QuarterGate: The Cover-up (Transcript)

Catchy, huh?  QuarterGate rhymes with 'Watergate'. 

Watergate, you recall, began with the break-in and attempted theft of documents of an administration critic from his psychiatrist's office and the wire-tapping of the National Democratic Headquarters, ordered by the America's then-Chief Executive, Richard Nixon.  It evolved in a massive cover-up by administration officials with tentacles into the FBI, CIA, the Justice Department and the White House as told to 2 Washington Post reporters,  by their informant, 'Deep Throat.'   Nixon denied, denied, denied ANY involvement in the scandal, up until the release of an unknown audio tape:

On August 5, 1974, the White House released a previously unknown audio tape from June 23, 1972. Recorded only a few days after the break-in, it documented the initial stages of the coverup: it revealed Nixon and Haldeman meeting in the Oval Office and formulating a plan to block investigations by having the CIA falsely claim to the FBI that national security was involved.
That tape told how Nixon approved the crime and the cover-up, end of discussion.  Which he then denied  to America, telling us:

It's been cleared up.

Remind you of someone?

That tape signaled the end for Richard Nixon and he resigned  3 days later. 

QuaterGate is a very different kind of cover-up.

First, the nature of the crime is financial (not political), motivated by greed (not power).

The crime and cover-up are on a local level, not a national one.  

The Watergate-era media played a vital investigative role in uncovering the cover-up: the Washington Post, Time magazine, The New York Times.

Today's local media are uncritical enablers of the City Council minority.  They will ignore QuarterGate, you can be sure of that.  

Because Quartergate, the cover-up is how City Council officials protected John Corea at the City Council and swept this massive theft under the rug.

And that is the SURFACE.  There may be a money trail: as Russo said famously on that FBI surveillance video: "you do for me, I'll do for you".

SO what did the Quarter-thieves DO for Russo?  And Castellano?

Because we have no decent Fourth Estate, the FBI must take a very very close look at this.  Starting with the City Council meetings in 2007 (transcription here) and ending with LAST NIGHT at the City Council.

And that is what links these 2 cover-ups in GA's mind: they both were revealed on tape.

MSV posted a stunning exchange- taped- from last night, a LONG-AWAITED City Council showdown, picking up from 2008 when the late Mo DeGennaro asked Mike Russo to explain the 'missing million dollars' in parking revenue he had cited publicly in late 2007.

Here's what Russo said to John Corea on  December 19, 2007:
 Russo: And for the record, ah, that was an error in my calculations, so when I asked the question it was actually an error in my calculations when I was doing my own due diligence when it came to the budget so, uh, it was just a question and we clarified it.
Here's what Russo said to Mo DeGennaro on January 16, 2008:
 Russo:  Thank you Council President. Mo, the REASON why I thought money was missing was because I was going on past year's uh anticipated revenues from the Parking Utility from the meters. Uh, it turned out that the meters did not generate as much money as they did in years past, so it was MY mistake to think that money was THERE when in fact it was not. That was, that was the situation.

Castellano: It's been cleared up.

DeGennaro: Because that was some statement to make! I think it's made everybody...

Russo: Well it wasn't it wasn't a statement, Mo. It was a question to Mr. England during our budget process to clarify if I was right or wrong. AND I came back and said I was wrong.

Castellano: It's been, it's been cleared up.

Russo AND Castellano told a very different story  last night.  

GA has the transcript:

Mello: I have to tell you folks, I find it very ironic that this is being brought up this week when we had a former parking director sentenced for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in quarters. And i wish the investigation, Councilman Russo, Councilwoman Castellano, I wish the investigation had been called for at that time. Mr. DeGennaro, G-d rest his soul, brought it to the attention...

Mason: (interrupting) It was! It was!

Castellano: Who do you think... who do you think...

Bhalla: Let Councilman Mello speak and then you can speak if you need to, alright?

Mello: And I still, as a citizen of Hoboken at that time I would like to know who knew WHAT and WHEN at that time.

Castellano: (interrupting) So would I.

Russo: We all would.

Castellano: We all would, and Council President...

Bhalla: And I don't see any resolutions for investigation for about what happened...

Castellano: (interrupting) Actually Councilwoman Marsh and myself sponsored and co-sponsored a resolution to fire Mr. Corea unbeknownst and that's not out there...

