Friday, November 6, 2015

Hudson Report attempts to cover up Ravi Bhalla 'defamation'


Hudson Reporter caught in flagrante delicto secretly changing incriminating stories against Councilman Ravi Bhalla with no public disclosures

The Hudson Reporter,  flatly exposed issuing false assertions against Ravi Bhalla and his law firm by erroneously stating it controls the existing legal contract in the Hoboken Housing Authority, is attempting to cover up that misstatement among others.

The cover up entails changing stories online in a likely attempt to bury statements that under NJ law are grounds for a defamation action. Yesterday, MSV pondered if one false statement was defamatory as it relates to both Bhalla's and his law firm's economic livelihood.

The public silence from the Hudson Reporter may be partly due to being caught with their pants down in a less than obsequious political attack meant to tarnish Bhalla, his law firm and their respective business reputations.

Bhalla is the current Hoboken City Council President, a force in the current Reform movement while the Hudson Reporter is a charter member of the Mason Media Complex, seeking to undermine the movement at every turn on behalf of its Old Guard allegiances and real estate interests tied to its origins.

The Hudson Reporter and Al Sullivan: looking to sully Councilman
Ravi Bhalla. Again. Less than transparent misstatements are changed
in a cover up replaced with yet new misstatements. Defamation anyone?

In an indirect response to MSV, the Hudson Reporter -- with no public acknowledgement, correction, retraction or apology -- changed yesterday's story on at least one other story: in Al Sullivan's column last week "Between the Lines," replacing blatant erroneous statements with new misinformation.

The Hudson Reporter revised story states Bhalla's current law firm was an active bidder for the HHA contract to recently replace the Carmelo Garcia advocate and longtime holdover Charles Daglian.

According to a well-placed source, the reworked misrepresentation open another pathway to false and reckless disregard for the truth in the aftermath of the Hoboken City Council elections. Some view the false statements as pent up anger that the Garcia "ethnic cleansing" litigation emails failed to generate the intended election outcome. The Hudson Reporter, unlike the Hudson County View, failed to publish any emails in whole or in part, choosing to tell the public what to think about them and how they may tie to conspiracy theories.

Last week, Reform trounced the Hudson Reporter's Old Guard allies in four of five contested council races Tuesday and awaits the County's certification of its 7-2 council majority come January.

In the November 1 edition of the Hudson Reporter, Al Sullivan wrote as fact that Ravi Bhalla's law firm had taken over the legal contract, pointing a guilt-laden finger indicting him by saying he had "reason for keeping the emails quiet," in the Carmelo Garcia "ethnic cleansing" litigation.

Hudson Distorter venom: Councilman Ravi Bhalla had "reasons for keeping the emails quiet" since he "eventually" joined a "firm that replaced the HHA attorney." Sully only soiled himself and the HR.

Sullivan went on to state Bhalla's law firm replaced the HHA attorney. In truth, not only had the firm Florio Perucci not taken over the HHA legal contract, it hadn't even submitted a bid when Daglian was eventually replaced under interim Executive Director Bob DiVincent.

The Hudson Reporter fixed the problematic story secretly altering the online version almost a week later. The new version incorrectly states Bhalla's law firm "vied" for the HHA legal contract.

The addition of the word "vied" leads readers to believe the law firm in question bid on the latest legal contract in the HHA.

Except it never happened.

The one time Florio Perucci bid on the legal contract came in early 2013 and it lost the vote on a resolution presented under the previous board months before Councilman Bhalla would interview and later be hired by the firm. The Hudson Reporter did not clarify or correct any of these facts, another woeful attempt at misdirection and sleight of hand.

In the middle of the night Thursday, the Hudson Reporter was still at it, pumping out new distortions with an eye on muddying up Councilman Ravi Bhalla further. In that story, the statement clearly says Florio, Perucci was among "new firms vying to represent the Housing Authority....(and) also employs Ravi Bhalla.

Again, the misrepresentation is not slick enough. In this case, there's no evidence whatsoever to show any bid was submitted to the Housing Authority under Bob Divencent after Florio Perruci had brought Councilman Ravi Bhalla on board.

This is an obvious example of the worst kind of yellow journalism in league with the likes of Hoboken411, where half-truths and distortions were manufactured by Perry Klaussen's ghostwriting minion aligned at the hip of Beth Mason week in and week out until the FBI arrived into town to investigate tens of thousands of stolen emails out of the mayor's office in 2011.

The Hudson Reporter when challenged in a MSV email yesterday to editor Caren Matzner, publisher Dave Unger and Al Sullivan offered no response to why it stated a contract was issued to Bhalla's law firm, Florio Perucci, where none existed.

The secret alterations by the Hudson Reporter to recent stories in the face of public inquiry is a major journalistic violation -- but worse, in the legal context of a possible defamation claim it's an admission against interest.

