Ruben Ramos has grown to a dull roar and various Earwitness reports coming in to GA are making the third ticket look like an inevitability.

In fact, one Earwitness told me today, "There will be a third ticket".

No equivocation there.

So who is at the top of this (rumored) third ticket?     

GA's Earwitnesses forecast it will most likely be....(drumroll, please) First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano.



Not exactly a surprise.   Castellano is on the record stating that she believes that Zimmer is "beatable".   Earwitnesses say that she really believes this, and it is known that she"hates" Zimmer as much as Mason and her band of crazies.

But, it's interesting given her son, John Castellano, reportedly works for Ruben Ramos, and her cousin, Michael Russo is hardcore Ramos.  Would Russo dump Ruben for his cousin?   Castellano has been siding with Cousin Mike and HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia on Vision 20/20 at the City Council. 

And the third ticket's At-Large slate?  Earwitnesses say it's Jamie Cryan, Frank 'Pupie' Raia and a TBD (to be determined), but they're looking for a woman.

If this comes to pass, expect Masons' Brinks truck to deliver bags of dough, her political strategist to be the grossly immature and unsuccessful political operative James Barracato (who is already being copied on the City's most sensitive legal information), her media  platform the ghost town  Hoboken411.com,  and perhaps the Mason Civic League, Inc will loan their space to the campaign.  

Speaking of Hoboken411- they finally wrote a story about Ruben Ramos. Published at 7:00 AM yesterday morning, it's only gotten 3 comments.  THREE! And GA hears they came in via Ouija Board.  (Either that or one of the Mason crazies with Multiple Web-Personalities Disorder (MPWD).)

Ordinarily that would be a signal that Mason has caved and hopped on the Ramos bandwagon, but...

GA hears there is daylight between her and Hoboken411 'researcher' Finboy Barracato, who has been pulling out all stops for Ramos, including a score of pop-up screen names on Patch who bully Jake Stuiver with threats of "mailers" and bus trips to his home in Havertown, Pa.

But Finboy, the defacto 2nd Ward Councilwoman, and will follow The Checkbook.  And with those fins at the helm, expect (another) moronic, internet-obsessed campaign- unless Raia can control him.  Good luck!

Of course, if this Earwitness Rumor of a Third Way comes to pass.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Vision Homeless?

The prediction of an old H411 post

Anyone who's dared question HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's Vision 20/20  has been slimed as either racist, a KKK member, classist, a disseminater of misinformation,  or has vile words falsely attributed to him/her (Councilman Mello slandered about calling HHA resident "monkeys", Council President Cunningham advised to cut up his wife's pillowcases for a KKK hood, GA slandered  about calling the HHA a "plantation", and so on and on).

Questions about Garcia's Vision have concerned the project's: (1)  lack of community input,  (2) lack of information (i.e.; one concept plan with no other details),   (3) unseemly midnight push for PILOT agreements,  (4) design problems (asphalt parking lots surrounding buildings), (5) no back-up generators to be provided by developer (Mayor Zimmer's letter to Garcia), (6) astronomical developer fees "$1.5 million" for a single building (The Hoboken Reporter)  (7)  mysterious developer agreement- where is it?  why isn't it posted on the HHA website? (8) how many units will go market rate and how many will be affordable housing? (9) will every current HHA resident be guaranteed a home? and (10) why are those who ask questions being slimed by Garcia and his associates?  

That last one is the big 'Tell'...


The plan: bully Hobokenites  into submission.

Because unless you submit to Carmelo's Vision; a massive 17-acre redevelopment that is smelling worse each day,  you are "against them".   Those "against them" have been subjected to extraordinary bullying, intimidation,  protests at their homes, Photoshops, a threat to travel out-of-state to picket a Commissioner's house, a threat to use the U.S. Postal service to force a steward of federal monies to resign his post... 

Extortion?

Behind all that smoke, a fire is raging.

The smoke has wafted to Eugene Drayton, NAACP President of our local Chapter.

