Monday, September 10, 2012

Vote Yes for November Committee - Arthur's Tavern September 20th fundraiser

The Vote Yes for November Committee announces:

US Attorney's Office in NJ - Official release on Trenton Mayor and others arrested

The United States Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey announces:

Trenton, N.J., Mayor, Brother And Associate Arrested And Charged With Conspiracy To Extort Bribes

September 10, 2012

Eight Others Also Arrested in Separate, Trenton-based Oxycodone Distribution Conspiracy

TRENTON, N.J. – Trenton Mayor Tony F. Mack, the mayor’s brother, Ralphiel Mack, and his close associate, Joseph A. “JoJo” Giorgianni, were arrested by federal agents this morning and charged by criminal Complaint in connection with a scheme to extort payments of more than $100,000 from others who were purportedly developing a public parking garage, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

The Complaint charges that over the past two years Mack, 46, and his associates negotiated with two individuals who were cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI and agreed to expedite approvals and sell city-owned property at a fraction of its value. Giorgianni also was charged in a separate Complaint along with eight other defendants with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone pills in the Trenton area.

The following defendants also were charged in the drug conspiracy Complaint:

Mary Manfredo
Lawrenceville, NJ
Anthony Dimatteo
Ralph Dimatteo Sr.
Giuseppe A. Scordato
Hamilton, NJ
Carol Kounitz
Hamilton, NJ
Stephanie Lima
Yardville, NJ
Mark Bethea
Eugene Brown
Atlantic City, NJ

All 11 defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert in Trenton federal court.

“Time and again, we have seen public officials in New Jersey who are all too willing to sell their power and betray the public’s trust,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “Here, the Complaint charges that Mayor Mack and his coconspirators were willing to let city property go for a fraction of its worth. And he allegedly chose as his middleman a convicted felon who was simultaneously heading a conspiracy to traffic in prescription medication. Neither selling one’s oath of office or illegally selling prescription medication is acceptable on the streets of Trenton or anywhere else in New Jersey.”

“The citizens of New Jersey’s state capital deserve far better than politicians and cronies who aspire to the Boss Tweed-style, Tammany Hall politics of patronage, graft, and corruption,” said Michael Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “Public service is not an open invitation to enrich one’s self via illegal means. At no time should elected officials have need for middlemen, ‘buffers,’ and coded conversations.”

The investigation, which lasted nearly two years, included the execution of search warrants, court-ordered wiretaps and consensually recorded conversations. The extortion conspiracy count with which the defendants are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Extortion Conspiracy

According to the Complaint filed against Tony F. Mack, Joseph A. Giorgianni, 63, of Ewing, and Ralphiel Mack, 39, of Trenton:

As mayor, Mack influenced actions taken on behalf of the City of Trenton, including matters concerning the disposition of city-owned property. Giorgianni, a convicted felon and the proprietor of a Trenton sandwich shop called JoJo’s Steakhouse, is Mayor Mack’s associate. Ralphiel Mack is Mayor Mack’s brother and was employed by the Trenton Board of Education as Trenton Central High School’s head football coach.
The Macks, Giorgianni and others conspired to corrupt certain functions of Trenton city government in favor of a purported developer who was seeking to build a parking garage on a city-owned lot on East State Street. In reality, the developer was cooperating with federal authorities. During the course of the negotiations, which lasted almost two years, the defendants agreed to accept more than $119,000 in bribes, of which $54,000 had been paid at the time of their arrests.

To attempt to evade law enforcement detection, the defendants employed intermediaries, used code words, and attempted to limit their discussions of the scheme over the telephone.

Beginning in September 2010, Giorgianni had several recorded meetings with an individual who was cooperating with law enforcement (CW-1), during which Giorgianni agreed to serve as an intermediary, or “buffer,” for cash payments to Mayor Mack in exchange for the mayor’s support of a parking garage project. During these meetings, Giorgianni described his intent to promote and facilitate a corrupt system of government in Trenton. During a Sept. 14, 2010, meeting, Giorgianni stated that he conducted business in the City of Trenton the way “Boss Tweed” ran “Tammany Hall,” and provided examples of how kickbacks should be received in exchange for city contracts.

Between Oct. 27, 2011, and June 28, 2012, the conspirators accepted seven cash payments from CW-1 and another individual cooperating with law enforcement (CW-2):

Oct. 27, 2011
Jan. 6, 2012
April 12, 2012
April 25, 2012
May 21, 2012
June 8, 2012
June 28, 2012

In exchange for those payments, it was agreed that Mayor Mack and another, uncharged public official (CC-1) would take official action favorable to CW-l’s and CW-2’s interests concerning the parking garage project. Following certain of these payments, Giorgianni would signal to the mayor that he had received cash by using the code words “Uncle Remus.”

