Monday, April 4, 2011


The Star Ledger has posted the complete video of Mike Russo with Solomon Dwek. In it, people can determine the nature of the discussion of money and Mike Russo's agreeable appreciation for getting illicit money from the FBI informant.

There's not any doubt what is happening here. Mike Russo even comes right out to express his "appreciation," for the offer of monies before and after the (mayoral) election.  

The Star Ledger writes:
Russo insists that "No bribe was discussed." Today authors Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin released a copy of the recording showing the full meeting between Dwek and Russo at the Light Horse Tavern in Jersey City that indicates otherwise.

The Jersey Sting authors return to Hudson County with an appearance tomorrow at the Jersey City Greenville Library.

Tuesday at the Greenville branch of the Jersey City public library, 6-8 p.m.

Discussion/Q&A/signing.   Books will be available.
Former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler will be moderating the event!

For more info, or

Below are parts I and parts II showing everything that took place from Solomon Dwek's perspective in his car to the absolute end of the meeting.  Mike Russo's false statements on what was discussed with Dwek are exposed yet again!!

Talking Ed Note: Did you see Mike Russo tell Solomon Dwek anything, anything about not accepting cash or that he would not accept illicit payments as he's claimed?

Because I must have missed it!

Mason-Russo plan: 'Make the election about the mayor, not us'

According to the impeccable Grafix Avenger source Deep Uvula, the Mason-Russo team has hatched a election theme re: scheme it feels will carry right into May, local media willing - it's about the "cover up" of mayoral staff emails not their corruption. 

Here's a small taste on what has just been posted over in Grafix Avenger.  They think the City Council reform members are very polite and oh so professional to the point of not even pressing the point about Mike Russo's accepting money from the same FBI informant who nailed ex-mayor Peter Cammarano to the wall.

Deep Uvula says, the hatched plan reads as follows:

The second thing is that you gotta control the message.  You do that by going after the mayor, make the election about her, not the guys that are running. Too bad if she can't deal with her people in the cross-hairs, it's her job to protect her own. Things didn't work out the way they'd hoped for with Ian so they're going after Melli and Bryan. Fair game.

They (Russo/Mason) think this is a real good one.  The mayor's in a pickle....if she lets the emails go she'll look weak and expose everything. If she says 'no' then they make her out to be hiding something, like she's trying to hide waste and cover up illegal spending.

What's fascinating here is that the Russo-Mason people believe that even with the lying exposed in the weekend Hudson Reporter about Mike Russo falsely claiming the meeting with Solomon Dwek is old news, they feel they can control the message and have the election focus turn elsewhere.

As the astute commenter Politrickery noted here on the weekend, the Big Lie not refuted has a way of taking a life of its own in Hoboken.  The Mason-Russo people have no intention on running on their 'record' and candidates.  They want to trot out a variant of the line Mike Russo used in the City Council on the waterfront damage, "What did the mayor know and when did she know it?"  That political line of attack collapsed when the city released a comprehensive history chronicling the work going back to the 90s - exposing ex-mayor Anthony Russo to some poor choices on using timber to base the piers.  Apparently, Juan Melli, the city communications manager is hated for putting that chronology together and now is in their cross hairs.

 Deep Uvula has proven accurate the counteroffensive was coming.  On Friday the attacks have now centered on city employees who report to the mayor.  No matter, if they (and their emails) are destroyed and turned into thee issue of the election, then so be it.

Deep Uvula says confidence is high this strategy will work.  No doubt the Mason411 minion is preparing a string of the ugliest personal attacks and smears below Hoboken sea level yet to push this line in City Council and on Hoboken411 but that's a given.  Mason's fanatical political operative needs no coaxing to go deep into the gutter, he lives there quite happily and is gleeful to target the people who's job he envies.  (Only a Mason mayoral win would hand him that plum.) 

The real question is does the rest of the local media play along?  The Jersey Journal hasn't even said a solitary word about Mike Russo meeting with Solomon Dwek.  Russo told the Hudson Reporter it was a Jersey Journal reporter who he discussed the meeting with back in 2009.

So if the Jersey Journal is game to play along, and Hoboken411 is ready to launch more of the ugliest attacks on two city employees, who will stand and question any of it other than the tedious mindless repetition of "he said, she said?" 

Ray Smith's job just got harder at the Hudson Reporter.

To read the rest of Grafix Avenger's latest insider revelation on the Mason-Russo counteroffensive:

4th ward candidate Rami Pinchevsky: I'm not with Tim O or Mike Russo

Rami for Council announces:


4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti is still under investigation by the Attorney General's office for allegedly buying votes in this past November's special election, and now we find out that 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo may have agreed to accept a $5,000 bribe and ongoing payments as a result of the FBI sting that resulted in the arrest of our former mayor, Peter Cammarano.

This sort of corruption and incompetence have plagued Hoboken for too long. If we are ever going to lower taxes, rein in spending, repair our precious waterfront, build more parks, and make our city more family friendly, then we must demand open government and clean elections.

When our elected officials refuse to take action, then it is up to us - the voters - to remind them of their duty. I demand the Council Majority conduct a full investigation into the serious allegations that Councilman Michael Russo agreed to accept bribes. Furthermore, during any such investigation into Councilman Russo's conduct, he should be removed as Chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee and replaced as Vice President of the Council.

As long as the Council Majority remains silent on this issue, they will effectively be condoning the behavior of agreeing to accept bribes. We must send a message that we will no longer tolerate such dubious behavior from our elected officials. If they refuse to take action, then we must vote for reform on May 10th.

