Interview with Councilman DeFusco

GA sees that Horsey has posted texts from First Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco explaining his 'present' vote on the 'eminent domain ordinance' at last week's City Council meeting.    

In fact, GA swapped texts with Mike on the same subject last Thursday morning. Then, the Trumpocalypse landed with a soul-crushing thud.

Well, back to the Hoboken scene.

GA really didn't understand why Mike voted the way he did.  Instead of pouncing, GA wanted to hear what he had to say, and that was one of my questions in Thursday's text-exchange.   Not surprisingly, what Mike told Horsey concurs with what he told me- parts are identical (I have italicized those.)  

Oh, and since writing about DeFusco triggers F-Bomb drops on my voicemail, can the F-Bomber change it up a little this time for variety?  Like this:

F*ck you, GA
I hope I ruined your day

So, in his own words Councilman DeFusco:   
GA: ...throw me a crumb. When are you announcing?

Mike: I've enjoyed reading about what everyone says I'm going to do, but my mind right now is on advancing my approved resolution to help businesses and ground-floor uses, into ordinance.

GA:  Got it. *wink* I don't see how you'll have opposition on your effort. Who was co-sponsor? 

Mike: Jen was co-sponsor and the vote was unanimous.


GA: On first reading, you voted "present" on the eminent domain ordinance. Is that different from abstaining?

Mike: "Present' in my opinion, is different from recusing oneself. Whereas I would recuse myself due to a conflict, I voted 'present' to indicate support of a second reading but a concern with access to information.  Specifically, the Council request our annual debt statement and audit and neither document was provided prior to the vote. Casting a 'yes' vote on first reading without that data is a populist vote, rather than a vote based on financial data and potential impact on future municipal budgets.. Everyone wants an expanded park (I really want bocce courts) so I'm looking forward to working with everyone to chart the right course of action.   

GA: Ah, did you mean to say "abstain" instead for recuse"?  It's not clear why you needed those docs, but I'll take your word for it!  What has Academy asked the city for, in exchange for 'giving' Hoboken the lot?

Mike: The Council's request to see our current debt servicing is so that if a deal is reached, and if it comes back in front of the Council to fund, we can actually pay for it. This isn't a vote on who likes parks and who doesn't, it's about how we're going to expand a park and do so without impacting our city in a negative way.  Negatives to me are increasing residential bulk to offset cost, a technique that was used for decades to the detriment of our City. On the flip side, the other negative is a very real potential to engage in a litigious battle that we may not win. 

GA: Ah, so you think at the end of litigation the city may not even get the park?

Mike: It's certainly a possibility but I hope calmer heads prevail and that the City and Academy figure this out amicably.

FOLLOW-UP today: 

GA: Hi Mike.  I see MSV has posted his text conversation with you, so I'll do same which concurs.

Mike: Per Stephen Marks, the debt statement and audit for 2017 I'll be available prior to next council meeting. Those are the documents I'm looking to review.

GA: Don't you mean for 2016?  2017 is less than 1 month old!

Mike: I'm just going off information that Director Marks has provided. [screencap]

GA: Thank you. Are you sure no audit/debt docs were provided before last week's meeting?  Perhaps you didn't get them in time or missed them?

Mike: We were provided with the city's bonding capacity, not current debt statement or audit. Just trying to do my homework.

GA: Sure. Lotta skeptics out there... count me in. Hey, I'm not a bullshitter and that's the truth unless I'm bullshitting you. I am not! Do you know what Academy would like to build if they 'give' the city their lot? 

Mike: Unsure why there are skeptics but as long as the reporting is fair and facts are relayed correctly, I don't mind a healthy debate. Once I have the requested data I'll be much more comfortable to make an informed decision.  The first I heard Academy had a proposed plan was when it was announced at the Council meeting by their architect.

GA: Fair enough. Well, I am a skeptic by nature... I think you're doing a very good job so far. 


  1. I heard the FBI was in city hall today, any truth to that?

  2. He is delusional if he thinks an audit for the calendar year ended December 31, 2016 will be provided so soon. Someone can give him some unaudited figures, put putting together an audited set of financials can take months. He is making excuses.

  3. Mike is making an idiot of himself. He could still climb out of the hole he's dug for himself by voting yes on second reading without giving a long disingenuous speech about due diligence that everyone will recognize as BS. But if he digs any deeper the die will likely be cast and the hole will be too deep to escape from.

  4. Is DeFusco even a numbers guy? Will he know what to do with them when gets the information? And Horsey posted the link to the documents from last year. How much could have changed since then? And did he not know how to even get them? I like Mike, but this seems to be more of a political play here than anything.

    1. He should know exactly how the numbers have changed since any new bonding last year would have been authorized on his watch.

      I suspect you're right - DeFusco who is a producer for NBC sports, likely couldn't understand financial documents without a tutor. Maybe he'll sit down with Councilwoman Fisher and have her explain the documents to him (using small words of course). Then Mike can sit down with his Small Council (game of thrones reference from previous poster) and decide whether to dig himself out or keep digging.

