Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SLAPP forces first slap back with Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund

Update: Thanks to everyone who has supported this effort to protect the right of Hoboken citizens to speak truth to power.  For those who prefer to use Paypal, you may do so anonymously using a credit or debit card.

Contributions are confidential and are not tax deductible.  No tax penalty is incurred for any contributions less than $13,000.

Again, thanks kindly to everyone who is extending generous support.  The battle is being waged for the right to criticize those connected to power in Hoboken and as one pundit noted, this political attack on speech in the Mile Square comes with big elections ahead.

This in the end this is about seeking to silence voices exposing the Old Guard and its adherents.

The First Amendment says government shall not infringe on the freedom of speech.  
In Hoboken, speech is under attack leading into election season.  That's no coincidence.


August 2012

Our society has sadly become litigious and it was at a City Council meeting where former Corporation Counsel Michael Kates, an ethics and municipal government expert marveled at the extent of litigation directed at the City of Hoboken.

At $2 million, this SLAPP would fit right in with the City.

MSV in operation for more than three years never foresaw becoming party to a SLAPP - Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation but we're not alone.  In this case, we are simply one of 12 with the threat made of more being added.

As a result, we're forced to reach out to the community for assistance and announce the Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund, a non-tax deductible entity to mount a rigorous defense.

Please make out the check or money order to the Hoboken Free Speech Legal Defense Fund.




       


You may also send a check or money order (for those who prefer to contribute anonymously that way) to:


Hoboken Free Speech LDF
c/o Roman Brice
1032 Hudson Street
Apt. 1S
Hoboken, NJ 07030



Thank you kindly in advance for any and all support!

Beth Mason to Ian Sacs: 'No one gets out of here alive'

The midnight flier distributed in the second ward this week has all the earmarks of a distraction manufactured to keep Hoboken from focusing on an uncomfortable issue; the investigation into Mike Russo's missing campaign information at the time FBI informant Solomon Dwek handed out candy to every Hudson County crook in sight.

The questions remain outstanding and Mike Russo has dropped out of sight conveniently missing the last council meeting and there's an obvious "stand down" order not to talk about it at all.  Scott Siegel, a good government Hoboken activist for years must be scratching his head why the political operatives have dropped out of sight on his Hoboken Patch page.  Typically, they hijack whatever story he prints and change the subject to any number of political attacks. Not this time.

It's complete radio silence over there as throughout the Hoboken blogosphere.  On NJ.com a concerted effort to delete references to Mike Russo's uncomfortable FBI informant Solomon Dwek problems has been ongoing there since the story broke here a week back.  Only one link MSV posted remains and that happens when the comment has been up for a period of time where requests emailed to take it down are no longer done automatically.

When this rarity of silence happens as it did after the FBI swept into City Hall in May last year, the orders have come down from on high in the Old Guard camp: no talking and STAY OFF THE INTERNET!

In this case the order would come from "the boss" and that's Ma Russo.  Last year the silence continued over weeks and then into months as the Old Guard sought to withstand an assault by the FBI who was actively knocking on doors.  Everyone connected to the Old Guard was afraid to talk or say anything to anyone, especially on the phone, well other than spreading the meme the FBI had come for Mayor Zimmer.

Stop laughing.

The silence at present has exactly the same telltale signs as then.  Old Guard stalwart Perry Belfiore, the champion of all things political has disappeared from Hoboken Patch and he avoids commenting here for fear of being taken to task by the vigorous sometimes exuberant commenters in these parts.  Is that another tell?

At the last City Council meeting, Beth Mason complained Ian Sacs was being given consulting work as he transitions from his Parking & Transportation director role and moving his family to Europe. This from the councilwoman who has an army of consultants and multiple political consulting companies on the payroll not to mention what some estimate to be more than half a dozen lawyers in multiple states seeking to prosecute more than a dozen members of the Hoboken public's use of the First Amendment.

Mason's complaint fell flat in the council meeting and the media rolled their eyes, yawned and tried to keep from falling asleep in another typical attack screed she delivers with regularity.

Enter this Prince of Darkness style midnight flier with all the earmarks of a Vision Media - Paul Swibinski operation minus the comic book garish colors.

Add some cheesy colors and this has Beth Mason's fingerprints all over it.
It was also distributed in the second ward, re: "the waterfront area" as the Hudson Reporter
described it.  They definitely got another Mason political operative phone call.

With municipal elections very likely more than a year off after the November referendum, this is clearly geared to making some headlines changing the narrative.

The Hudson Reporter decided to "cover" the story meaning they got the call from a Beth Mason political operative and agreed to get "the message" out.  In their fine journalistic tradition, it doesn't look like they tried to reach the person being attacked - Ian Sacs - to hear his comment about what consulting work he may possibly do for the city in the transition as he departs.  (MSV knows how that works with them from experience more than once in recent weeks.)

The City communications manager said there was no consulting agreement in place with Sacs. No matter, the Hudson Reporter was given its orders and is getting the Mason message out.  Call them the new Hoboken411 with Mason ad space published almost every week on page 3 this year!

The real question isn't if the story will germinate into something more, it won't.  The question at hand is will it remove the heat from Mike Russo who is under investigation for hiding required campaign transactions from his Russo for Hoboken campaign.

That same information would reveal once and for all whether he deposited thousands of dollars into the campaign account he directed over a lunch in Jersey City in the spring of 2009.  Those funds transactions would reveal if Mike Russo did in fact deposit monies from the bribe agreed upon over lunch.

Let's repeat for the obtuse who think it's merely a request from a bunch of citizens who Russo doesn't have to answer to at the end of the day if he doesn't feel like it.  This isn't about any citizens' request, it's about...

An investigation.

An investigation.

An investigation by a legally mandated government authority.

Will Mike Russo continue to ignore that too?

One last embrace?  Beth Mason embraces Michael Russo before a special City Council meeting last fall.  
Is the midnight flier effort one last distraction among allies or is it for other reasons?

As for Director Ian Sacs, he departs after implementing a long list of notable accomplishments in Hoboken leaving a legacy of renewal with other cities looking at Hoboken as a model.  One who did among others is San Antonio.

He replaced a criminal in the form of his predecessor who looted a cool million from the parking meters and for his efforts Sacs received regular abuse from Michael Russo and the Old Guard at City Council meetings.

Now Beth Mason wants him to know he can't just walk away in glory.

No one gets out of here alive.


Talking Ed Note: Grafix Avenger has more on this and some insights on Beth Mason's plans to bypass the local laws on filling the open at-large council seat nominating a Mason political operative for the position.

The court decision: Andriani vs. City of Hoboken

Complete legal document:


Andriani Decision