Mike Russo’s Dwek problem worsens, caught in another lie by the Hudson Reporter

Councilman Mike  Russo is digging a deeper hole on his claim he didn’t do anything wrong when he met with the FBI informant Solomon Dwek around the same time ex-mayor Peter Cammarano had.  His claim the meeting with Dwek was conveyed to a former reporter on the Jersey Journal back in 2009 turns out to be another fabrication as the story takes on yet another twist.

The Hudson Reporter addressed that falsehood in this weekend’s paper noting:

Russo also said it was no secret that he met with Dwek, and said he shared this information with a local reporter. A search of local news outlets and websites revealed that no story was written.

“The quickest thing to do is to ask [a former daily newspaper reporter], who reported on this in 2009,” Russo said in an e-mail when asked when the news was published. “It wasn’t a secret by any means.”

However, the reporter in question said she did not report on a meeting between Russo and Dwek.

Maher Khalil – former Jersey City official who attended the meeting with
Mike Russo  and Solomon Dwek in Jersey City.  He later confessed to
taking over $70,000 from Dwek himself.

Lending additional credence to Mike Russo’s avoidance to address his meeting with Dwek is an email to MSV last week by co-authors of “The Jersey Sting,” Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin who noted in a joint statement,

“First, during the course of our research for The Jersey Sting, we made every effort to give the councilman (Mike Russo) the opportunity to explain what transpired between him and Solomon Dwek.  The councilman chose not to.”

Responding to council challenger Greg Lincoln who again questioned Russo’s honesty and viability to continue in Hoboken city government, the 3rd ward councilman attempted to deflect from the issue of his alleged corruption caught on federal surveillance tapes saying, “The residents have seen through all the lies and innuendo and I’m confident they’ll see it again.”

Add the Hudson Reporter’s Hoboken beat writer with the former Jersey Journal reporter as two more journalists who have been spun in the web of lies Mike Russo is fleeing from.  Earlier Mike Russo claimed anyone who said he accepted a bribe “was lying.”

The Pulitzer Prize winning reporters who co-authored “The Jersey Sting” replied to MSV’s update to them of Councilman Russo’s statement and they reviewed their source tape confirming they had accurately depicted Mike Russo’s meeting with the government’s witness Solomon Dwek in their book.  Acting as a corruption stinger throughout northern Jersey, Dwek’s sole purpose was to toss out bribe after bribe after bribe.  Mike Russo’s sole reason for not being arrested was he did not return and pocket the money.

According to the tapes recounted in “The Jersey Sting,” the amount of money in the exchange had already been agreed upon in the first payment set at $5,000.

Dwek’s “sting” has snared dozens of politicians in a corruption web many in Hudson County.  Jersey City was hit especially hard, at one point the feds believed half the Jersey City’s city council would be arrested.

One of the people breaking bread with Mike Russo with Dwek was Maher Khalil, a Jersey City official who himself has admitted taking over $70,000 from Solomon Dwek before recommending Russo also cash in during their meeting at the Light Horse Tavern.

Birds of the same feather flock together.

Photo: courtesy the Jersey Journal

Talking Ed Note: MSV contacted the reporter formerly with the Jersey Journal who Mike Russo claimed he spoke to in his Jersey City meeting with Solomon Dwek, but she was not available at the time of publication.  This story will be updated should that change.

For the record, much like “The Jersey Sting,” authors, MSV has not been able to pin down a conversation with Mike Russo either.  

Ray Smith of the Hudson Reporter deserves credit for going deeper on this story.  Unlike the Jersey Journal which has been dead silent on the matter entirely, Ray has continued to follow through on the unanswered questions and ones deserving additional probing.  

Da Horsey extends a hat tip to Ray and a link to his effort here.

Leave a Reply