Tim Occhipinti nailed in pay-to-play scam by Star Ledger runs to police for protection - from one question
Last night's budget hearing hearing held little drama. More of the usual attempts at a gotcha moment by Councilman Michael Russo who thought he had his golden moment when he said insurance costs to the City were $400K more than the year prior, not the $1.5 million quoted by the Administration.
Shown where the other $1.1 million in insurance costs resided ended his effort but not the Old Guard noise that followed as Tim Occhipinti pretended refusing to pay 900K in terminal leave to retiring members of the fire department members was a noble poison pill to force into the budget rather than pay over five years as allowed by State law. Lots of misinformation by the bucket load with prepared remarks by Councilwoman Terry Castellano followed with mythology about the mayor's introduced budget raising taxes.
Councilwoman Jen Giattino corrected the record, not for the first time on that obvious fabrication.
After a less than dramatic 7-1 vote passing the budget amendment concluded the council meeting, one question from behind the dais barrier was posed to Tim Occhipinti on his 2015 campaign expenditures. Grafix Avenger had charted the receipt and expenditures leaving many questions unanswered, namely is Occhipinti running a "Birdsall" scam collecting numerous small donations unidentified from nefarious donors below the $300 threshold?
Occhipinti who has never handled questions well, relied on a scripted binder of answers he read from in a 2010 debate at the Jubilee Center. He didn't like the one question posed on his campaign finances last night either.
At first, he ignored the simple question. As the question is clearly heard from four feet away, Michael Russo makes a weak attempt to distract but the question is asked again as Occhipinti walks down the aisle.
So the question is asked again. Occhipinti continues to refuse to address the question turning suddenly with a "face injection" then says without an ounce of sincerity "I'm sorry." This is met in the mostly empty chambers with much laughter by the Old Guard crew in the back: Michele "five-bucks-a-tow" Russo, Beth Mason political operative Matt Calicchio and Michael Russo.
Out the council chamber door Tim Occhipinti goes. MSV follows asking the simple question again. Occhipinti pivots and makes a threatening sticking his face in inches away and says, "Why are you getting in my face?"
The matter of fact reply, "You're getting in my face" as the camera keeps rolling showing exactly that.
Occhipinti decides leaving City Hall is not the way to end the Q&A and makes a plea to the police officer to help him. The question on campaign finances is repeated again. Then he threatens to file charges over the one simple question asked. Occhipinti claims MSV is not a reporter and tells the police officer to ask for "credentials." MSV informs the officer no such thing is required to ask a question of an elected official.
Beth Mason goes by kvetching along the same lines as Occhipinti with Matt Calicchio in tow. Occhipinti departs with Matt Calicchio and Beth Mason. One thing is clear; Tim Occhipinti is unhappy with the stories appearing in media about his pay-to-play secret Birdsall contribution and doesn't want to address his odd "2015" campaign finances.
He's gone through thousands of dollars, mostly from unnamed "secret" donors and there's no campaign in sight.
Do you think Tim Occhipinti is hiding other Birdsall type donor monies beneath the radar?
Talking Ed Note: Neither Beth Mason nor Tim Occhipinti have a shred of respect for the First Amendment and surely this NJ story won't help either. Frankly, it's embarrassing people such as this hold public office.
Hoboken's Old Guard hates sunlight. Prefers to keep censored news on Hoboken411 sponsored by Beth Mason or the Mason Media complex media who "play ball." When something bad surfaces they go into hiding until the questions are not asked. Or as in the SLAPP suit last summer, the obvious question on Beth Mason's role is never asked.
Related: Some background on the NJ legal system on who holds the rights of a journalist. To people like Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti who look at the First Amendment as tissue paper, this is a most unwelcome development.
They can't even handle a simple question.