 This weekend Drayton went on the record with his questions about Garcia's Vision, telling Al Sullivan he has "unresolved" concerns that poor, needy residents will be made homeless once their homes are razed.  Under that scenario, new construction goes market rate with affordable housing mandated by statute, which would be sharply lower than the pre-construction number of HHA dwelling units-806.  And there is a ton of money to be made under that scenario- so what is to stop it from happening?  What is to stop Hoboken's HHA families from being displaced?

Like what happened to the Washington D.C. residents of Section 8 housing that was razed in a similar-style "Vision".
By now, Mary Dews-Hall was supposed to be back home. When the city tore down Temple Courts five years ago, staff assured her that she and her neighbors would return. That there was a plan. That this time wouldn’t be like the others, when poor, black neighborhoods were paved over in the name of progress. 

 The New Communities Initiative was going to infuse prosperity into this troubled area, 10 blocks from the Capitol. It would serve as a template for remaking other violent neighborhoods in the District, a commitment to those who felt a changing city was leaving them behind. 

By the end of this year,180 units were to have been built for former Temple Courts tenants. So far, the plan hasn’t delivered one.

Today, hundreds remain far from their homes, some in living conditions no better than the ones they left. They navigate a city where, studies show, the number of low-cost units has shrunk by half while rents have increased by about 50 percent.

Giddy at the prospect of creating a better neighborhood, politicians grinned as a wrecking ball razed the complex at 33 K Street NW. Yet, sitting in the property records, unnoticed, was a restriction that would cripple the project.

Dews-Hall’s former home is now a parking lot. Spaces go for $8 a day, in a Zip code that is gaining white people at a rate faster than any other place in the city. This spring, NPR moved in across the street. The city bestowed $40 million worth of tax abatements and froze property taxes for 20 years to keep the media organization in the city.
So what will happen to Drayton, given the scorched earth tactics of those who show "no mercy" to those "against them"?

GA was told that an overwhelming majority of those polled on Vision 20/ 20 favor having more information and community input versus proceeding with the project now.

So maybe they are the people against us.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sullivan: NAACP Will Not Endorse Vision 20/20

NAACP concerned that Vision 20/20 will leave "needy people homeless"

In a shocking development in the public debate over an August 2012 concept plan for redevelopment of the HHA called "Vision 20/20",  a local civil rights leader has taken a stance against it.

Eugene Drayton, president of the local chapter of the NAACP tells Al Sullivan he is NOT endorsing Vision 20/20 out of unresolved concerns the redevelopment will leave existing residents homeless.  

Of course, the project's supporters will answer, "Vision 20/20 replaces the existing 806 dwelling units  with well over 1,000 dwelling units."


Ah, but the Devil is in the details.

It is not clear how many of those new units have to go to affordable housing, by law.  It may be as low as 10% or 20%.  Is there anything about that in the developer agreement?  Has anyone seen the developer agreement?  The unspoken selling point by HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia in his pleas for approval is that ALL HHA residents will be the beneficiary of this redevelopment.  Is it true?  Others, and now NAACP Chapter President Eugene Drayton have questions on that point.

How many of those new units will go to market-rate housing?  

Where is the guaranty that no HHA resident will be left homeless?

GA believes that is at the root of Mr. Drayton's concerns, and is valid.

Vision 20/20 may be a great idea, but it's implementation: strong-arming, bullying, name-calling, accusations of "KKK" and "racism" at anyone who asks a question, it's attacks on bloggers who ask questions... the thuggery.... leaves a huge stink in the air which has spread far beyond the blogosphere into the mainstream. And our concerns are now validated by the leader of our local NAACP.  Drayton too has been shut out of the planning process, so much so that he has no idea whether the proposal is a genuine effort to replace dwellings of existing residents, or a  for-profit  scheme to displace needy residents for lucrative market-rate housing.

When a Reformer asks that same question, we are called "racists", "classists", and all manner of lies are spread about us.

Will Drayton be treated the same way?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Timmy's Letter to the 2nd Ward Councilwoman




The OIG's HHA Audit Report


HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia has been disseminating misinformation about the blogs- that we spread "lies" and "insult HHA residents"; he's done this publicly at the City Council and at HHA meetings. That is a false accusation. Were it true, political operatives would not have to doctor pages on this web site to find offensive or erroneous material.

