Friday, July 29, 2016

GA's New Blog- UPDATED

Today's post, "Baby Picture," from GA's new blog, "Putin and Me."



UPDATED:  Due to the tremendous feedback GA's getting on the above graphic, "Donald's First Wall," I have attached a high resolution version for anyone's use (blast it around, publish with a credit.)  Thank you.

High Resolution image (for download):




_____________________________

Folks, I've decided to keep my views on national election politics off this blog, because frankly, they don't belong here.

GA's masthead reads: "One gal's musings about the Hoboken political scene."  That's what it is.

What I really like about Hoboken's political scene is how Dems, Repubs, Independents, Libertarians, Socialists,  and Commies will agree (or not) on the direction of Hoboken government, and work side-by-side for the same candidates, be they Reformer, Dark Sider, or Independent.

Add national politics to the mix, and the souffle falls.

So, that's why I've started a blog, to get my ya-ya's out about the man 140 characters away from the Oval Office.

It's called "Putin and Me."

Everybody's welcome.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

BREAKING: Weinberg-Mason Fundraiser Contributions "MISSING" from Sweeney-PAC's ELEC


Wow!  Can you believe it?

The funds raised by NJ Senate Majority Leader  Loretta Weinberg at the June 9, 2016 fundraiser appear to be AWOL from NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney Super-PAC's  July 15 ELEC report!

As reported here, the Super-PAC fundraiser for Sweeney was held at the IRS-registered address  of former Councilwoman Beth Mason's 501(c)3, the Mason Civic League, Inc.

Is the apparent failure to report political contributions raised at the June 9 fundraiser an "oversight" or...  in response to facts exposed here on GA?

According to a source who attended June 9 fundraiser:  "people were saying that [you] were totally wrong. "

Wrong?

That Sweeney's Super-PAC was being holding a fundraiser at the IRS-registered address of a 501(c)3, the Mason Civic League, Inc.?

Wrong that the Mason Civic League reports "less than $50,000 in gross receipts" annually  allowing them to file a non-transparent e-Postcard Tax return?

None of the facts reported by GA were "wrong." 

The Mason Civic League has filed e-Postcard returns from 2010-2015 under the registered address where the June 9 Sweeney fundraiser was held;  during the time period, the Mason Civic League has occupied (2) storefronts (including a community space) on Hoboken's Washington Street and has had paid employees.

click to enlarge


GA represents the interest of the taxpaying PUBLIC.   It is a matter of public interest and public concern that this 501(c)3 is "hiding" its contributions and expenditures behind e-Postcard returns- then  incredibly, a POLITICAL FUNDRAISER is held at its registered address!

These e-Postcard filings HIDE what my taxes (and yours) are subsidizing. Hoboken residents have seen political campaigns and meetings brazenly hosted at the 501(c)3's Washington Street storefront. What other political activities is this 501(c)3 involved in?  Did taxpayers underwrite expenses for Loretta Weinberg's Super-PAC fundraiser?  

It is impossible to know when this "charity" files e-Postcard tax returns.

Worse, when this blog gave Weinberg a heads-up, the show went on  anyway. 

GA wanted to see how much money was raised on June 9, and WHO the donors were, so I checked the July 15 NJ-ELEC filing for  New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow.

Can you find them?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What was cropped out of the photo?



While all eyes are turned on Philadelphia this week, it's reassuring to know its business-as-usual for one New Jersey politician, his supporters and a social-climbing parasite.

In this case, every rung of the social ladder is plastered with Benjamins.


How many Benjamins?

GA has the exclusive missing half of the photo former Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason posted on Facebook of her dinner with NJ Senators Sweeney,  Weinberg and Cunningham.

A GA exclusive!




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

SLAPPiversary Tribute


It's hard to believe, folks.

Hoboken's most extensive, expensive modern political operation aimed at silencing online political speech is 4 years old today!