• On Oct. 27, 2011, Giorgianni accepted a $3,000 corrupt cash payment from CW-1. Moments later, Giorgianni sent a text message to Mayor Mack stating, “Uncle remins (sic) landed uncles remnis (sic) call me.”

• On Jan. 25, 2012, Giorgianni, CC-1, CW-1 and CW-2 discussed the proposed corrupt transaction and future payments to Mayor Mack and Giorgianni. During a telephone call the next day, Giorgianni told the mayor that “Uncle Remus might be stopping by.” During a Feb. 1, 2012, telephone call, Giorgianni reiterated that “Uncle Remus is gonna stop and visit us, so I wanted to tell you about it.” Mayor Mack replied, “All right. I’m gonna stop by there to see you.”

• On April 25, 2012, Giorgianni accepted a $3,000 cash payment from CW-1. During an April 30, 2012 telephone call, Giorgianni informed Mayor Mack that “Ralphiel said he was going to stop up. Uncle Remus, ya know, stopped by.”

• On June 8, 2012, Giorgianni accepted a $25,000 cash payment from CW-2. The next day, while inside JoJo’s Steakhouse with Giorgianni, CC-1 called the mayor and informed him that “Uncle Remus came to town today.” The mayor stated: “Yeah?” and laughed. Later in the call, CC-1 repeated, “M–, Mr. Remus came around.” The mayor stated that he would “be around, I’ll be around today.”

• On June 28, 2012, CC-1 (who began cooperating with federal law enforcement on June 21, 2012) met with Giorgianni and delivered to him a $10,000 corrupt cash payment. The meeting between Giorgianni and CC-1 concluded at approximately 6:17 p.m. At approximately 6:19 p.m., Giorgianni sent Mayor Mack a text message stating, “Uncle remis (sic) is in town mr bakers.” (In text messages to the mayor, Giorgianni previously referred to himself as “Mr. Baker.”)

In connection with the $10,000 received on June 28, 2012, both Mayor Mack and Giorgianni expressed significant concern to CC-1 that they might be the subjects of a law enforcement investigation because CC-1 had received that money directly from CW-2 and because CW-2 did use not Giorgianni as a “buffer” to pass through the money on that occasion. In a June 28, 2012, recorded meeting during which Giorgianni accepted the $10,000 from CC-1, Giorgianni chastised CC-1 for taking this money directly from CW-2 and not going through Giorgianni, reminding CC-1 that the “ground rules ... put down by Tony” were that “[n]obody in the administration touches nothing.” Giorgianni told CC-1 that it was important to use “buffers” to take corrupt money. “As long as you got buffers, you’re safe. Look Tony [Mack] knows they ain’t never gonna break me. Tony seen me do something real serious one day. He knows I’m not giving nobody up. I don’t give a ****. Jail, that’s my business. I don’t give a ****. So Tony’s safe.” Then referring to employing Ralphiel Mack as an intermediary to pass money for the benefit of the mayor, Giorgianni told CC-1: “I even keep Tony safe where I’ll give money to Ralphiel.”

Ralphiel Mack is charged with participating in the conspiracy by serving as an intermediary to receive certain corrupt cash payments from Giorgianni on Mayor Mack’s behalf. A July 18, 2012, search of Ralphiel Mack’s house revealed $2,500 in United States currency bearing the same serial numbers as the bills delivered to Giorgianni as part of the June 28, 2012, corrupt cash payment.

In exchange for the money, the agreement contemplated that the mayor would use his influence to get the necessary approvals for the project. As the conspiracy developed, the mayor and Giorgianni proposed that the city sell the land for the parking garage to the developer for a reduced price in exchange for a larger bribe.

Initially, on May 15, 2012, a City of Trenton official (Trenton Official-1) emailed CW-2 a letter stating that the total assessed value for the East State Street lot was $278,000 and that the land value was $271,600. CW-1 and CW-2 later discussed with Giorgianni that CW-2 and the project investors would be willing to purchase the East State Street lot for $200,000, and would be willing to pay a bribe to the mayor in exchange for the price reduction. Giorgianni, in turn, proposed that the City of Trenton set the sale price for the East State Street lot at $100,000 and that the $100,000 difference be split among Mayor Mack, Giorgianni and CC-1. Giorgianni requested a draft offer letter reflecting the $100,000 purchase price for the East State Street lot, which CW-2 provided to Giorgianni on May 23, 2012.

Moments after a May 29, 2012, meeting with Mayor Mack, Giorgianni called CC-1 and stated, “I got the okay from you know who, right? Tell [Trenton Official-1] to get that letter out, today.” CC-1 then met with Trenton Official-1, whose responsibilities included negotiating the sale of city-owned property, and requested Trenton Official-1 to issue the $100,000 offer letter. Trenton Official-1, in turn, called Mayor Mack, who, instead of discussing the matter over the telephone, directed Trenton Official-1 to meet him in person. Trenton Official-1 then met with the mayor, who approved the letter offering the East State Street lot to CW-2 and the investors for $100,000, and the offer letter was issued that day.