Marsh: I believe we're talking about an investigation into where the quarters went.

Mello: Yes.

Castellano: Well. and I'm talking about the fact that we were not happ...

Mello: (interrupting) We were kind of missing the forest for the trees here when we're talking about money that was (garbled) investigations weren't called for.

Castellano: We didn't have to! The FBI already had one, what die we have to call an investigation for? I was already being conducted!

Cunningham: I thought you said the case was closed.

Castellano: No I did not. I said it was "cleared up".

Cunningham: It was "cleared up".

 Castellano: You know why? You know why, Councilman?

Occhipinti: He stood here and he lied, he lied...

Castellano: You know why, Councilman? Let me explain something to you...

Cunningham: You SUPPORTED it! "Oh it was MY mistake..."

Castellano: Can I have the floor, Council President?

Bhalla: Please.

Castellano: OK..

Russo: (interrupting) I believe when I was showed documentation..

Castellano: (interrupting) Right. It's just like YOU FIVE

Russo: I'm asking for it now.

Bhalla: Right.

Castellano: I have the floor.

Bhalla: You didn't, you didn't didn't turn out to be right.

Castellano: Excuse me. It's just like the five of you, it's just like the five of you when yourvadministration says to you "this is right and this is the way it is" and you all vote that way. Well, I was NOT part of the Russo.. of the Roberts administration, OK for ALL the time he was in office, I was the 'Independent' and when.. you know, you can do a spreadsheet and you can put all the numbers in and it doesn't matter. All the Directors could do that. Anybody can do it, and show us the spreadsheet. You have to have SOME confidence in an administration that you're part of. As far as being a Councilperson. So when WE UNCOVERED it, we SAW it, and then the administration showed us then it was an error, in the.. in the... calculation and "it's OK" so.. you know, you have to as a Councilperson as the five of you do, take what the Administration tells you, the professionals. And that;s what happened. But WE were the ones who actually uncovered it. And BEFORE that, Councilwoman Marsh and myself, Soares and Russo put a resolution together to fire Mr Corea. Cause we were NOT happy. She (pointing to marsh) sponsored it and I co-sponsored it.

Marsh: Council President.

Bhalla: Councilwoman March?

Marsh: I would like to point out a fundamental difference here. And that is that this administration is SHOWING US THE BILLS.

Castellano: WHAT...

Marsh: They're HERE...

Castellano: (interrupting) How could you say that?

Marsh: The bills!

Castellano: What! What the... (sputtering)

Tabakin: They've been sitting in my office...

Marsh: It was months ago... only 4 months... because NOBODY WILL VOTE ON TRANSFERRING THE FUNDS.

Castellano: You're embarrassing yourself.

Bhalla: OK, um... this resolution.. uh, uh... there seems to be a....

Castellano: Did we clear up the quarter situation? Did we we clear that up?

(Camera on Corp Counsel Mark Tabakin who shakes his head 'no' and mouths the word 'NO' as he  puts his head in his hands)

Bhalla: There appears to be a vote whether we have con...

Mello: NO! You didn't get, you didn;t get the audit, the outside audit when you said it was cleared up.

Bhalla: Councilwoman Giattino.

Mello: ...(garbled) different.

Giattino: Who was the CFO when the quarter (garbled) happened...

Cunningham: Judi Tripodi.. Judi tripodi... headed the investigation...

Giattino: No, no. When it HAPPENED.

Marsh: I think we've had the same CFO for a very long time.

Cunningham: In 2007...

Castellano: There was a break there for awhile...

Russo: The CFO at that time might have been Michael Lenz

Marsh: I don't think so.

Castellano: Yes, it was.

Russo: It was.

Bhalla: OK, on this resolution it looks like...

Mello: You said it was "cleared up". It was not.

Russo: (looking toward Marsh) I'm absolutely certain...

Bhalla: Clerk, call the vote on this resolution...

Castellano: That's what the administration told me just like this administration tells you... that things are very well, and...

Bhalla: We're in the middle of a vote.

Mello: ....and they told you there was an independent audit being done

Bhalla: (banging gavel) Clerk call the vote.

Castellano: For?

Bhalla: Number 12...

(Russo's resolution for "the City Council to investigate" why legal bills were "late" fails, 5 to 4)

Is the FBI listening?  If so will they investigate? 

