In Hoboken, Councilman Russo responds to opponent's press release
Mar 16, 2011 | 5433 views | 8 8 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print

HOBOKEN -- In response to the news that former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo was receiving city health benefits until two weeks ago, even though he should have stopped receiving them over five years ago, Russo's son, a councilman up for re-election, released this statement Wednesday morning:

In 2008, I called for an audit to be conducted to determine how many former city employees were receiving health benefits without qualifying for them. Please review video of the meeting where that occurred here.

At the time, Judy Tripodi, the state-appointed fiscal monitor, conducted an investigation and removed several individuals she determined to be unqualified. As the video footage of the meeting shows, then-councilwoman Dawn Zimmer sits silently while I ask questions about the audit. Now, after 19 months as mayor, Dawn Zimmer determines that, two months before an election, she will release the results of a targeted audit that found one individual, in the hopes of scoring political points two days before a $250 a person fundraiser.

Let me repeat. I called for the original audit to determine who was incorrectly receiving health benefits. Mayor Zimmer is using the tactics employed by political bosses everywhere. She uses her office to engage in partisan politics under the guise of governing.


When asked if he knew his father was receiving health benefits from the city, Michael Russo responded:

“According to the audit I asked for, and was presented to the council by Ms. Tripodi, she removed several people from the list. The former mayor was not one of them, so I, and the rest of the council, assumed that everyone not removed from the list, was receiving their benefits properly. I'd like to see the ‘audit’ conducted by the mayor. What was the rationale for ordering it 19 months after taking office?”

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WESTY
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March 16, 2011
I would refer readers to Mayor Zimmer's comments in a follow up interview here the Hoboken Reporter web site.

Apparently the City gave former Mayor Russo the opportunity to refute the decision to remove him from the City of Hoboken's health care benefits and he lost his challenge.

The ruling was not new or a surprise to anyone involved.

Every effort must be made to make sure Hoboken and it's residents are made whole.

Hoboken deserves better.
BetterLuckNextTime
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March 16, 2011
If Mike Russo's explanation wasn't so pathetic it would be hysterically funny. This is all he's got? Blaming others when once again the Russo family is caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Who does Russo think he's fooling with this sorry excuse?

His family is caught red-handed and Russo is challenging the Mayor? Well Mikey is about to learn the hard way that Hoboken is sick and tired of paying for the Russo family again and again. It's over.

greenshirt
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March 16, 2011
Mike Russo took an oath of office to uphold the constitution of the State of New Jersey. No where does that oath say you can conspire to help your mom and dad commit fraud on the taxpayers of Hoboken.

This is not even a denial.

Mike Russo knew! Call in the authorities!!!
khoboken
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March 16, 2011
I expected Mikey's resposne to be idiotic but this one is CRAPTASTIC! Blame the Mayor? For what? He assumed that because Tripodi didnt bounce his father off the bennie train that everything was okey dokey? He KNEW that his father was not eneitled - and he KNEW it in 2009 when he bloviated about the 90 people illegaly getting bennies. He cross checked the lists - as he claims. So how does he explain his SILENCE in the face of his father's KNOWING and INTENTIONAL THEFT of money from Hoboken? Are we just supposed to say never mind, like all of the effing missing quarters? When is someone going take the whole damn family away in handcuffs, lock them up and throw away the key.
Paulis
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March 16, 2011
Has Anthony paid the tens of thousands in restitution he owes the city? Ask Michael why we are still waiting for that as well.
WESTY
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March 16, 2011


Councilman Russo doesn't dispute the facts that the audit show "the former mayor" was indeed not entitled to the benefits he was taking.

The questions that should be being asked is how much did this cost the taxpayers of Hoboken and when we can expect restitution.



I find it difficult to accept Michael Russo of all people painting himself as a victim.
WESTY
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March 16, 2011


Hoboken deserves better.
rtrux
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March 16, 2011
d'oh! i dunno, that's a pretty confused explanation. simple "yes or no" question: did he know he was receiving benefits? yes or no?

and forgot the list and who was taken off by whom...do he mean to tell us that on a personal level, he never had a family discussion about how his father's health coverage was being paid? never? really? really?