Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Council meeting: Russo's go off, Ma calls Council President "Saddam Hussein"

The big news not to be overshadowed is the removal of the last major obstacle allowing the sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center to Holdco but there was a City Council meeting and with some important legislation passed, an ugly incident and again its source is the Russo clan.

During the meeting a vote was called by Council President Ravi Bhalla.  Councilwoman Terry Castellano instead of submitting her vote said she wished to make an amendment.  The Council President insisted the vote be continued as part of the governing rules of the council in Roberts Rules of Order.

The Russo clan likes to follow the rules, unless they don't.  Then you are called "Saddam Hussein."

Councilman Michael Russo refused. And refused.  And refused.  The vote continued but the out of order behavior continued with Russo, Castellano and then a babbling Tim Occhipinti.  During a vote, the rules are clear that only voting is permitted.

At one point Councilman Russo was so out of order, the Council President called for the policeman to come and stay up front in case he was needed to remove Councilman Russo. To this Councilman Russo was aghast.  He finally simmered down enough to allow the meeting to move forward.

It's been somehow lost on the Council of No the rules apply to them and they no longer make them up as they go as they did under Beth Mason in her short and abbreviated abusive control over the body.

Later people heard Michael Russo's mother, Michele "five-bucks-a-tow" Russo call Council President Ravi Bhalla thusly, "He's a dictator.  He's Saddam Hussein."

Undoubtedly, she was keeping with the spirit of her son and his allies.

Talking Ed Note: Councilman Ravi Bhalla noted at the end of the meeting correctly that he called a vote and Councilwoman Terry Castellano aka "the sniper" makes snide comments out of order at almost every meeting.  He added that Councilman Michael Russo acts like a bully but he won't be bullied.

Russo was acting like a bully to the Council President and was out of order in doing so.  He insists on following Roberts Rules of Order but doesn't follow them.  Beth Mason trampled the rules and basic decorum in countless meetings almost from the moment she took the gavel.  She ran a political operation against the public, changing the order of speakers for her political operative Lane Bajardi who also doubles as her friend and who is not paid for friendship.  MSV uncovered that by not cooperating with the manipulation and heard a lot of laughter because of it.

Mason also turned her bad behavior on her colleagues numerous times, breaking standard procedure on allowing members to introduce an ordinance.  Ironically, the ordinance she refused to allow the sponsor to speak on, campaign finance reform - finally passed just tonight.

Did the Russo clan or Occhipinti ever complain?

For the record, you can not introduce a motion when a vote is in process.  The Council President initiates the vote and it's not to be interrupted.  The Council of No act like petulant children and complain their rights are being violated as they deface the institution they are suppose to represent.

Maybe the Council of No will learn to observe the rules and show some respect for the Council President, the Council as a whole and the City of Hoboken.

Just don't hold your breath waiting.  Bring on the Feds!



-- Path Clear for Completion of Sale of Hoboken University Medical Center --

HOBOKEN, NJ, October 5, 2011 --  Mayor Dawn Zimmer is announcing that the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors has approved both the bankruptcy settlement agreement, as well as the agreement to sell Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) to HUMC Holdco LLC.  These developments clear the way for completion of this transaction and will facilitate a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled for tomorrow that hopefully will result in judicial approval of both agreements.

“This approval by the creditors committee is a major milestone for everyone who’s been working for the past few months to bring this transaction to a positive conclusion.  I want to thank members of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (HMHA), as well as  Hoboken Healthcare Inc. (HHI) who have worked tirelessly with the city to get this deal done.  Without this agreement, it was unlikely that tomorrow’s scheduled bankruptcy court hearing would have been able to take place.  Now, the court will have the opportunity to, once and for all, approve the bankruptcy settlement agreement and the sale agreement -- creating a win-win situation for creditors, hospital employees and the city of Hoboken.  We are now able to say with confidence that we will be able to save over 1,200 jobs, keep the hospital open to service Hoboken and surrounding communities, and relieve the city of its $52M bond obligation -- a fiscal albatross that threatened the future of our city.

