Money laundering in the Tim Occhipinti City Council campaign?


Once again a review of Councilman Tim Occhipinti’s final campaign finance report raises a red flag on questionable contributions if not outright money laudering.  As MSV reported after his November campaign, a political consulting firm, The Cratos Group specializing in fundraising contributed almost $900 to his campaign.

Now in Occhipinti’s latest NJ ELEC campaign finance report, the same firm employed by Councilwoman Beth Mason is a contibutor not a recipient for services rendered.  This time Tim Occhipinti gets the whopping maximum from its principal, a full $2,600.

The principal of The Cratos Group, Adam Alonso oddly sent more money to Tim Occhipinti in the last election but this time  it’s for the individual maximum.  The political consulting firm also has been employed by Beth Mason.  Mason’s advertising firm also claims the same address as the company.

The address of The Cratos Group is strangely the same as Councilwoman Beth Mason’s paper advertising services firm Locke, Spock and Barrel or whatever name she threw together on her resume as MSV recalls.  The Cratos Group is one of several political companies employed by Beth Mason in the past year or two.

MSV can confirm The Cratos Group shows on the board of tenants listed at 10 Stuyvesant Ave., but there’s nothing appearing for Beth Mason’s company.  

Does The Cratos Group also accept mail on behalf of Beth Mason’s shadow company at the very same address?  How likely is it that this $2,600 was in fact laundered to Tim Occhipinti from The Cratos Group on behalf of their client, Beth Mason?

Tim Occhipinti has received likely more than $30,000 from Beth Mason in his campaigns for November and last May.  Oddly, he’s even getting maximum individual contributions from a Mason hired political consulting firm.

The questions are piling up but MSV does not expect an answer as Tim Occhipinti is not authorized to do so on his own behalf and David Cruz, his listed spokesman is a nasty piece of work who’s credibility went into the toilet before his foul mouth did when he claimed anyone who stated that Occhipinti would exceed 300 vote-by-mail paper ballots last fall didn’t know what they were talking about.

As it turned out, Tim Occhipinti’s campaign submitted 500 of those VBM paper ballots.

In addition, Beth Mason’s campaign finance report detailing $52,000 in street money expenditures remains missing!  On NJ ELEC’s website the attachments are not posted and the filing required with the compliance officer at City Hall has not been completed either.

Last Friday in an impromptu interview after the City Council meeting, Beth Mason said she believed the complete filing was submitted to the City Clerk’s office (on behalf of the legal compliance officer) including the missing attachments 1 and 2 detailing the inordinately high street money expenditure.  The full campaign report was due the end of May.

Of the major candidates in the spring council races, only these street money attachments are unreported along with Scott Delea’s entire 20 day post election report.  Coincidence?

MSV we’ll try to get an answer on this from both Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti but we should note these requests often are ignored via phone/email.

Talking Ed Note: Having a designated compliance officer has been one of the outstanding issues the People for Open Government (POG) have wanted at City Hall for a while.  Now that’s it’s been met perhaps some compliance with that office would be in order.

Would POG like to try and get an explanation on why Beth Mason has not done so?

Update: Commenter mcgato notes the combination of vote-by-mail and street money producing most of Tim Occhipinti’s vote last May:

$35 checks: 252 (mostly for vote by mail is my guess)
$50 checks: 262 (mostly election day is my guess)
$100 checks: 34 (I’m guessing an organizer bringing in a group of people, judging by the check numbering)

Vote By Mail for Tim: 276
This would mean that Tim’s VBM that did not have a $35 check attached to them are about 24. Rami’s VBM is 34.
Machine votes for Tim: 747
This would mean that Tim’s machine votes that did not have a $50 or $100 check is about 451. Rami’s machine vote is 645.

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