Beth Mason scrambles from Mike Russo but calls for NO ACTION!
In a statement Beth Mason attempts to distance herself from her alliance since 2009 with Councilman Mike Russo. But unlike her call for the resignation of a colleague on a unanimous vote conferred prior with the Corporation Counsel, now she calls for NO ACTION ON MIKE RUSSO!
There’s a weak deflection to others and other tapes but that’s more subterfuge.
Most of Beth Mason’s statement is nothing more than damage control in an attempt to salvage and save herself.
Statement from Council President Beth Mason
Yesterday an FBI surveillance video was released showing 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo meeting with Solomon Dwek, a federal informant posing as a developer. Like many residents I am shocked and disturbed by the brazen way Councilman Russo conducted himself.
Fortunately for the residents of the 3rd Ward this video was released before the upcoming City Council election. They can now judge Councilman Russo’s actions for themselves and cast their votes according to the totality of his service as 3rd Ward Councilman and the issues that their Ward and the city as a whole face today.
The behavior exhibited is completely counter productive to the open, transparent, and inclusive government that I and so many other residents have fought to create in Hoboken. There is never a place in government, Hoboken or elsewhere, for this type of conduct.
During the conversation Mr. Russo claims I allowed him to select my City Council running mates in exchange for his support during the May 2009 Mayoral Election. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This double talk is contrary to Mr. Russo’s statement that he made to Hoboken Now in May 2009 in which he called such assertions “absolutely ridiculous”. He further stated, “It’s all nice for people to spread rumor and innuendo, but that’s crazy.” It is very upsetting to hear Councilman Russo himself helped spread those lies.
Councilman Russo knows I am completely independent and the only people I answer to are the hard working residents of the 2nd Ward. From the very beginning of my political involvement here in Hoboken I have been unbought and unbossed. I look forward to continuing to work with the residents of the 2nd Ward to increase good government and the rights of everyday people.
My former running mates would confirm that the decision to run together was made solely by us and that Michael Russo had absolutely no involvement whatsoever in selecting the members of our ticket. I encourage members of the media to contact them directly so they can set the record straight.
Councilman Russo also refers to pay‐to‐play laws as “nonsense”. I could not disagree more with that statement. The very essence of the meeting between him and Dwek is the exact reason that Hoboken needs such strong pay‐to‐play laws. There is no place for special interest money in Hoboken government. As a private citizen I helped found People for Open Government, which worked to enact the most stringent pay‐to‐play laws in the entire state. I was also honored by Common Cause for the statewide leadership role I played in ensuring Hoboken is at the forefront of transparency and good government reform.
In May 2009 I was approached by Solomon Dwek. During this meeting I did not hesitate to tell Mr. Dwek that Hoboken has very clear standards for the development process and that there is absolutely no special treatment for campaign contributors. I did not accept any campaign contributions from Solomon Dwek.
In the interest of fairness and transparency I call upon the U.S. Attorney’s Office to immediately release the recordings of my meeting with Dwek and all other recordings with Hoboken officials or political campaign representatives who met with Solomon Dwek.
It is time to shine the light on this situation and allow the people of Hoboken to judge all of the video and audio recordings for themselves.
This video, from an encounter that occurred two years ago, comes at a time that is critical for our city on the eve of budget hearings. I stand firm by my belief that the surplus should not remain in the hands of politicians, whether they are Michael Russo or anyone else. We need to provide tax relief to our residents. The people of the 2nd Ward elected me to cut taxes, be open and honest, and to continue to move our neighborhoods forward