“While we are thrilled with this development, I would be remiss if I did not address the one outstanding objection to the sale of HUMC to HUMC Holdco LLC.  Today, we learned that JNESO, the union representing hospital nurses and technicians, still objects to the sale.  We believe this objection contains allegations that are totally without merit.  In fact, JNESO’s court filing seems to be an unusual course of action considering the fact that of the 314 JNESO members who have already applied for positions at HUMC under the management of Holdco, 285 have been offered positions.  That's 91%.  The city, HHI and HMHA will be filing responses to JNESO’s objection and we are confident that nothing in its filing will prevent approval of the settlement agreement or the sale agreement.  We hope that union officials will reconsider their action because it clearly is not in the best interests of our residents, hospital employees or patients at HUMC.”

Mayor presents 30% settlement to hospital's creditors for approval to keep hospital open

From the office of the Mayor:


HOBOKEN, NJ, October 5, 2011 --  Mayor Dawn Zimmer is providing comment today regarding the status of negotiations with the creditors committee relating to resolution of issues pertaining to approval of the sale of Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC).

“Last night (Tuesday), the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors was presented with a final Settlement Agreement that would guarantee a minimum of a $10.2 million contribution to a creditors fund.  The proposed Settlement Agreement, which was based on weeks of negotiation and met the previous economic demands made by the Creditors Committee, would provide unsecured creditors with approximately a 30 percent recovery on their claims, well above the 3-4 percent distribution typical of most hospital bankruptcies. This dividend is made possible only as a result of the proposed sale of the hospital to HUMC Holdco LLC, the State of NJ’s offer to contribute $5 million, if necessary, and the additional consideration offered by HUMC Holdco for the direct benefit of creditors.

“If the sale is not completed, HUMC will be forced to close.  In that event, it is likely the State will withdraw the offer to contribute the $5 million.  This would result in virtually no distribution to unsecured creditors, the elimination of over 1,100 jobs and the loss of critical healthcare services to the residents of Hoboken and surrounding communities.

“HUMC has been running on fumes to reach this point, and cannot survive further delays.  A hearing is scheduled in Bankruptcy Court tomorrow (Thursday, October 6).    This hearing has been postponed several times in order to facilitate ongoing negotiations, but there is no longer any flexibility in the remaining timeline.  The Committee has been advised that it must accept the Settlement Agreement by early this afternoon (today), which is the only way tomorrow’s hearing will go forward.  If the Settlement Agreement and Hospital sale are not approved at tomorrow’s hearing, the Hospital Authority will be compelled to take immediate steps to close the Hospital to ensure the safety of its patients.

“The Settlement Agreement offers unsecured creditors far more than would be otherwise available, while saving HUMC and relieving Hoboken’s taxpayers of a burdensome $52 million bond guaranty. Despite the repeated delays, I remain hopeful that we will be able to successfully complete this transaction since it provides the only acceptable alternative for all of the parties involved.”

Monarch development and campaign finance reform on tap at City Council meeting tonight @ 7:00

 Tonight's City Council meeting sees a dispute over the Monarch development in the Second Ward. Councilwoman Beth Mason will have to face the opposition from her colleagues who likely don't support it. Word on the street is she does.

This is the resolution put forward by the Mayor's Administration on the Monarch Development.  A letter was featured in the Hudson Reporter by a resident complaining Councilwoman Beth Mason ignored their concerns on it and did not even acknowledge their constituent outreach.

Also campaign finance reform is on tap. Wheely, it is.

Again, Councilwoman Beth Mason who has ardently fought this legislation will fight it and could even threaten a lawsuit to challenge it. Tim Occhipnti has called it unconstitutional in the past but alas Occhipinti is no source on legal matters and the law elsewhere in New Jersey has stood up to such challenges just fine.

 The resolution pac documents can be found at the link:

Finality on the hospital: time to lay down the cards

The final showdown on the hospital is set. The critical hearing for the bankruptcy settlement is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  There's no more money and there's no more time to be had.

