‘I never bought a vote in my life!,’ Hoboken’s Raia testifies at his own VBM fraud trial

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Hoboken politico Frank Raia testified in his own federal vote-by-mail fraud trial that he did not direct his former campaign “captains” to bribe voters in the 2013 municipal races, exclaiming “I never bought a vote in my life!”

By Marc Bussanich/Hudson County VIew

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell reminded U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini’s court that Raia’s three former allies, Matt Calicchio, Michael Holmes and Freddie Frazier,  testified under oath that he directed them to pay low-income residents in exchange for votes in 2013.

However, Raia simply dismissed the sworn testimony by saying that the trio acted on their own.

“You listened to all the testimony. You agreed earlier that it’s illegal to bribe voters. They all admitted to bribing voters. They testified under oath that you told them to do that. So, all three guys just decided on their own to bribe voters. They didn’t tell you they were doing this? They’re not telling the truth?,” asked Farrell.

“I don’t know what the truth was to them. I wasn’t involved in what they were doing,” Raia simply stated.

Farrell went on to say to Raia that it wasn’t Holmes, Frazier or Calicchio running for office in 2013 and they weren’t the ones pushing for a yes vote on a referendum to roll back rent controls because they aren’t real estate developers like Raia.

“Again, they testified that you instructed them to bribe voters,” Farrell pressed forward.

“How can I instruct them on what to do when I don’t even instruct my own wife,” Raia responded.

For the next 20 or so minutes, Farrell would cite the many statements made by Raia’s former friends, but Raia ultimately doubled down, exclaiming: “I never bought a vote in my life!”

Farrell impressed upon the jurors that although Raia was dismissing his former associates as untrustworthy witnesses, there was a time not too long ago when Raia and them were very close, reminding the jury that even Raia loaned Holmes $3,000.

Additionally, Farrell brought up the charge that Raia ordered his campaign team to bring back open ballots to Raia’s social club at 520 Jefferson St. so that he could personally check to see how people voted.

“They all testified that you wanted to see the ballots before they were mailed,” said Farrell.

“They’re all liars,” responded Raia.

At the beginning of his cross-examination of Raia, Ferrell first asked Raia if he understood how vote-by-mail works, which involves ensuring that ballots are placed in an envelope and sealed before they are mailed to the Board of Elections or dropped off in person.

Ferrell asked Raia, “You agree that bearers shouldn’t tell voters who to vote for,” which Raia said, “agreed.”

“But bearers can’t take unsealed ballots from voters, and they shouldn’t be brought back to the campaign office. There’s no circumstance a vote-by-mail ballot should be brought back to campaign headquarters,” Farrell stated to Raia.

“Depends, it’s up to the bearer,” Raia answered.

That response compelled Ferrell to say that Raia requested from the BOE on 13 different occasions a report about the voting tally so that Raia could learn how voters were voting on the VBM applications, to which Raia said he’s entitled to do.

Based on testimony given yesterday by an FBI agent, 378 of the 398 people paid by either Raia’s One Hoboken campaign or the Let the People Decide super PAC received a vote by mail ballot in 2013.

Needless to say, this information wasn’t lost on Farrell when Raia was on the stand.

“Is that a coincidence? That was your plan because a low turnout ensures that the people you paid would vote yes on the referendum to questions pertaining to rolling back rent control laws?,” he asked, opting not to ask any further questions when Raia did not answer.

Furthermore, Farrell argued that Raia had to know which voters were receiving checks because the government provided an exhibit which showed that voters had signed declarations before they could receive any money.

Before Raia took the stand, fellow Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal grilled political science professor and Bayonne political operative Jack Butchko about whether he was authorized to sign off on checks to voters given his role to fill out New Jersey Election Commission Enforcement forms on behalf of the Raia campaign.

The government presented an exhibit that displayed a $33,500 check from a lobbying group, the Mile Square Tax Payers Association, and Agarwal asked Butchko if he had visibly seen the check given his role of filling in ELEC forms to comply with ELEC election regulations.

“In order for you to fill in that ELEC form with the check number, you had to have seen that check,” said Agarwal.

To which Butchko replied he probably did, because the information on the checks were provided to him by Raia.

Oddly, Butchko said that Calicchio played no role in the 2013 campaign, but many subsequent witnesses for the defense, including Raia himself, contradicted that statement.

Raia had several other Hoboken natives testify on his behalf, including Rev. Alexander Santora, former Hoboken Board of Education Assistant Superintendent Anthony Petrosino, Cartaret Mayor Daniel Reiman and ex-North Hudson Sewerage Authority Counsel Frank Leanza.

The majority of the character witnesses were on the stand for five minutes or less.

The defense rested just before 3 p.m. and Martini said he would give the jury Friday off before closing arguments in the case commence on Monday morning.

77 COMMENTS

    • Raia and Yacco were team Defusco in the last election. 325 VBMs heavily concentrated in the 4th ward. GA covered it. Dead blog didn’t. That’s why it’s a dead blog. Case closed.

      • Wrong yet again Nancy Russo! Both HCV and Hobokenhorse reported on the Raia trial as they actually attend in federal court. Unlike you, stealing their work without any attribution but that’s just the so typical narcissist in you.

        They also reported the early 2017 DeFusco fundraiser with Pupie in attendance. They do this thing which you wouldn’t know anything about (like telling the truth) where they attend an event and publish on it. It’s called reporting. They don’t do hit jobs on DeFusco daily and weekly as you and the mayor’s office demand.

        HCV and Hobokenhorse are reporting, not your paid political operative cave turding. Of course, with you spiraling to the bottom for Ravi for two years, most will never speak to you again. That’s called common sense. You have fewer ethics than Hoboken411 in its heyday and that’s saying something.

        Get to work with the Russo Clan on another hit piece or start work on Ravi Terror Flier 2. The police won’t bother you. Not yet anyway.

        • mentioning a fundraiser with raia in attendance is not the same thing as reporting on raia & yacco generating 325 vbms for defusco and finding the connections to participants in this trial. don’t worry. someone will do the work you aren’t allowed to do.

          • No one reads your Ravi propaganda website but the Ravi campaign bots where you talk to each other repeating the same lies against anyone who dares question Mayor Ravi Bhalla. You’re afraid of Mike DeFusco because it took your pals planting a Terror Flier at dinner time on a Friday in Hoboken to trick people into voting for Ravi.

            We’re awaiting your public apology for the repeated claims Ruben Ramos was the unnamed council candidate in the Fed’s Calicchio complaint. Except you and Lindastan and the mayor’s office operatives are all proven wrong.

            After reading Hobokenhorse state it was an uptown 2015 council candidate (fairly obvious to anyone with common sense who isn’t a paid political operative for Ravi Bhalla), you have zero credibility. You’re a paid political operative for Ravi Bhalla but that’s the only job you have had in many years. Good luck with it.

            When will you prove that Frank Raia is “an asset” to Hoboken as he said in 2016?

            No one else called Frank Raia an asset to Hoboken but Ravi! Alright, you must be busy doing another DeFusco got milk graphic. If there’s anything to VBM problems, I think HCV and Hobokenhorse will report it. They are trusted sources unlike your nefarious repeated lies.

          • Defusco’s reliance on the same Raia-Yacco vbm operation is news. You’d cover it if Bhalla were involved.

            Defusco’s well-documented ELEC violations are news. You’d cover it if Bhalla did it.

            Face it. You’re nothing but a noisy moral coward at this point. Real news doesn’t interest you unless it tells the story you want. That’s called propaganda, not journalism.

          • News outlets like HCV and Hobokenhorse covered the 2017 news, wait for it… in 2017! There’s an ELEC story current that needs coverage. The one where Ravi is illegally loaning money out of a campaign account. Someone tell NJ ELEC! Investigate!

            Wait, what? Illegal, Ravi, and money?! HCV and Horse, look into that before the Cave starts making excuses for Ravi again which we all know will come as sure as the sun coming up.

            Go ahead, let’s see the paid operative Cave cover that NEWS!
            Maybe after crazy Nancy covers the NJ Supreme Court smackdown of Ravi for cheating an employee out of thousands of dollars.

            Yeah right!

            Ravi called Frank Raia an asset for Hoboken!

            No. One. Else.

            Ravi!

          • Put up or shut up. Where’s this Bhalla story?

            Defusco’s Raia-Yacco vbm operation is going under the microscope. You won’t be there. Your fantasy that you are anything like HCV is just that, a fantasy. HCV does journalism. You look for ways to attack Bhalla. Defusco’s vbm operation doesn’t do that for you, so you won’t do it. Just a noisy moral coward, not a journalist.

        • Horse is doing a great job representing the good side of reform. And writing painfully transparent posts congratulating himself.

