Book says Russo met with FBI informant; Russo responds
Mar 28, 2011 | 6937 views | 15 15 comments | 89 89 recommendations | email to a friend | print


HOBOKEN – The man running against Councilman Michael Russo in Hoboken's 3rd Ward election issued a press release over the weekend pointing out that a new book about the 2009 FBI political corruption sting in New Jersey details a 2009 meeting between informant Solomon Dwek --- who offered bribes to politicians running for office -- and Michael Russo in a local restaurant.

Candidate Greg Lincoln called on Russo to explain the meeting.

The Jersey Sting, released earlier this month, states that Russo met with Dwek in a Jersey City establishment some time before the corruption arrests, and Dwek offered Russo a $5,000 donation for his campaign, to be given to him through an intermediary. The book also claims that Dwek said he'd give Russo more after the election.

The book then states:

“Russo agreed and then the foursome broke up. After that, however, Russo would not take calls from Dwek’s middlemen.”

The book quotes speculation that Russo was advised by an attorney to stay away from Dwek. It also says the FBI believes that former Mayor Anthony Russo, who went to jail for accepting a bribe, may have advised him not to do it.

The book does not say whether the donation was meant to be cash, or whether it was expressed that it would be in return for favors.

Russo said on Monday morning that the book only describes some of the discussions, and that it is a third-party account of the meeting.

“My meeting with Mr. Dwek was no secret; it’s been reported elsewhere,” Russo said. “What’s not excerpted in the book is that I made it very clear to Mr. Dwek that I would not accept cash contributions, and there was no quid pro quo. No bribe was discussed.”

Russo added, “He said he wants to be helpful and donate $5,000 to my campaign. I made it clear to Mr. Dwek, who was using an alias, that I don’t accept cash campaign contributions.”

A $5,000 check still would be problematic, as the legal maximum limit for an individual is $2,600 under state election laws.

“I told him what the legalities are,” Russo said. “The guy insisted on doing it his way and that’s why there was never another meeting.”

For the excerpt in question, see the attached photo. Click to make it bigger. -- Ray Smith



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Hobokeneer
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April 05, 2011
Russo lied when he told the Hoboken Reporter:

“What’s not excerpted in the book is that I made it very clear to Mr. Dwek that I would not accept cash contributions, and there was no quid pro quo. No bribe was discussed.”

Listen to the tapes yourself. Make the checks payable to "Russo for Hoboken" Dwek! Michael will make sure that Dwek gets treated right as a developer in Hoboken in return.

Russo has no business serving as a Councilman, or as a Commissioner on the Housing Authority.

RESIGN NOW.

HobokenReformer
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April 04, 2011
Video of Russo's meeting with Dwek just released:

http://hobokenhorse.blogspot.com/2011/04/red-alert-mike-russo-bribe-video.html?m=0#idc-container
HobokenReformer
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April 04, 2011
Mr. Kurta, 1st Ward City Council candidate, published the following statement:

Eric Kurta to council majority: 'Suspend Councilman Mike Russo'

Kurta for City Council announces:

1st WARD COUNCIL CANDIDATE ERIC KURTA DEMANDS COUNCIL INVESTIGATE RUSSO BRIBE, CALLS FOR SUSPENSION

The allegations that have come to light in the recently released book Jersey Sting are deeply troubling. Hoboken's 3rd Ward Councilman and current Council Vice President Michael Russo is on tape agreeing to accept a $5,000 bribe and ongoing payments from FBI informant Solomon Dwek. The facts are well documented by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalists who have written the book and are now widely distributed.

When I was president of People for Open Government (POG), I led the charge for campaign finance reform because open government and clean elections are the key to making Hoboken successful. If we do nothing in light of serious allegations that a sitting councilman and chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee agreed to accept a bribe, then we are condoning unethical behavior from those that are supposed to govern.

Corruption and incompetence have plagued our great city for too long, and I refuse to sit idly by and wait for Hoboken to plunge back into the same system that made us a doormat for developers and special interests. I demand that the Council Majority suspend Councilman Russo from the position of Council Vice President and Chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee until such time as a complete and thorough investigation of the facts can be completed.

Our elected officials are duty-bound to look out for the best interests of their constituents. When those same elected officials refuse to do or say anything about allegations that the Chair of the Revenue and Finance Committee is accepting bribes, they are failing to do their jobs. Who else might Councilman Russo be agreeing to accept bribes from? How has that money affected our city's finances? Why is Russo's cousin, 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano been so quiet on the issue? What are the council members hiding who elected Russo to Vice President of the Council - Castellano, Mason, Occhipinti, and Giacchi?

When the behavior of our elected representatives makes us question the legitimacy of our government, when our councilmembers refuse to do their jobs, we must take action into our own hands by firing them on election day. Let's send a message that we will no longer tolerate criminal behavior from our elected officials. Lets vote for reform on May 10th.

