95% of the people paid by Raia-linked Hoboken campaigns received VBMs, FBI agent testifies


An FBI agent testified in Newark U.S. District Federal Court this afternoon that 95 percent of the people paid by two respective 2013 campaigns linked to Frank Raia received vote by mail ballots.

Frank Raia (left) sitting with Freddie Frazier at the January 20th, 2016 Hoboken City Council meeting.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Jacqueline Matthews, a staff operations specialist at the FBI for nine-and-a-half years, testified in front of Judge William J. Martini that 378 of the 398 people paid by either the Let the People Decide super PAC of Blue Operations LLC received a vote by mail ballot in 2013.

Furthermore, only 15 of the 378 that received a VBM ballot did not live in subsidized housing, according to Matthews, who also said that many who received a check from Bluewater never appeared on a report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

While consultants are not required to provide information to ELEC, they are supposed to relay that information to candidates who then file with the campaign finance watchdog agency.

“The consultant is an intermediary and that intermediary is required to provide that information to the campaign,” ELEC Director of Review and Investigation Shreve Marshall, Jr. said during direct examination from Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal.

The government’s focus today seemed clear: to hone in on the fact that low-income residents were being targeted for Raia’s political benefit and the notion that voters were being paid to work was just a “cover story,” as they had alleged on Day 1.

“That’s how we get paid … our vote,” said Marquitha Allen, who testified she voted by mail in 2013, when Raia was running for council-at-large and pushing to loosen the city’s rent control laws via a referendum question.

“I was paid just to vote,” added fellow Hobokenite Tracy Stepherson.

Gloria Diaz, another voter from 2013, testified through a translator that she didn’t speak English and did not know what she was signing when was presented with a VBM form.

Allen, Stepherson and Diaz also both testified that they were paid $50 via check, despite not actually performing any campaign work.

The final so-called Raia “captain” from Raia’s 2013 campaign was Freddie Frazier, a retired corrections officer and carpenter who said he was introduced to Raia in 2007 by Hovie Forman.

Like Michael Holmes, Frazier testified that Raia took him to football games, dinners, and trips, which was why he felt compelled to help his council bid six years ago.

While Frazier said he supported strong rent control laws, since he sat on the city’s rent control board in the ’90s, he indicated it was clear that Raia was the driving force behind Let the People Decide and the rationale was quite simple.

“It would benefit him … It would mean less units rent controlled, he could raise the rents for a lot of them,” Frazier explained.

He also testified that although he filled out paperwork saying he was a part of the PAC, he played no real role in their operation, attributing all of their efforts to Raia and Bayonne political operative Jack Butchko.

Additionally, Frazier stated it was clear to him that the goal of the Raia-led effort was to get out the vote for his One Hoboken team and to vote yes on the rent control referendum.

“Yes [it was a cover story]. Voters received checks the day after the election,” Frazier said on the stand.

Specifically, Frazier said that he routinely drove Liz Camis, who already pleaded guilty to her role in a 2013 VBM scheme, to the post office to drop off VBMs at the post office in Raia’s car.

To that end, Frazier indicated he personally saw Raia reviewing open ballots at his social club at 520 Jefferson St.

“Do you know why he did that?,” Agarwal asked.

“He wanted to make sure people voted the way they were supposed to,” Frazier responded.

However, as has been standard procedure over the past three days, Raia’s defense attorney, Alan Zegas, was quick to attack the witness’ credibility based on contradictory FBI interviews.

According to Zegas, Frazier had spoken with the FBI on January 23rd and November 15th, respectively, in 2018, and was singing a different tune at that time.

“You said the voters were paid because they worked right?,” Zegas inquired. “Yes,” Frazier said calmly.

“People wore t-shirts around town right?,” Zegas continued. “Yes,” Frazier repeated, indicating that some people had fulfilled their obligations with the campaign.

Nevertheless, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell felt that there was still a perfectly good explanation.

“After retaining counsel, did you do interviews and provide testimony,” he asked on redirect. “Yes,” Frazier said.

“At that time, did you come clean about your role in the voter bribery scheme?” “Yes,” Frazier affirmed.

Like many of the witnesses, Frazier was testifying as part of a cooperation agreement with the government.

The government rested their case around 3 p.m. this afternoon and Raia’s legal team said they’re expecting “two substantive witnesses and 10 character witnesses” to testify before leaving it in the jury’s hands.

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  1. As the public hears the damning testimony from the Frank Raia trial there are already calls for First Ward Councilman DeFusco to separate himself from his campaign manager Ryan Yacco. The perception of impropriety is real.

