Christopher Campos advocating for massive redevelopment project, Vision 20/20, at the HHA
Thanks to GA commenters who noted the relationship between the father of Campos' high-powered, high-priced defense attorney and the father of Hoboken Councilman Mike Russo.
To recap, Campos' Attorney Leo Vartan, is the son of former Kearny Mayor Leo Vartan.
Hoboken Councilman Mike Russo is the son of former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo.
This Star Ledger news article was published on May 26, 2006 [excerpts]:
"A former mayor of Kearny was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $10,000 by a federal judge in Newark yesterday for diverting campaign funds to his personal use...The elder Vartan was given leniency- no jail time- for spilling the beans on Anthony Russo- who was sentenced to 30 months in jail, "the top of his eligible guidelines sentencing range."
Kearny's two-term mayor from January 1994 until the end of 1997, Vartan, a Republican, was accused of embezzling $48,000 and filing false financial reports with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.
In November 2002, Vartan was charged in a pre-indictment accusation known as an information with two counts of mail fraud and two counts of tax evasion in connection with his embezzlement. He pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud and tax evasion the same day and faced a maximum punishment of more than two years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
But [U.S. District Judge] Pisano gave him a break for the cooperation he provided federal authorities in several cases, most notably the successful prosecution of former Hoboken mayor Anthony Russo. Both Lustberg and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ricardo Solano told the judge that leniency was appropriate.
Authorities said Russo was responsible for getting Vartan a legal consulting job with the Hoboken Board of Education that paid him $18,000 in 1998 while Russo was given $1,500 in payoffs in return. When Vartan came clean about the arrangement, he "was able to provide documentation that corroborated his story," Solano said after the hearing.
Last year, Pisano sentenced Russo, who took a plea rather than go to trial, to 30 months behind bars for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a city contractor while serving as Hoboken's mayor for eight years.
The judge called Vartan's crime "foolhardy" but maintained his assistance had been invaluable, saying investigators did not previously have the information he gave them.
"It's clear to me that Mr. Vartan's testimony hanging over Mr. Russo's head was a determining factor in Mr. Russo's decision to plead guilty," Pisano said."
The United States Department of Justice United States,Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey Office Report 2002 - 2008 listed its prosecution of Hoboken Mayor Russo as a "Significant Case" [page 21]:
That's quite a history lesson!
According to the DOJ report, Russo was not exactly forthcoming with the "full extent of his bribe taking" until threatened with a "full evidentiary hearing." The Star Ledger attests to evidence provided by the elder Vartan in exchange for leniency.
Fast forward to the present. The son of Vartan, a highly successful, accomplished attorney with a golden resume was hired by Chris Campos. Small world!
A source tells GA that the younger Vartan's billing rate is "$500/hour after a 30% reduction (of his customary billing rate)" which I estimate leaves his "customary billing rate" in the $800/hour range.
Justice does not come cheap!
For clients of limited resources, there are cheaper attorneys available in the dumpsters of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Campos' attorney is not one of those. He's paying big bucks for the best.
Local residents may remember Campos' involvement in Hoboken government as an elected City Councilman from 2001-2007, following the 1993-2001 terms of Mayor Anthony Russo, and overlapping the 2003-present terms of Councilman Mike Russo.
Campos and Russo ran together on a ticket in 2007; Russo won, and Campos lost to Dawn Zimmer. Since losing elected office,
Since then, Campos remained active in Hoboken politics, supporting allies Carmelo Garcia, Ruben Ramos and Mike Russo on local races and to advocate for Garcia's Vision 20/20. Campos, no longer a resident of Hoboken, spoke passionately at HHA meetings to advocate for Vision 20/20 and attack the elected officials who opposed it.
What does this all mean- Campos' political ties in Hoboken- in the context of Campos' legal predicament?
Who knows. It may mean nothing. But, it sure is interesting, no?