    • I just want to thank the many, many, many people who have reached out to me to thank me for my spectacular #winning coverage of the Raia trial. 100% by email. No one actually thought to post a comment on my blog and I haven’t had a comment from a registered (real) user in like a month. Just email. But just trust me when I say, I’m getting tons of email. Because I’m so, so popular. Trust me.

      • Nancy the shut in is so jealous of Horse. She thinks she can make him stop breaking big stories and getting the truth out but she can’t. She can only censor at the dark, dreary, damp cave. She’ll have to stick to big fat lies and kissing the Russo Klan butts. She likes the taste.

  1. In other news they are finishing up shooting on the Soprano’s prequel in Newark Bada Bing

  2. OF COURSE that Fr Santoro guy who writes politically charged letters to the editor and hated Zimmer testified for Raia. You really can’t make this stuff up.

    The church really has a PR winner there with this guy

  3. Jack Butchko is an honest and insightful man. He did a good job for Tom Greaney.

      • I hate to say it but after seeing more than enough of both, Nancy is far worse than the Hoboken411 crew. Remember when she was gone how the political tenor dramatically improved? Veejay had to do all the dirty work and the media doesn’t care to hear his spiel. These people make Al Sharpton look like a mild-mannered decent fellow. Dawn Zimmer must be crying herself to sleep how dirty the mayor’s office is now. She showed so much dignity when holding the office. Ravi and his crew are about as nasty as we’d dread from Beth and her sycophants. Just terrible.

        • God knows Beth had a lot of faults but she may have been absolutely correct about her assessment of Roman’s character or total lack of it

          • Nancy is friends with the SAME people her new pal Beth, Lane and Kim supported: Castellano, Russo, Destefano… Nancy Hearst.
            Nancy the nobody… You are a nothing nancy.. go jump in a lake you human waste of life!

          • NHS, you sound truly sick. Like you can’t manage your inarticulate hatred for people who don’t agree with you. Try logging off. It’s a nice day outdoors.

        • perry, lane, beth all moved on with their lives. tony and roman still obsess about them and can’t get through a day without talking about them and compare things to them in ways that don’t make sense to anyone. so who lost? not perry, lane and beth.

          • Lane, Perry and Beth all invested in varied ways with this thing called a SLAP-suit.

            So let’s not talk about moving on until the final payments haven’t been paid, shall we?

          • Two sad lonely souls spewing hatred and venom on the internet, who live in the distant past constantly trying to relive what they believe are their long last glory days in a futile effort to compensate for fractured egos and the dismal reality of their present lives.

          • Who lost the runoff referendum? Who “wins” using a filthy Ravi Terror Flier?
            Some winners you are.

          • Yeah but why dump on Vijayjay and KooKoo for CocoPuffs Sybil today? They’re working hard to come up with something to attack the good government people right now. It’s what they do!

          • You mean the ones who won’t say a word about the Raia/Yacco/Defusco 325? Pretty much like Roman Brice that way. When they say “good government” all they mean is being in control.

  4. The cherry on the sundae of this deliciousness would be to see shitstain Ron Simoncini and the filthy slumlords of “Mile Square Tax Payers Assn” put on the stand for the dirty lying thieving fraud they were happy to participate in. Yeah Mark V and Esther his “Public Defender” wife – I see you. And you’re ugly inside and out.

    • Was thinking the same thing. President of MSTA, M.V. gleefully participated in this voting fraud, handed over oodles of cash to pay for votes. Add him to the list of people that should be carted off. Total greedy creep.

  5. If you think Frank Raia never bought a vote in his life I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Every one else did it.Yeah right. Keep right on lying all the way to jail. His character witnesses were out of central casting. The end.

  6. A while back Frank Raia’s son reportedly told him to get out of Hoboken politics.
    He didn’t listen then and now the Federal Justice system will force him to do just that.

  7. Lost in this debate is the fact that the problem is paying people to vote – not paying people to vote absentee.

    If my recollection is correct, in 2015, something like 40% of Ruben Ramos’s voters were paid to “work” for him. Does anybody really need to “hire” more than 50 people for GOTV in a Hoboken ward election? Is running in the 4th ward really so labor intensive?

    Does anybody who believes in honest and fair elections genuinely think that “hiring’ 400 people to “work” in an election where fewer than 2000 people will vote is OK?

    Will Ramos commit to hiring no more than 50 4th ward voters to “work” in the upcoming 4th ward election? Or will he hire his usual 400 people and say “look, they wore t-shirts and voted at the polls” so it’s all OK?