The Drug Distribution Conspiracy 

Giorgianni, along with eight other defendants, also appeared in court today facing oxycodone distribution charges. (Neither Mayor Mack or Ralphiel Mack were charged with the narcotics conspiracy.)
According to the Complaint:

Oxycodone, the active ingredient in brand name pills such as Oxycontin, Roxicodone and Percocet, is a Schedule II controlled substance - meaning that it has a high potential for abuse.

Giorgianni organized and oversaw a Trenton-based oxycodone distribution conspiracy responsible for the distribution of thousands of oxycodone pills. Giorgianni arranged for the sale of pain pills prescribed to him and facilitated the distribution of oxycodone prescribed to some of the other defendants and others in this case. JoJo’s Steakhouse, a sandwich shop that Giorgianni owned and that Mary Manfredo operated, served as a front for this drug distribution organization and a clearing house, where prescription pain pills were stored, provided to drug dealers for distribution, and where narcotics proceeds were returned. The investigation uncovered evidence that Giorgianni and the other coconspirators used a doctor and pharmacy in Mercer County and another doctor in Essex County to obtain and fill these prescriptions, which were in large part obtained through fraud.

Numerous conversations were intercepted on the wiretaps among Giorgianni, other defendants named in the complaint, and CC-1, prior to the time CC-1 began cooperating with authorities on June 21, 2012. Based on the recorded conversations and information subsequently learned from CC-1, Anthony Dimatteo, Ralph Dimatteo Sr. and Giuseppe “Joseph” Scordato, distributed prescription pain medication fraudulently obtained on behalf of the operation. In one recorded conversation, Scordato described to Giorgianni his efforts to cause an individual, who according to Scordato had just undergone open heart surgery, to become addicted to oxycodone by providing this individual with a free pill as a sample. Giorgianni, in many intercepted telephone calls, used coded language such as “steaks” to refer to the prescription pain pills.

CC-1 was supplied prescription pain medication from Eugene Brown, an Atlantic City resident, a portion of which Mark Bethea would distribute and a portion of which was delivered to Jojo’s Steakhouse for distribution. Carol Kounitz and Stephanie Lima also fraudulently obtained prescription pain medication and provided this medication to CC-1 to be distributed.

Giorgianni, who has a prior felony conviction, also is charged with unlawfully possessing four firearms which, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, were recovered from his residence during the execution of a search warrant. Eugene Brown, who also has a prior felony conviction, is charged with unlawfully possessing a loaded firearm, found in his residence during the execution of a search warrant.

The drug conspiracy count with which the defendants are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The felon in possession of firearms counts, with which Giorgianni and Brown are each charged, is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric W. Moran and Matthew J. Skahill of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Trenton and Camden, respectively.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


BREAKING: Boys of Summer Strike - Trenton Mayor Tony Mack Arrested

The Boys of Summer have struck again and this time it's Trenton Mayor Tony Mack placed under arrest along with others including Mack's brother for corruption involving a developer.

The mayor is accused of taking $119,000.  In Hoboken, the Old Guard calls that plural sum "a mistake."  Gosh, these stories are so easy, they write themselves, over and over.

Video Trenton Mayor Tony Mack perp walk courtesy of NBC News 4 New York

The full story:

FBI Criminal Complaint against Trenton Mayor and others for corruption
Mack, Tony, Et Al.,Corruption Complaint

Talking Ed Note:  Congratulations to the FBI for their successful takedown of another politically corrupt enterprise, this time in the NJ State Capital.

Sadly, resources used against corruption take away resources needed to protect our Republic against enemies foreign and domestic.  MSV strongly advocates the maximum penalty imposed considering the duress this nation is under and the eleventh anniversary of 9-11 tomorrow.

God bless all the noble people serving our Republic in the FBI and the US Attorney's Office.  They make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of our city, state and country.

Thank you!!

Grist for the Mill: Old Guard hopes to unseat Mayor Zimmer in disarray

The Post Labor Day window was the predicted timeline for the Old Guard to unify behind one candidate and marshall its efforts to unseat Mayor Dawn Zimmer reclaiming City Hall, the $100 million budget and the jobs going with it.

A week after the holiday, a referendum on the ballot will likely see the scheduled May municipal elections move to November and with it chaos is already breaking out in the Old Guard ranks.

Last month a source with a window into the Old Guard's room revealed the yelling had already started with the last Old Guard meeting ended.

