Hoboken Councilman DeFusco discusses his whereabouts while renting home on Airbnb

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Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco explained why he rented his home on Airbnb during the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating that most of the dates in question were to spend time with family – with one exception being when he went to Colombia.

Screenshot via Airbnb.com.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

An Airbnb account forwarded to HCV earlier this month indicates that a “superhost” named Michael, who has a five-star rating, had rented his Hoboken condo 23 times since August, about six months into the current public health emergency.

DeFusco said in a phone interview that the listing was indeed his, but the notion that he was living outside of the 1st Ward is “preposterous” and that he’s made the most of the past year by spending time with family, also indicating he rented his place in order to “offset” his mortgage.

“Over the last year, I had frequent weekend and holiday stays in Marlboro with my parents, Glen Ridge with my sister, brother-in-law and young nieces, and a handful of visits to Manasquan to spend time with my cousins … Aside from my official office, I am also a brother, uncle and son and the time I spent with them during the pandemic are moments I will cherish for years to come,” he said.

“With all official city meetings conducted online, and with others also in quarantine, I safely offered my home as a short term rental to others as a way of offsetting my mortgage which I pay on a single person’s income,” continuing that he missed just one council meeting in the past year where he has continued to work around the clock.

Like most municipalities throughout the state, Hoboken’s governing bodies have convened via Zoom throughout the pandemic and City Hall has been open at a limited capacity.

While that may account for what was happening in the Mile Square City, the Airbnb listing also includes 11 reviews from hosts in other countries including Croatia, Belgium, and Colombia during that same time frame.

DeFusco admitted that he did travel to Colombia recently, but said the other stays could be attributed to a childhood friend who has lived in Europe for the last decade. The person depicted on their shared Airbnb account is someone other than DeFusco.

“The listing is a shared account with my childhood best friend who has lived in Europe for the last ten years and was permitted to travel within the European Union,” he began.

“I did travel to Colombia once it was medically appropriate to do so, in order to visit a loved one and his family. This was a personal matter in my personal life that I would like to continue to keep personal. I’ve followed all CDC regulations.”

He declined to comment further on his out of state travel.

The host reviews show two reviews from Colombia: one from Andres, Medellin in January and then another from an undisclosed location in the South American country in March.

The CDC previously said “travelers should avoid all travel to Colombia” when they designated them as a Level 4 country with “very high” COVID-19 levels.

DeFusco was elected to the city council in 2015, about two years after the Airbnb listing went online, and was re-elected in 2019.

21 COMMENTS

  1. This “Councilman” continues to be a disgrace. A pandemic was raging across the world and not only was he not here in Hoboken, but he was gallivanting across the world in hot spot countries. Shameful! I voted for him twice, but this is too much. When you raise your hand to serve, you better actually show to up serve!

    I suggest there be a referendum to recall Mr. DeFusco!!

  2. Sounds bad any way he slices it.
    Travel Bad
    Living out of town bad
    Renting place for 29 days bad
    Story about friend “sharing account” ( and why? ) BAD!

  3. Cutting through the BS, it sounds like DeFusco is admitting that, because hasn’t had to commute into the City for work, he has been monetizing his apartment by renting it out whenever he can, staying with family or going on vacation whenever he was able do so.

    There’s nothing illegal about that and unless he literally moved out of his apartment, it probably remained his principal residence for the purpose of establishing residency in the 1st Ward.

    But it sure is a bad look for an elected official.

  4. What am I missing? 56 weekends since the pandemic started and less than half away with family during a pandemic? Aren’t most Hoboken residents doing this? And what about all the other council members? And city hall employees? Doesn’t this feel more like a desperate bhalla driven election witch-hunt?

  5. The councilman’s explanation is unsatisfactory. If he bought a property he could not afford to maintain, how can he be trusted with the city’s budget? His going back and forth to family members, renting his apartment during a pandemic even to a friend from Europe where the pandemic is raging and going to South America, once again raging, was completely irresponsible. I hope people in his district remember this incident and vote him out. He should not have this job. People have not been at the side of older family members and those dying, Defuso is possibly exposing the residents of this city to CoVid. He should be ashamed. His explanation shows that he has no respect for the voters—does he think we are brain dead?

    • Isn’t it nice that you are wealthy enough to live in a large brownstone all to your virtuous self?
      Take in any pandemic homeless Karen

  6. There are no shared Air BnB accounts. There are co-hosted accounts but DeFusco has no cohosts, even brags on his listing about Hoboken being his one and only residence. What a joke. Fyi, Air BnB cuts a check to the host once a booking is confirmed minus their 3% commission. If he is “sharing” his host ID that’s fraud and Air BnB will kick him out, maybe prosecute if they want to make an example out of him. He’s safe tho cause he is a liar.

  7. So he’s saying that the reviews about “Michael” from hosts in multiple airbnbs in Croatia and Belgium all during the pandemic were not referring to him but to a “childhood friend” pretending to be him to rent airbnbs in his name? That’s…quite the excuse.

  8. Stop attacking DeFusco! This is more of Mayor Bhalla’s witch hunt to go after anyone who may challenge him in November – and we all know Mike will, especially if/when the truth comes to light about the PAC who funded the illegal fliers that helped get this Bozo elected.

    • You’re not supposed to be talking about how the Ravi Terror Flier got him elected. Talk about this non-story.
      Many people in Hoboken know and I mean many. Ask council folks if they know. You’ll be shocked.
      Because it’s an open secret and Ravi is just pretending like a midnight flier dropped Friday at dinner time several days before the election and he was the victim.

      Hey, did Ravi’s Terror Flier PAC allies endorse him again? (cough, cough)

      • he believes ferrante and his detectives are total incompetents who failed to find a perpetrator because they don’t know how to do their jobs. he thinks he is a much better cop and solved the case easily.

  9. Mayor a Bhalla is playing every dirty trick from the book in order to win the reelection cheating all the way possible while trying to trow dirt on Defusco just like he did last time.

  10. It’s Ravi’s fault. Ravi made Caitlin cohost Mike D’s listing, then Ravi took Caitlin’s name off once the press caught wind. That’s Ravi for you. Plotting and planning. Ask Mike D why his campaign manager was cohosting his condo listing? He’ll tell you how Ravi did it.

    “The truth will set you free”

  11. Maybe former Hoboken resident and EX Mayor Dawn Zimmer can rent Mike’s apartment when she pays a visit back to New Jersey to hock her Energy Contracts to HUDCO municipalities?

  12. From the Tree…
    Not defending DeFusco, but does Ms Falco forget who funded her one and soon ONLY election victory?
    Maybe she should be focusing on the ILLEGAL Air BnB’s happening in certain towers around town meant for the poor?

  13. Too bad the city employee paid to do CITY work, not Bhalla for Mayor work should have all his emails and phone records OPRA’d?

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