There is none.

ED Garcia was thrilled announce the results of a January audit report of the Hoboken Housing Authority, touting on his web site that the HHA "administered it's funds correctly".  In the spirit of fairness, GA is posting the audit results and close-out letter link.

On January 4, 2013, the Office of the Inspector General with the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued an audit report of Hoboken's Housing Authority.  Then on May 13, 2013  a close-out letter was issued for open audit items.

Below are the results of the HHA audit copied from pages 4-5, linked to the report.  
RESULTS OF AUDIT

Finding: Authority Officials Generally Administered the Recovery Act Capital Fund Program in Accordance With Regulations 

Authority officials generally administered the Recovery Act Capital Fund program in accordance with regulations. Specifically, they established and implemented adequate controls to ensure that their Recovery Act capital funds were obligat ed and expended as required. However, we observed there was inadequate support that $8,903 was obligated in a timely manner, $9,000 was expended for an eligible cost, and $83,642 in costs was misclassified. As a result, Authority officials lacked assurance that the questioned amounts were disbursed for eligible costs.

Unsupported Obligation Amount

Authority officials reported in HUD’s Li ne of Credit Control System (LOCCS) 1 that they had obligated the more than $2.7 million in Recovery Act capital funds awarded to the Authority by March 8, 2010, prior to the Recovery Act deadline of March 17, 2010. However, support was lacking that $8,903 had been obligated as required. Section 1201 of the Recovery Act required public housing authorities to obligate 100 percent of funds awarded within 1 year of the date on which the funds became available to the authority f or obligation, and Office of Public and Indian Housing Notice PIH-2009-12 required that authorities obligate 100 percent of the grant within 1 year of the effective date of the annual contributions contract amendment that awarded the funds. Authority records listed 21 contracts totaling more than $2.7 million to support the reported obligation. However, Authority officials acknowledged that a $9,800 contract listed was used to obligate fiscal year 2008 capital funds, and the contract(s) to obligate the questioned $8,903 2 could not be located. This condition   occurred because of a weakness in the Authority’s tracking for obligation of Recovery Act funds. Consequently, Authority officials lacked assurance that they complied with the Recovery Act obligation requirement.

Unsupported Expense

Authority officials drewdown $9,000 for painting expenses, for which there was no contract. In addition, without a contract with a detailed scope of work a determination cannot be made as to whether the cost was properly classified as routine maintenance or a capital expe nse. Regulations at 24 CFR 968.112 provide that routine maintenance or replacement costs are ineligible Capital Fund Program expenses. Further, services should be proc ured via an executed contract so that it is clear what service is expected and HUD Handbook 7485.1 paragraph 10-8(a), states that a valid contract requires execution both by the contractor and the public housing agency. Consequently, the Authority lacked assurance that the $9,000 was expended for eligible and reasonable expenses. This condition occurred because of an error in maintaining adequate documentation.

Costs Were Misclassified

Authority officials erroneously charge d $74,642 in architect and engineering costs (budget line item 1430), referred to as soft costs, to dwelling structures (budget line item 1460), referred to as hard costs. Regulations at 24 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 968.105 define soft costs as nonphysical improvement and hard costs as physical improvement cost s classified in development accounts 1450 through 1475. As a result of the error, $74,642 was unavailable to be expended for dwelling and structure costs. This condition occurred, according to Authority officials, because they mistakenly interpreted these costs to be construction services and, thus, charged them to dwelling structures, which were related to a contract for an energy audit of water, electricity, and gas consumption.

Conclusion

Authority officials generally obligatedand expended RecoveryAct capital funds in accordance with regulations. However, errors in documentation lessened HUD’s assurance that $8,903 was obligated in a timely manner, $9,000 was expended for eligible activities, andcosts of $83,642 were properly reported.Authority officials had begun to take action to address these issues.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

(Another) GA Screenshot Hoax

photograph courtesy of MSV
Folks, you can't teach an old fish new tricks.