GA dedicates this 4th SLAPPiversary tribute to (in no particular order):
  • Hoboken1653 and NapoleonComplex, two John Doe Defendants who never sought counsel nor get sucked into litigating the abusive, politically-motivated fraud perpetrated by political operatives. These unidentified Does remained on the sidelines as others fought to uphold their First Amendment Rights.  After the SLAPP was dismissed with prejudice, their allegations were not appealed. GAME OVER.  
  • The Paragraph 130 Screen Names thrown into the complaint with ZERO allegations.  You hear that, people?  ZERO.  Ever read Kafka's The Trial?  The main character wakes up one day and finds he's been arrested on unnamed charges, the nature of his crime is never revealed to him (nor to the reader).   So how does one defend him/herself against.... nothing?  
  • My witnesses, some of whom got sucked into the abusive litigation themselves; they were improperly threatened, stalked on Facebook (see top of page),  had their personal photos lifted, were hounded at their jobs or at public meetings, and more.  GA is truly sorry about the vile, unprofessional behavior you were subjected to.  Thank you for stepping up and telling the truth.
  • Kurt Gardiner. xoxo
  • The Wall-Bonds. 
  • Our Friends, online and off, who've supported us.
  • Mike Plumb, my first attorney, whose brilliant work fell on deaf ears.
  • SLAPPees Horse and 'John Doe'.
Last, but not least...
  • Our INCREDIBLE Legal Defense Team.  You know who you are.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Family Ties

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...

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 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."

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?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Campos: from Public Defender to Top Gun

Better Days: Chris Campos & friends

GA has been asked for news about United States of America vs Julio Alvarez, Christopher Campos, Marco Blasio and Geuris Ramos;  press and the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New  York have been silent since the complaint was unsealed on March 9, 2016.

However, public interest remains strong in the criminal case involving Hoboken's former 4th Ward Councilman, Christopher Campos.

So what's new?

According to court documents obtained by GA,  Campos was indicted by a Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on June 7, 2016.  The former Hoboken Councilman was indicted on three counts:  Count One: Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Count Two: Bank Fraud, and  Count Three: Wire Fraud.

A point of interest is Campos' switch from a (free) public defender to a gold-standard, Top Gun attorney. The documents tell the story.

Campos was arrested on March 9, 2016.  The Honorable U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox appointed a Public Defender to "temporarily" represent him.   In the letter below, the Public Defender Jeffery G. Pittell requests to continue his representation of Campos going forward.


On March 29, 2016, Attorney Lee Vartan of Holland & Knight LLP entered for Campos, replacing his Public Defender.



Who is Lee Vartan?

As my Dad would have said, he's no schlub.   People, you've got to check out his bio:


Wow.   A former executive state Attorney General!  Vartan's experience and credentials are superb.

GA can't imagine a defense lawyer of his caliber comes cheap. Even the lowest form of ambulance-chasing scum from states like Ohio and Pennsylvania litigating  $2,000.000 shakedowns don't come cheap.

So,  how does one go from not having funds for a retainer to hiring this guy?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

BREAKING: Defendant Garcia Moves HHA Lawsuit to Federal Court!

Entry on the Federal Court CM/ECF database shows Garcia moved his case from HC Superior Court on July 6, 2016


There you go, folks.

A query of the Federal Court Case Management/ Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system confirms that Defendant Carmelo Garcia has moved his case to Federal Court.

Further, the CM/ECF confirms that Defendant Garcia's Attorney is none other than Louis Zayas, Esq.- who did not enter an appearance for HHA v Carmelo Garcia in Superior Court.


Hush, Dr. Zaius.  Here's the attorney entered for the Defendant:




The documents on file at Federal Court show a service acknowledgment of Plaintiff's summons (by Zayas' office) on July 6, 2016, with "May" crossed out.  




Did the HHA attorney serve the summons in May, but it wasn't acknowledged until July?

Or was it re-served after the move to Federal Court?


Me either.

GA believes that this move re-starts the clock, as if the 'normal'pace of litigation were not excruciatingly slow enough.

Speaking of excruciatingly slow litigation, do you know what's coming up on July 26?

The 4-Year SLAPPiversary! 

Yep,  that SLAPP is circling the bowl, but it hasn't hit the pipes- yet.  


Thank you, Dr. Zaius.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lawsuit News


Folks, there is breaking news in Hoboken's Land of Lawsuits-  and GA doesn't mean the mysteriously-funded S.S. Hindenburg, nor the Liebler one.

No, today's news concerns a lawsuit involving (former Assemblyman) Carmelo Garcia!

Not this one...

HHA email obtained through OPRA request
It's this one- the Hoboken Housing Authority vs. Carmelo Garcia:

Housing Authority v Carmelo Garcia, Docket No. L-1722-16
So, what's the news?

Here it is:


Transferred out of Hudson County Superior Court on July 7.... to...?

