Friday, May 30, 2014

An Anthem for The Leader

 All Hail The Leader!

Union City's Brian Stack gets the award for the best Hudson County political swag GA's seen in a long, long time.

A friend came across one of these- still shrink-wrapped from 2003... a CD tribute to Stack titled, "A Man's Mission"- with original music and lyrics!

Anyone have the mp3?

Ruben's with Phil!

Ramos attends Freeholder Candidate Phil Cohen's Fundraiser

Great choice, Ruben Ramos!

I guess you think Phil can do better, too.  It was classy of you to show your support at Phil's event last night.  I mean it. 

Come to the light, Ruben!

Was it incumbent Anthony Romano's white flag of surrender on lowering taxes for Hoboken residents?

Was it Romano's rendition of "It's Impossible..."

Was it anchovies instead of pepperoni on the pizza he ordered with pal Beth Mason?

Or was it the shiv going into your back when he didn't endorse your Mayoral run in 2013? (Oh, I kid...)

No matter. Welcome aboard.

Well folks, GA would like to remind you that POLLS OPEN AT 6AM NEXT TUESDAY, JUNE 3.


Thursday, May 29, 2014


GA's dill
Yesterday GA noticed a mob of yellow, black and white creepy-crawlers swarming my dill plant.   


But in fact, the invaders are there for a few meals before they turn into... Papilio polyxenes asterius(es) ... a.k.a. Black Swallowtail butterflies!

Call it a benign invasion. GA loves butterflies.

Speaking of benign invasions, here's what a source has told GA about that special meeting at City Hall last night: "the meeting was subdued."

According to the source, that was not the intent behind the organized transportation of HHA residents to City Hall.

GA was told:
They had a van taking people to the meeting... about 50 people showed up.  I don't know how much or if anyone got paid (they usually give $40 for a meeting) but I heard people were promised ‘favors’ to show up. The   residents were instructed to disrupt the meeting and divert attention so the resolution would not be heard. There were there to disrupt but it didn't happen.   Maybe because Wefer had 6 officers there. They were quiet. No one they brought had anything to say except for the Carmelo-supporters who always speak. The only one who spoke in support of the resolution was Jessica Coco.  She talked a lot about the generators. She said that everyone at the HHA talks about how the generators were bought for vision 20/20 and that's why they don’t fit the buildings. That statement  upset (Commissioner) Jeannie Rodriguez who tried to interrupt Coco. Wefer or Mello told Jeannie that Coco had the right to talk, then the jeering started. Barbara Reyes spoke after Jessica. She seemed to be rattled by Cocos remarks and didn’t read her prepared speech. Instead she addressed some of Coco’s allegations.  Carmelo was the last speaker.  He said the whole meeting shouldn’t have been called, claimed he was being harassed, would hold every Commissioner individually liable. I saw Carmelo pointed out Jessica to Daglian, saying something.  After Carmelo’s speech it was loud, too loud to hear the vote. Jeannie Rodriguez and Rob Davis voted against, everyone else voted for.

So the revolution didn't go off as planned; nor was it televised.  

Thank goodness, for the  intrepid Hoboken Horse, who was there and captured it all on film.

Jessica Coco  credit: Mile Square View
This is what happens with engineered revolutions.  They're supposed to be organic things.

And so, the 'ruckus' never rucked, folks comported themselves well.  When it was over, the resolution passed, the revolution failed. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Everybody on the Bus

In hot water?
Well folks, tonight a special meeting of the Hoboken Housing Authority will convene at City Hall to vote on the appointment of a Special Counsel.  Why?

According to MSV, the Special Council will investigate alleged vendor contributions to Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and procurement outside of federal guidelines in the millions of dollars.   

About those contributions, according to the Hoboken Reporter:
Wow!  There's more...
Wefer also raised questions about the legitimacy of the contracts themselves. The $2.3 million paid to the contributing firms is part of a larger pot of authority money, totaling nearly $3.5 million, which has been awarded to firms without going through the regular procurement policies. Authority contracts normally go out to bid in a public process, and the executive director and his staff must choose either the lowest or the best bid. But none of the contracts that make up the $3.5 million, paid to plumbing, cabinetry, electrical, heating, and kitchen appliance firms, went through that process.
Holy cow! 