    Hoboken will not have free and fair elections until unscrupulous politician stop paying people to vote. Being smarter about it so you don’t go to jail doesn’t make it OK.

    • Like in 2007 when Dawn Zimmer and her husband appeared on cable news and Hoboken411 talking about why she had to vacate her seat because of “ mail in ballots “

      “Here honey mail this for me …. “ oops….
      Stan pacing in the background on video not realizing he was in the scene, the public got a preview of what he’s like like when the puppet isn’t performing the way the hand up its butt is telling it to do!

      • “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

    • Lost in the debate LindaStan? Yeah, you’re so lost you raised all this and avoided who paid in 2015. Where do these people appear on an NJ ELEC report? Or don’t you have anything to say about Mike Russo now that he’s in bed with Ravi Bhalla?

      Funny how that works.

  8. Ramos Ramos Ramos…. is he on trial ?no!
    Either us Dawn, Roman, A few old politicians and some supporters

    So why has things suddenly gotten so nasty?
    Seems to line up with a certain blogger who recently reopened her vile blog.
    The one that’s been condemned by multiple religious leaders, community members and politicians

    Nancy is a divider and bike spewing trouble maker.

  9. John Allen and Jason Freeman should stop taking 3 hour lunches and playing with the luxury SUVs sirens with Ravi on taxpayers dime

  10. Hilarious! See for yourself! ALEXA: 100% of MSV blog visitors LEAVE from the page the entered (“bounce”) and stay for an AVERAGE of 8 seconds! 😂😂😂😂😂😂
    Google analytics used by GA, is the most accurate web tracker. See data below!

    https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/hobokenhorse.com
    Site Metrics Estimate
    All visitors to this site /Past 90 Days
    1.0 Daily Pageviews per Visitor
    0:08 Daily Time on Site
    100.0% Bounce rate

    Grafix Avenger- GOOGLE ANALYTICS
    Week: starting Monday-now (Friday 4:30 pm)
    Pageviews
    9,540
    Sessions
    3,945
    Number of Sessions per User
    3.28
    Pages / Session
    2.7
    Avg. Session Duration
    00:03:41
    Bounce Rate
    44.41

    • Is the guy who runs that site really paying his bills by recharging those electric scooters

      • Yes. Tony the Two-Faced Terror has been telling everyone. The person who told me heard it from him. But, one of the people he’s victimized on his dead blog saw him dragging scooters up his building stairs. 4$ per scooter to charge, $2 to bring back to the hub. He’s gotta, be pulling $25 a week!

        • Nancy, go get a life. You terrorized the entire city. Go back and interact with your loved ones. Hoboken was so nice when you were not blogging.
          You must be making a lot of money to be attacking everyone who defended you for years.

          • After the horrible, disgusting, offensive and THREATENING COMMENTS you’ve dropped about everyone who does not support Mike Defusco or Ruben you asked for and you deserve everything you get. If you wish to be left one, stop f*cking with people.”greased palm cards” and “neighbors” and all of your gratuitously nasty personal comments, you have made nothing sacred. You don’t own Hoboken. As for “terrorizing” the City, look in the mirror, though the hyperbole is stupid. “Attacking everyone who helped me” – BS. You, Roman and his Photoshopper are no friends of mine. Now, you and the others who spent all weekend throwing mud on this board– you need to get a life. It’s beautiful here in NH.

      • At least Beth is not paying him
        Nice to see FinBoy and Sybil are friends!
        Don’t forget to invite Dang to swim in your septic

    • Nancy, you don’t have any Google Analytics for anyone’s website. Alexa doesn’t have access to every website, you dolt.

      So you can stop acting like a lunatic mental patient every other minute.
      Btw, he asked me to tell you, his numbers beat you. Always did, always will. Because telling the truth matters more than being a paid political operative for Ravi.

    • Nancy, no one believes your lies here so it’s only another reflection of your mental illness. You can write for your Ravibots at the Cave as much as you like. It’s killing you they were all right about Ravi before the 2017 mayoral election and you were wrong! Even the NJ Supreme Court slammed your boss!

      Hey but you go on and enjoy your head up Russo’s sphincter! Sucks to be you!