Business as usual at the pro Old Guard rag, the Distorter.

Talking Ed Note: The Hudson Reporter, called the Hudson Distorter by many has seen frequent criticism for its open antagonism toward the Reform movement and its leader Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

In addition to the cover up operation surrounding Councilman Ravi Bhalla, the Hudson Reporter took quick action when the facts of its hit job were highlighted in the comment section.

The following comment was published but censored and quickly removed.

While the Hudson Reporter was cleaning up its misinformation against Ravi Bhalla without issuing any correction, retraction or apology this comment vanished after it pointed to the fact Ravi Bhalla's law firm had not been contracted for the Hoboken Housing Authority's contract. Viva the cover-up!

Let's see what happens if MSV readers attempt to link to this story and cite the factual problems of the Hudson Reporter's "objective journalism."

Warning: your personal information may be collected and distributed with other distinguishing information re: email registration ala Hoboken411.

Caution is the watchword. After all, this is the Hudson Distorter, home of Beth Mason's Media Complex.

Update: After lobbing misinformation upon misinformation against Councilman Ravi Bhalla, the Hudson Reporter threw in the towel and actually printed a rare (first in years?) correction. The equivocating is largely missing and no additional mud is replaced with more mud this time.

The context is not quite compete noting current Chair Dana Wefer conducted an actual, real open search for legal counsel. As MSV stated, Florio Perucci was not a bidder in that process.

The legal counsel contract processes were conducted almost a year and a half apart and by a reconstituted Hoboken Housing Authority board.

The reason the hole was dug so deep was the political bias in seeking to do a hit job against Councilman Bhalla leading into an important Hoboken council election.

The Hudson Reporter waves the white flag. After repeated false statements against Councilman Ravi Bhalla, it's printed a correction  of sorts pointing to a vote on the Hoboken Housing Authority a full year and a half earlier. That was some real sullying work there, even for the Hudson Distorter.

Hoboken police chief: We need 100 men on duty to combat Halloween chaos

The following story comes courtesy of John Heinis at the Hudson County View:

Police Chief Ken Ferrante urged the City Council to budget for 100 officers to be on duty for Halloween weekend next year after the partying got out of hand last week – with incidents that included cops getting punched in the mouth and tased.


For the complete story see the Hudson County View:

Neumann Leathers plan heads to Planning Board

The following report comes courtesy of John Heinis at the Hudson County View:

The Hoboken City Council unanimously approved the first reading of the Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan, which means it will now be reviewed at the next planning board meeting.

For the complete story, please see the Hudson County View:

Jen Giattino: 'Thank you for your support and rejecting the smear jobs'

Dear Neighbors:
I write to thank 6th Ward residents for all of their support on election day.    
I am proud that I will continue to be able to represent the best neighborhood in one of the best small cities in America.  
I will continue to push for the neighborhood improvements essential to our quality of life, for holding the line on taxes and spending and for open and honest government.  

Campaigning  over the past few months, gave  me the opportunity to meet 
new residents as well as to connect with longtime residents. I will continue to listen to your concerns and work to find solutions.  
This kind of personal contact enables me to learn first hand about people's priorities and problems.  I know this campaign experience will make me a better Councilwoman. 
It is gratifying to see that people rejected the false and negative attacks.
Your confidence in me will be rewarded with my best efforts to fight for our neighborhood and all of Hoboken--and to make sure that we seize on the major opportunities I believe are in front of us to make a great place to live--even greater.


Jen Giattino

Council President Ravi Bhalla expresses gratitude for the grassroots and voter participation

Dear Friends,

I write to express my gratitude to all of you who voted, volunteered, expressed support, and made your voice heard on Tuesday in a crucial election that sent a strong message: Hoboken is ready to continue to push forward and thrive rather than turn back to the problems of past. The election results this week are nothing less than a loud and clear mandate from the citizens of Hoboken that they support honest, competent, and hard working City Council Members who can work with Mayor Zimmer to keep moving our city forward.

I want to congratulate Councilman-Elect Michael DeFusco and Councilwoman-Elect Tiffanie Fisher, and look forward to working with them starting in January 2016.  They both ran great campaigns - not just by pointing out what needs to be changed but by also proposing viable solutions. They should be commended for their hard work and I know they'll make Hoboken proud.

I also want to extend congratulations to Councilman Peter Cunningham and Councilwoman Jen Giattino, who both fought hard, running an honest campaign based on their records.  In these elections too, the residents spoke and the message was clear: Hoboken wants honest, hard-working and effective Council Members to continue their good work for the community.