Here are those March contributions from those three HHA vendors- reported on Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia's 2015 Garcia for Assembly campaign.

Garcia for Assembly 2015 campaign donors with HHA contracts 

What's that smell?

GA is curious who filed for permits for the HHA to install generators and electrical panels below the flood plane?   I have no idea.

Were the contractors hired to install electric panels in basements that flood and generators below the flood plane procured through a competitive bid process? 

Were they told where to locate the equipment?

HHA spent $385K for vinyl flooring replacement in 10 elevator cabs , $106,100 for ONE roof replacement  (655 6th Street), $656,100 to renovate 3 rooms...

In the meantime, MSV reports a bi-lingual flyer was distributed at the HHA, urging residents to attend tonight's meeting (buses will be provided!) with the frightening claim "Our Homes are at Stake!" 

Not exactly.

Anyway, GA heard the HHA rented this bus again:

 Cancelled Field trip?

Oh, boy.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Romano Delivers Tax Increases

Fresh hot County TAX  INCREASES
Well folks, did you know there's an election one week from today, next Tuesday, June 3?

You didn't?

SHAME ON YOU.    GA's pretty pissed off at the screwing Hoboken taxpayers have gotten under Freeholder Anthony 'Stick' Romano- 15% County tax increases!   While other municipalities taxes stay flat or even decrease.   Stick is a nice fella, for sure.  But, here is what he told the Hoboken Reporter's Dean DeChiaro two weeks ago:

"...lowering the taxes is next to impossible."

What a great song. The Como version, not the Romano:

It's impossible, to lower taxes in the Mile Square, it's just impossible 
It's impossible, not to strip your wallet bare, it's just impossible 
Can I hold your cash close to me and not feel the kaching-a-ling? 
To keep my county pals in bling-a-bling? Oh, how impossible

Thank goodness, Freeholder Candidate Phil Cohen is singing a different tune.

Phil does NOT think that lowering Hoboken's share of county taxes is impossible.  I know he will TRY.

Hoboken taxpayers need an ADVOCATE at the County, not Perry Como. Or Anthony Romano, the guy that says it's "impossible" to DO BETTER.

GA does like Romano.  But if he liked ME he would lower my taxes.  If he liked YOU, he would lower your taxes.

Sorry folks, it's time to break up the social club at the County and elect an ADVOCATE for lower taxes in Hoboken.

That is Phil Cohen.

Phil is ambitious, but he's no schmuck.  He works well with everyone of every political stripe- he is very smart and dedicated to improved quality of life in Hoboken.    GA can give Phil a personal endorsement, having worked with him for 4 years as a Zoning Commissioner; his work ethic is impeccable. Even if he didn't drive me home from meetings.

Folks, it is time to rattle the County cage.  That's what Phil will do, beginning with an AUDIT of each county department (pass the popcorn).

GA doesn't want to hear my advocate at the County tell me it's "impossible" to lower my taxes- even if he sings like Perry Como. (I like the Como version better than Englebert Humperdinck's.)

Hoboken NEEDS an advocate at the County.

Next Tuesday, VOTE for PHIL COHEN, 4A.

If you don't believe GA, take the word of good government advocate James A. Castiglione:

Many Hobokenites wonder if the city is getting an appropriate level of service and support from the county under our current Freeholder, Anthony Romano...

To ensure that the county is efficiently using our tax dollars to meet the needs of Hoboken and Jersey City, Phil has proposed conducting a top-to-bottom independent audit of the operations of all county departments to root out waste and corruption. In this way, Hoboken and Jersey City will be ensured of a higher level of service for the significant taxes that we pay to the county.

It’s time to end “business as usual” at the county. Elect Phil Cohen for freeholder, to bring good governance to the county and to help Hoboken and Jersey City get the county services that our cities need and deserve.
See?  It's not impossible.   Right, Phil?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

GA honors all of the men and women who have given their lives for us, and the families left behind.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2011 ELEC Shocker: Mason Spends $49K (Aug/Sept 2012)

Are 14 generators ordered with federal grant money a subject of the OIG's investigation?

