Michael Russo deflects about his FBI bribe, showing up and being a cub scout


The end of a typical five hour council marathon was nearing completion when Councilman Michael Russo decided he would start his time in New Business by launching an attack on Council President Peter Cunningham.

Alleging “arrogance,” Russo began his soliloquy boasting how he has done so much for Hoboken as a cub scout and he’s been “showing up” for thirty years is looking to “show up” for thirty more and proudly references this as his “record.”

He’s been showing up.

Hoboken would of course be happy if Michael Russo and his grifting clan would show up and do nothing else as opposed to stealing everything that isn’t nailed down and using government to enrich themselves every step of the way.

Council President Cunningham retorts describing his behavior as an “embarrassment to a scout, being caught in a (FBI) video agreeing to accept a bribe.  Thank you for teeing that one up.”

Russo follows with a tirade of attacks calling Cunningham a disgrace, but cites nothing remotely comparative to the disgrace seen here of his FBI surveillance tape with Solomon Dwek who would take down dozens in the biggest FBI sting in NJ history.

Russo of course stands alone among Hoboken elected officials as he actually agreed to a series of bribes and what transpired after he instructed a $5,000 check be made out to his bank account “Russo for Hoboken” has never been fully explained.  

While some have said Russo never returned to meet with Dwek, the only transaction required was following Michael Russo’s instructions to fill out the check.  Everyone among the four parties at the lunch under surveillance was taken down by federal law enforcement with one exception:

Michael Russo

Only the FBI knows whether Michael Russo was flipped as an informant in early 2009 like the news yesterday of Hudson County Freeholder Jose Munoz reportedly did in 2011.

Councilman Michael Russo as seen in 2009 FBI surveillance video agreeing
to accept bribes, cub scout gear courtesy Grafix Avenger.

Talking Ed Note: It’s not news that Michael Russo traded on the office of Hoboken City Councilman.  That he sits in judgement of his council colleagues is unseemly and his slander of Councilman Ravi Bhalla earlier that evening alleging he profits off the City because he accepted an offer to work for a law firm which has performed work for Hoboken in the past was despicable.

Later Russo would oddly stand among a small group of reform council members with none of his posse and council allies Beth Mason and Timmy Occhipinti already driven off together.

MSV commented it was odd for him to claim being disrespected when he slandered his City Council colleague earlier in the same meeting.  He repeatedly denied doing so and while in retreat turned half around and said “you slander people every day.”

That prompted an invitation as Russo walked south to the corner to submit one instance where MSV did and a prompt correction would be issued.  The repeated invitation “just one Michael, just one” with Cunningham’s words earlier still echoing in his ears must not have sat well.

At the corner heading west to his car, Russo suddenly turned around and decided to make the long walk back to the front of City Hall. From 60 feet away he began yelling, “You got a problem?  You got a problem with me?”

At about three feet away he heard more than once, “Yeah, I just told you.” It was inescapable  to miss how odd it was for Russo to walk all that way back to rehash the same point two minutes earlier.  The moment had an eerie Groundhog Day feel about it.

Russo then began weakly complaining about harassment and his “personal space” but was reminded he had returned to the front of City Hall to where he stood.  No one had gotten in anyone’s personal space.

The Hoboken police officer who took over late at the council meeting stepped over encouraging rationality and Russo once again began his trip walking south on Washington as Da Horsey noted aloud in his direction the remarkable similarity how both he and Carmelo Garcia whine about being victims.

Was Russo’s odd behavior a vain attempt to create “an incident” on a recording?  Is this another similarity Michael Russo, Carmelo Garcia and Jose Munoz all share, albeit for different reasons?

In retrospect, Russo’s odd behavior late Tuesday night sure looks that way.

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