Mike Russo’s family bilks Hoboken for another 100K!

According to a story at Hoboken Patch, the Russo family costs Hoboken another $100,000 based on evidence of illegal benefits paid out in health insurance benefits to former mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo.  The information comes way courtesy of the auditing efforts conducted by Mayor Zimmer’s Business Administrator Arch Liston.

Anthony Russo obtained the illegal health insurance even after the State conducted a review of his service and eliminated his time as mayor toward any credited pension service years ago.  How the ex-mayor and convicted felon was able to obtain the paid health insurance for himself and most likely his wife, Michele “five dollars a tow” Russo is at the moment unknown.

Business Administrator Liston identified two people ineligible for the city paid health benefits after an audit was conducted late last year.  The other person is not a public figure and has not been named but was also removed from the city rolls.

Councilman Mike Russo has been challenged on his knowledge about the taxpayers again being taken for a ride again by his family but is citing ignorance pointing to an earlier audit conducted by Fiscal State Monitor Judy Tripodi as his defense.  At that time a handful of people were eliminated from the rolls – but Anthony Russo was not among them.  Mike Russo has pointed to that as clearance for his father’s receiving taxpayer paid health benefits, but an earlier Hudson Reporter story demonstrated he was ineligible for health benefits years previous.   The likelihood Mike Russo could feign ignorance on the matter is questionable at best.  How many family dinners do you think that benefit lost came up?

Michele Russo has also been a common fixture at recent City Council meetings.  She participated in the ceremony with Councilman Mike Russo when he was appointed Vice President in the City Council under his ally Councilwoman Beth Mason.

Councilman Mike Russo – angered the city uncovered his father’s illegal health insurance benefits.  Blamed the mayor for the timing of the exposure but the reason was his father’s appeal.

 The City is reportedly investigating how to recover the taxpayer funds estimated to be in the area of $80,000 – $100,000 based on Hoboken Patch’s report.

Their story referenced the accusation by Councilman Mike Russo claiming his family was targeted in the audit by the mayor but failed to note the audit turned up two ineligible candidates, Anthony Russo being only one pointing to a real broad based effort.

Talking Ed Note: Both Council members Mike Russo and Terry Castellano have been visibly eager to take any opportunity to undermine ideas proposed by the mayor’s administration.  At the previous City Council meeting, Mike Russo moved to table a whole series of open space/park bond ordinances and Terry Castellano quickly joined in seconding it. 

Even by the standards of the Council of No, their vehemence to stop all progress for Hoboken proved concerning to many observers.  MSV noted there appeared to be some additional motivation although Mike Russo has toned down his “act” somewhat recently even if the votes are the same.  Now we know where the added motivation derives.

As it turns out the timing of the revelation had nothing to do with the mayor and everything to do with a fight to retain the benefits and keep the Hoboken taxpayer on the hook.  Anthony Russo’s health insurance benefits were ceased only at the beginning of this month as he filed an appeal to retain them delaying the inevitable.

Does anyone remotely believe that Mike Russo had no knowledge of any of this until the mayor’s letter to the City Council last Friday?  Yet he blames the mayor for the timing of the exposure even with his father’s appeal being the cause.

Anthony Russo still owes over $300,000 to the City of Hoboken.  His reduced sentence was based on restitution of that money but he claims he lost all his money and illicit extortion gains from gambling.

Now you can add approximately another $100,00 to the bill.  Mike Russo and Terry Castellano have no interest in seeing for any of it paid back to Hoboken and have remained silent as Anthony Russo fought his appeal to get more from the taxpayers. 

But they voted to have Director Ian Sacs pay for a professional conference in Vancouver he attended because they deemed his travel inappropriate at Wednesday’s meeting.   They tried to stick him for the $1,000 transportation cost even though it had been approved in advance by Business Administrator Arch Liston.

What kind of budget hawks are these?

Da Horsey wishes to dedicate this community serving Russo breaking series to Executive Publisher Jimmy the K.  His encouragement, perspective and support has been instrumental in the establishment of MSV after ex- mayor Peter Cammarano’s arrest and more importantly ever since.   Without him, MSV would have never happened.

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