Today MSV featured HHA Interim Director Bob DiVincent's interview with Hudson County View.  DiVincent said:
"There are some investigations going on [at the HHA]. The biggest one I'm aware of is the Office of the Inspector General has requested some documents on contracts that were part of the procurement investigation that HUD already did."  
Just when you thought our federal agencies didn't care!   

The Office of Inspector General (O.I.G. ) no less. The OIG can easily access records, documents, correspondence, from another federal agency (FEMA) without courts, subpoenas, or any legal wrangling whatsoever.Thus the  O.I.G. could obtain the application of a local Housing Authority for FEMA grant money to repair or retrofit facilities against future storms (such as $ to raise building generators). They could obtain all records relating to whether the grant was awarded, how much money, and which agent of the Housing Authority actually signed for it and took the money.   If a check was issued to that Housing Authority, the Feds could track the deposit.  Finally, the Feds would ascertain the existing conditions at the facilities to complete their investigation into whether the work was performed- or not.  In order to discourage (rampant) abuse of federal grant money, the Feds might choose to make an example of a HUD official involved in such behavior, someone like... anybody we know?

It is interesting to look back at what the Feds were allegedly 'up to' at the HHA around the time Carmelo Garcia dropped his (first) 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit, in mid-August of 2013.

GA wrote on August 30, 2013:
According to witnesses, the Feds were at HHA this Monday; one witness described the "white men in suits" on the grounds. The next day an HHA maintenance employee confirmed the visit and said the agents had been going into "boiler rooms."  Looking at generators, perhaps?  Ones that didn't get raised with federal grant money disbursed?  Stay tuned...
Then on September 2, 2013, GA was told by a source at the HHA, around the time of the Feds' visit, that Carmelo Garcia had left 'suddenly' for Costa Rica.  The source alleged:
When he returned home from the trip to Costa Rica, the Feds were waiting. They met him at the airport as soon as he landed.  Carmelo wasn't arrested. The Feds questioned him about the tapes. They wanted to know what he had, if there were more. He told them he didn't have any more tapes. They let him goGarcia allegedly had  been telling others he has two more tapes (one of an HHA Commissioner)... told HHA residents that he has "Brian Stack on tape", and has Stack "trained like a dog".
Then, on top of alleged federal investigations into HHA boiler rooms and secretly recorded audiotapes, there were rumblings of another investigation- of absentee ballot farming at the HHA.

On September 22, 2013, GA wrote:
A couple of little birdies flew over from the HHA this weekend and delivered  a BOMBSHELL. In fact, this delivery casts a whole new light on motives for Carmelo Garcia's sudden Absentee Ballot Education Drive.

The first birdie was called to a meeting last week with a high level Hoboken official and "someone from the NJ Attorney General".    The topic was absentee ballot fraud at the HHA.  The AG wants evidence on past and ongoing absentee ballot farming.   

The next birdie said:
On Thursday [September 10th] ****  was at the HHA with ballots. He gives $40 to sign and doesn't seal them. He's been doing it for years.  He'll work for anybody don't matter.  He don't live there.  The next day ***** got  a call from the office to come back. They told him the FBI is investigating the ballots. I haven't seen him back since.

"What office?" GA asked. "The HHA?"  
No, Frank Raia's.
This flurry of federal activity occurred against a backdrop which included revelations that Garcia had  secretly worn a wire to tape "friends," a bombshell  broken by Al Sullivan on  July 28, 2013.  The saga unfolded with a drip, drip drip of pages from a transcription of Garcia's secretly taped lunch with the mayor's husband!  Juicy.


And if that wasn't enough 'excitement,'  Garcia's 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit dropped on or about August 15, 2013.  

The ramifications of the nutty charges reverberated in the Ramos camp.  Many believe Carmeo's lawsuit put the tombstone on Ruben Ramos' mayoral run.   A source told GA on August 21, 2013:

Did Carmelo's 'ethnic cleansing' lawsuit open the door to Raia's Third Ticket?
Stack's backing off from Carmelo. Everybody is. It's the lawsuit. That was the last straw.

Everybody thinks its crazy, accusing the mayor of "ethnic cleansing". Nobody thinks it was a good idea. It's embarrassing to our people and Ruben is stuck with it. That suit was all Carmelo.  Nobody told him to do it. He's always played the race card but taking it to court is a whole different game. It's hurting Ruben. People are leaving Ruben.  Rudy Garcia left the campaign.  Renee Abreau doesn't want the attention his name is out there and he doesn't like it.  He's in with Carmelo on Vision 20/20, made some deal.

