On 50th anniversary of Stonewall Riots, DeFusco donates $4k to LGBTQ caucus


On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco is donating $4,000 to the local Democratic committee’s LGBTQ caucus, two days after his political opponent called on him to return contributions linked to Frank Raia.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The Stonewall Riots were a defining moment in American history because it marked the beginning of the modern day push for equality in the LGBTQ+ community,” DeFusco said in a statement. “Fifty years ago to the day, brave men and women stood up for equality, they stood for love.”

“That’s why today I am standing up for what I believe in by continuing this historic conversation about love and inclusiveness. I am so incredibly proud of the progress we have made here in Hoboken, but there is so much more that needs to be done for us to achieve true equality. The donation I’ve made to the LGBTQ+ Caucus will allow the organization to continue working with local governments to promote equality and embrace individuality.”

DeFusco is the chair of the HCDO caucus and they hosted a “Drag Queen Story Hour” in early June to kickoff Pride month.

On Wednesday, the day after Hoboken politico Frank Raia was convicted of vote-by-mail fraud in connection to the 2013 municipal elections, 1st Ward council candidate Migdalia Pagan-Milano called on DeFusco to return $9,400: $5,400 from Raia directly and $4,000 from a related LLC.

At the time, DeFusco had already donated $2,700 to the Hoboken American Legion and the other $2,700 to the Jubilee Center.

Additionally, campaign finance records show that Raia had contributed to prominent New Jersey Democrats including Gov. Phil Murphy about a month before he was elected.

Furthermore, DeFusco’s latest announcement comes a day after Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who once called Raia “an asset to the City of Hoboken” back when he was a councilman in 2016, chided his political adversary for not returning the full $9,400 all at once in a mass email.

“While he did return the contributions Raia – one of his largest contributors – made personally, DeFusco is keeping the $4,000 Raia gave him through one of his limited liability corporations, attempting to argue that money given by Raia through his business somehow doesn’t count,” Bhalla wrote.

“This is an argument that fools no one – and sends precisely the wrong message. It is long-past time that we made a clean break with the corrupt politics of our past. That is what we should demand from all of our elected officials.”

Pagan-Milano is running on Bhalla’s five person council slate and the ward council races aren’t until November 5th.


Editor’s note: This story was updated to show that the Jubilee Center was the recipient of one of the donations from the DeFusco campaign.

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  1. There it goes last four grand of Raia’s $9,400 dirty money DeFusco took. Mikey would like to thank Swibinski public relations team he pays to manage his optics for trying to make lemonade out of very sour lemons.

    • Michael DeFusco after losing one big money patron to the Feds this week went out of his way today to make sure multi-pblic paycheck State Senator/Mayor Sacco/Assistant Superintendent of Schools is still on his patron. Those who have been keeping track know Sacco and his crew like Frank Raia were part of the failed DeFusco try to become mayor of Hoboken. While the boys from North Bergen tried to keep their involvement on the down low, at the time many thought that with a DeFusco as mayor that large scale developer friends connected to Sacco would gain a lucrative advantage. What will Boss Sacco ask of DeFusco in return for his political favors this time ? What will it cost Hoboken ?

  2. MDF reportedly had the largest political war chest for the November 2019 Hoboken City Council elections with about $30,000 having to give away $9,400 because of his affiliation with now convicted felon Frank “Pupi” Raia and his money handler Ryan Yacco has to hurt. Ryan Yacco was also DeFusco’s campaign head until earlier this week. Moving forward people are now focused on DeFusco’s campaign finances with good reason.

    Will the embarrassment of being so connected to a criminal convicted of trying to undermine local elections and voter fraud keep others from bankrolling DeFusco ?

  3. DeFusco certainly is working hard to put behind Pupie Raia’s role in his 2017 campaign into the rear view mirror.

    But, comparing Raia’s contributions to DeFusco and his role in DeFusco’s campaign to Raia’s contribution to Murphy is nonsense.

    Councilman DeFusco paid over 100 VBM voters to ‘work” for him for $50 each. In light of Raia’s conviction and his role, financial and otherwise, supporting DeFusco’s campaign, it’s fair to ask what role, if any, Mr. Raia had in “hiring” those VBM voting “workers.”

    The feds may have asked those questions already, but Councilman DeFusco owes an answer to the public as well.

    Did Mr. Raia have a role in Councilman DeFusco’s absentee ballot operation – yes or no?

    That is the question I haven’t seen him answer yet, and if he wants to put this in the rear view mirror he should provide an honest answer.

    • Since we’re seeking answers, what about Dawn Zimmer, Raia, and others paid far more than 100 VBM voters to ‘work’ for her campaigns? How about we get those honest answers?

      • I’m not sure what you’re question is because “what about” isn’t really a question that can be answered – It is, however, particularly apt since you are engaging in the deflective ploy known as “whataboutism.”

        Did Raia have a role in Mike DeFusco’s 2017 VBM operation yes or no?

        After you answer we can move on to all the “whataboutism Zimmer” questions you like.

    • I don’t know perhaps she would have wanted him not to give the money to himself by donating it to a organization he controls.

      A DeFusco supporter making that kind of disparaging comment about anyone let alone a woman really shows the caliber of his base.

  4. Will Stan Grossbard the Shadow mayor of HOBOKEN advise his wifey Dawn to come clean and re file her 2007 ELECs?

    Stan might think he’s above the law but he’s not above meeting with Carmelo Garcia in a Hells Kitchen bar to “ talk shop/ politics “

    Costing the HHA $750,000
    Just ask Dana Wefer about Stan Grossbard.

  5. But wait Migdalia painted a crosswalk! There’s a photo!
    Why is she lying about living here the whole time?
    Who wouldn’t love it if you could live on a building with your wealthy wife and lots of HOBOKEN business owners who jumped affordable housing lists ?