Here's more:


Garcia filed for the transfer?   And he "requires" an attorney?

What happened to Zayas?

Maurice Herbert Evans played Dr. Zaius in the 1968 classic, Planet of the Apes

No, NO!  That's Dr. Zaius- not Louis Zayas!  

They're different.  

See?

left: Maurice Herbert Evans as Dr. Zaius, right: former Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia's similarly-named attorney playing himself

Anyway, Defendant Garcia appears to be sans attorney, according to the NJ Court Public Access System.


Curious.... why was the case transferred?    Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pants on Fire

"It is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble." 




WHYdid GA circle the date May 11, 2015?

Because the "specific evidence" alleged to exist by Appellant Whitney Gibson of Vorys, Seymour, Sater and Pease LLP in his sworn certification (para. 3)  was produced 7 months later by Appellant Jonathan Cohen.  


So, did Gibson's "specific evidence" show that the "subject statements... prompted a threat of termination?"


NO.

The "subject statements" (Defendants' allegedly-defamatory statements) were absent entirely from the alleged "evidence"-  an email exchange between Lane Bajardi and his boss. Ben Mevorach. The email was sent Bajardi's AOL account on October 11, 2011.

What is the significance of the email being sent from Bajardi's AOL account?

Numerous documented requests for the email were made during and (even) after discovery and prior to trial,  but the "Mevorach email" was never produced.  

Here's the explanation Plaintiffs' Attorney Jonathan Cohen  provided on September 13, 2014 for why I had not received the "Mevorach email":

My September 13, 2014 deposition

Get it?

The "evidence" was accessible in Bajardi's AOL account the whole time.



"I will look into this."

What about "this"?


But hey, it's summertime.  Who needs pants?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Deadbeats


Deadbeats it isn’t fair when I gotta to pay some else’s share
Deadbeats you decide someone troubles you looking for another free ride
Deadbeats it’s always the same I’ve got to play this game

What the hell is this man a phone bill
No way I’m going to pay for this s***
F*** that man three hundred dollars worth of phone sex calls
Who the hell made this man f***
I got no money I can’t pay this
Who’s gonna pay for it
I can’t be responsible for someone else’s phone calls that I didn’t make

Deadbeats it isn’t fair when I gotta to pay some else’s share
Deadbeats you decide someone troubles you looking for another free ride
Deadbeats it’s always the same I’ve got to play this game

Ah s*** f*** I don’t care anymore
I’ll pay the f***ing phone bill
What do I gotta pay fifty dollars sixty dollars I don’t care
I’m just not gonna get upset about this s*** anymore
Money people I trusted my friends
They think that they can
They can just do anything money they just blow off
That’s bulls*** man I hate that

Deadbeats it isn’t fair when I gotta to pay some else’s share
Deadbeats you decide someone troubles you looking for another free ride
Deadbeats it’s always the same I’ve got to play this game

So anyway you people may understand what a deadbeat is
And you might have seen one or two in your life
And you were really pissed of when you experienced a confrontational one
And you said I wish people would just do what they say
And I can trust them and everything will be OK
But no it doesn’t happen like that
So I gotta keep my eyes open and I gotta watch out
'Cause I like to trust people but sometimes things get messed up
Especially with money that’s the worst I hate it

Deadbeats it isn’t fair when I gotta to pay some else’s share
Deadbeats you decide someone troubles you looking for another free ride
Deadbeats it’s always the same I’ve got to play this game

-Lyrics by The Bouncing Souls

Folks, watch out for DEADBEATS.
dead·beat
ˈdedˌbēt 
noun informal
1.
NORTH AMERICAN
a person who tries to evade paying debts.
Take my word, they're out there.

Some of the most allegedly respectable people try to evade paying their bills!

SHOCKING!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise yesterday
Well folks, it's good to be back?

Sunset
Yes, it is.

species Tropicalus Flowerus Colorfulus

Can you believe this fellow (below) was unlucky in love?

GA saw him everyday- alone and trying to romance various females with his impressive tail-feather display and sexy cha-cha boogie.  Yes, male peacocks do a dance when they've got a girl cornered.

I hope this handsome devil gets a date, someday.


This pair of ducks was always side by side- the male has the 70's era 'fro.

The elegant heron (bottom) is a solitary bird.


Do not be fooled by their appearance, people.  Flamingos are aggressive birds. Very.  Perhaps nasty.  Do not cross a flamingo.  GA was forced to ref some pretty vicious flamingo-fights.


