Monday, December 19, 2011

Terry Castellano on the missing HPU million: "It's been cleared up"

In the famous words of Councilwoman Terry Castellano from this January 2008 City Council meeting on the missing million bucks from the Hoboken Parking Utility, "it's been cleared up," spoken not once, not twice but three times in this famous estevens video gem.

Not to be outdone, Councilman Michael Russo attributes the missing million to a math error what he calls his "mistake."  Yes it was a mistake councilman, and not your last.

Nothing to see here, move along says the Russo clan.

Well Castellano is finally right in the end.  Indeed it has been cleared up.
Thanks Terry!

Talking Ed Note: It's a fitting irony that when Beth Mason and her ex-pornographer pal Perry Klaussen from Hoboken411 tried to make Hoboken parking an issue during the busiest shopping season of the year, the NJ Attorney General announces a final conclusion to the Hoboken Parking meter theft case. Oh how sweet it is!

Bonus Coverage: The original investigative report brought to you from 2008 by Eric Kurta, the Wiley Coyote under his pen name estevens on the HPU:

Missing Money at HPU –
Parking Meter Collections Company Owner Has History of Mob Ties

In December of 2005, Hoboken awarded no-bid contracts to United Textile Fabricators of Toms River for parking meter coin collection and counting. The city’s FY2007 audit, performed by Garbarini & Co., noted that collections had decreased dramatically during the contract term with United.

In November of 2007, the City amended its meter coin collection procedures. United now collects from the meters and deposit directly into a depository in the name of the City of Hoboken Parking Utility. United had been previously taking the coins to their place of business in Toms River and depositing the funds in their accounts.

On December 4, 2007, the City engaged Garbarini & Co. to audit the books and records of United to determine the correct amount of meter collections not turned over to the City.

At the City Council budget hearing on December 6th, Councilman Michael Russo stated that it looked like a million dollars in revenue was missing from parking meter collections. At the December 19th meeting, a chastened Russo stated that his statement was in error and that he had made a miscalculation. (See transcript below)
Parking Utility Director John Corea asserted that an internal audit had found a negligible discrepancy and that an external firm (Garbarini, presumably?) would audit and confirm his findings. To the best of my knowledge, that audit report has not yet been made public. Despite Russo’s reversal and Corea’s assurances, a source suggests that monies were missing and that a few hundred thousand dollars will be returned to the city by United.

Here’s where it gets interesting: United Textile Fabricators, which manufactures a variety of arcade games (and administers our meter collections), is owned by Brian Petaccio, who plead guilty in 1991 to charges of racketeering in connection with an illegal gambling operation. Petaccio was then a director and vice-president of Grayhound Electronics, also in Toms River, which manufactured video gambling machines and was believed to be controlled by the Bruno-Scarfo crime family of Philadelphia. The family distributed illegal video slot and poker machines in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and was negotiating with crime families in New York, Nevada, and Massachusetts to market the machines nationwide. Also pleading guilty were Grayhound’s former chairman, Carmen J. Ricci, and Alan Cifelli, a representative of Grayhound’s distributor, B&C Enterprizes, and known associate in the Bruno-Scarfo family.

B&C would “market” Grayhound’s wares to bar and store owners willing to take the risk in return for the substantial revenue the machines would provide. Ricci, who was also Petaccio’s father-in-law, would often approach owners known to have financial difficulties, advance them some money, put in a few regular video games, and then replace them with the gambling machines if the owner was having trouble earning enough money to pay him back.

The owners of establishments with the illegal gaming machines would usually keep half the revenue. Cifelli would pick up the other half, taking it to the Grayhound offices. Half of that money would in turn be turned over as “tribute” to Nicodermo Scarfo, Jr., whose father, a former boss of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, was serving a 55-year sentence for extortion, racketeering, and murder charges.

Petaccio now has his own company - – which has been collecting cash from our parking meters for the last two years. Draw your own conclusions. 

Transcription follows at the jump:

Taking a moment to aid Hoboken fire victims

Here's another way you can help the the people who lost everything in last weekend's fire.

You can Paypal any amount sending funds to Hoboken Housing Authority commissioner Jake Stuiver who is assisting local businessman Rory Chadwick.  His paypal account to send a donation is

Saturday's fire left Hoboken residents homeless losing everything.
Paypal is another way people can help.

Photo courtesy: The Jersey Journal/

Mayor's statement on the passing of former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons

The Office of the Mayor announces:

Statement by Mayor Zimmer on the Passing of Maurice Fitzgibbons

I learned this morning that Maurice Fitzgibbons passed away. On behalf of the City of Hoboken, I express my condolences to his family and friends. Maurice served the City of Hoboken for many years on the Board of Chosen Freeholders. He was a strong advocate of the arts, with a long history of service to our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Maurice Fitzgibbons at a 2010 BoE meeting

Talking Ed Note: MSV believes Maurice Fitzgibbons was 57 at the time of his passing last night.
No political comments are permitted in the comments section of this story.  

Services for Maurice Fitzgibbons:
Wednesday from 3-8 PM at Lawton Turso Funeral Home located at 633 Washington St. in Hoboken.  The Hoboken Elks Lodge will be performing a service at 7PM on Wednesday to honor his memory.

Hobokenites in support of weekend fire victims meeting tonight

An update on local residents working to aid the six residents burned out last weekend:

If you could help spread the word that we are having a volunteers meeting at the office of H-mag magazine located at 80 River Street, Penthouse North this evening at 5pm.  We are calling upon local residents, business owners, politicians etc  that would like to help with a variety of needed duties to help those displaced by the tragic fire at 97 Jackson Street this past Saturday.

The meeting is open to anyone and the more volunteers we can get, the more we can do to help those in our community that have suffered from this tragic event.  Interested parties can email or for more information.

Rory Chadwick

Now WPIX TV news takes a shot at Hoboken parking signs

The old saying TV a vast wasteland holds true for local TV news if yet another "expose" on Hoboken Parking signs is any evidence.  Now WPIX decides to make "news" and reveal the massive confusion of almost decade old parking signs and policies.

Of the people the TV crew decides to put on air, there's problems right out of the gate.  One woman claims of hearing a car parked in front of Rite Aid for "five minutes" by her friend and was towed.  There are two stores in Hoboken and one has a parking lot of its own.  What do you think the odds are that this woman's story is true?  Do you think Magee Hickey verified any of the woman's claim or did she just think it "sounds good" for TV?

Besides, unless this person parked their car in the middle of traffic, it's hard to believe it would have been towed unless Michele Russo is running a tow service in town no one knows about.

The best interviewee though is the man who has solved the sign problem with an unintentionally funny solution.  You have to love the sheer inanity of a TV news crew filming a guy with a solution to the sign "problem" saying "make them bigger."

That's what they sent a news crew to Hoboken to do.  Find people to say dumb things about parking.  At the end of the clip, the less than genuine Magee Hickey ends her lazy report saying, "I hope we're parked legally" as the camera shows a vehicle sitting square in a yellow marked sidewalk.

Too bad they didn't tow the car.  How much would it cost citywide to make the signs "bigger?"  You just have to laugh at the utter stupidity - of local TV news.  This is more up their alley, yes it's entertainment but considering the almost decade old signs, it's not news.

 Talking Ed Note: Will we be seeing a Beth Mason - Michael Russo co-sponsored proposed ordinance to make the signs bigger this Wednesday and a Hoboken411 post to follow proclaiming it the eighth wonder of the world?

Looks like the Hoboken411 political operation with Beth Mason isn't working out too hot does it?