Wednesday, November 9, 2011

MORTe: 'We're innocent'

The media is starting to catch its breath after the Data Theft Ring at City Hall busted wide open with a bang leading to the IT Manager and yet unnamed City officials in today's Federal criminal complaint.

According to a story in Hoboken Now most of MORTe - Mason-Occhipinti-Russo and Terry Castellano are crying their innocence.  Tim Occhipinti has not been reached for comment but will likely say similarly.

The story says:

Some suspect that minority council members Beth Mason, Theresa Castellano, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti may have received the emails. Mason, however, demanded that the names be released, essentially denying wrongdoing.
Castellano and Russo said they did not receive emails from Ricciardi. Occhipinti could not be reached in time for comment.
MORTe is already coming off a boatload of bad news after their interference in the hospital sale came within an eyelash of it being forced to close - even after the buyer was ready to save the beloved institution.

After sinking a bond to save the hospital sale three members of MORTe are surprised by a blast from a member of the public in this earlier City Council photo.  They are decrying their innocence in the DTR FBI case.

Talking Ed Note: The only way we'll be getting a the truth on any of this is at trial with people on the stand. If it takes the whole lot of MORTe in court to get to the truth, so be it.

Note that Russo and Castellano say they themselves did not get emails from Ricciardi. They do not say they were unaware of such activity and make full throated absolute denials.

When MSV questioned Council members Beth Mason and Michael Russo in a City Council meeting itself- neither would answer to their witnessing any illicit emails.

MSV believes the Feds know exactly what they're doing and will do so in systematic order. Happy nightmares to MORTe and their minions.

Patrick Ricciardi: Arraigned with bail set at $100,000 in US Federal Court

Former City IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi was arraigned earlier today in US Federal Court.  According to a report on Hoboken Patch, his bail has been set at $100,000.

Appearing in court mid-afternoon, Ricciardi is described as having shackles on his feet and his hands cuffed behind his back at the arraignment in US Federal Court in Newark.

He's charged with accessing a computer without authorization, intercepting wire and electronic communications and the disclosure of same.

Ricciardi faces five years for each of the three counts and a potential fine up to $250,000.  His bail has been set for $100,000 by US Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor.

Ricciardi has confessed to taking information from the Mayor's computer along with two of her senior staff going back to early 2010, according the criminal complaint.

A current municipal official along with a former municipal official are not named but said to have been the direct conduit for the information being illicitly transferred out of City Hall.

Former IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi arraigned today in Newark Federal Court
is pictured here August 13th outside Benny Tudino's pizza.

Exclusive MSV photo copyrighted 2011.  No unauthrorized use without written permission.

Talking Ed Note:  If you think this ends with two people on the other end of the Data Theft Ring, Da Horsey has a bridge to sell you.

UPDATE: Patrick Ricciardi has been released on bail with an unsecured $100,000 bond.

And now here comes the smokescreen

Hoboken Now is reporting Councilwoman Beth Mason's statement today.  MSV premium content members know full well the position taken here months back.

Da Horsey confronted Beth Mason on the question of her requests for these communications to the mayor's staff - now part of the official FBI investigation.  She and her ally Councilman Michael Russo refused to provide any response and Mason looked to the Corporation Counsel for help.

Some weeks later in an interview outside City Hall, Beth Mason replied to the question posed to her again on whether she had seen any of these emails under investigation by limiting her answer saying, "I didn't see yours."

Here's Beth Mason's statement:

"As you may be aware, the US Attorney’s Office announced that Hoboken’s former IT Official surrendered to FBI Agents after admitting to intercepting and leaking City information.
"Also, included in the indictment are three unidentified individuals who are simply described as (1) a City municipal official, (2) a former City municipal official, and (3) a City municipal employee. The names of these individuals should be released immediately. The people of Hoboken have a right to know how their trust was violated.
"Open public records laws allow for individuals to obtain information in a legal manner and any dishonest tactics used to circumvent this process is inexcusable. This is a sad day for the people of Hoboken."
Councilwoman Beth Mason - releases a statement but no one is taking it at face value.