That little shack on the beach is a bar.  My fave: lemonade slush with rum.


The weather was beautiful all week- but hot, hot, hot.

me
 As lovely as the week was...


...there is no place like home.

Friday, July 1, 2016

NOT Live from Hoboken's NEW Southwest Park!


Yesterday was a HUGE day for Hoboken- in particular, those folks in the ass-end of town (KIDDING!) who have suffered forever without the most essential amenity of urban living- a public park.

Yesterday, officials broke ground on the 1-acre Southwest Park and underground detention system beneath it, a $7 million project to provide open space and mitigate flooding in the city's southwest corner.

Thanks to Jeanette Josue of Hudson County View we have the excellent live report above.

Thanks to a GA Earwitness, we have the excellent not-live report below:


The ceremony was wonderful. It was a great testament to Reform and the changes that have been brought to Hoboken under Mayor Zimmer and a reform majority of sane and rational council members. I don’t miss the Axis of No, Bet Mazin, the purple pillow fluffer, that sour faced and nasty Castellano or the two previous mayors who wound up in federal pin stripes. There was an easy and upbeat mood in the air and the assembled dignitaries looked relaxed and were smiling, all except Romano. He stood there shifting his weight like he was about to dump a load in his pants, shifting back and forth with a look on his face like he had just sucked on a lemon. 

By the way, Russo was a no-show and Ramos had his father stand in for him. Tim O. was there. I guess that it was just too much for Romano to face, alone, the fact that the Mayor is popular, and was being roundly praised as setting the bar for every municipality regarding design for parks and making good on her promise to bring a park to the SW part of Hoboken. 

The guy from DEP was especially effusive with his praise about the Mayor’s intelligence and skill in surrounding herself with great people, her ability to work well with others and to get results. Even the guy from the NHSA gave her props. But she also spread around the credit and the praise, taking a trip down memory lane and talked about John G.who knocked on her door and got her involved in the SW Park coalition. No mention of Mr. Sara. And Mr. Sara and the Toxic Twins were no shows, after all of Mr. Sara’s howling about the SW Parks coalition that was supposed to be her legacy and all of the efforts of the noxious duo to undermine the Mayor and her efforts to get the park. No one missed them.

The only off note, besides Romano’s palpable discomfort, came at the end of the speakers, when everyone left the tent and walked over to the mound of dirt and the shovels for the photo op. Stick walked up to the microphone and started talking some kind of nonsense about the police department having to now patrol and protect the park, as if the park was going to be a scene straight out of Panic in Needle Park or something. It was just plain weird. No one was really paying attention, and all I saw was a bunch of quizzical looks on the few folk who were still under the tent. It was as if he could just not let people enjoy the celebration without cocking his leg like a junkyard dog and pissing on the moment. I don’t think that even he knew what the hell he was saying, but he just HAD to say something. It was like a fart in church. The guy has issues.
Wow, what a scene!  Thank you Earwitness.

Folks, what a great day for our city.  GA thanks all those who worked to make it happen

Personally, I cannot imagine life in Hoboken, which included raising a child, without nearby Church Square and Columbus parks.

To those who wait, come great things. This new Hoboken park is going to be very special.

 Hudson County View  has more on that:
“This was a team effort, we are standing here today, we are together going to be transforming this parking lot into the first phase of the Southwest Park,” explained the mayor.

“This is going to become a green space, a green plaza with kid friendly amenities, and dog friendly amenities. And an amphitheater for community to come together for performances and pop up market spaces.”  (WOW!)

The park will also feature café tables, interactive park features, restrooms and free WiFi.  (WOW!)

The green infrastructure includes “rain gardens, shade tree pits, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater harvesting and reuse” and there will also be a detention system to reduce stormwater and localized flooding.   (Double WOW!)

In area where there is not a lot of green space, David Zimmer, the executive director of the NJEIT Trust, referred to the park as a “very valuable community asset.”

David Zimmer (no relation to the Hoboken mayor) also highlighted another environment benefit.

“In additional, all of this covered area and the historic landfill underneath it, are going to be removed. Over 6,000 cubic feet. That can be pretty harsh stuff and all of that is going to be gone. It will no longer be part of your community.” (Hooray!)
 The new Southwest park is going to be great! Can 6th Ward folks use it, too?