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.
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 - http://www.unitedtextile.net – which has been collecting cash from our parking meters for the last two years. Draw your own conclusions.
Transcription follows at the jump: