What is the true cost of corruption in Hoboken?
There’s chatter about the cost of New Jersey’s municipal services to the taxpayer but a factor left out of the equation is the cost of corruption. As the number of municipalities in the state of New Jersey is greater than in California, the age old problem of having so many school districts, fire and police departments is well known in higher costs to its residents. The cost for corruption however much less so. People know its there.
In Hoboken under the Zimmer Administration measures were taken via audit, one last December and corruption discovered such as the Russo family grifting of health benefits costing taxpayers approximately $100,000 after ex-mayor Anthony Russo got out of prison. (Somehow he found himself back on the taxpayer roles under Mayor Dave Roberts.) When Councilman Michael Russo discovered the results of the audit, he complained not about the results but why the audit was conducted in the first place.
In the first ever media interview with the recently passed State Fiscal Monitor Judy Tripodi in 2009, she mentioned steps she took to stop corruption that was so visible she had no choice. She added to MSV off the record other steps she took to see employees come and go on time adding time cards for all city employees. One of her first steps is said to be her firing of Assemblyman Ruben Ramos’ mother who held not quite a no show job, but most definitely a patronage position for no valid city service.
There’s whispers Mayor Zimmer has acted on a number of fronts, probably in line with her efforts and then Business Administrator Arch Liston who came on board later and has a nose for such things. It would be interesting to know just how many things they’ve uncovered and what the savings is to Hoboken. The mayor is more likely to fix the problem and move on and not make hay out of it. But maybe she should.
MSV would OPRA corruption, but no one would volunteer and give answers to such an unspecified request. Da Horsey hears the legal area in town was rife with discoveries when the Zimmer Administration took over after the fall of Peter Cammarano. As part of those endemic problems in Hoboken, one story heard is the legal office was locked up for a week as “the problems” were being shredded.
The Administration is too professional so none of the details leak, but darn we sure wish they would. In one of the smartest outsourcing moves to date, the Zimmer Administration called in the Feds for intrusion into the city systems. Two city employees in IT are gone and the fruit is yet to be borne. It should be a bonanza when it does.
|The Beth Russo hydra tried to kill the hospital sale and with it the hospital.|
Talking Ed Note: Setting a price to corruption is far easier than putting a cost to the moral corruption that exists here. The tale of the two cities has never been greater, one wishes to operate with professional standards in the 21st century and the other wants to continue the old, dark ways as back in the “On the Waterfront” days.
The two can not co-exist. The most recent glaring example of the moral corruption variety was the attempt by the Beth Russo hydra to strangle the sale of the hospital. Faced with running out of money and days from closure, they claimed killing a bond ordinance of $5.5 million on FIRST READING benefits the taxpayer.
The closure of the hospital would have struck Hoboken first with an immediate bill of $52 million for the bond guarantee plus untold liabilities to close the institution. We’re not clear on what the final bill would have been. No doubt it would have been far higher.
It would have devastated Hoboken, the objective of a meeting earlier that day with political operatives near the site of the now defunct Russo Civic Association. The Beth Russo hydra seeing its first chance to derail the sale, went all in and pointed the finger at the mayor before the ordinance was even killed. Councilwoman Terry Castellano first out of the gate, claimed there were other bidders before she concluded by attacking the mayor. As if.
It was all premeditated and MSV puts it atop the list of moral corruption in Hoboken.