The Raia-Mason third ticket is going to happen.  Timmy is at the top.  Nobody thinks Ruben can pull it off.
And the Raia-Mason ticket came to pass.   One week later, Timmy threw his dunce cap into the ring and declared he was running.  Buh-bye Ruben Ramos.

So here we are, one year later-- Lawsuit #3 and concurrent "multiple" federal investigations at the HHA.

Not much seems to change but the hands on the clock. When do one of these "multiple" investigations move to a grand jury?


Thursday, May 15, 2014

BOMBSHELL: Mason ELECs 'Disguise' Payments to Political Operatives

Why would a candidate report "in-kind contributions" to ELEC years after the campaign ended, then disburse 96% of these "in-kind" contributions to a defunct LLC (charter revoked in 2012) and to a political 'consultant'?

Ask candidate Beth Mason or Treasurer Ricky Mason.    Coincidentally last February  ELEC filed a complaint against the Masons and their campaign for numerous late reporting violations.

Note Mason's 2011 municipal election was held on May 10, 2011.  Over three years ago.   But according to GA's investigation of ELEC reports filed from July 19, 2012 to April 16, 2014, this account is still active.    

Further, Mason reports large payments to political operatives  as "in-kind contributions."

And who is making these large "in-kind" contributions?

The candidate herself, Beth Mason.  Mason may have won her election 3 years ago, but since that day she has "contributed" a whopping $221,594  to her 2011 campaign in a combo of in-kind contributions, loans and currency donations.   

HUH???  Red flag, anyone?


And... why isn't Mason reporting payments to political operatives as "disbursements" instead of "in-kind contributions"?

This reporting strategy allows Mason to conceal the identities of operatives she is paying by "writing checks" directly to third-parties (the LLC or another operative) then reporting the payments as "in-kind" contributions. 

Accordingly, entities receiving these payments can direct them or distribute them to other operatives and use monies freely for any purpose without reporting to ELEC or other state and federal agencies. Designed to skirt "transparency"and other state and federal reporting mechanisms.

GA reviewed the above ELECs- all contributions made post Election day

An example: Mason's July 19, 2012 ELEC filing.  You can see  $47,002.85 was reported under receipts and expenditures as an "in-kind contribution"

R-1 - Quarterly January 15 2011 ELEC, filed 7/19/11
Schedule B shows that of the $47,002.85 "in-kind contribution" total,  $36,000 was paid to "Cutting Edge Communications," $7,500 was paid to a political Consultant, and $502.85 went to a vendor for "campaign printing".

Schedule G is left blank. Blank?  The campaign has not reported these payments? 

R-1 - Quarterly January 15 2011 ELEC, filed 7/19/11 by Mason 2011 Municipal Campaign
 The campaign is only reporting a  disbursement of $ 6,010!  The $47,002.85 washed through.

Here's another 'neat' trick on Mason's 2011 ELEC reports. If you don't want to show disbursements, flip the chart 90 degrees!  Yes, the campaign flipped  Disbursement Schedules from landscape view to a portrait view-- which chops the table in half, and columns with disbursement amounts are cut off.    An accident?  If so, the accident occurs on nearly every ELEC report I reviewed.

See what I mean? 
R-1 ELEC,  Quarterly Oct 15, 2011, filed 10/15/11 by Mason 2011 Municipal campaign
If anyone is curious, "Cutting Edge Communications" paid $98,000 with Mason's "in-kind contributions" is an LLC registered by political operative Barry Brendel in 2009.

Brendel shooting GA's pic at a 2013 ZBA meeting.  Brendel and his son, Tim, harassed me at my meetings from 2012- 2013.

And there's son, Tim Brendel!  He shot video of GA at this 2012 ZBA meeting.  The video was featured on the 'Nazi Truck' in the 2012 BoE campaign.

Brendel's LLC was revoked in 2012, after 2 consecutive years of not filing annual reports with the state.  But that didn't stop the "in-kind contributions" to Brendel's Cutting Edge Communication from Beth Mason.