In April 2012, 2nd Ward Councilwoman James Barracato doctored a screenshot from this blog and gave it to The Hoboken Reporter.  His scheme was to pitch them a story that GA had written about Nazi gas chambers.  Only the hapless dope left his electronic fingerprints on the doctored screenshot, so there it was in plain sight:"Author: James Barracato".

Councilwoman Barracato Hoax #1
Of course, the  GA piece had nothing to do with "Nazi gas chambers".  It was about the irony of Beth Mason hosting a gathering for new  HUMC administrators after she'd tried everything to kill the sale of their hospital; it was titled   "Nurse Kevorkian to Meet and Greet Victims". Once GA exposed the hoax, The Hoboken Reporter killed the story.  Yet the paper still talks to him, go figure.

Fast forward to now.

Something is in the air.  Most summers are slow and lazy, even dull.  Not this one.  Check out what popped up on Patch yesterday- a number of times.

 Councilwoman Barracato Hoax #2

No electronic fingerprints this time, but his Nazi obsession is his fingerprint. Or should I say 'fin print'.

I don't think AOL is laughing. This matter has been taken up with their legal department who may not be chuckling over theft of their intellectual property and modifying it for libelous purposes.  And they don't need to subpoena themselves to get his IP and the IPs of those sharing screen names. Of course, Patch can ban an IP, but how do we ban Terry Castellano, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti from sharing the City's most sensitive business with this vindictive and immature political operative?

The evidence that Finboy is functioning in lieu of his boss, Beth Mason as defacto 2nd Ward Councilwoman is right at the top of Castellano's email. 
 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

FBI Circling Mason's LLC

Yesterday's FBI query: Newton Lao Leonard & Locke 

The question is, will they ever swoop in?

The F.B.I. takes its time to build a case, but from their increasingly frequent visits, there is no doubt they are investing time and resources on an investigation. And... their activity on GA indicates they are very, very interested in  Newton Lao Leonard & Locke (NLLL).  

NLLL is an Limited Liability Company (LLC) that appears on Councilwoman Beth Mason's resume as her employer  from 1993-2005 (Founder and President).  Her NLLL resume boasts an impressive list of clients and projects, but there's one problem: a Dun & Bradstreet report done in 2011 shows the company has no credit history; the company made no purchases (office supplies, presentation materials, equipment, furnishings), no payments to vendors, consultants, business travel, business entertainment, and so on.  The company has no record of having made any payment of any kind.

Moreover, Newton Lao Leonard and Locke, LLP was not a registered business with the NJ Treasury Department until April 16, 2010.

Hmmm... 

On May 29, 2013 the FBI Criminal Justice Division was doing internet searches on Newton Lao Leonard and Locke and Mason political operative 'James Barracato'. 

screenshot courtesy of MSV


James 'Finboy' Barracato, longtime Mason political operative has been in the public eye lately, breaching the first rule of political operatives: stay behind the scenes, make the story not be the story.

But Barracato IS the story, as questions swirl around why a Weehawken political operative is being copied  on the City's most sensitive legal matters.

Finboy has been a figure on the blogs for a long time as Beth Mason's hatchet man.  His actual political skills are best described by example.  When Barracato started working for Mason in 2009 she was a respected mayoral frontrunner. Under Finboy, her promising career plummeted from the zenith of Hoboken politics to the bottom of the trash heap. His immature, foolish antics, stunt after stunt, derailed last year's BoE campaign with a Nazi Truck and citywide midnight flyers.  Now he is poised to tank Ruben, with a litter of garbage postings on Patch. 

Last Wednesday, Finboy broke out of blog-world into the bright lights of the City Council, when Peter Cunningham  named him as the political operative Terry Castellano copied on her request for sensitive legal information from the City.

And today, an incredible MSV exclusive, has shown James Barracato stands-in for Beth Mason on communications between members of the 'Old Guard' City Council! 

Barracato's role as defacto 2nd Ward Councilwoman  and Board member of the Mason Civic League, Inc., may be why his name turned up in an FBI Google query.

