News

Terry Castellano on the missing HPU million: “It’s been cleared up”

In the famous words of Councilwoman Terry Castellano from this January 2008 City Council meeting on the missing million bucks from the Hoboken Parking Utility, “it’s been cleared up,” spoken not once, not twice but three times in this famous estevens video gem.

Not to be outdone, Councilman Michael Russo attributes the missing million to a math error what he calls his “mistake.”  Yes it was a mistake councilman, and not your last.
Nothing to see here, move along says the Russo clan.
Well Castellano is finally right in the end.  Indeed it has been cleared up.
Thanks Terry!





Talking Ed Note: It’s a fitting irony that when Beth Mason and her ex-pornographer pal Perry Klaussen from Hoboken411 tried to make Hoboken parking an issue during the busiest shopping season of the year, the NJ Attorney General announces a final conclusion to the Hoboken Parking meter theft case.

Oh how sweet it is!

Bonus Coverage: The original investigative report brought to you from 2008 by Eric Kurta, the Wiley Coyote under his pen name estevens on the HPU:

Missing Money at HPU –
Parking Meter Collections Company Owner Has History of Mob
Ties
In December of 2005, Hoboken awarded no-bid contracts to
United Textile Fabricators of Toms River for parking meter coin collection and
counting. The city’s FY2007 audit, performed by Garbarini & Co., noted that
collections had decreased dramatically
during the contract term with United.
In November of 2007, the City amended its meter coin
collection procedures. United now collects from the meters and deposit directly
into a depository in the name of the City of Hoboken Parking Utility. United
had been previously taking the coins to their place of business in Toms River and
depositing the funds in their accounts.
On December 4, 2007, the City engaged Garbarini & Co. to
audit the books and records of United to determine the correct amount of meter collections
not turned over to the City.
At the City Council budget hearing on December 6th,
Councilman Michael Russo stated that it looked like a million dollars in revenue
was missing from parking meter collections. At the December 19th
meeting, a chastened Russo stated that his statement was in error and that he
had made a miscalculation. (See transcript below)
Parking Utility Director John Corea asserted that an
internal audit had found a negligible discrepancy and that an external firm (Garbarini,
presumably?) would audit and confirm his findings. To the best of my knowledge,
that audit report has not yet been made public. Despite Russo’s reversal and
Corea’s assurances, a source suggests that monies were missing and that a few
hundred thousand dollars will be returned to the city by United.
Here’s where it gets interesting: United Textile Fabricators,
which manufactures a variety of arcade games (and administers our meter
collections), is owned by Brian Petaccio, who plead guilty in 1991 to charges
of racketeering in connection with an illegal gambling operation. Petaccio was
then a director and vice-president of Grayhound Electronics, also in Toms
River, which manufactured video gambling machines and was believed to be
controlled by the Bruno-Scarfo crime family of Philadelphia. The family
distributed illegal video slot and poker machines in New Jersey and
Pennsylvania and was negotiating with crime families in New York, Nevada, and
Massachusetts to market the machines nationwide. Also pleading guilty were
Grayhound’s former chairman, Carmen J. Ricci, and Alan Cifelli, a
representative of Grayhound’s distributor, B&C Enterprizes, and known
associate in the Bruno-Scarfo family.
B&C would “market” Grayhound’s wares to bar and store
owners willing to take the risk in return for the substantial revenue the
machines would provide. Ricci, who was also Petaccio’s father-in-law, would
often approach owners known to have financial difficulties, advance them some
money, put in a few regular video games, and then replace them with the
gambling machines if the owner was having trouble earning enough money to pay
him back.
The owners of establishments with the illegal gaming
machines would usually keep half the revenue. Cifelli would pick up the other
half, taking it to the Grayhound offices. Half of that money would in turn be
turned over as “tribute” to Nicodermo Scarfo, Jr., whose father, a former boss
of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, was serving a 55-year sentence for extortion,
racketeering, and murder charges.
Petaccio now has his own company – http://www.unitedtextile.net – which
has been collecting cash from our parking meters for the last two years. Draw
your own conclusions. 
Transcription follows at the jump:

Councilman Michael Russo:
Mr. England, I have one, uh, one other
revenue source that, uh, has been called into question and – and some of my
Council colleagues might know about it, some of them might not. Uh, it looks to,
looks to me like there’s a million dollars missing in revenue from our
collection in parking meters. This correct
?”
Richard England,
Business Administrator
: “Umm…I don’t
know at this point, Councilman
.”
Russo: “I think we really need to look into it, uh,
I don’t know if it was just not paid to us, I don’t know if it’s actually
missing, I don’t know if there was a miscalculation, I have no idea what the
circumstances are…
Council President
Theresa Castellano
: “Needs to be looked
into…
Russo: “…but it’s my understanding that there, there’s
something going on with that revenue stream. If we could get, uh, a look at it
and find out so that you can report back to this council
.”
England: “Let me check it out and I’ll get back to you
as soon as I have an answer
.”
December 19, 2007 City Council Meeting
Councilwoman Terry
Labruno
: “I actually want an answer –
Mr. Corea can you answer that question about the million dollars that was
alluded to at the last – at the last council meeting, about a million dollars
being missing from meters
?”
Parking Utility
Director John Corea
: “Yes, uh, uh, I
believe that was, uh, talking about the parking, uh, the meter collections. We
did an internal audit once we heard that and our internal audit has been
complete and it shows a difference of thirty-four dollars and sixty-one cents.
It is now being audited by an outside firm to be confirmed, uh, but we don’t
see a problem as of right now
.”
Russo: “And for the record, uh, that was an error in
my calculation, so – when I asked the question, it was actually an error in my
calculations when I was doing my own due diligence when it came to the budget,
uh, so it was just a question and we clarified it…I was wrong
.”
January 16, 2008 City Council Meeting
Hoboken Resident
Maurice “Mo”
Degenarro: “Is there a million dollars missing or isn’t
there – was it a mistake – did they find it, or what? On the parking
.”
Castellano: “Councilman Russo.”
Russo: “Thank you, Council President. Mo, the – the
reason why I thought there was money missing was because I was going on past
year’s, uh, anticipated revenues from the Parking Utility from the meters. Uh,
it turned out that the meters did not generate as much money as they did in
years past, so it was my mistake to think that that money was there when in
fact it was not. That was the situation
.”
Castellano: “It’s been cleared up.”
Lots of uhs, no?

Leave a Reply