Rami for Council announces:
COUNCIL CANDIDATE RAMI PINCHEVSKY: COUNCIL MUST INVESTIGATE RUSSO
I, along with over 50 other Hoboken residents, rallied for the removal of Councilman Russo on the steps of City Hall yesterday. While we are happy that Russo stepped down as Council Vice President and Chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee, the Council Majority’s continued effort to close ranks and protect their political ally shows a complete disregard for the public interest.
First, replacing Councilman Russo with 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti as Vice President is like replacing one crook with another. The FBI surveillance video of Councilman Russo raised serious questions about his campaign finance reporting because the $10,000 offered by the informant was well above the $2,600 political donation cap and would have needed to be funneled through other channles to prevent too many red flags. How many other donations did Russo launder this way? How many meetings with developers went exactly like this one, but ended with Russo taking the money?
We know for a fact that 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti launders any money he can get by passing it through various channels. That’s how Councilwoman Mason laundered the $13,000 in contributions she gave to 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti during the November special election. 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti is still under investigation by the Attorney General for using all Mason’s donations and tens of thousands of dollars from other real estate developers for massive voter fraud. How is that an improvement over Councilman Russo as Council Vice President? It is the same unethical, and potentially criminal, behavior.
Second, the Council Majority’s actions reek of a conspiracy to give political cover to Councilman Russo so they can continue with politics as usual. If Councilman Russo did nothing illegal, then why did he step down without asking anyone to review the facts? If he has nothing to hide, then why did the Council Majority refuse to investigate themselves? Why was Russo allowed to vote on the resolution which was clearly a conflict of interest for him? The answer is obvious: there must have been some criminal activity afoot, but since the Council Majority cannot withstand the loss of even one member, they organized a political coverup. They try to make it look like they are taking action by removing Russo’s honorary titles of VP and Revenue and Finance Chair, give the titles to other political cronies like 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti, and immediately change the subject so they don’t have to conduct their own investigation.
The Council Majority is clearly more interested in self preservation and self interest than in the public interest. The residents of the 4th Ward are not well represented by Councilman Occhipinti and his allies. If the Council Majority continues to refuse to police themselves, then we, the people of Hoboken, must vote them out of office on May 10th.