Beth Mason business partner James Barracato: ‘I’m getting 60,000 emails’ from the hospital sale!
In Part I of the hospital series, an email from early 2011 from James Barracato, a years long political operative for Beth Mason optimistically mused, “They can really destroy the administration if they work things properly.”
From the Old Guard perspective, Mayor Zimmer had kept them blocked out of the bidding process and the complex workings over months to reach an agreement with the winning bidder HoldCo. The City of Hoboken with $52 million in bonds had every reason to want to see the deal succeed. Its failure could ultimately harm Hoboken and lead to massive municipal layoffs and the cusp of bankruptcy if not outright insolvency.
Back when St. Mary’s approached a critical financial situation in 2007, the Hoboken City Council passed $52 million in a bonds guarantee and created an independent municipal hospital board, the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (HMHA).
Enter James Barracato, who according to a 2014 deposition by decades long Hudson County political operative Tom Bertoli, assumed the role of working for Beth Mason full time around 2008. Both are mentioned by first names in an email Lane Bajardi sent Beth Mason as the “pros” missing from an internet and message strategy meeting.
In his July 2014 deposition and at the civil litigation trial earlier this month, Lane Bajardi denied knowing James Barracato was a Beth Mason paid political operative (and by extension for who he was working). Bajardi in his trial testimony would acknowledge his “friend” Barracato’s work involved ownership of a bar identified previously by MSV as Cooper Place in Weehawken.
As stated earlier, Councilwoman Beth Mason’s financial disclosure forms shows an ownership interest in a Cooper Place LLC. During her brief appearance in the Bajardi v Pincus trial, she described James Barracato solely as a “business partner.”
In the email exchange below, it’s October 2011 and the hospital bidder HoldCo has been engaged in complex negotiations with Hoboken University Medical Center since early that year. HUMC is in a failing condition with the State threatening that its dwindling medical supplies on hand might force it to close its doors even before the money runs out.
Under these conditions and with the hospital practically running on fumes, a last gasp effort to undermine the sale is hatched by Beth Mason’s political operatives in tandem with the efforts of an out of state bankruptcy attorney who reportedly had no direct connection in the sale.
That previous Friday, Mayor Zimmer would announce with HoldCo the good news – the hospital sale was going through. The head of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (HMHA), Toni Tomarazzo also spoke at the press conference saying the municipal hospital and its monthly board meetings and financials were available to the public on a contemporaneous basis. A whisper campaign aimed at undermining the sale had been conducted both inside and outside Hoboken with repeated false accusations directed at the board and the individual members.
With that effort failing, the unhappiness in the Beth Mason camp after months of frustration attempting to undo the sale led to a hunt and their obtaining tens of thousands of emails. As with important information, there are buyers and there are sellers. Once again, Beth Mason is a buyer.
It’s Beth Mason’s business partner James Barracato who announces his excitement at the prospect of getting his hands on 60,000 emails between the hospital authority and the mayor’s office with HoldCo.
No one interviewed by MSV on the former HMHA board would agree that obtaining the 60,000 emails in October 2011 was public or legally available. Eric Kurta, who held a seat on the HMHA leading into the sale wrote, “I’ve got no recollection of any such request, nor anyone receiving the emails. Not by OPRA, anyway.”
He would later add that all aspects of the hospital sale were reviewed and scrutinized every which way by a bankruptcy judge and the creditors committee and no evidence of any fraudulent or illegal actions was ever found as there was none.
HUMC informed of the 60,000 emails as seen below declined comment.
At the time of the email, the closing on the hospital sale was not yet completed. That anticipated close would be forestalled when another Mason last ditch political operative strategy would throw a monkey wrench attempting to stopping the timely sale of the midtown garage and crush the hospital sale outright.
Below in an original and complete email from October 9th, 2011 between James Barracato, Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi and Sara Stojkovic.
Mayor Zimmer’s court certification