Hoboken-linked super PAC gets $30k from Mack-Cali, set to spend $19k in 1st Ward


Real estate tycoon Mack-Cali Property Trust has spent $30,000 to bolster a super PAC getting involved in at least one Hoboken City Council race, poised to spend at least $19,420 to aide the challenger in the 1st Ward.

An office space owned by the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation located at 111 River St. in Hoboken. Photo via mack-cali.com.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

NJ Community Initiatives received a $30,000 contribution from Mack-Cali on October 18th, according to an October 25th filing with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

NJ Globe first made mention of the filing when reporting on various independent expenditure reports filed ahead of Election Day on November 5th.

The PAC, chaired by Louis Venezia, the chief of the Bloomfield Fire Department and the mayor’s brother, then paid $19,420 to the Belmar-based firm Round World Consulting, the report says.

That money has been earmarked for direct mail, printing and postage, for Migdalia Pagan-Milano, who is seeking to unseat 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco.

DeFusco, who had previously linked the PAC to Fairview Insurance, a city vendor, following a report by HCV connecting the PAC to the Hoboken municipal elections, predictably denounced outside money entering the race in the 11th hour.

“We are now just eight days away from an election that will determine the future of our city, and it is outrageous that Migdalia Pagan-Milano is willing to accept this kind of shady support,” he said in a statement.

“Money from major real estate players like Mack-Cali doesn’t come for free, and First Ward voters deserve to know exactly what kind of shady deal Migdalia and the Mayor made to win this support.”

In response, Rob Horowitz, a spokesman for the five-person slate backed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla, clarified that Mack-Cali has not made any direct donation to Pagan-Milano and also reiterated that DeFusco routinely violated the city’s pay-to-play rules.

“Councilman DeFusco knows full well that the contribution from Mack-Cali was made to the NJ Community Initiatives PAC – not to Ms. Pagan-Milano – but chooses to misleadingly conflate the two,” he began.

“As she has stated all along, Migdalia Pagan-Milano strongly prefers that all outside money stay out of the first Ward. And unlike Mr. DeFusco, who continues to blatantly violate Hoboken’s local pay-to-play reform and related campaign finance laws, Migdalia Pagan-Milano is strictly adhering to these regulations designed to protect the integrity of our elections and safeguard our redevelopment agreements and city contracts.”

HCV exclusively reported last month that NJ Community Initiatives hired Stephanie Wohlrab as their fundraiser, a Democratic mainstay who has worked with Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, former Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee and Bhalla (when he was a councilman).

She has also previously had ties with Fairview Insurance, who have not confirmed or denied having any involvement with NJ Community Initiatives.

Sean Darcy, a principal at Round World Consulting and a spokesman for the PAC, said that the group supports “strong, effective leaders on all levels of government” and thinks Pagan-Milano “would be an outstanding councilwoman.”


Editor’s Note: This story was updated with a comment from NJ Community Initiatives spokesman Sean Darcy.

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  1. And Ravi still calls himself a Reformer. Dirty money goes to dirty politicians. PACs only get involved when they have something to gain. If Migdalia wins we’ll get to see the payback pretty quickly.

  2. What were her statements on development? And would she make the same statements now after the $ flows?

    It’s a shame we don’t have a good candidate running in the 1st Ward. We’re stuck btw a rock and a hard place.

  3. And the 8 mailers he sent in the First ward?
    No way $8K to Vision Media covers all that. And how about Defusco’s new mailer from the HCDO LGBTQ Caucus – the group he gave $4K of Pupie’s money to, that he Chairs. Looks like Defusco recycled Pupie’s dough to buy himself a mailer. Or Defusco’s ridiculous Pay-to-Play violations? How about a story on that, Hudson County View?

    • We don’t want to talk about convicted voter fraud king pin Frank “Pupie” Raia’s massive amounts of money and help gave to Mike DeFusco. That is why we fund people to deflect anytime it is brought up.

      How many times do e]we have to explain that Mike is always to be viewed as a victim and that is enough of an excuse to overlook anything he does that may not be on the up and up.

    • Dirty, dirty Mike.

      Councilman Michael DeFuso who has had major difficulty attending the Hoboken Zoning and Planning Boards showed up in Jersey City to advocate for a 13 story residential building on Harrison Street for a influential and politically connected developer that is diametrically opposed to Hoboken’s redevelopment plans he is supposedly appointed to uphold.

      DeFusco and Co have steadfastly refused to even address the subject.

      • There’s a pattern.

        -Play victim
        -Avoid the topic at hand
        -Never speak ill of Ravi & team, even if caught red-handed

        It’s all so predictable. And it’s playing out here on several replies for all to see, in case anyone misses it.

        But still, this person has zero to say about the Mack-Cali $ flowing in. That’s what this article is about. Migdala – who has an anti-developer & ethics screed as the 1st line listed on her campaign website, no less – has $ coming in from a developer.

        When are we going to realize ALL of these people are total phonies – not just one side or the other. Both sides are heavily compromised, and neither side has their constituencies’ best interests at heart.

