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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Star Ledger nails Tim Occhipinti in pay-to-play scam

The Star Ledger's latest story on engineering firm Birdsall's pay-to-play scandal reveals a number of New Jersey politicians caught taking secret illicit funds.  In Hoboken, two names appear on the list: Tim Occhipinti, the occupant of the fourth ward council seat and former mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano.

Tim Occhipinti is shown receiving $300 in a "secret" payment in the fourth ward special election back in late 2010.

The Hoboken politicians snared in the breaking Star Ledger story on secret "pay-to-play" payments are Tim Occhipinti 
and former mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano.  The "S" stands for "secret."


That Tim Occhipinti is the current Hoboken politician taking the loot with Peter Cammarano won't come as a surprise to many close observers of Hoboken's corrupt political scene.  Back in 2010, many called Occhipinti a Cammarano clone minus the smarts.  Occhipinti was the poster child of the late Maurice Fitzgibbons who wanted to get back into the political game and run his Cammarano playbook again.

Fitzgibbons obviously succeeded right down his Cammrano-lite protege getting snared in illicit, secret cash contributions.

Tim Occhipinti also has received funds from an employee of NJ Transit, an almost picture perfect imitation of the Birdsall scam where employees would write monies to pols for under $300 to escape any written record of the contribution.  The firm would then repay the employees with bonuses and other payments to make them whole.

The secret "pay-to-play" scheme became unglued during a divorce of a Birdsall employee caught on tape explaining how the scam worked.

In recent council meetings, Occhipinti has bitterly complained about contracts going to a Birdsall engineering competitor firm Boswell.  He's also reportedly said the engineering contracts should be "spread around."

Tim Occhipinti has voted against contracts in Hoboken for engineering firm Boswell on a number of occasions, some in the past year alone related to repairs due to SuperStorm Sandy.

In addition, the same pay-to-play scheme using employees also appears to be similar to a $2,000 payment Tim Occhipinti received from an NJ Transit employee.  Occhipinti was reported by MSV to be very cozy with NJ Transit officials at public meetings on developments plans in southern Hoboken.

MSV noted while the public went to various breakdown sessions to look at models on what the City of Hoboken felt were positive ways to incorporate the NJ Transit proposal, Tim Occhipinti ignored both the plans and the Hoboken public and remained glued to the side of the NJ Transit officials who completely ignored the sessions going on around them.

The MSV story, "Sign of Tim's Times: NJ Transit, the constituent that matters most," showed Tim Occhipinti standing with NJ Transit's John Leon.

A NJ Transit employee gave Tim Occhipinti $2,000 back in the 4th ward special election in a similar method to
how Birdsall used employees to move money to politicians.  The difference is the NJ Transit employee's contribution
was far larger.  Why would a Maplewood, NJ resident be giving $2,000 to a Hoboken political race? 

Talking Ed Note: The embarrassment being caught in this pay-to-play scam means at a minimum Tim Occhipinti should return that $300 and also the NJ Transit employee's $2,000 as they are obviously the same type of scam.

Then the Boys of Summer, that's the FBI to you new readers, should do what they do best and extract the maximum out of Timmy.  MSV is pretty sure this is above and beyond any existing "deal."

Deals are the operative word in Hoboken these days.  Patrick Ricciardi is scheduled to be sentenced July 1 for his part in the Data Theft Conspiracy Ring on July 1st.  It ain't a conspiracy until all the other birdies sing and smoke out their co-conspirators.

Can't wait.

Grafix Avenger covered this breaking story from a similar and different vantage point.

Related: Hoboken Patch has also published a comprehensive story on the Hoboken pols Birdsall scandal naming 2009 BoE candidates Frank "Pupie" Raia, Hector Irizarry and Anthony Oland.

Hoboken Patch also reports Freeholder Anthony Romano received $625 in three contributions.

Anthony Oland who was a BoE candidate on the notorious Move Forward campaign last November featuring a campaing ad on the Nazi Truck underwritten by Beth Mason has also filed to run in the BoE race this fall.