Hoboken Dems on Mike Russo: Pull the plug!
Hoboken Democratic Party announces:
HOBOKEN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
SUPPORTS THE CENSURE OF COUNCILMAN MICHAEL RUSSO AND
CALLS UPON COUNCILMAN RUSSO TO RESIGN AS VICE PRESIDENT
OF THE HOBOKEN CITY COUNCIL, REVENUE AND FINANCE CHAIR
AND COMMISSIONER OF THE HOBOKEN HOUSING AUTHORITY
April 6, 2011
The Hoboken Democratic Party supports the introduction of legislation calling for the censure of Councilman Michael Russo and calls upon Councilman Russo to resign as Vice President of the Hoboken City Council, Revenue and Finance Chair, as well as Commissioner of the Hoboken Housing Authority.
The Hoboken Democratic Party is proud of the reforms it has instituted which ended the Party’s being a vehicle for “wheeling” funds of outside developers and political committees that only recently passed hundreds of thousands of dollars through the Party to the Mayoral campaigns of Mayor Anthony Russo and Mayor David Roberts. For this reason, the revelations in the book “The Jersey Sting” are particularly troubling to the Hoboken Democratic Party. The Pulitzer Prize winning authors describe how Councilman Russo agreed to accept from Solomon Dwek, a cooperating FBI witness posing as a real estate developer seeking to build in Hoboken, “five thousand next week . . . .and after the election I’ll do the same. It’ll be more” on Dwek’s condition that “I don’t want anything in my name. I don’t want to have any conflicts.” When confronted with these allegations, Councilman Russo defended his conduct to the Hoboken Reporter insisting that he “made it very clear to Mr. Dwek that [he] would not accept cash contributions”, that there was to be “no quid pro quo” and that Councilman Russo “told him what the legalities are”.
However, now that the authors of “The Jersey Sting” have released the FBI’s videotape of Councilman Russo’s meeting with Mr. Dwek, it is clear that the authors’ description of the meeting between Councilman Russo and Mr. Dwek is accurate and that Councilman Russo’s denials of the authors’ account are false. The videotapes make clear that Councilman Russo agreed to provide expedited treatment for Hoboken development projects in the same conversation in which he agreed to accept a $5,000 payment to be laundered through a third party.
Additionally, the FBI’s videotape raises serious questions about Councilman Russo’s giving housing and an appointment on the Hoboken Housing Authority to an individual in order to trade on those favors for political gain.
Vice Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party, Phil Cohen stated, “Councilman Russo’s demonstrably false response to the disclosures in ‘The Jersey Sting’ and the disturbing content of the newly released FBI videotape demonstrate that Councilman Russo is unfit to serve as Vice President of the Hoboken City Council, or as Revenue and Finance Committee Chair, or as a Commissioner on the Hoboken Housing Authority. Councilman Russo’s actions merit the censure of the Hoboken City Counsel to send the strong message that this conduct has no place in Hoboken politics.”