        • Ravibots have egg on their faces. Ravi is making them look like fools, almost daily.
          They can do nothing but complain about DeFusco and old news. Hey, ignore today’s news about Ravi and big pro-development monies flooding in to help him because tomorrow they know it gets worse. Pathetic.

          • DeFusco, Ramos and Russo were all on the City Council Committee that approved latest the plan for NJT.
            If it is such a bad plan why did they approve it ?
            Facts win over horse manure and sewer gas every time.

          • The fact is the Ravi-Russo Alliance is pushing the big NJ Transit Redevelopment plan. Ravi was busted and he quickly lied pointing the finger at others. This is his and his PAC construction pals, Stronger Foundations plan.

            He has the Russo vote of course and the other two votes. He would only need one more from EMILY JABBOUR or Phil Cohen to finish Hoboken off.

            Ravi owns it.


          He has played the victim for at every election and every time someone tries to call him out on his increasingly ethically challenged actions It worked for him until now. Like the boy who cried wolf his over the top hysterics are being ignored and he will face the reality of his actions

    • Looks like Hudson County View and HobokenHorse had it right all along. Add the NJ Globe to the list for real breaking news. Maybe Hoboken has a chance to climb back out of this Ravi Abyss before he finishes his mission to sell out the Mile Square City. Wake up folks and share the truth.

      • Why didn’t Roman ever apologize for manufacturing the racist depiction of Hoboken’s Mayor he posted on his blog that embarrassed not only himself but our City ?

        Why has Councilwoman Fisher still ask for others to fund it while never condemning the obvious racism the rest of the world can plainly see ?

        • It might be hard to tell from all your responses ‘burying the headline’, but this is actually an article about developer $ coming into Hoboken late in the election cycle (the current one), do you realize that?

          The obsession with Roman and old news is puzzling. Why not just to go MSV and do it there?

        • Why would anyone apologize for satire over a movie image with Ravi linked to a white Jewish man playing a dictator of an imaginary country? No sane person would even ask.

          • Perhaps the world wide outrage over the offensively racist photoshopped image of Mayor Bhalla that was published on that site would be a good reason.

          • No one cares about MSV except one person around here who needs to deflect every negative post on Ravi team into some sort of referendum on MSV. Nothing on the actual content article – PAC money from a developer coming in to support a candidate who states on her website she’s for ethical behavior and anti-overdevelopment.

            This is quite the quandary for Ravi and his slate. So much so, no one on here is even trying to defend – just deflect, play victim, change the subject, ect.

            Why is no one talking about MSV and all of its drama? Cuz no one cares!

          • Desperaton plus a guilty conscience = stupid deflection.
            HCV and MSV had it right all along. Great work from them.

          • msv has an article claiming at p2p violation that has been disavowed by the p2p officer. msv is too dishonest to post a correction or retraction. that is true 100% of the time.

  4. That’s the end of any discussion about voting for Migdalia. If she really cared about affordable housing a real estate property company would not give her a dime. She must be saying one thing publicly and privately she’s making some two-faced promises. She’s got her affordable housing unit. Everyone else too bad.

    If she’s not lying about it, master Ravi has assured these massive property owners not to worry, because she’s so clueless she’ll just go along with whatever she wants.

    • Using the term “master” yet another not so subtle racist aggression from a group that manufactured the racist depiction of Hoboken’s Sikh mayor as a terrorist despot on their political blog site. That insulting depiction went viral and was condemned from all parts of the world. The site and the politicians who support and are supported by it never even tried to make any apologies for it. The infamous DeFusco for Mayor “Terrorist” flyer making the same kind of racist attacks.

      These people have repeatedly disgraced Hoboken and the good people who have made it their home.

      They do not deserve to be in public office.

      • Ravi’s crew is now trying to play the ‘everyone’s a racist’ card again! They are absolutely unbelievable. Cristin and Nora were big players in that 2017 smear campaign. I’ve been waiting for the Bhalla ticket to start that sh*t again. Here we go!

  5. The update from the pac would be hysterical if the thought of this no-nothing wasn’t so frightening. Watch the debate on HCV’s Facebook page. Migdalia’s lack of knowledge about anything was unbelievably obvious. She will vote the way Ravi wants without question and Mack-Cali knows it. I bet Mack-Cali has their eye on Marine View.


    Vision Media trying to earning their money trying defend their client DeFusco, Fisher, Giatinno and Ramos.

    When you have candidates with no real accomplishments after years in office you have to go dirty, make things up and use personal insults.

    Time to get rid of the whole nasty crew.

  7. The people screaming on this thread about “Dark money” didn’t give two $hits when it poured in from “New Jersey Democracy in Action” for DeFusco’s run-off ballot referendum.

    HYPOCRITES! “New Jersey Democracy in Action” spent at least $100,000 for 4 citywide mailers and advertising and none of you partisan fools said BOO. Dark Money will END in elections when Citizens United v FEC is overturned.

    BTW it’s not DARK if we can see WHO it is donating- Mack Cali. “New Jersey Democracy in Action” spent six-figures in Hoboken and NEVER FILED with ELEC or the IRS. THAT is dark.

  8. Michael Holmes gave Ruben Ramos a $500 donation and is out personally knocking on door for him in the ward. He knocked on my door and I closed it in his face. Go Lisa!