    • Eat Crow CadburyBars, StankFish, Stan and Nancy:

      Your echo chambers belong on Sybil’s Cave where the traffic stats are flatter than Walt Disney’s frozen corpse

      mile square view
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    • Nancy’s 💩 cave site only has Ravi campaign people talking to each other.

      OMG!! That’s freakin hilarious!
      It’s Hoboken Horse & HCV that rock! Someone tell Horsey!

      Eat 💩 Nancy!😱🤪🤣😂😅😂😁😁😁😁😁🤡

      • Two faced Tony who ran around telling EVERYONE that Roman is a LIME JUICER! Yep, he spread it around and laughed behind Roman’s back! Two-faced Tony also calls Roman NUTS– behind his back. That’s Tony the Phony Baloney for ya!

        Glad you are happy over at the DEAD BLOG MSV with it’s 100% BOUNCE and 8 seconds avg visit per reader (ALEXA). That is where a vicious, two-face, immature gossiping rumormonger like yourself belongs. And it is your only refuge, since the better, well-read blog doesn’t want you. Further, the commenters are not “Ravi’s campaign people” but quite a few used to post on Roman’s blog (before he went Alt-Right and lost his marbles). They will not go to that fetid, toxic dump any longer. Enjoy your exile there.

        • Nancy, you never go full loon. You’re just another reader of Hobokenhorse like thousands of others, except the truth published there doesn’t make them go more nuts. Your betrayal to every decent activist in Hoboken for Ravi going alt reform is all that’s happened.

          You even publicly back the Russo Klan! That’s where the dirty Ravi-Russo Alliance led you. Eat another twinkie and have a big day.

  2. This is why I have a problem with ”
    Mike “The Rat 🐭” Holmes. He pretended be Frank’s friend for years so he can use him for Superbowl and luxury trips but chose to rat him out in his time of need. You should be ashamed of yourself you RAT and deserve to be thrown into a cheese pit to feed your oversized appetite. One last thing now it all makes sense why you hang around Peter B you get free cheese.

    • “He pretended to be Frank’s friend for years.” Unlike all the other Pupie hangers-on, who are there for his magnetic personality. Let’s call Pupie what he is — a sad attention-whore who’s always thrown his money around in pathetic pursuit of love and adoration The birthday parties he throws himself, where he notoriously stalks around bellowing, “Ya see dees people here? Dey all LOVE me!” while all these so-called “lovers” are enjoying free burgers and beer and would shift their loyalty to just about anyone who offered them same or more. Pupie’s “friends” are mostly grifters selling their loyalty to the highest bidder, and Pupie was always a proud grifter-monger who entered into these transactional relationships with his eyes wide open. He made no bones about it — he was always quite blunt about what he expected in return for whatever he offered, and had the memory of an elephant for any nickel he ever gave anyone.

      All of that said, “Big Holmesy” is a complete and utter scumbag, a slob, a bully, a dolt and a grifter. Nothing changes that. But Pupie knew that all along, and he would never have his “friends” any other way.

  3. What’s better than rent control? A tax on vacant lots and unoccupied buildings. While rent control makes it less attractive to supply accommodation, a vacant-property tax makes it less attractive NOT to! A vacant-property tax of $X/week makes it $X/week more expensive to fail to get a tenant, and thereby REDUCES, by $X/week, the minimum rent that will persuade the owner to accept a tenant.

    Such a tax, although sometimes called a “vacancy tax”, is not limited to what real-estate agents call “vacancies” — that is, properties available for rent. It also applies to vacant lots and other properties that are not on the rental market, and is designed to push them onto the market and get them tenanted.

    A vacant-property tax is designed to be avoided, not paid. And the avoidance of it would initiate economic activity, which would expand the bases of other taxes, allowing their rates to be reduced, so that the rest of us would pay LESS tax!

  4. Much of the evidence in this case is the same as what Ravi Bhalla exposed when he was a Challenger for the Mike Lenz campaign in 2010 – 9 years ago. He fingered Raia, Camis and Braxton as fraudsters way back then getting affidavits from voters that they were paid to vote, combined it with statistical evidence even stronger than what the FBI agent described (79 out of 80) and put the evidence into a challeger affidavit that led to a Criminal Referral.

    Kudos to him for staying humble and not taking credit, but Thank you Ravi!

    • Can the Ravi Bhalla’s operatives give it a rest and do some real work at City Hall? If Ravi Bhalla was against Frank Raia, he wouldn’t have been twisting arms to get him back on the North Hudson Sewerage Authority in 2016. Ravi failed and Raia was replaced by a solid reformer.

      Ravi failed, thankfully. Remember Ravi’s failure in 2016 to try and keep Raia on the board!

