As Raia’s Hoboken VBM trial winds down, Pagan Milano targets DeFusco over Yacco ties


As the federal vote-by-mail fraud trial of Frank Raia winds down, 1st Ward council candidate Migdalia Pagan-Milano took aim at incumbent Mike DeFusco for his ties to Ryan Yacco, who testified on Tuesday, though the councilman says he isn’t part of his campaign.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I call on Councilman DeFusco to remove Ryan Yacco from his campaign. Mr. Yacco was at the heart of an illegal vote-buying scheme. We must send a message that this kind of blatant political corruption is no longer tolerated in Hoboken,” Pagan-Milano said in a statement yesterday.

On Tuesday, Yacco, the founder and co-owner of the now defunct Bluewater Operations testified in Newark U.S. District Court that he performed payroll services for Raia’s One Hoboken campaign and the Let the People Decide super PAC in 2013.

He was only on the stand for about 25 minutes, though his testimony was relevant since several voters from that election cycle claimed they were paid $50 checks from either Bluewater or Let the People Decide in exchange for their vote.

An FBI agent testified the next day that many who were paid by Bluewater did not appear on ELEC reports, though an ELEC official previously said on the stand that would have been the responsibility of any given candidate or campaign.

Yacco, who primarily works as a political consultant for the Passaic County Democratic Committee, worked on DeFusco’s 2017 mayoral campaign and a published report identified him as part of DeFusco’s re-election team for the November council race.

However, a release from DeFusco this afternoon did not identify Yacco as part of his name heading into the fall contest.

In a statement, he identified David Gracin as his campaign manager, Vision Media’s Phil Swibinski and Caitlin Mota will serve as consultant and spokeswoman, respectively, while Ray Ferraioli will lead fundraising efforts.

“Serving as Hoboken’s First Ward Councilman for the past four years has been both a privilege and honor,” DeFusco said.

“I’m excited that my core team from the mayoral campaign will be joining me again this year to continue the push to bring new energy and new ideas to Hoboken. David is a well respected campaign professional who has successfully elevated candidates across the country into public service.”

Reached over the phone, Yacco said that DeFusco is a friend but both have decided it did not make sense for them to work together again in the fall.

“Mike’s a friend and I wish him nothing but success, but I have a full slate for the fall and he already has a team in place,” Yacco told HCV.

Pagan Milano

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  1. Since when has Migdalia ever shown concern for VBMs and election fraud? Never even heard her name before she was rolled out as part of a slate. Her time would be better spent trying to explain why we should vote for her. What has she done beyond the 1 pride day event? Anything?

    The outrage looks really dumb when this person has never given civic duty, responsibility and participation a thought before now.

    • The residents of the First Ward who are her longtime neighbors and friends know her name and they when all is said and done will be the ones who will be voting in November.

    • No concern? Sounds like a blog that doesn’t bother to report on the most recent campaigns to use the services of Raia and Yacco. Or maybe doesn’t bother to report is the wrong way to put it. Not allowed to report is more like it.

  2. She needs to watch the vbms carefully because Perry B and his crew will be out collecting ballots unless they are taken down before election day

    • The FBI told Calicchio to tape Perry B. Can’t be good news for Perry. The Feds need to move before the election. Heard Liz C threw somebody’s momma under the bus.

  3. So Pagan looks foolish out of the gate? Ravi better fire someone for this. I nominate John Allen. He likes hanging out on the taxpayer dime in Newark courtrooms so let him go do it on someone else’s dime.

  4. Smart move by DeFusco quickly tossing Yacco off his team. Unfortunately for him he can lie about who was on his 2019 team, but 2017, with both Raia and Yacco on his team, is etched in history.

    2019 1st ward voters are likely to have very legitimate concerns about that.

    It’s also interesting that Mike, who sends out press releases pretty regularly, has had nothing at all to say publicly about Raia, a guy who publicly endorsed Mike in 2017 and donated the max to Mike’s campaign. Shouldn’t he have something to say about an issue of such critical public concern regarding a man who, until he was arrested, was Mike’s political ally?