Signed,

Eric Kurta

Candidate for Hoboken City Council, 1st Ward
WESTY
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March 30, 2011
Will the Hoboken Reporter be covering The Jersey Sting reading and book signing at the Malibu Diner today at 3:30 to 5:00 ?

The irony of having this event at the Malibu Diner

made infamous by former mayor Peter Cammarano criminality is not to be overlooked.
khoboken
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March 28, 2011
The level of ysteria from the usso/Mason minions is actually funny to watch. Their keyboards must have sparks flying from them. I want to know what my 4th Ward Coinuclman - TIMMAY! has to say about this. Better yet, I think that every council person should be confronted at the next meeting and a vote of no confidence in the vp Russo be taken and he be froced to resign as chair of the finacne committe and as vp. Yes, Nino - I want to hear what you have to say as well. And Castellano - that will actually be the best, I mean the most confused and pathec defense. If Bet wont allow it, then force a no confidence vote on her. Make these assorted crooks and admitted thieves EXPLAIN OUTLOUD how and why Mikey Babes should be allowed to remain.
greenshirt
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March 28, 2011
The Zimmer household took a phone call and hung up. Boy we have one determined Beth Mason political operative today. Really determined to hijack the story away from Mike Russo accepting a bribe with an FBI informant.

Hey how about Mike Russo publicly request the FBI release the tape so we can see how hard he resisted accepting the bribe. Cuz I would just love it!
6thwardres
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March 28, 2011
Dawn Zimmer through her Husband had spoken with the FBI informant and discussed taking money several times. So stop making up lies greenshirt.

http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2009/07/beth_mason_and_dawn_zimmer_say.html
DancingRudy
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March 28, 2011
Anyone notice the repeated posting on nj.com trying to change the subject to Zimmer's husband? You get the sense someone's trying to sell a phony "equivalence" story to the press? It'll be interesting to see who writes what - kind of gut check time for journalistic integrity. The HR has so far passed with flying colors. Patch has failed and had to correct its Russo driven false statements but still has its ridiculous "hide the story" headline. Can't wait to see what the Auggie Torres edited JJ writes.
WESTY
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March 28, 2011


The acrid stench of corruption that swirls around Councilman Russo while repugnant to most will not deter those who have kept his family in power for far too long.

Hoboken deserves better than Michael Russo.
Smartyjones
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March 28, 2011
The award winning authors of the Jersey Sting have replied to Mike Russo and are standing by their story. It's updated now:

http://hobokenhorse.blogspot.com
DancingRudy
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March 28, 2011
Maybe Russo can join with Greg Lincoln in filing a Freedom of Information Act request to get the full transcript of Russos meeting. If Russo's is telling the truth about the rest of the conversation he'd be anxious to do that.

Or Ray - the Hoboken Reporter can do it. The U.S. Attorney gave access to the tapes to the authors so the information is not priviledged. Get the full transcripts and publish them so the people of Hoboken can know the truth.
greenshirt
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March 28, 2011
No one met with Dwek in the Zimmer camp. Nice try though.

Russo should sue the Federal government for wiring the federal informant. That's criminal! They have Russo on tape, not the Hoboken Horse's Mile Square View.

It's right there in the excerpt in black and white: They they (Russo and three others) got down to business...

Dwek: "I don't want to do anything in my name. I don't want to have any conflicts."

Mike Russo: "You're a smart man."

Dwek: "I'll give him five thousands next week and after the election it'll be more."

Russo agreed and then the foursome broke up.

=====

Say what's relevant here?

DancingRudy
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March 28, 2011
Russo says his meeting was already reported elsewhere? Where? Mason acknowledged meeting with Dwek shortly after Cammarano was arrested. At the same time Zimmer acknowledged being approached by an intermediary but refusing a meeting. Russo? He said nothing. He waited for the book to come out. In legal terms, this is called behavior demonstrating "consciousness of guilt."
hobokenitis
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March 28, 2011
One of these days Greg Lincoln will start talking about what he's ever done for the people of the 3rd ward or discuss at least one real issue. The book (and this story) fail to mention that Dwek also met with Stan Grossbard, the mayor's husband. That is as relevant as his meeting with Russo, isn't it? As for the horse blog, he has no standards of journalistic integrity and is thisclose to slander when he says that a bribe was offered or accepted. Not once was it offered and he knows it.
greenshirt
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March 28, 2011
Who are we to believe the book with the Fed's wired FBI informant or Mike Russo?

Gosh that's a tough call. Vote for Greg Lincoln and end the corruption. Saw the full statement and book excerpts on Mile Square View last weekend:

http://hobokenhorse.blogspot.com