Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3rd Ward Candidate Greg Lincoln Calls on Mason to Remove Mike Russo as Finance Chair

A press release from Greg Lincoln, 3rd Ward Candidate running against Mike Russo who sent an open letter to Council President Beth Mason....


Dear Council President Mason,

Last week Mayor Zimmer released audit findings revealing that former Mayor and convicted felon Anthony Russo was receiving city health benefits that he was not qualified to receive following his conviction and imprisonment for taking bribes and illegal cash payments. In response to questions, Councilman Russo has not denied prior knowledge of his father's benefits; nor has Russo denied covering up his father's benefits during an investigation he personally conducted in 2008 into former employees illegally receiving city benefits. Instead of addressing these allegations, Russo has attempted to shift blame to the business administrator and Mayor Zimmer for conducting an audit that saves the city money.

Russo’s evasiveness in this matter speaks volumes about the manner in which he conducts city business and manages our tax dollars. Russo’s actions show he is incapable of conducting himself with the objectivity and impartiality that the position of Chair of the Finance Committee demands. The residents and taxpayers of Hoboken expect the Chair of the Finance Committee to act first and foremost in the best interests of the city, to be beyond reproach, and to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

In view of Russo's questionable behavior and the considerable indebtedness of the Russo family to the city, there is a blatant conflict of interest to have Councilman Russo remain as Chair of the Finance Committee.

It is incumbent upon you as Council President to immediately remove Russo as Chair of the Finance Committee until the issue of his family's health benefits and his father's court ordered restitution debts to the city are resolved. To allow Councilman Russo to remain as Chair of Finance Committee is an affront to open and honest government, and will erode the confidence of the public in the City Council's ability to conduct the business of the city.

Greg Lincoln
3rd Ward City Council Candidate


Russo Response to Lincoln Questions in the Hudson Reporter:

Press Release: Lincoln Demands Answers From Russo on Illegal Health Benefits:

Mayor Zimmer’s letter to City Council, March 11, 2011, stating termination of former Mayor Russo’s health benefits, in “Ethics Ordinance” on page 2 of:

Video of Dec. 3, 2008 Hoboken City Council meeting where Councilman Russo claims to have uncovered evidence of employees illegally receiving health benefits:

Hudson Reporter article, March 2, 2006, by Tom Jennemann, stating former
Mayor Russo’s termination of health benefits:

Hudson Reporter article, January 25, 2009, by Tim Carroll, explaining Councilman Russo’s confusion over the number of employees illegally receiving health benefits: ◦