Remember, that the non-profit Mason Civic League, Inc., filed E-Postcard federal returns in 2010 and 2011 (for 501(c)(3)'s with gross receipts of $50K or under) while it has employed at least 2 political operatives, rents a storefront on Washington Street and donated it's storefront to the Move Forward BoE campaign.  EZ-Postcard forms have no itemized income and expense reporting.  Note all of Mason's 501(c)(3)'s political activities are tax-payer subsidized.

Now, why would the Feds be looking at Mason's LLC?

Mason is one of the largest political donors in New Jersey, named recently in a Sunlight Foundation study as in the top 1% of 1% of campaign donors in the U.S..  Corporations are allowed to give higher contributions than individuals.

How much cash is washing through a company that has no record of any business activity?


NBC: Brian Stack Accused of Threatening Federal Agent

Folks, this is a strange one.

Last night NBC broke the story of a December 1 incident between Union City Mayor Brian Stack and an agent for U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement; in a case of he said- he said,  Stack and the federal agent are telling two very different versions.

"

From NBC's article:






Strange, no?


Ballsy!

If a Federal agent's car were parked in Hoboken,do you think anyone would be leaving notes on the windshield?

Imagine, someone in Hoboken leaving a note that said 'The HPD  is watching you' to a federal agent!  Holy cow.

This line was edited out from an later version of NBC's piece:
Former FBI Director Weysun Dun called the mayor and his lawyer's action strange.
I think the word is 'paranoid.'

Video credit: NBC

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All Aboard the Bus to Jake's House


Come on, Joe.  You can do better than that. 

Is that the kind of bus you would drive your own family across state lines to protest at another family's house in?  Yikes.

Don't you have any respect for the people of the Hoboken Housing Authority, than to rent that piece of crap to bring them to Jake's house in Pennsylvania?

Try renting a nice bus complete with snacks, food and beverages for the 3-hour ride- one that's got the little TVs in the back of each seat,  full state-of-the-art entertainment system including DVD player, video monitor, CD player and public address (PA) system, advanced climate control (air conditioning and heat) , GPS (Global Positioning System), luxurious reclining seats with armrests, footrest and overhead reading lights,  Wi-Fi  and an onboard Lavatory.  Then after the protest is over, you can bring everyone for a fun-filled outing at nearby Dutch Wonderland theme park- unless of course, you're a racist.

This is the bus Branco should rent:


It's like a Room 84 on wheels!

Here's a little protest ditty GA wrote for the sing-a-long on the ride to Jake's house:


  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Patch: Branco Funding Bus to Jake's House

From a source on the Dark Side

The cat is out of the bag, so to speak.

Thanks to Zak  Koeske, whose article, "Housing Authority Residents Taking Vision 20/20 Protest to Commissioner's Pa. Home exposes who is underwriting the Field Trip to Philly,  which appears to be an intimidation scheme to bully Jake off of the HHA.
“I think Jake feels left out, that nobody’s protesting in front of his house in Pennsylvania,” Branco continued. “So tonight, I am going to pay for the bus with money out of my pocket so we can go to Pennsylvania to Jake’s house so his neighbors can see what Jake does to us in Hoboken.” 
Some believe Branco has been posting on Patch under the screen name  'Dov Aaronson'... 


and 'cindy goldberg'...


Whomever is blogging under a potpourri of Jewish surnames, they are "proud to be guiding the residents of the HHA" and are picking targets of  future protests: "maybe we should protest by Nancy next..." and are underwriting out-of-state sojourns:   "I am going to pay for the bus with money out of my pocket so we can go to Pennsylvania to Jake’s house so his neighbors can see what Jake does to us in Hoboken.” 

Oops, that last one was Joe Branco, for sure.   The others?   Hmmm...

Back to the article, what jumped out at me was this:
“I will not be resigning,” said Stuiver, who added that Garcia reached out to him after Thursday’s meeting and asked him to step down before escalating tensions with residents get out of control.
You get it?