Talking Ed Note: Horse Sense is reviewing this with the same scrutiny as Mason's recent statements on the hospital sale, meaning take it with a grain of salt - a very large grain.
Who attempted with strenuous efforts to obtain email communications of the mayor's staff in the City Council last spring, at least a full year after the Data Theft Ring was in full function doing exactly that?  
Who tried to interfere with the FBI investigation to the point where Corporation Counsel had to threaten the Beth Russo hydra during a City Council meeting last spring they were interfering with an active ongoing FBI investigation and they insisted on trying to obtain tens of thousands of emails between the mayor's staff and local media including MSV, Grafix Avenger and The Hoboken Journal?
Beth Mason

The object of the DTR conspiracy, Mayor Dawn Zimmer's statement

From the Office of the Mayor:


Mayor Dawn Zimmer issued the following statement today after the FBI announced the arrest of a City employee stemming from an investigation regarding a potential security breach in the City’s electronic communications.

“In May, my Administration suspected wrongdoing regarding electronic communications in City Hall. We hired a private security firm to evaluate the situation and discovered evidence of potential wrongdoing. As I have done whenever my Administration has uncovered such evidence since I became Mayor in 2009, my Administration immediately contacted the appropriate authorities -- in this case the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We provided them with all evidence and have been working with the FBI since. I thank the U.S. Attorney’s office and the special agents in the FBI Newark field office for their assistance and for taking this matter seriously.”

“This is a good example of our City working with the authorities and demonstrates the justice system at work.”

“As we have done in the past, my Administration is respectful of the presumption of innocence while taking the necessary actions to protect the interests of the City. Patrick Ricciardi, who has worked for the City of Hoboken since 1992, has been suspended without pay since May.”

Get the latest Hoboken news:

Data Theft Ring Arrest - Who's Next?

The criminal complaint makes it clear there are two municipal officials directly involved in requesting the communications of Mayor Dawn Zimmer's office.

The implication is that there are more arrests pending.

The complaint notes the atmosphere surrounding the mayor when she took office after the resignation of ex-mayor and felon Peter Cammarano noting:

"As part of the investigation, law enforcement learned that the City's political culture is currently divided into two main factions....

"The investigation has also revealed that many of the elected and appointed officials in the City retain strong ties to the previous administration or are otherwise politically opposed to the Mayor, and have sparred with the current Mayor on a variety of municipal issues, large and small.

"These officials include several members of the City Council, as well as high-ranking employees of different City municipal agencies, such as Public Safety...."

Patrick Ricciardi is scheduled to be arraigned in Newark Federal Court this afternoon.
MSV can confirm Patrick Ricciardi's earnings were 200K last year.
He worked as both an IT Manager and also with the Office of Emergency Management.

Patrick Ricciardi - arraignment this afternoon

Talking Ed Note: MSV Premium subscribers will know that these ties to these areas were specifically addressed as likely areas where illegal communications were shared.

Obviously this is the beginning of a long process and more arrests are coming.

Are we going to be hearing the Hoboken411 minion's Pentagon Papers Defense today?

MSV exclusive photo available only with written permission.  Copyright 2011

Criminal Complaint Against Patrick Ricciardi

Ricciardi Patrick Complaint


According to the complaint by the US Federal Attorney's Office, two municipal officials are also implicated in the data theft ring (DTR).

One is listed in the complaint as a "City municipal official" and the second is listed "a former City municipal official."

Both are listed as being the conduit from Patrick Ricciardi's email account.  The data breach by Patrick Ricciardi is stated in the criminal complaint as going back to 2010.

The mayor's communications, along with two other senior officials were being automatically downloaded and intercepted - both COMING IN AND GOING OUT.

The criminal complaint while not naming the current and former municipal officials offers background on a split between factions in Hoboken City government ominously noting the City Council.

Ex-mayor Peter Cammarano was the last City official arrested by the FBI.
Are more coming?

Talking Ed Note: A call to Beth Mason responded with an automated message in English and Spanish:
"The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time." Another number rings to voicemail.

MSV is awaiting additional information.  This story is BREAKING!

BLOCKBUSTER BREAKING: City IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi arrested by FBI

According to a tweet by Hoboken Patch editor Claire Moses, the Hoboken IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi is under arrest and has surrendered to FBI authorities.

Ricciardi was removed from work at City Hall when the Mayor's Office contacted FBI authorities last May and is allegedly the focal point of an investigation involving City documents and email.

Charges on what is anticipated to be the City Hall Data Theft Ring coming.

Ricciardi is facing charges of leaking confidential information and intercepting communications to Mayor Dawn Zimmer herself.  Ricciardi setup a separate file to automate intercepts to another folder - communications to and from the Mayor according to the complaint.