Or could it be the FBI's made a 'deal' with Mike Russo NOT to pursue he and Castellano's miraculous MILLION-DOLLAR clear-up in exchange for....?


  1. The CFO at the time wss Michael Russo's uncle, George Distefeno (sic?).

    1. George DeStefano is Michele Russo's brother.

      Michel Russo, married to Anthony Russo, is Councilman Michael Russo's mother.

      Anthony Russo is Theresa Castellano's cousin.

      Theresa Castellano is Michael Russo's godmother.

      That is one rotten family tree which bears poisonous fruit thanks to all the green fertilizer Beth & Ricky Mason supply.

      And this is JUST ONE of the backward clans of the Old Guard, spawned from the shallow end of the gene pool. A genealogy chart should be drawn up.

      I envision a board game in this, kind of a hybrid of Monopoly - where all the money is passed under the table and one family owns all the prime real estate and another pays nothing for their housing; Clue - where everyone knows who-done-it but no one gets prosecuted and; Filial Pursuit - where questions go unanswered and loyalty to the incestuous clique that is the Old Guard is all that matters.

    2. More droll brilliance from the Oracle!

  2. MBB utterly adores you, GA. But...

    Yet more outrage in bedlam. ("Can you BELIEVE what they did AGAIN?!?")

    More opportunity for tortured analysis in the blogosphere? Or perhaps also transforming outrage into action?

    The weather's getting nice to be out & about. No time like now for folks to get away from the keyboard for a bit & reach out for voter registration/education. And May will be the one-year mark for recall consideration.

    (20:20 hindsight: The free cone day could have been a great opportunity. Now's the time to seize similar on the horizon.)

    Or at least post a link for easy on-line voter registration. And info. for VBM.

    Just suggestin'.

    1. MBB, it's not a 'can you believe' piece, which makes the effort sound rather trivial and gratuitous.

      Its a THIS is what our elected officials served the public last night and is law enforcement out there?

      Without the blogs this would not see daylight.

      The political junkies who read GA vote. A larger, wider outreach to those not tuned in is what's needed. And with the coming presidential election and BoE race, no doubt this is the season.

      I do what I do. Would be happy to have more company.

    2. Dearest GA,

      MBB never, ever trivializes your good efforts. You are ever brilliant & courageous in your dedication and service! (Not to mention often hilarious!)

      But MBB also respectfully asks, if organized action to effect positive change is not also emphasized in the course of investigative analysis, what, ultimately, is the point of the ever-astute parsing of the latest in the endlessly repetitious tsunami of political corruption?

      Is it only to feed the monkey on the political junkie's back?

      You may rest assured your suppliers count on that when offering the fix. And have for decades. They are expert enablers. All part of the multi-generational sociopathy.

      And they also know from experience that available rehab centers (FBI, etc.) are rarely up to the task. Their resources are too limited & the problems too widespread.

      (Not for nothing, is addiction often referred to as cunning, baffling & powerful. The machine's drug: power. The reformer's drug: outrage.)

      Can the cycle of addiction perhaps be broken by also encouraging & suggesting other practical recovery solutions?

      Perhaps a shift in focus. Toward organized efforts to get rid of the dealers. And then vigilance to ensure they do not return.

      As in, "walk the talk." (Which you, GA, already do in various ways. And as you say, it cannot be done in relative isolation.)

      MBB begs indulgence for torturing metaphors. But also believes Hoboken has been & remains, deeply in the throes of an active disease.

    3. Dear MBB, you're a treasured contributor and are always welcome to submit a piece, to share your thoughts and say what you feel needs expression here.

      As much as you know about the corruption in Hoboken and Hudson county, there is a vast audience out there who has no idea what has gone on (past) and is really going on in our City (now).

      There is another audience- a homegrown one- disenchanted with their own people and starting to open their minds- and they're reading GA and MSV.

      Sunlight on the activities of the cockroaches does have an impact- at least judging from the push back I've gotten and continue to get.

      This is progress.

      I won't shift focus. I will commit to doing what I do, in hopes of replacing the garbage we have now with people who will do better. My way, as always. Talking about the things our crap-media won't.

      A huge political season is coming... voter registration will be a theme, I can tell you that dear MBB.


Post a Comment