Garcia's BFF throws down the gauntlet to bring a bus full of protesters to Jake's suburban home in Pennsylvania, then Branco's BFF calls Jake and asks him to resign "before things get out of control."

Jake has a young daughter and a baby at home.

Both Garcia and Branco will be held legally responsible if  things "get out of control" not the HHA residents being incited and transported by them.

HHA residents, you have been lied to about the words and intentions of those who advocate for your rights for better, safe, sanitary housing. on the blogs.

GA has not "lied" that the HHA plan surrounds proposed buildings with parking lots, not green space.  Do you know that?  Look at the plan. The parking lots are shaded in red. 


2.    Pedestrian Accidents in Parking/Parking Lots Involving Children
NHTSA estimates that 22 percent (more than one-fifth) of children between ages 5 and 9 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Most of these accidents occurred because drivers failed to see kids while backing up their vehicles.

GA invites all HHA residents to read this blog to see that I advocate for you and your safety - good public schools, safe buildings with fire protection, development that is safe, and oversight for how HUD money is being spent.  It should ALL be spent on the upkeep of your facilities.  Is it?

In 2011, Executive Director Garcia spent $385K on vinyl flooring for 10 elevators.

The cost of vinyl flooring in 10 elevators!
There is no scenario that I can think of where 48 square foot vinyl floor installation in an elevator cab should cost $38.5K.  None.

The Hurricane Sandy gut renovation of my entire first floor cost the same as the HHA spent on rubber floor in one elevator. One. My home is 125 years old (built in 1888) but because it's been maintained by owners over the century it's in clean, safe, sound condition.

So when GA asks questions like, why is the HHA spending $385K for vinyl flooring in 10 elevators instead of using that money on building maintenance, I do that FOR HHA residents. 

GA has asked if the HHA buildings been properly maintained, then why were 6 building without working generators?  And lacked fire suppression capability?  Why hasn't 501  Marchall Drive been tested for contamination from a 5th floor meth lab?

Beware the wolf in sheep's clothing or in a business suit with a microphone.

So, now that he's been warned to resign before things "get out of control", here is what Jake told Patch.
 “I have very concrete, substantive information leading me to believe that the threat of bringing a bus of angry housing authority residents to my house in Pennsylvania is a very real and active plan, and is a plan that stands a very real chance of entailing an actual danger to me and my family,” he said.

As a result, Stuiver has been in touch with both the Hoboken and Haverford, Pa. police departments, as well as his attorney.

“I need to prepare for the very real possibility that it’s notgoing to be a safe situation for me,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if I come back with windows broken.” 
Is this acceptable? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stacking the Boards

 Out-of-state bus trip to "Jake's house": threatening Jake and his family

Does anyone else look forward to  Al Sullivan's column these days?  Today's is another great read.

I used to chalk up Sully's Between the Lines as a bunch of Dark Side drivel-- which is how my friendship with Al began.  About 3 years ago, he published some absolute drivel about me-- talking points from the very same operative that Terry Castellano emails when she's all liquored up. 

So I posted this: 


GA calls that the 'charm offensive'-  which can either either charm or offend.


I bring this up to show that differences between people- even in print, don't have to end up in ugliness.

Like the kind that's turned up at Hoboken's public meetings and in online discourse lately.   Threats of marching on people's homes, lies about what the blogs write and choreographed stunts to have the HHA Board Commissioners 'denounce' individuals for exercising their First Amendment freedoms online with respect to free expression of political speech.  (Of course, selected individuals to denounce all support Mayor Zimmer)

Do the architects of such theater wish to provoke violence?

'Blog Denunciation Theater' and Field Trips to Jake's House are choreographed intimidation tactics. In their world, there is no place for dissent- it's Their Way or The Highway to Jake's House. 

They target Jake Stuiver, Greg Lincoln, Dave Mello, Mayor Zimmer, Reform members of the City Council,  and Reform blogs/bloggers.

While intimidation tactics bear little political upside at the voting booth; none of that matters to its architects. 

