Hoboken electeds call on AG to investigate ‘terrorism’ flyer in light of Edison probe

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Hoboken electeds are calling on the New Jersey Attorney General Office to investigate the 2017 “terrorism” flyer in light of a new probe over a similar incident in Edison.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“While we are glad to see the Attorney General open an investigation into the despicable racist mailer that was distributed in Edison, it is incredibly disheartening that an eerily similar incident that happened here in Hoboken has not been given this level of scrutiny by law enforcement,” Council members Mike DeFusco, Tiffanie Fisher, Ruben Ramos, Jen Giattino, and Vanessa Falco said in a joint statement.

“The impact that this racist filth had on our community is no less than what the residents of Edison were subjected to, and Hoboken residents deserve the same kind of action from the attorney general. As members of the Hoboken City Council, we are hereby calling on Attorney General Grewal to broaden his investigation to include the Hoboken racist flier incident and we stand ready to offer our full cooperation towards finally bringing justice and closure to our city.”

In 2017, days before the mayoral contest where then-Councilman Ravi Bhalla was victorious, a flyer with his picture said “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town!”

It also had a paid for line that indicated rival candidate 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco’s campaign paid for campaign literature. He was quick to denounce the flyer and there has been no evidence to suggest he or his team was responsible for it.

The councilman’s sister also created a GoFundMe page that raised $9,130 towards trying to identify suspects connected to the flyer, to no avail.

Additionally, Bhalla has also come out in support of finding out who produced the flyer.

“I’ll never forget having to explain to my young children why their dad was called a terrorist – something they should never have to experience again. This was a painful time for my family, and it’s my sincere hope that no other family will ever have to go through any similar circumstances,” he said.

“Anyone responsible for this heinous act should be brought to justice, and I fully support any and all further investigations to hold those people accountable.”

Around the same time four years ago, Edison residents received a campaign mailer that said “Make Edison Great Again” as well as “Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.”

The New Jersey Globe reported last night that the Attorney General’s Office issued a subpoena to the township and has empaneled a grand jury in the case.

The same outlet had identified Edison Democratic Municipal Chair Mahesh Bhagia, a mayoral candidate, as playing a key role in assembling the flyer.

While the case in Hoboken is closed after suspects couldn’t be identified, even with the aid of the FBI and the Secret Service, Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante has indicated it would be reopened any time new evidence is presented.

A spokesman for the AG’s office declined to comment.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting to see that not every council person signed on to the statement. Glad that the 5 council members and the mayor are on board.

    • The Edison probe is driven by actual evidence that has come to light. If that investigation generates evidence connected to the Hoboken flyer, the AG would certainly investigate, and I’m sure everybody in Hoboken, other than whoever the perp was, would support that.

      But this “statement,” produced behind closed doors in flagrant violation of the Open Public Meetings Act, is nothing more than political grandstanding by a partisan group that unwisely believes that the racist 2017 Hoboken flyer can somehow be weaponized against Mayor Bhalla in the 2021 Mayoral campaign.

      The only thing noteworthy about this act of political grandstanding is Councilman Russo’s decision not to take part in it.

      • Would like to see you, Ravi and his pals answer questions about how this dirty trick was launched under oath. Then we’d get the details on how the terror flier was used to get him elected.

      • What’s to fear Linda?
        You would do great in depositions.
        Not like the city would need to pay a big settlement this time or anything…

  2. Has mayor bhalla ever come out and denied he had anything to do with it like DeFusco has? It always seemed bhalla was behind it because he had the most to gain. Tight race. Got that last push over the finish line. I hope AG steps in and this gets solved once and for all.

    • Ravi doesn’t want this discussion let alone an investigation, for obvious reasons. Everyone in City Hall knows all about it. Everyone. Ask council members, see what they say. The AG is Ravi’s buddy and is not going to investigate and expose Ravi and his allies. Not happening.

      • You really aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed are you. The only people who know who was responsible for the flyer are the ones who did it. So unless the “everybody” who knows are the perps, they really don’t know much of anything. And you really have to be pretty stupid to believe “everybody knows” provides the required legal predicate for a grand jury investigation.

        Re OPMA, unless a majority of the Council can somehow collaborate on a joint statement without, well, collaborating, it’s a violation of OPMA unless that collaboration took place at a properly noticed public meeting. The law doesn’t really contain a remedy and it’s a relatively mild violation since it doesn’t involve a legislative act, but I would expect Council members, both current and former, to know what the law is.

  3. In flagrant violation of OPMA??? Seriously, what a moronic statement. Don’t elected officials put out joint statements all the time. Everything else mentioned makes sense, even the fact that Russo is now in bed with Bhalla.

  4. Speaking of voter fraud violations, wasn’t Councilperson DeFusco very heavily funded in his last failed attempt to run for higher office by a Hoboken political gadfly and developer who was recently charged, tried, convicted for voter fraud scheme and now serving out his sentence in home confinement. Councilperson DeFusco has had his campaign public relations firm release a statement that he will again try to run for mayor of Hoboken. Starting a political campaign by trying to recycle a four year old dead end investigation to try to smear his primary opponent and again establish himself as a perennial victim seems to be an odd way increasing his vote counts. A far more effective tactic would have been to actually build a real list of accomplishments between elections instead of taking every opportunity publicly whine and complain.

  5. I’d like the 2017 Bhalla Mayoral campaign to release their final polling numbers just prior to that election. Would be interesting to see if their data revealed that DeFusco was leading right in their polls right before the flier appeared on cars and the Bhalla lackey discovered them on cars the evening of the Friday prior to election day.

    • That would sure be damning if true. Add in the fact that both Bhalla and his campaign manager ViJay are of Indian descent like the alleged perps in Edison and the case is slam dunk.

      At least it is if you’re both a racist and a moron.

  6. If DeFusco produced the hate flyer attacking Bhalla then it makes absolute sense that when the stuff hit the media fan DeFusco and squad would try anyway possible to spin it away from themselves and avoid the negative fall out of their deeds.

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