For the purposes of full disclosure,  here is the data GA culled from the Mason ELECs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Zombies Attack Hoboken BoE

Horror fans, you missed a spectacular show last night!  The Undead came out in droves not seen since the last time they came out in droves.

Showtime was 7:00 pm, the place: Wallace Gymnasium, the feature called: "Revenge of the Grifters." 
The Zombies were starved.

It's been years since they've chowed down on a free steak dinner, ordered a pizza on a  free cell phone, taken a free junket to Atlantic City including a $300 stipend, awarded contracts without approvals,  spent $91K outsourcing janitorial services while employing 60 janitors, dipped their fingers into the petty cash fund and stuffed the BoE payroll with 1,050 employees.   In 2005, the Zombies wrote themselves a Purchase Order for  $560,157.

WOW!  It sure pays to be a Zombie.

ZOMBIES' BIG CHECK-- p 291-2005-2006 BoE audit
So what drew The Undead out from the Dark Side last night?

Teacher's Union President, Gary Enricco wondered that, too.  “Look who shows up tonight...”,  he said,  "They weren't here to support the district last week."

That's true. They weren't.

One by one, the Zombies lurched to the microphone. Their lips moved, noises came out.  

Zombie Tim Occhipinti, starved for brains,  called the School Board "divisive." He blamed them for " the erosion of the community" citing "fees for sports."  Somebody tell Tim that $25 recreation fees were instituted by the City of Hoboken- not the Board of Education.  Councilman Tim doesn't know that?

One order of brains à la carte for Tim! 

Zombie Terry Castellano alleged parents had asked her to come to "support the children." Terry "supported the children" by declaring:  "Kids First has had control for 8 to 10 years and they’ve lost perspective..." Um, no... Kids First 'took control'  4 years ago.  8-10 years ago Terry's Zombie friends were "in control" and pulling funds out of the classroom for steak dinners and cell phones.  She doesn't know that? 

One order of brains fricassee for Terry!

In fact, Michelle Russo was "in control" as a BoE member in the 2002-2003 academic year.  'Mama' Russo told the room she was "upset" because "we have more administrators than we’ve ever had before."  You have my permission to stop laughing.  Kids First inherited 24 administrators from the Zombie-Era, they have reduced them by 25% to 18  administrators.  She doesn't know that? 

One order of brains-on-rye for Ms. Russo!

Anthony Romano wandered up to the mic.  Nobody remembers what he said;  his words dropped to the floor like cold air from a duct and dissipated quickly. They might have been "we should find a way out" and "we should roll up our sleeves."

Romano doesn't need brains; he needs a fresh act.


Zombie Beth Mason scolded the Board that they're "cutting the bottom of the payroll, yet keeping on the highly paid administrators."   Zombie Mason's ELEC fines could plug the $2.3 million dollars the public schools are underfunded,  and Ricky's lunch money could save every Transportation job in the room.  But no, her game is moving cash through defunct campaigns, plying political operatives, underwriting lawsuits and paying a videographer to record her stentorian shriek for some imagined political career.

A brain is wasted on her; this Zombie needs a heart.

Thank goodness, our Board members survived last night's Zombie attack.   

GA hears they are still working to save the jobs of our distict's beloved Transportation workers. There is a $2.3 million dollar shortfall in state funding; that is the reality.  

Maybe instead of lurching into Board meetings to grandstand, our elected Zombies can "find a way out" and "roll their sleeves up" to "support our children" and prevent the "erosion of the community" by offering help not self-serving bloviations. 

On the subject of Zombies, here's an old video collaboration between my friend Al Sullivan and myself, circa the 2010 Occhipinti campaign...


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Night of the Living Dead

Look who showed up to haunt the School Board tonight: Terry Castellano... Beth Mason.... Tim Occhipinti....  BRAINS... BRAINS.... 

They need BRAINS...

Mike Russo... Mama Russo... Anthony Romano....  


Heaven help us... they won't stay dead!

Earwitness: Election Upset in Bayonne?

Uh-oh! Could it be?

Was GA all wrong about this...?

We won't know until 8:30 pm, but sources are telling GA that Jim Davis, challenger to incumbent Mayor Mark Smith is making a very strong showing- in fact, sources report that turnout in his home ward is "overwhelming."