The political upside for "them" is to suppress Reform participation on municipal boards and on the HHA by making any Reformers who do miserable; by dragging their families into their public service with protests at their homes, ginning up phony 'denunciations' on free political speech to shop to the media.  All this abuse amounts to punishment for serving one's city, with the message: Don't step up or you're next.

Look at the crap Jim Doyle's been dragged through. Before him, Ian Sacs. And Jake. And many, many others, including yours truly.

By making Reform participation on public boards so miserable they expect few willing to step up and replace Reformers as their terms expire.  We see it on the HHA now.

GA believes the next election is not about who gets to be mayor.   It is about who controls the Boards and the City Council.  And the BoE. 

That's what the misery campaign is about: stacking the HHA and Hoboken's Boards with people "for them" not "against them". 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bobble Boy

Bobble Boy

You've probably heard of Bubble Boy, and Balloon Boy, but did you know that Hoboken had it's very own Bobble Boy?

From the City Council dais, he fidgets, tortures the English language in a rat-a-tat tat sputter as his head bobs like it's loosely mounted on a spring.

Yep,  you may call him Tim Bobble-pinti or Occhi-bobble.
Occhi-bobble: " ... a lot of these cases come about because of the administration themselves, and the high 92 percent rate isn't exactly what um, you deem it to be because a lot of these cases are employee matters that should be settled... easily!

Terry 'Never guzzle-wine-while-BCCing a political operative' Castellano: That should have never happened


Occhi-bobble: They aren't even like, huge wins. They're part of litigation that all cities go through. So you're trying to say that you know all of this litigation that we have 92%... well, we should have a good winning percentage, we shouldn't have to pay 2 and a half... 2 million dollars to get it if you have good attorneys.  And you know,  competent in-house... no... I take that back... I'm sorry... that's not what I meant... if we had in-house atorneys that could do more work that we out-source.  That's what I meant... 

Ooops.  That's our Bobble Boy.

Well, at least according to Corporation Counsel that's all he's good at!

Bobble-head

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wine-Gate and The Bobble Head


Thanks to MSV for posting the clip from this week's City Council meeting-  part one of the growing scandal GA calls Wine-gate (until someone comes up with a better name).

Wine-gate is Terry Castellano's revelation that ingesting "2 glasses of wine" triggered an email request for "confidential legal information" from Corporation Counsel Melisa Longo that 'cced' a political operative.  Ooops!

It appears Ms. Longo was NOT going to publicize Castellano's wine-soaked email until Bobble Head Tim tripped over his tongue and insulted Team Longo's intelligence. (insert something here about pots calling kettles black) 

So in a cool, poised manner, Longo let Bobble Head 'have it' providing two examples of Council minority transgressions that she had observed.  One of those was Wine-gate.

Shocking!

Imagine, an elected official requesting "confidential legal information" from the City's attorney, with an unauthorized person- a political operative- on the distribution!

Castellano blamed it on the grapes.  They made her "press the wrong button".

Ah, that's how the operative's name appeared on the email; Castellano pressed the 'wrong button' and POOF! there it was!

Umm... FAIL.

Drinking wine WON'T make names spontaneously appear on emails  (nor will pressing buttons).

Drinking wine WILL make people type names into the "CC" field instead of the "BCC" field.

(Don't  you wonder how long this 'mistake' has gone undetected before Terry "hit the wrong button".)

Here is the transcript of MSV's vido clip-  Wine-gate The Movie (Part 1):
Longo: You know, I try say as little as possible during these meetings because I believe that they are your meetings and I'm just here to provide legal guidance. Um, but you know I kinda feel like I have to say something tonight.   

When certain Council members ask me to do memorandums and those memorandums are used as exhibits in lawsuits against the city, I don't say anything.

And when Councilwoman Castellano sent me an email and asked me for confidential legal information and copied what I now know to be a political operative, I wasn't going to say anything.

But when I sit here and I have Councilman Occhipinti insult me and the two other attorneys that I work with openly and say that we're not intelligent enough to handle the city's business, I take great umbrage to that, the three of us don't do this for the money (to Occhipinti) and you can shake your head Councilman Occhipinti because that's all you're good at...

