Monday, July 15, 2013

Beth Mason political operative James Barracato identified in EmailGate

Terry Castellano email surrounding confidential legal request connects long time Mason operative James Barracato

A Weehawken based political consultant and long time paid Beth Mason political operative is the individual identified on a sensitive legal email request to the Corporation Counsel office by Councilwoman Terry Castellano.

2015 Update: Barracato confirmed Nazi Truck Mastermind!

Days before the November election, James Barracato was working with Beth Mason on the Move 
Forward BoE campaign hosted by the Mason Civic League office on upper Washington.  That 
BoE slate became notorious for its use of the "Nazi Truck" showing videos of a Nazi swastika all 
over Hoboken with attackson Kids First, Mayor Zimmer, council members Peter Cunningham, 
Jen Giattino, MSV and Grafix Avenger.

Multiple sources confirm the name appearing on the email request is James "FinBoy" Barracato.

Barracato who sits on a board as a founding member of the Mason Civic League is also connected to a number of questionable and controversial Hoboken political activities on behalf of Councilwoman Beth Mason.

Back in the spring of 2012, Barracato was exposed pushing information for a Hudson Reporter story which turned out to be dubious and probably manufactured to generate a negative story against MSV and Grafix Avenger.  Questions to the HR editors on the obvious hit job were met with silence after a weeks long effort to get the story to print before being sent to the scrap heap.

Most recently, sources last November pointed to Barracato as being the mastermind of the Nazi Truck where videos of a Nazi Swastika taken from this website were used as part of an attack on the Kids First BoE slate, other reform elected officials and Mayor Zimmer.  The ugly tactics deploying a swastika on a video truck was covered nationally by the Huffington Post and Hoboken's local rabbis requested an apology but none was forthcoming.

Beth Mason has never commented on the Nazi Truck or her role in funding it while Terry Castellano's son John was listed as a co-campaign manager for the controversial Move Forward campaign tied to five Nazi Truck visits last fall.  He offered weak denials on the Nazi Truck before a commercial aired for Move Forward on election night when the Nazi Truck made its fifth appearance in Hoboken and conclusively linked its work directly to the Move Forward campaign.

Castellano last week called the inclusion of Barracato on the request for sensitive legal information "a mistake" saying she would not breech legal obligations as a council member in the future.  In an exchange on the matter with Council President Peter Cunningham, Castellano grew irritated with the suggestion her credibility was in question and the matter was not of public interest but between her and the Corporation Counsel.  Cunningham refused to accept the email as a simple mistake replying "What do you think I was born yesterday?"

Some political observers suggest it may have been a mistake by Castellano - a mistake she had intended to include Barracato as part of a blind cc.  The Old Guard and Hoboken Sopranos have made legal bills an issue seeking political advantage for more than a year.

The Zimmer Administration has responded to the effort citing its 92% success rate in legal cases and pointed to a recent victory where the City won a settlement of $1.5 million with land in northwest Hoboken.  At the last council meeting, Tim Occhipinti bitterly complained about that victory being cast in a positive light claiming it didn't offset the City's 2013 legal bills.

Negative comments by Occhipinti against the City's legal department directly led to the EmailGate revelation when Corporation Counsel Mellissa Longo exposed it as part of listed concerns including what she described as inappropriate personal attacks on her office and the two other lawyers employed by the City.

The latest email scandal comes on the back of the upcoming sentencing in the Patrick Ricciardi case set for July 29th in Newark after he's admitted to hijacking tens of thousands of emails in the mayor's office.

A Jersey Journal story last fall detailed denials by Old Guard council members who said they hadn't received any information directly from Patrick Ricciardi.  However, the ex-wife of Ricciardi said he spent significant time with Councilman Michael Russo on weekends and Beth Mason has provided contradictory answers on her role surrounding the illicit emails.

MSV earlier described Ricciardi looting emails as "open season" on the mayor and referenced the FBI complaint where two officials "requested" information from emails in the mayor's office.

Many observers would not be surprised another route of confidential City information has illicitly gone astray via the Hoboken Sopranos who have demonstrated a craven political objective to destroy the popular Hoboken mayor since she took over from ex-mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano.

Back in 2011, the Old Guard council members made an attempt to sabotage the only viable buyer of the failing Hoboken University Medical Center.  With the hospital's doors days from closing, Terry Castellano dismissed the situation saying, there are "other bidders," and falsely implied the sale under consideration was under investigation.  The process to close the sale to Holdco took almost a year toward completion.

One long time watcher noted Terry Castellano spoke in the exact same terms about her cousin's crimes against the people of Hoboken, the former mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo.  In council meetings when his crimes were mentioned, Castellano said of her cousin, "He made a mistake."

While Anthony Russo eventually pled to taking $300,000 from one city vendor alone, he's believed to have made far more in illicit gains involving numerous other vendors and Hoboken businesses.

To the Hoboken Sopranos, this is summed up as a singular "mistake."

MSV noted a recent visit last May to this website by the FBI. The search by the Feds involved both Beth Mason's shell company Newton Lao Leonard Locke and her political operative James Barracato.

Back in 2011, the firm was designated a sham in a Grafix Avenger story.

It's been cleared up.



Talking Ed Note: More questions remain. What exactly was the information sought by Terry Castellano from the City's legal office and what value did it have for Beth Mason and her political operative James Barracato?

MSV will be following up on this story and calls on Councilwoman Terry Castellano to provide all the relevant information and details to the public.

The breech of protocol for a council member involving a known political operative on sensitive legal information is certainly an important issue in the public interest.