  11. DEAD Blog MSV ALEXA STATS at this link:
    https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/hobokenhorse.com

    Your eyes aren’t lying to you! The site is really dead! 7 seconds per visit! 😂😂😂😂😂😱😱😱😱M

    Site Metrics Estimate
    All visitors to this site /Past 90 Days
    1.0 Daily Pageviews per Visitor
    0:07 Daily Time on Site
    100.0% Bounce rate

    GOOGLE ANALYTICS for GrafixAvenger
    Week: starting Monday-Friday 4:30 pm
    Pageviews
    9,540
    Sessions
    3,945
    Number of Sessions per User
    3.28
    Pages / Session
    2.7
    Avg. Session Duration
    00:03:41
    Bounce Rate
    44.41

  12. It’s a beautiful day to go outside. Wear your SPF 10,000 your black out goggles and crawl out of your caves. We know sociopaths who attack everyone who isn’t a BhallaBot and people who will lob personal attacks on their former friends like Jen Giattino and Tiffany Fisher have a tough time interacting with real live humans, but try it. It’s really fun.

    https://weather.com/weather/today/l/07030:4:US

  13. It’s pathetic that most of the comments here are among a handful of idiots fighting over which blogging jerk is worse – trumplover brice or one-arm-in-a-straitjacket nancy. Why anyone thinks either of their sites is worth a look let alone a read is beyond me.

    This case is the direct result of the hubris of a few greedy developers who dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into funding the anti-Rent Control vote and couldn’t believe it when they lost. Their hubris and money drove them to take the results to court and it was obvious from the first day of hearings that the judge was skeptical of their claim that perfectly good absentee votes were being suppressed. It went on for a few days, with Sean Smith strutting around swinging his brass balls everywhere, until the judge made it clear that the only way to clear things up would be for the citizens who voted absentee to come to court, get sworn in, and state their intended vote. That’s when I knew it was over. And so did they. Since most of the absentee voters had no damn idea how they voted.

    Yes I worked on the pro-RC side. I worked hard. I spent hours and hours on the streets talking to voters. I worked on Election Day from 7am till the polls closed. For a cause I believe in. A cause bigger than me. For my community. So that Hoboken can remain a place EVERYONE can live in. Instead of a gated community for trust-funders, bankers, escapees from the suburbs who want to turn Hoboken into Berkeley Heights.
    It hurts to read the testimony of low-income people living in subsidized housing who took $50 to sell out their own people. Unfortunately this practice has been enculturated in this community by the rich and powerful of Hoboken.

    Who remembers Andrew Amato? And it goes back even further than him.

    JFC, I hope this is the end of it. But would I love to see Simoncini and “Mile Square Tax Payers Assn” get a little ass-kicking too. Because he’s doing the same thing all over New Jersey.
    http://asburyparksun.com/fraud-alleged-on-anti-rent-control-petition/

    • So true, so true. If not for the hard work of the renters and people that support them, fighting to keep their 2nd election victory at the polls, this day would never have come.

      • and no credit for hard work should go to a certain new 2nd ward candidate who did not work on the referendum with the HFHA
        Lying and her petitions aren’t even filed yet!

    • Hunkel, so a man can spam this site with literally hundreds of insult-laden barely lucid rants against politicians, mayoral aides, and anyone who supports him and all you can say is he’s a Trump lover, while a woman, who is a frequent target of his rants, decides to HIT BACK HARD, and she’s crazy? Really. That’s pretty TRUMPY of you, Hunkel, just like the Tangerine Caligula demeans his female critics as “crazy” or “low IQ.” So Brice spamming to Fire John Allen, false accusations that political adversaries made the Terror Flier and false and defamatory allegations of “criminal trials” are NORMAL? He isn’t crazy? I get it. The comments here are south of stupid. I’ve asked John to change his system to reduce the garbage flow. But it’s his site. I wouldn’t allow this garbage on my own.

      • Notice how the crazy blogger ignores the point and tries to shift the focus. Come on Nancy, you can say it: rent control. It’s easy to say: rent control. It doesn’t hurt to say it: rent control (and don’t worry, your mayor won’t prioritize it or affordable housing. He’ll just lie.”

      • How ’bout this: they’re both effing crazy. Is that better?

        But you know who’s crazy and stupid? YOU. And every loser idiot who reads their crap.

      • Notice me! notice me!
        Sure you stop comments that disagree with you, you also call people out by their names on your vile blog and you try it here too. You want John to make his site like yours? What are you nuts?
        It could never be like yours because John will never photoshop people into Nazi imagery or decorate a gay man with milk on his lips or put him in hell’s fire.

        The only attention you deserve is no attention.
        The only attention you need is psychological.
        You are a narcissist.

Comments are closed.