  5. My take is that DeFusco was expecting his real estate friends to call up their troops at the Council meeting and he was totally blindsided by the large turn out of residents asking for a yes vote . Not knowing what to do he channled Beth Mason and voted "present." The backpedalling on the blogs is just makes him look even worse in both the eyes of the voting public and fellow Councilpersons.

  6. Pretty positive that Mike doesn't care about the blogs due to their lack of influence amongst educated, wealthy reformists, and am also positive that Mike is very aware of GA's reputation.
    Summation: Mike doesn't care what you write, he actually has a pair of balls.

    1. Not buying it. DeFusco took the time to try to justify his odd man out vote with both MSV and GA that shows he does care.

      Perhaps he needs to try less to prove he has balls and concentrate on proving he has brains. just say'n

    2. Hey, 7:57, do "wealthy reformists" get more than one vote? They should, right?

      I know we've recently moved to a billionaire president with a billionaire cabinet so it's only logical that you'd look sideways at reformers (we non-wealthy ones say "reformer" instead of "reformist" - tacky, right?) of modest means.

      BTW, what'd you make of the non-influence of this blog in the BOE election last Nov?

      Please put "summation" in your reply. It's ever so reformisty. Or is it reformistical? I went to a public college, so you'll have to excuse.

    3. "...doesn't care about the blogs due to their lack of influence amongst educated, wealthy reformists,..." LOL! if by "lack of influence" you mean how all of the reform city council and school board candidates supported by "the blogs" have wiped the floor of their OG opponents, then yeah, no one pays attention to them. yup.

      btw, i'm not saying "the blogs" are the reason those reform candidates won, but i think it's fair to say support from MSV and GA played an important role in spreading the word about who the good government guys/gals are.

    4. i wonder if captain dumbass thinks he's helping defusco by saying he only cares about rich people. probably does. douche.

    5. 7:57- If blogs are not influential "amongst" educated "reformists" then pray tell how did OG BoE slate Parents United get washed out to sea last Nov 8? I'd say the blogs had a role in that election outcome. Maybe that's why you're trash talking here.

    6. Takeaway for Mike: you are attracting jerks. Work on being less attractive to jerks.

  7. I smell rotten fish

  8. It appears that he lacks sincerity and has poor judgment. In addition to his inexplicable vote, he spent the meeting trolling the only two women to serve on City Council. Not a good look.

  9. Mike, let me give you a clue. You live in a town full of people with degrees in accounting and finance. If you can't figure out the numbers then go ask for help. Someone smarter than you will tell you WTF is going on. You have no excuses on this vote. Do your job already or get the hell out of the way and let someone else do it.

  10. DeFusco has that same slick junior politician demeanor as Cammarano.
    Really pleasant. Smiles and nods. Always has "game face" on.

    I voted Terry out, not Mike in.
    Next election will be interesting.

    1. Interesting point you raise. My guess is Mike is counting all the Anti - Terry votes as solid Pro Mike votes as he thinks about the election and his possibilities. And that may not be the case. It is still pretty early to tell if he has what it takes to be mayor. He talks a good game, but still seems more slick than solid to me.

    2. Mike was the anti-terry who ran on the Zimmer ticket. He won with a combination of votes he earned on his own, votes from those who just didn't like Terry, and votes that came to him with Mayor Zimmer's support.

      In the next council election there will be no Terry to vote against, Mike's record will decide how many he gets on his own, and his relationship with the Mayor will determine how much support she lends him.

  11. He's also shown a really nasty streak on the Council dais. Watching his faux outrage at Councilwoman Fisher having asked a ZBA applicant his land use philosophy claiming falsely that it was illegal (it's her job) and expressing his "concern" was reminiscent of Mason or Castellano.

    The good news is the mask is off and the ugliness is there for all to see. Cammy won because he kept his nasty side hidden from most people's view. DeFusco has put his on videotape. Not smart. In fact, as our new (unfortunatly) president would say "sad!"

  12. DeFusco though is in a tough spot though. He cant run or come close to winning without the support of the Dark Side. And their base is not only offensive to most in Hoboken now, but their numbers are dwindling. Mike should wait it out a few years. Let the DS numbers continue to decline and then we can actually have a real two candidate election. Right now we have Reform and OG. And there isn't enough room for two candidates on the Reform side without dilution. Not yet. A little longer...

    1. Unless the plan is to split Reform and throw it to the OG. I don't think so but it's an option. Romano's been awfully quiet...

      I agree with you. Reform took Mike in once from the DS. All self serving for us, he got rid of the Witch. But if he goes back to them that's it, IMO.

  13. One thing that's odd is that Mike seems to be exploring a mayoral run as the candidate of the dark side meaning he thinks he'll have Mike Russo's support. When he loses, his new friends the Russos (who actually don't want him to win since Mike Russo wants to run for the empty seat in 2021) will be running a candidate against him in the 1st in 2019 - probably Castellano's son.

    Without Zimmer's support, which he obviously won't be getting if he runs against Zimmer, the Russo's will crush him in 2019 vs supporting Zimmer which would lead to almost certain re-election. Mike has always seemed like a smart guy but this move is pretty dumb. Hopefully he'll come to his senses before its too late to change course.


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