Tuesday, January 29, 2019

State of the City: Corrupt



You can all go home now.

There's a full court press to get people out tonight to see Mayor Ravi Bhalla make a State of the City address. People promised millions on stalled development deals will be there. People who feel the need to bow and kiss the ring in the hopes that one of these development deals cooked up behind closed doors will see their respective group rewarded with seven-figure checks at some point in the future.

There will be others who feel obligated or need to believe other than what the facts show in plain sight one year into the Bhalla Administration.

Pa "Antuny" Russo, the face of Hoboken's corruption past
and welcomed friend of Ravi Bhalla.
He was an invited guest on day one when Ravi Bhalla took office.
The more you know...


The State of the City is corrupt. 

That's the state of our city. Reform is a foregone distant memory, its principles relegated to a whisper with a Hudco Machine mob mentality of power at all costs and political payoffs using taxpayer monies to obtain votes and further unethical abuses of power, seen and unseen.

The mayor's office is occupied not by a Dawn Zimmer type reformer who treated the office with integrity but as a tool for self-enrichment seeking ahead an angle to finagle a congressional seat.

In a single year, Hoboken has seen some positive but limited success under Ravi Bhalla. His mostly inherited budget last spring was thankfully flat. Washington St. is mostly renovated, albeit its completion delayed into this year; coming in more than 50% over budget and likely over $20 million when it's all said and done. That's not Ravi Bhalla's fault. He inherited a boondoggle and had to make the best of it.

What is Ravi Bhalla's fault is his utter contempt for the people of Hoboken as he acts like a part-time mayor and collects from a second "job" at least $60,000 a year in a very shady law firm contract. Many are split on whether it's a no show job or a payoff set up by the law firm he departed as part of a promise to deliver Hudco legal and government contracts under his mayoralty.

In the space of a year, Hoboken has learned much about how Ravi Bhalla conducts government business and learned more than it would like about his executive political personality. Whether it's by choice or by pique, he simply can't work with anyone. An olive branch out of the gate by the City Council to act unified on the challenge at Union Dry Dock was quickly thrown aside as so much garbage.

In its place, Bhalla announced he would destroy most of the council after alleging some members were "beneficiaries" of voter fraud. He had to quickly walk it back without even looking in the direction of his ally, Michael Russo who is in a very sticky situation with the FBI examining voter fraud in the Hoboken 2015 election.  One can only wonder if there was a double cheek kiss on January 1st of 2018 when Ravi Bhalla brought back the unrepentant absolute symbol of Hoboken corruption in former mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo - right back into the mayor's office! Did they make an eternal pledge of loyalty with Councilman Michael Russo that day right where Dawn Zimmer sat and fought tooth and nail against for over eight years?

Hoboken was shocked when it learned of a deep dark secret involving Bhalla last March. A former employee and fellow lawyer was forced to seek justice to the highest court in the state, the NJ Supreme Court to reacquire missing thousands of dollars in monies intended for his retirement account. Bhalla had his former campaign spokesman lie through his teeth calling it an accounting issue. The former employee's complaint took years to find justice but in the end the NJ Supreme Court determined he deserved to have his money given back. In doing so, they also came within one vote of yanking Bhalla's law license outright.

Would that dark secret revealed during the 2017 mayoral race have seen a different outcome? Probably but it's water under the bridge and no one is litigating or come any closer to breaking the Ravi Terror Flyer case to date. Do we really need to see that story break before more eyes are opened?

In recent days, a typical Soprano State pay-to-play scheme has come to light with Ravi Bhalla's employer, a Morristown based Republican law firm that never did business in HudCo materialized. Suddenly, a $20,000 initial contract up the hill in Union City was upgraded $50,000 and flooded the bank account of Ravi Bhalla's employer in 2018. A dwindling but feckless group of Ravibots and his fanatical political operatives claim it's a Festivus miracle, worthy of much rejoicing. Others see the seedy antics and note the picture of the Bhalla Administration becoming all too clear.

None of this is important in light of past elections but it's deadly serious in what currently occupies the mayor's office in 2019. There must be strong oversight over Ravi Bhalla and his administration and people who claimed to wear the Reform mantle must step up and speak truth to power. Without it, Hoboken is subject to very underhanded and seedy corruption ahead.

Correction: it already is.

"Shut up about Ravi and his money or we'll punch you in the face."
Ravi Bhalla's highly paid face punchers don't discriminate, girls included.

Talking Ed Note: There's so much to catch up to with the follow-up to the former BoE trustee Peter Biancamano interview. Yes, there was an interview despite what big fat liars write from a dank, dark cave. There's an upcoming Nixle abuse story not going away either.

Also ahead, a Ravi-PAC story (another one) to break once the final inquiries are made to all the parties inclusive of the mayor's office thoroughly occupied with its many political face punching chores. With all that face punching, how do they ever find the time to handle constituent services? Oh yeah, someone else was hired and is being paid to shoulder that real work so three political operatives in the mayor's office can spend all their time recruiting their friends to attack the City Council members at their meetings and write phony "organic" ethics complaints. That is when they don't censor the City of Hoboken Twitter and Facebook pages.

What can $300,000 in paid political operatives do for you?