The Russo clan wanting a Russo hand where they feel most comfortable - on the loot - argue against ally and sometimes foe Frank "Pupie" Raia's viability as a candidate.  Raia who is more than capable of self-funding a professional race as he did in the fall of 2009 is not taking too kindly to the lack of support.  He finds the disrespect sufficient to turn on the Old Guard as he did to Chris Campos in the 2007 fourth ward council race highlighting his past support saying it's high time for them to support him (for a change).

Will Pupie take his base of support numbering in the thousands and stay home or will he use it as a peace treaty pipe venturing over to City Hall?  He's threatening the latter maybe in the hopes of yielding support for uncompleted projects ending the dance of death among the Old Guard and cutting his losses.

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos astutely even lacking the results of a late summer Beth Mason poll knows what others are starting to see; the mayor is not a doe in the woods after all but a formidable professional opponent who has built a more than sizable list of achievements.  There's word he has rebuilt a severed relationship with his state sponsor, the dual office holding State Senator and Union City powerhouse mayor Brian Stack.  One paying political job is better than nothing may be the thinking.

That also ends the funding problems since his April fundraiser at the Elysian Cafe.  Hoboken's new pay to play restrictions are strangling his and others' efforts to route campaign loot into town and a popular incumbent mayor doesn't encourage people to open their wallets either.

Tim Occhipinti who grew more petulant with every passing City Council meeting thinking he was the Old Guard Mayoral Sock Puppet Selection of the Day has been brought down to earth.  He thought having his name in the Old Guard mix would at a point sooner advance him as the pick and Democratic Committee figurehead/chair Jaime Cryan tells anyone who'll listen Occhipinti is the smartest person on the council dais.  Only one problem; no one's listening who isn't laughing.

Did anyone really believe all the horrid moments of Timmy on tape at City Council meeting were going to launch a 75K help desk analyst to the mayor's seat?

Even Al Sullivan came out in his column last week saying it's every man for himself in the Old Guard.  For the unyielding pro-Old Guard Hudson Reporter that's akin to throwing in the towel or giving up the ghost.  Truth isn't exactly their standby under this administration.  One reason why they can't keep a reporter on the Hoboken beat very long.  They are on number three this year and there's months left in 2012.

For the Old Guard and the corrupt institutions backing them, the feeding always starts from the top with the top piranha looking to chow down on the rest.  The real question is if Old Hoboken wants to play along any more?  Eyes are being opened and people are waking up there's another way than bowing down to a band of thieves for the scraps.

2013 Mayoral contender Frank "Pupie" Raia is reportedly unhappy with the
support or lack thereof among his allies.  He ran a strong mayoral campaign in
the fall of 2009 and has the itch to do so again but he's not getting respect/backing. 

Talking Ed Note:  Speaking of referendum regalia, the Wiley Coyote, Eric Kurta was the messenger of all roll counts taking petitions to the City Clerk's office for a tally one afternoon last month and who walks in not ten minutes later filling out an OPRA request to obtain a copy of the same petitions?

None other than Mason Civic League employee and political operative Matt Calicchio.  Guess there were no exhibits needing to be taken down or put up on the walls at 12th and Washington.  Give credit where due, that's the Old Guard efficiency at work.

Da Horsey is not pointing any fingers at anyone or the City Clerk's office.  It was however common knowledge the Old Guard was hungry to get copies of the petitions.  Someone got word out and quickly.

The Board of Education race is officially on.  Emails are circulating from someone claiming in the  sender line to be "the BoE."  It goes on to promote the new Raia backed ticket in this week's page three space "owned" by Councilwoman Beth Mason.  The only true question is who's paying?

WANTED: New members for the Community Emergency Response Team

City of Hoboken announces:

Interested Community Members Invited to Apply for Training

The City of Hoboken seeks to continue to build its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and has scheduled a CERT training program for community members interested in volunteering.

CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.

If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learned during training. These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. CERT skills also apply to daily emergencies.

If interested in joining CERT, please download and complete the application ( and return by email to Participation in CERT requires the successful completion of a training course on a range of subject matter specific to emergency response and disaster relief.

All classes will be conducted at the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 707 Clinton Street starting at 7:00 pm and ending at 9:30 pm. The training schedule is as follows:

10/23/2012 - Disaster Preparedness
10/30/2012 - Fire safety
11/6/2012 - Disaster Medical Operations 1
11/13/2012 - Disaster Medical Operations 2
11/15/2012 - Light Search and Rescue Operations
11/29/2012 - CERT Organization
12/6/2012 - Disaster Psychology
12/13/2012 - Terrorism and CERT

A final exam will be at the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps at a date to be determined.

Participants must attend every module of training as well as participate in the final emergency simulation exercise in order to receive certification as a fully trained CERT Team member.

Upon completion of the training, each participant will be issued a CERT Member Emergency Kit to maintain for future deployments.

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