Now, GA doesn't have a dog in that fight.  But it appears some politicos in Hoboken do.  And really, that is what interests me.

Remember GA had written about a Trojan Mole?

Sources tell me I was right- an operation to plant a MOLE on the Davis campaign to wreck it the way the MOLE did to the Occhipinti campaign was well underway when Davis folks caught on.

The MOLE was not hired, which gave birth to a lawsuit against the Davis campaign!

And you think this shit only goes down in Hoboken?  Certainly not!

If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em.

Well, in spite of the failure to slip the paunchy, balding MOLE onto the Davis campaign, GA is told that workers from the Occhipinti campaign have been dispatched to work the polls in Bayonne, and who should step in to help the incumbent Mayor Smith, but Frank Raia (a.k.a. Number 7)!

GA hears the absentee ballots in Bayonne are at record levels- 850 VBMs this cycle compared to 450 the last election.  The Raia effect?

Raia's talent at harvesting votes was probablY appealing to Smith.  So what was appealing to Frank?

GA hears "part of the deal" to get Frank on board was a promise to let Frank turn The Holy Family Academy- recently closed- into a Charter school.  A "sweetheart deal".  GA is told that Bayonne has no charters- not a single one- the teachers union there opposes it; this would be the first.

So... in an election awash in SLIME (like Hoboken's 'Nazi Truck', orchestrated by Beth Mason's political operatives in our 2012 BoE race), wouldn't it be a nice repudiation of gutter politics to have the clean(er) guy win?

Wouldn't it?

 Stay tuned!

Monday, May 12, 2014

ELEC BOMBSHELL: Mason 2011 Account Active

INTERESTING TIMING: Mason reports $53K expenditure on July 19, 2012

A GA investigation of Councilwoman Beth Mason's 2011 Municipal Campaign ELECs has revealed an astonishing fact: extraordinary amounts of money have  been moved in and out of  Mason's campaign account after the May 10, 2011 Election.

Since Mason's Quarterly October 15, 2011 ELEC was filed, (on July 19, 2012), Mason's  2011 Campaign has reported an astounding $203,995.85 in receipts and $202,878.10 in expenditures.  

$30K of the receipts are in LOANS.  

All these receipts: in-kind, currency and loans are from Beth Mason.  All contributions, including loans, were made after the May 10, 2011 election.

In the same time frame, the campaign has increased its "outstanding obligations" to itself from $306,146.47 to $336,896.47.

An ELEC report for 3 year-old election was filed last month, on April 15, 2014.  Mason made (2) in-kind contributions for a total of $5,000; on January 17, 2014, Mason gave a $2,000  in-kind contribution to"Cutting Edge Communication/ Database Management and Resident Outreach," on "Cutting Edge Communication/ Database Management."

In fact, a veritable tsunami of 'in-kind' contributions flows from the Mason 2011 Municipal campaign to various iterations of this "Cutting Edge Communications" company.  The time frame of these mystery-payments spans the 'Blogger lawsuit,' the 2012 BoE Campaign, the Nazi Truck and midnight flyer attacks, up to January 2014.

Conspicuously missing: payments for Mason's chief political operative James Barracato, and other  known Mason operatives.

Yet, Mason continues to deposit large sums of money to a campaign she won in 2011, and large sums of it flow out to this "Cutting Edge Communications."

Wow, between October 13, 2012 and November 16, 2012 Beth Mason gave $33K to "Cutting Edge Communication for Management Services" and "Cutting Edge Communication for Management and Production."

The Nazi Truck repulsed Hoboken on the nights of October 16, 2012 and October 17, 2012

So who are they?  


So Cutting Edge Communications' LLC was filed with the NJ Department of the Treasury on December 17, 2009.    When it was time to renew in 2010.... nothing.  In 2011.... nothing.   In 2012... nothing.

Cutting Edge Communications' LLC was REVOKED on July 16, 2012. 
Treasurer Ricky Mason must know the reason why his campaign has made substantial in-kind contributions to a company whose LLC was revoked in 2012.

Shall "we" ask the Treasurer?

Shall "we" ask the Treasurer what this activity is all about?

I think we shall.