MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE
You've seen the Mike Russo tapes... you've read the Peter Cammarano transcripts and now MSV has obtained incontrovertible video evidence of the latest Hoboken election skullduggery, a Mason-Occhipinti campaign worker stealing signs from inside a local business - in broad daylight.
The heist took place in the middle of the day employing a daring ruse where the political operative pretended to represent the 6th ward council candidate Jen Giattino's campaign. The suspect identified as Hoboken 4th ward resident Matt Calicchio entered Kayla's Cleaner's on 7th and Garden Street early last Tuesday afternoon just before 2:00 pm.
According to the owner of the business, Calicchio then claimed the Giattino signs needed to be removed from the business' windows in order to avoid a $100 fine. He removed two signs from separate windows before walking out the door with both.
Let's go to the videotape from the store's actual surveillance camera showing the daring heist:
In a phone interview Sunday afternoon, Matt Calicchio denied knowledge of Jen Giattino signs being taken in the sixth ward. "I'm working in the 2nd ward (on behalf of Beth Mason) or 4th ward (Tim Occhipinti), not the 6th ward (incumbent councilman Nino Giacchi).
Specifically asked about the rumor of sign theft in the 6th ward against Giattino, Calichhio noted concern from other quarters saying, "I did get a call from Joe (6th ward resident and local businessman Joe Branco) on that. I'm supporting Nino (Giacchi), but I wouldn't do that to Joe."
Matt Calicchio left shown in an earlier photo with one transposed from the surveillance camera inside Kayla's cleaners leaves no doubt to the identity of the culprit of the daytime sign theft.
He's seen wearing the same vest in both.
6th ward council candidate Jen Giattino stated her disappointment in the behavior of her opponent's campaign saying, "Regardless if Councilman Giacchi knew about this incident or not, that someone associated with him would act this way on his behalf is revolting."
The very next afternoon at last Wednesday's council debates hosted by Stevens, observers saw Councilman Nino Giacchi speaking warmly with Matt Calicchio and patting him on the back.
Matt Calicchio confirmed working on behalf of Beth Mason stating he attended a neighborhood cleanup event Saturday sponsored by the 2nd ward Councilwoman who is up for re-election May 10th. "The weather was bad but we had a good turnout of about 25 people."
|Not backing down: Kayla's Cleaners has replaced the stolen Jen Giattino |
campaign signs with new ones.
Talking Ed Note: While Councilwoman Beth Mason applauded her ethics at the Council forum hosted by Our Lady of Grace, this latest incident highlights the corrosive nature of her continued political alliance with Councilman Mike Russo.
Councilman Nino Giacchi has been a reliable fifth vote for the Mason-Russo faction since the controversial election installing Tim Occhipinti in the 4th ward council seat, frequently voting legislation out of the city council offered by the mayor without comment or burying it in subcommittee.
Beth Mason has not filed her required ELEC reports (again) detailing expenditures in the 2011 council election but she has vigorously defended contributions far exceeding the $2,600 individual contribution limit to Tim Occhipinti in last fall's 4th ward special election using her campaign committee to do so. Many suspect she is funding her council allies who often vote with her in lockstep against the mayor's initiatives.
Beth Mason and Nino Giacchi were both contacted for comment early today on this story. Should a reply be forthcoming, the story will be updated.
MSV both endorses and patronizes Kayla's Cleaners. It's important we support local businesses that stand up for the community in the face of dirty intimidation tactics.