Occhipinti: Yeah. Really.

Bobble-head

Longo: ... we're not here for the money certainly, we're not here for politics we're here because we actually believe in what we're doing.  We believe in good government, and we believe that we can make a difference here in the city of Hoboken. So if you want to sit here and and vote down the contracts, that's that's fine, that's your call.  But don't sit here and insult me personally, and don't sit here and insult the two women I work with...  what I don't appreciate is having someone insult my intelligence and the people that work for me. It's not fair and it's not appropriate. 

Nice job, Ms. Longo.  The nerve of that dunce to insult you- you and your team are doing an excellent job for Hoboken.

But, if I may...  going forward I hope that you do 'call out' the ethical transgressions of the Council minority- if not publicly, then privately.  They should not abuse City resources (you) to write exhibits for their litigation against Hoboken.   Nor should Castellano be ccing unauthorized persons on City business and confidential communications.

Castellano's "mistake" certainly explains how so much confidential City business ended up as 'exclusives' on Hoboken411.  

How long has this been going on?  

Trafficking confidential information to Hoboken411- who is responsible?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

BOMBSHELL: Castellano BUSTED Copying Political Operative on Doc Request -UPDATE**


Update-  GA's gotten more details on the growing Wine-Gate scandal... It appears that sensitive City documents were NOT released to the political operative; but Castellano made an email request to Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo for internal City documents and copied an unauthorized person- a political operative on the email.  The unfamiliar name alerted Longo, who then discovered that Castellano had put a political operative on the document request.

The video is not available on U-Stream due to a 'technical glitch' but GA expects that the video (and clip) will be made available.
 
_________________________________________________

(Orignal post- edits for update noted **)

Holy cow.  GA always falls asleep before the real 'juice' explodes from the City Council dais.

In last night's case, the juice was fermented grape- as told by First Ward Councilwoman Terry Castellano to Corporation Council Melisa Longo, when she (Terry) explained that she was so juiced up on "two glasses" of fermented grape (White Lightening? Night Train? Thunderbird?) that she put a political operative on a sensitive document request!**

Perfectly understandable. GA always shares confidential internal City document requests with political operatives whenever I get juiced on the juice.  Don't you?

And do we know the identity of the political operative?

Is it someone in Ruben's camp?  Someone in Mason's camp?  Someone in neither camp?  Someone working for a developer?  Or working for someone who does business with the city currently or wants to? 

It couldn't possibly be a political operative steeped in anonymous blogging with numerous press contacts at The Hoboken Reporter, with dozens of screen names and a longtime employee of Beth Mason... could it?

I mean, given Castellano's outspoken allegations about pro-Zimmer bloggers, such as her recent letter in the Hoboken Reporter:
"Zimmer’s propaganda machine: a small group of zealots charged with maintaining misleading blogs, send unfounded spin throughout mainstream media." 

Nah, that would make Terry Castellano completely duplicitous and position herself as a propaganda machine for zealot 'Terry-Bloggers' with contacts at the local press, feeding them confidential City documents so they can traffic them into the Hoboken Reporter and online on blogs like Hoboken411com!

We know THAT doesn't happen, never has.

Or does it? 

GA doesn't have time now to look for the juicy, juiced-up Castellano confession to Melisa Longo, but judging from the emails I got last night it must be off-the-hook.  Here's one:
WTF???? what info?? which political operative? why didn't someone file ethic charges against her??


did this just come to light?? did reform council seemed surprised? did the 4 Aholes come to her defense??
Here's another: 
 Omg! What CONFIDENTIAL legal info did terry give to a "political operative"???
So, GA will leave you with this question. 

Patrick Ricciardi is facing sentencing for 'diverting' the mayor's emails to unauthorized others, for political purposes.

Terry Castellano was caught emailing an unauthorized person (political operative) on an internal document request for political purposes.**

What is the about the Dark Side's penchant for 'sharing' emails with unauthorized persons?**

GA will get the transcript up when I get the time and opportunity. Stay tuned.