Eric Kurta to council majority: 'Suspend Councilman Mike Russo'

Kurta for City Council announces:


The allegations that have come to light in the recently released book Jersey Sting are deeply troubling. Hoboken's 3rd Ward Councilman and current Council Vice President Michael Russo is on tape agreeing to accept a $5,000 bribe and ongoing payments from FBI informant Solomon Dwek. The facts are well documented by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalists who have written the book and are now widely distributed.

When I was president of People for Open Government (POG), I led the charge for campaign finance reform because open government and clean elections are the key to making Hoboken successful. If we do nothing in light of serious allegations that a sitting councilman and chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee agreed to accept a bribe, then we are condoning unethical behavior from those that are supposed to govern.

Corruption and incompetence have plagued our great city for too long, and I refuse to sit idly by and wait for Hoboken to plunge back into the same system that made us a doormat for developers and special interests. I demand that the Council Majority suspend Councilman Russo from the position of Council Vice President and Chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee until such time as a complete and thorough investigation of the facts can be completed.

Our elected officials are duty-bound to look out for the best interests of their constituents. When those same elected officials refuse to do or say anything about allegations that the Chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee is accepting bribes, they are failing to do their jobs. Who else might Councilman Russo be agreeing to accept bribes from? How has that money affected our city's finances? Why is Russo's cousin, 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano been so quiet on the issue? What are the council members hiding who elected Russo to Vice President of the Council - Castellano, Mason, Occhipinti, and Giacchi?

When the behavior of our elected representatives makes us question the legitimacy of our government, when our councilmembers refuse to do their jobs, we must take action into our own hands by firing them on election day. Let's send a message that we will no longer tolerate criminal behavior from our elected officials. Lets vote for reform on May 10th.


Eric Kurta
Candidate for Hoboken City Council, 1st Ward

Mike Russo's Dwek problem worsens, caught in another lie by the Hudson Reporter

Councilman Mike  Russo is digging a deeper hole on his claim he didn't do anything wrong when he met with the FBI informant Solomon Dwek around the same time ex-mayor Peter Cammarano had.  His claim the meeting with Dwek was conveyed to a former reporter on the Jersey Journal back in 2009 turns out to be another fabrication as the story takes on yet another twist.

The Hudson Reporter addressed that falsehood in this weekend's paper noting:

Russo also said it was no secret that he met with Dwek, and said he shared this information with a local reporter. A search of local news outlets and websites revealed that no story was written.

“The quickest thing to do is to ask [a former daily newspaper reporter], who reported on this in 2009,” Russo said in an e-mail when asked when the news was published. “It wasn't a secret by any means.”

However, the reporter in question said she did not report on a meeting between Russo and Dwek.

Maher Khalil - former Jersey City official who attended the meeting with
Mike Russo  and Solomon Dwek in Jersey City.  He later confessed to
taking over $70,000 from Dwek himself.

Lending additional credence to Mike Russo's avoidance to address his meeting with Dwek is an email to MSV last week by co-authors of "The Jersey Sting," Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin who noted in a joint statement,

"First, during the course of our research for The Jersey Sting, we made every effort to give the councilman (Mike Russo) the opportunity to explain what transpired between him and Solomon Dwek.  The councilman chose not to."

Responding to council challenger Greg Lincoln who again questioned Russo's honesty and viability to continue in Hoboken city government, the 3rd ward councilman attempted to deflect from the issue of his alleged corruption caught on federal surveillance tapes saying, "The residents have seen through all the lies and innuendo and I'm confident they'll see it again."

Add the Hudson Reporter's Hoboken beat writer with the former Jersey Journal reporter as two more journalists who have been spun in the web of lies Mike Russo is fleeing from.  Earlier Mike Russo claimed anyone who said he accepted a bribe "was lying."

The Pulitzer Prize winning reporters who co-authored "The Jersey Sting" replied to MSV's update to them of Councilman Russo's statement and they reviewed their source tape confirming they had accurately depicted Mike Russo's meeting with the government's witness Solomon Dwek in their book.  Acting as a corruption stinger throughout northern Jersey, Dwek's sole purpose was to toss out bribe after bribe after bribe.  Mike Russo's sole reason for not being arrested was he did not return and pocket the money.

According to the tapes recounted in "The Jersey Sting," the amount of money in the exchange had already been agreed upon in the first payment set at $5,000.

Dwek's "sting" has snared dozens of politicians in a corruption web many in Hudson County.  Jersey City was hit especially hard, at one point the feds believed half the Jersey City's city council would be arrested.

One of the people breaking bread with Mike Russo with Dwek was Maher Khalil, a Jersey City official who himself has admitted taking over $70,000 from Solomon Dwek before recommending Russo also cash in during their meeting at the Light Horse Tavern.

Birds of the same feather flock together.

Photo: courtesy the Jersey Journal

Talking Ed Note: MSV contacted the reporter formerly with the Jersey Journal who Mike Russo claimed he spoke to in his Jersey City meeting with Solomon Dwek, but she was not available at the time of publication.  This story will be updated should that change.

For the record, much like "The Jersey Sting," authors, MSV has not been able to pin down a conversation with Mike Russo either.  

Ray Smith of the Hudson Reporter deserves credit for going deeper on this story.  Unlike the Jersey Journal which has been dead silent on the matter entirely, Ray has continued to follow through on the unanswered questions and ones deserving additional probing.  

Da Horsey extends a hat tip to Ray and a link to his effort here.