Ricciardi has reportedly confessed to forwarding the illegally obtained information to others.

In addition, Ricciardi also set up an intercept file for two other employees in the Mayor's Office.

Last May when the FBI first visited Hoboken, then Council President Beth Mason sought to obtain all emails for the mayor's senior aides.

MSV was part of local media targeted as part of Councilwoman Beth Mason's single-minded attempt to get the mayor's office communications along with Reform oriented websites The Hoboken Journal and Grafix Avenger.

It's unclear at this moment how the Data Theft Ring may connect to these activities.

A security audit last May led to the uncovering of the security breach.

This story is BREAKING!

MSV Exclusive Photo: Patrick Ricciardi outside Benny Tudino's

Talking Ed Note: It's begun.

MSV exclusive photo: copyright 2011
Any use only with authorized written permission.

Election Shocker: 16% of Stick Romano's vote - VBM

Once again the stench of yesterday's election is lingering due to the Vote By Mail ballot.  Grafix Avenger is reporting Anthony "Stick" Romano earned fully 38% of his vote with suspect paper ballots.

The paper ballot harvest was bountiful in the 4th ward just like last November 

The unofficial total of Vote-By-Mail Ballots for incumbent Anthony "Stick" Romano is 616.

The 4th ward generated 574 absentee ballots, the vast majority from the 4-4, re: the Housing Authority.

4-4 paper ballots - 240
4-3 paper ballots - 161
4-1 paper ballots - 114

The fourth ward mathematically fails to fit any statistical model.  One could call it yet another "Anomaly" as former Tim Occhipinti campaign spokesman David Cruz of Jersey City called it a year ago.

The average Hoboken voting district had 29 vote by mail ballots.  That is far outside any mathematical deviation in EVERY Hoboken voting district.

Paula Dow, Paula Dow please take your call at the Hoboken Electoral Fraud Courtesy Desk.

Attorney General Paula Dow, the highest law enforcement officer in the State of NJ in Hoboken last September.
Freeholder candidate Kurt Gardiner, (2nd row left)  enjoys the moment

More to come.  Promise.

Talking Ed Note: Hey are you folks really going to top yesterday's election traffic.
The giant earthquake is obviously hitting.

Original Ruben Ramos Anthony Stick Romano graphic courtesy Grafix Avenger.

Correction: MSV relied on information posted elsewhere on the percentage of VBM for Romano.
The correct figure is actually 15.7%

Kurt Gardiner shocks Hudco pulling over 1500 votes!

Giant celebration at Turtle Club
With practically no campaign budget, staff and facing the full might of the Hudson County Machine, first time candidate Kurt Gardiner shocked everyone running off the line pulling over 30% of the Hoboken vote for the county freeholder seat including sections of Jersey City Heights.

Although final numbers are not available, it's already clear Kurt Gardiner's viral campaign - with no campaign office and a flurry of late endorsements from Council members Peter Cunningham, Ravi Bhalla, Jen Giattino and Dave Mello pulled over 1,500 votes in a small election with scant attention.

Looking at the whole County, Kurt Gardiner managed to deliver the biggest opposition to both Hudco and incumbent Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano.  People will awake scratching their heads as to how he did it and political operatives are already enraged on Hoboken Patch.

Kurt Gardiner credits his platform as the pillar of his campaign and the people who spread the message noting his message "resonated."

There will be further analysis later but it's already clear that Gardiner running as an independent candidate with no bigger election to rally around has pulled off a huge upset.  He won at least one district in Hoboken outright in the 2nd ward, leveraging a backlash against Councilwoman Beth Mason.

The echoes there may yet lead to real recall efforts.

Talking Ed Note: Reform's grassroots once again has shown incredible strength able to muster a wallop with no street presence in a small election for a first time candidate.

Kurt Gardiner was additionally aided by good will from his community efforts at the Hoboken Journal, his website on local politics that was all but inactive during the campaign.  He received strong support from Reform activists such as Scott Siegel in the 2nd ward and additional support from Kids First.

Gardiner has been a strong supporter of Reform throughout Hoboken.  Last night, that goodwill paid off.

The other race of import and suspense last night was Ballot #2 on retaining the rent control ordinance.
Efforts to see it overturned in a low turnout election in a referendum were crushed even discounting some nefarious paper balloting out of the Housing Authority and an area of the third ward - home to developer Frank "Pupie" Raia.

Photo courtesy of Greg Bond