      The FBI agent yesterday did not reference 79 of 80, that came in the 2010 investigation report on Hoboken Horse highlighted by the Observer.com story:


      • The investigation in 2010 was done by then Councilman Ravi Bhalla on behalf of the Lenz campaign. Brice was given the information to publish because back then he was shilling for Zimmer just like he shills for the Fisher/Ramos/DeFusco team now. Then as now he wrote what he was told to write then took credit for the work of others.

        The only work that’s actually his is the unintelligible prose.

        Once a shill always a shill.

        • Carol Marsh led the investigation and the NJ AG dropped the ball so stop with the heroic Ravi BS. There’s no such team but there is a Ravi-Russo Alliance and that won’t last with two backstabbers. The only person shilling here is you and once again on the taxpayer’s dime out of the mayor’s office: unethical and a forging ahead cheat to the core. Why don’t you go work on Ravi Terror Flier II? At least that’s something, scummy but something.

          • Carol Marsh led the investigation into Raia? Did she submit the flier that got mailed out in 2007 where she was quoted saying “Frank shares our commitment to preserving open space and creating more parks, ballfields and affordable housing for our families. I urge everyone to support Frank Raia in Tuesday’s election”?

            It seems a video of Dawn Zimmer in an elevator that same year is so incriminating as to be worth reposting several hundred times, so since that alliance is still within the statute of limitations of public opinion, let’s be sure to take stock of all Raia’s alliances that year.

          • OK, let’s pretend for a moment that Carol Marsh actually led the investigation, and Ravi’s role was subordinate to hers. How does that refute the point that Brice didn’t investigate anything and was just regurgitating, in his unique illiterate way, what the Zimmer people fed him.

            He’s been patting himself on the back claiming credit for the work of others, including Carol and Ravi, as well as others who actually made significant contributions to the effort,
            for years. He even claims credit for the work done by the United States Dep’t of Justice.

            Like I said. Once a shill always a shill. I guess I should add once a clown always a clown.

      • Ravi’s efforts for Frank Raia are true. Came right out of Ravi’s mouth in 2016 when he praised Pupie as an asset to Hoboken.

        That came long after any 2010 or 2013 Hoboken election. Good job Ravi!

    • Ravi loved Raia… Especially if there was a chance to get a legal contract from one of the many boards Raia headed up. Wonder if Councilman Bhalla wanted people in place on HHA and other commissions so he could get a piece of the legal pies. He sure got angry when his boys Ravi and Assadourian were bested by the giant and the dwarf.

    • The town owes this one to the loony renters. Neither crack-pot blog even mentions them. Those crazies did the work, went to court and turned the data over to the FBI. Maybe crazy but, maybe the only people in town that aren’t tainted by Frank’s help.

  5. BWAAA HAWW HAWWW! MSV is deader than a LIME scooter that needs juicing! SEE for yourself!

    Avg reader spends 8 seconds on his dead blog! 8 SECONDS- so says ALEXA. 100% Bounce! HA HA HA HA HA Numbers don;t count- READERS do. No one can decipher your senseless gibberish. Read GA’s highly accurate Google Analytic stats and WEEP. BOO HOO!

    Site Metrics Estimate
    All visitors to this site /Past 90 Days
    1.0 Daily Pageviews per Visitor
    0:08 Daily Time on Site
    100.0% Bounce rate

    Grafix Avenger- GOOGLE ANALYTICS
    Week: starting MONDAY-TODAY (THURS)
    Unique Pageviews
    Avg. Time on Page
    Bounce Rate
    Number of Sessions per User
    Pages / Session
    Avg. Session Duration

  6. From those highly accurate stats, GA’s blog commentary clearly attracts readers and holds their attention. That’s a LOT of traffic for a little opinion column! And her readers return several times a day. Unlike that wildly unpopular dead Msv blog- according to ALEXA web stats. Sad how he writes most of the comments, except for that evil Skyline rodent. Yes, Roman’s blog is a failure (does he even write in English? ), repelling visitors who “bounce” off the page in 8 seconds! Don’t argue with ALEXA web tracker. It is possible that Roman’s traffic went up a little recently from being disgraced in newspapers around the world for his racist depiction of the Sikh mayor dressed like a mock Arab (Muslim) dictator. Millions of Sikhs were offended worldwide. No apology. Instead Roman blamed his Photoshopper, said the hideous racist image was created by a reader. Who could that be? 🤔🤔🤔😂😂😂😂😜

    • Weren’t you just complaining that you were being stalked when someone names your street?
      Nancy we know it’s you… get a life.
      You and lane love talking real estate… look what it did to his.