I also want to congratulate Dana Wefer on a great run for 4th Ward Councilwoman. Dana ran an idea-focused, positive campaign and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future as she continues to be a terrific chairwoman of the Hoboken Housing Authority Board!
While I am happy to hear Tom Kluepfel won his race for Board of Education, it is unfortunate that two great candidates, Sheillah Dallara and Addys Velez, did not succeed in their bids.  Both Sheillah and Addys are dedicated to our schools and the community, and I’m sure they will continue to be actively involved in making our public schools even better. Given the outcome of this Board of Education election, it is more critical than ever that we support our Superintendent, Christine Johnson, the Board Majority, attend Board of Education meetings, and make our voices heard.

I am also excited to have a new ally and a great representative from Hoboken serving us in Trenton. Annette Chaparro, who overwhelmingly was elected to the General Assembly, will be an absolutely fantastic representative for the 33rd District.  It is refreshing to know that Hoboken will finally have a partner in Trenton committed to working with Mayor Zimmer and advancing the interests of Hoboken.

Even though election season is over, our work is just beginning. Now that we will have a productive, positive council, I look forward to addressing the problems we face with common sense solutions. We need more green building and resiliency parks to fight flooding. We need smart development. We need to consider and implement more possible solutions to our parking problem. We need to fix our roads. And we need to do it soon!

In closing, please continue to stay involved in our community. We need residents to speak up all the time, not just during election season. Please, take an interest in the betterment of our community. Attend meetings. Provide feedback on projects. We need to hear from you in order to better our City. We need to know what residents want in order to make positive change. If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact me at any time at 201-647-6090 or by email at

Ravinder S. Bhalla 
City Council President

Hoboken 2015 Election tallies by ward and district

The following tables for Hoboken's 2015 ward races including district come courtesy of Kurt Gardiner.

All tallies are less provisional ballots.

Talking Ed NoteIn the sixth ward, a voting machine broke and voters came out of the booth saying they did not see their votes tallied after hitting the button in the 6-5 district. 

This is a very strong Reform district so it's likely Jen Giattino may have accidentally lost almost 100 votes there.  

The undervote in the 6-5 was the highest by far of any contested race in the city. So IMHO, Jen Giattino likely saw  closer to 800 votes ballpark. The issue will be raised with the County but it's unclear what remedy if any is even available. It's not anyone's fault and doesn't change Councilwoman Giattino's decisive victory.

The Tea Building turned out and produced a decisive 278 votes for Tiffanie Fisher in the second ward.

In the third ward, Operation Mayhem rose up leading to a huge "Personal Choice" victory for Solomon Dwek. The 48 votes manually produced far surpassed all others combined across the city.

Congratulations to Solomon Dwek!

Mayor Zimmer: 'Thanks to everyone for making this Hoboken opportunity to move forward'

Hoboken's mayor Dawn Zimmer announces:

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Dear Friend,
Tuesday was a great day for Hoboken!  I am very excited to get to work with our newly elected and re-elected Team!  Thanks to your support, Peter Cunningham and Jen Giattino were re-elected to the City Council and voters in the 1st and 2nd Wards resoundingly chose Mike DeFusco and Tiffanie Fisher as their new Council representatives!
I couldn't be prouder that voters overwhelmingly chose to elect and re-elect candidates truly committed to making Hoboken an even better place for all residents. Your vote on Tuesday made it loud and clear that you want elected officials who will continue to move Hoboken forward in a positive direction, instead of dividing our City for political gain.
I can't wait to begin working with Mike and Tiffanie as City Council Members and know that they will join Jen and Peter, Ravi, Dave and Jim to continue the tremendous progress we've made over the past several years. I also want to congratulate Dana Wefer for running an issue-based campaign in the 4th Ward. I know there are only great things for Dana in the years ahead, and look forward to continuing to work with her as the Chairwoman on the Hoboken Housing Authority. I congratulate Tom Kluepfel on his re-election to the School Board and look forward to working with Annette Chaparro as our great new representative in the State Assembly.

Most importantly, thanks to all of you who came out and donated to our team, volunteered throughout the campaign, took on the challenging task of being a Challenger, and stood by our candidates through thick and thin during the last several weeks and months. I also want to give a special thank you to Council President Ravi Bhalla for his tireless efforts throughout the campaign, and to our GOTV leadership team of Christian Duffy and Vijay Chaudhuri!  Our strong positive results on Election Day are an affirmation that the people of Hoboken want to keep our City moving forward in a positive direction.  This would not have been possible without all your support!
Thanks again,

Mayor Dawn Zimmer

Tim Occhipinti expresses thanks

From the desk of Councilman Tim Occhipinti:

Friends and Neighbors,

I wanted to say thank you for your support on Tuesday and express my sincerest gratitude. Although the results were disappointing, I am thankful for all we have accomplished together over the last five years. 

The ward is a far better place today than it was five years ago.

It has truly been an honor and a privilege to represent you. This has always been about service for me and I am extremely grateful to have had this experience.

Now it is time for new adventures and Hoboken Volunteers Chili Cook-Off in 2016!
Tim Occhipinti
4th Ward Councilman
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