    Was Mike shocked when Raia was charged? Was he shocked by the testimony that came out at trial? Is he conducting can internal investigation to make sure, given Raia and Yacco’s prominent roles in his 2017 campaign, that his VBM operation was kosher? Or is he crossing his fingers hoping the feds just close the books and move on. After all, just because Romano won the VBM “war” doesn’t mean Mike doesn’t have exposure.

    No matter how often the “Dawn in the elevator with Pupie OMG!” video gets posted, the facts about who was aligned with the (alleged)
    mastermind of VBM fraud and his laundryman will not change.

      • “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” — Carol Marsh, 2007

        • You mean the Carol that got more votes than Dawn and actually won without needing someone to be convicted ?

          How about this classic from the past:

          “ank Raia understands the past and the future of Hoboken, and will work to benefit all of Hoboken. He knows the “players” at the County level and has a good working relationship with them, but he is independent and not beholden to them or to the political agendas of others.

          Frank’s support for my 2nd and 3rd elections demonstrates he is committed to building a better Hoboken for “new” and “old” Hobokenites. After walking the streets of the 4th Ward with Frank, I realized he is truly committed to the people of Hoboken. From the senior citizens to student athletes, Frank is quick to extend a helping hand and Hoboken has benefited from his devotion to the community. His support has been essential in my fight to bring open space to Hoboken; helped to get the Open Space Fund passed; and placed me in a better position to strongly advocate for parks in the 4th Ward and across Hoboken.

          Frank has been criticized because as a developer and a businessman he used his expertise to make money. I believe that if elected to the Board of Freeholders, Frank will use that expertise to insure that our tax dollars are used to benefit the people of Hoboken. Hoboken is currently facing a serious financial problem at the City level, and now, more than ever, needs a leader with real experience in managing our financial future. Frank Raia built his business from the ground up, and as Freeholder, he will combine his experience with his commitment to the people of Hoboken.

          Thank you,
          Dawn Zimmer
          4th Ward Councilwoman”

    • Lindastan do you expect or want DeFusco to ape Ravi and call Raia an asset?
      You can’t unring that bell you had Ravi Bhalla ring in 2016. Big problem.

      • DeFusco embraced Raia and many who fall into the category of old guard politicos for his failed run 2017 at being mayor. He publicly embraced them until the beginning of this week when he was called out for the long standing relationship and continuing to do so until it was perceived by his public relations firm as being bad optics.

  5. The much more believable damage control for the DeFusco campaign would have been to post a NO YACCO roster before the trail knowing he would be called and questioned rather quickly turn out a press release the the day after the shit hit the fan.


    Hey Mr Swibinski should we address that mess or hope it slides under the radar ?

    • Considering DeFusco has had a full time public relations firm working for him this sort of after the fact attempt at rewriting of history even more offensive. It cuts down to the core of DeFusco’s lack of veracity. Frank Raia and Bluewater’s Ryan Yacco were an integral part of Councilman political team until earlier this week when he was called out by his First Ward Council political opponent Pagan Miliano.

    • Wow that’s astounding, even years after Zimmer had to vacate her seat in 2007. ( No Stan, it’s not the video we love so much of your wifey on the Elevator banging on Senior’s apartment doors , it’s the proof that followed later when VBM “errors” required a TRIAL and rather than call witnesses Zimmer agreed to vacate.)
      She still supported Raia first for freeholder, then for Sewer Commission.
      You must remember that.
      The taxpayers did as well. At least it help her win since she couldn’t win a 50% plus 1 election to save her life.
      What else did he help her with? Oh yeah that testimony last week that Raia ran to help her win…

      The Company You Keep, The Price You Pay

      This is like a long lost love story… everytime she broke free they somehow met again and again…

  7. Funny that Dawn Zimmer is endorsing the Russo candidate in the 1st Ward!
    She wants us to trust her?
    What’s she going to say?
    I asked you to support Tiffany, Jen , Peter and Mike in the past … but oh well I lied , the real reformers are Mason Boy Phil, Cammarano supporter Nora DB , Russo choice Migdalia and Russo BFF

    So Soweeeee I goofed!
    But this time trust me!