(Updated to include additional comments from Councilman DeFusco—9:11 p.m.)
While they haven’t reached a verdict in the Frank Raia federal vote-by-mail bribery trial, Hoboken Councilman Michael DeFusco made a decision to announce a new campaign manager—with former campaign manager Ryan Yacco‘s name being mentioned throughout the trial testimony.
Yacco’s firm, Bluewater Operations, has been implicated in statements under oath as having written checks to individuals—allegedly paying $50 each to vote for Raia.
On Wednesday, Migdalia Pagan Milano, DeFusco’s opponent in the forthcoming 1st Ward election, said, “I call on Councilman DeFusco to remove Ryan Yacco from his campaign. Mr. Yacco was at the heart of an illegal vote-buying scheme. We must send a message that this kind of blatant political corruption is no longer tolerated in Hoboken.”
DeFusco told hMAG that Yacco was “never slated to be my campaign manager” for this election. Nevertheless, on Thursday he released a statement announcing the appointment of David Gracin as the campaign manager for his 2019 City Council re-election. Gracin served as the field director during Councilman DeFusco’s 2017 mayoral run. Ray Ferraioli will lead fundraising efforts.
“I’m excited that my core team from the mayoral campaign will be joining me again this year to continue the push to bring new energy and new ideas to Hoboken,” said DeFusco. “David is a well respected campaign professional who has successfully elevated candidates across the country into public service. Our entire team shares my commitment to good government and I’m confident with their support and guidance we will continue to build a better Hoboken.”
Yacco told Hudson County View, “Mike’s a friend and I wish him nothing but success, but I have a full slate for the fall and he already has a team in place.”