One source close to the discussions noted the hospital needs this to end, or the hospital goes under from running out of money before a hearing that has been delayed several times for additional negotiations.

It's not known what the final package for the creditors committee to evaluate is but it's likely more than the average institutional bankruptcy.

If the creditors committee votes to accept the settlement, the hospital sale can proceed.  If they don't, the hospital will close.

Creditors call: Time to put down the cards and collect the winnings.  
Or see it all blow away and with it the hospital.

Talking Ed Note: The unions hold two of the seven seats on the creditors committee.  How they vote will not determine the outcome.  It's unclear if a vote has or will be held shortly.  The bankruptcy judge can request a vote on the proposed settlement package.

As the hospital is days away from running out of monies to operate, the dithering and bickering on a settlement has reached a final crescendo. This is it for all parties concerned.

Councilman Russo meets his own words on tape

At the last City Council meeting, Councilman Michael Russo worked himself into a lather, his face got red, and the Church Towers contingent brought down by Ma "five-buck-a-tow" Russo were dancing and yelling in the aisles with his attacks on Mayor Zimmer where he called her a grifter.

After Ma and the neighbors went home, public portion brought to light some comment on his less than savory behavior and that accountability thingy from a January meeting held at the hospital.

As stated by MSV at the end of the last council meeting, Michael Russo stated the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (HMHA) did not have the ability to legally sell the hospital.  Although media was present, it was stunning to see no one even mention this in any stories after the meeting.

Russo claimed a member of the public was "standing there lying" and "putting words in my mouth" after our remarks but let's go to the videotape!

Here's the end of the salvo from Da Horsey and the Beth Russo hydra springing into action:

(Note what happens when the mention of the tape is made on Da Horsey's departure.)
The next day "a higher authority" would step in, - in the form of Governor Chris Christie.

And as promised, here is the complete, unedited tape of Councilman Mike Russo informing the Hospital Authority (and the mayor) they can't sell the hospital.  He also voices his expectation the City Council will receive the documentation on any potential transaction on the sale - a request specifically barred when the HMHA was created.

The whole point of creating the HMHA was to keep outside political forces such as on the City Council from interfering with what's best for Hoboken.  When the City Council needed to act to merely consider a bond to help the hospital sale, no consideration was given.  Instead Russo, Castellano, Mason and Occhipinti acted immediately to sabotage the sale and kill the hospital.

At this meeting, the HMHA announced a bidder Holdco was selected and would enter into exclusive negotiations.  From that point on, Councilwoman Beth Mason, JNESO and the Russo clan worked to subvert the legal process and undermine the hospital sale leading into  the attempt to flat out kill the hospital at the last meeting when a $5.5 million bond was presented for consideration to aid in closing out a bankruptcy settlement required before the hospital can be sold.

Note Michael Russo claimed he discussed that MSV "left out" his comment about defeasing the bonds.  No sir, MSV has posted your complete remarks here on the matter of what you said about selling the hospital.

We'll leave the incorrigible actions you and your allies attempted to perpetuate on the hospital at the last City Council meeting speak for themselves.

Here's Councilman Mike Russo trying to undo the tangled web of his own design:

Talking Ed Note: Has Councilman Michael Russo spoken to the executives at the hospital lately?  MSV has but can't write all of those comments attached to his name here as it wasn't on the record.  Let's say it's not exactly appropriate for family channel viewing.

The City Council will be meeting tonight too.  One interesting item on the agenda is a resolution against the Monarch building development.  A letter appeared in the Hudson Reporter this weekend in opposition and wondered why they were ignored by Beth Mason when they reached out to ask her position on the matter.

Tonight at the City Council meeting people will have an opportunity to address their concerns on the Monarch building project.  Some people say Councilwoman Beth Mason supports the project but tonight you can address the issue and specifically make your feelings on the matter known to her.

She can of course ignore you as she's famous for doing to other members of the public.  People may be taken aback but others recall this is typical behavior from the councilwoman famous for her remarks on similar matters:

"Developer or die."