ELEC: In final Hoboken filing, DeFusco leads the way with $142k on hand


In the final campaign expense reports filed prior to the November 7th elections, Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco leads the field of six mayoral hopeful with nearly $142,000 on hand. Team DeFusco

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

In three separate reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission: Mike DeFusco for Hoboken Mayor, Team DeFusco for Hoboken and Michael Flett for Hoboken City Council, DeFusco reports $132,631 raised since the second quarter.

That would bring his overall fundraising total to $338,057, as of October 9th, with $141,816 on hand.

Notable donors include the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Non-Partisan Political Education Committee, who contributed $1,500 on August 11th, and Hoboken PBA Local No.  2 donating $500 on September 19th, according to the DeFusco for Mayor report filed on October 13th.

Additionally, UA Pipefitters Local, Local Union No. 164 IBEW and UA Plumbers Local 24 donated $900, $600, and $300, respectively to the DeFusco campaign.

This should come as no surprise, given that seven prominent Hudson County trade unions endorsed DeFusco last month.

Along the same lines, Local Union No. 464 Cope Account donated $24,600 to Team DeFusco on September 8th, with the NJ Association of Pipetrades PAC Account chipping in $10,000 on September 11th, according to the slate’s October 13th filing.

The NRCC Non-Partisan Political Education Committee also wrote a $1,500 check for the DeFusco team on August 11th.

Additionally, Michael Flett, one of DeFusco’s running mates, as well as his wife Michelle, each gave the team $7,800 on September 18th.

Michael Flett also has a separate account for a council run, which has $19,188.22 in it after he loaned himself $20,000 on June 28th.

Not too far behind DeFusco is Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, who reports raising $284,696 as of October 9th, bringing in $132,837 since the second quarter.

However, Bhalla has been spending camapign cash nearly as fast as he’s bringing it in, with just $21,517 on hand.

The bulk of Bhalla’s contributions came from the Sikh community across the country, ranging from Hoboken to Southlake, Texas.

One donation of note is a $1,000 check from the Lester E. Taylor for Mayor of East Orange account on September 7th, according to Bhalla’s October 10th ELEC filing.

Like Bhalla, Taylor works at the high-powered law firm Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt and Fader.

Council President Jen Giattino, who has not previously filed an ELEC report since she filed less than five months prior to the due date of the 29-day report, raised $136,201 and has $59,833 on hand.

Based on the Jen Giattino for Mayor report October 11th filing, Giattino received $1,000 each from council colleagues Tiffanie Fisher and Peter Cunningham, who have both endorsed her candidacy, on June 27th and July 17th, respectively.

Furthermore, former City Councilman Michael Lenz pitched in $1,000 on June 27th, while North Hudson Sewerage Authority Commissioner Kurt Gardiner chipped in $500 on July 17th.

Contributing to the Team Giattino fund was Enterprise Association Steamfitters L.U. No. 638 PAC, who gave $2,000 on August 27th, Hoboken PBA Local No. 2 chipped in $500 on September 18th, while council candidates Jim Aibel and Jason Ellis threw in $1,600 and $1,500, respectively.

Also spotted on the October 12th filing is Todd Christie, Gov. Chris Christie’s brother, who gave $2,000 – one $1,000 contribution on October 6th and another $1,000 contribution that was undated.

Lenz also added another $500 to the cause on October 6th.

Additionally, Giattino dumped the majority of the money in her mayoral account, $22,000, into the team account on September 8th.

Despite already facing an ELEC complaint from perennial political opponent Pat Waiters, Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) is still yet to file an individual ELEC report.

His team report, filed on October 13th, reports just $7,400 raised, with only $2,046.66 on hand.

Those numbers are puzzling, given that Romano has done at least three mailers, a TV commercial and other advertisements, a fact that was not lost on DeFusco, who has punched at Romano early and often in this campaign.

“This latest example of Anthony Romano ignoring campaign finance law and denying Hoboken voters the right to see who is funding his campaigns is simply outrageous and should be disqualifying for his candidacy,” DeFusco said in a statement.

“Without this vital information, Hoboken voters have no idea what special interests are funding Romano’s campaigns for Mayor and Freeholder, how he’s spending money and what activities his campaigns have done.”

DeFusco added that Romano failing to file shows “a total disregard for transparency and open government,” a tone he has taken with his opponent before.

“We do everything according to ELEC laws and we will continue to focus our campaign on issues and policies that are important to the residents/voters of Hoboken, not on individuals from the Defusco campaign,” said Romano campaign manager Pablo Fonseca, who declined to comment further.

Finally, business owner Karen Nason reports raising $11,842 to date, with $2,300 coming since the second quarter. She now has $1,226 on hand, according to her October11th filing.

Nason and Giattino are the only registered Republicans seeking the mayor’s seat in the Mile Square City.

Activist Ronald Bautista did not file a 29-day report with NJ ELEC, according to their website.

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  1. So Ravi is the NJ pay-to-play king with an easy quarter million blown; DeFusco is the pay-to-play king of violations and who knows how many VBMs are being cooked up in the stinkin’ poop factory on Jefferson and Romano just ignores the campaign law altogether.

    Gee, no wonder Jen Giattino is the most trusted. Heard her fundraising is unlike all her main competitors. It’s almost all from Hoboken residents. She’s the people’s champion.

    Vote for Jen Giattino & Team Giattino on Election Day!