“The Crime Scene” 101
Today, Hoboken “city hall investigator” estevens present us with an “Adaptation of a Criminal Complaint.”
Dumbing down is fun!
“The criminal complaint, United States of America v. Peter Cammarano III and Michael Schaeffer, is an interesting read, but it is dense and choppy.
I’ve adapted it for stage /screen for fun and to make it easier to read for those that are curious about what exactly went down. I’ve tried to stay true to the quoted conversations and narration, only filling gaps where absolutely necessary and without changing the nature or significant details of the story, not unlike the frog DNA they used to complete the dino-DNA in Jurassic Park. I’ve also cross-referenced dollar amounts and dates against ELEC filings. Draw your own conclusions. I sure did. Unfortunately, Cammarano’s post-election filing is not yet available (it’s over three weeks since it was due). I couldn’t check the more recent “investments” against his account records, and don’t know that I will be able to. Lucy Truglio, campaign treasurer, get on it! I hope your viewers enjoy reading this. I know I did. Perhaps friends will form play-reading groups and have fun performing it.”
Shhh! Without further ado – let the play begin!
(Lights dim, curtians open…)
Criminal Complaints for Dummies
Saturday evening – April 11, 2009 – Jack Shaw’s home. Shaw is on the phone with Michael Schaffer. They have been discussing the upcoming mayoral elections in Jersey City and Hoboken.
Shaw: Dwek. Solomon Dwek. He’s my guy…the guy you’re gonna meet. He gave our friend in Jersey City twenty thousand and he’s good for ten thousand more before the election. I know he will give Cammarano five thousand. We’ll probably have to run the five thousand through you. A lot of our friends are getting five thousand, ten thousand. Cheatam finally found a guy with some money. This guy Dwek likes spending money…
Tuesday afternoon – April 14 – unknown location. Jack Shaw is on his cell phone with Edward Cheatam.
Shaw: A couple of other things, uh, Cammarano would like to meet on the 27th at 2 o’clock at the Malibu Diner. The meeting to consist of Dwek, you and me, Mike Schaffer and him…’cause Mike is gonna deal with, uh, the conversion process.
Continue the production (all 11 scenes) – after the jump!
(Criminal Complaints for Dummies, continued…)
Sunday evening – April 26 – Jack Shaw’s home. Shaw is on the phone with Michael Schaffer.
Shaw: Remember, we’re seeing each other at 2 o’clock tomorrow.
Shaw: Just you and Cammarano.
Schaffer: That’s it. That’s it.
They talk more about the Hoboken mayoral campaign.
Shaw: That’s why we’re gonna try to get this kid some money tomorrow. To be truthful between you and me, there ain’t nothin’ we can do for Dwek in Hoboken. He builds high rises.
Schaffer: No. I think you should be able to go high on Observer Highway. I think Peter supports that, too.
Monday afternoon, 2pm – April 27 – Malibu diner. Peter Cammarano, Michael Schaffer, Jack Shaw, and Solomon Dwek are seated.
Cammarano: I’m an attorney in private practice…election law. I run the election law department at the, at the biggest election law firm in the state of New Jersey. I was elected as councilman four years ago. To the extent there’s a pro-development person in this race, that’s me.
Dwek: If I come over here, you know, and I wanna do, eh, I need a zone change, I need something, I wanna make sure that I, you know, you, you’re my man.
Cammarano: You can put your faith in me. I’m a big proponent of redevelopment.
Dwek: Can you get matters on the agenda in the next, within thirty days or sixty days or do I have to wait six months, eight months, or a year? What’s the process?
Cammarano: It can go on the agenda just as soon as there’s a sponsor for it. That happens like that.
Dwek: So, if you sponsor it, boom?
Dwek: Make sure you get my stuff expedited.
Cammarano: I promise you…you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be treated like a friend.
Dwek: Pete, so I’ll, uh, do my business with Mike.
Dwek: I’m gonna give Mike, uh, five thousand to start, and then after the election I’ll do another five thousand.
Cammarano: Okay. Beautiful.
Dwek: Just make sure, you know, when I have my zoning…
Cammarano: I’ll be there.
Dwek: Just make sure you expedite my stuff. That’s all I ask. (Points to Michael Schaffer) I’ll deal with him. Just make sure my name is not, uh…
Cammarano: No, no, no…
Dwek: I don’t want it to show up. I don’t want any conflict issues.
Cammarano: Right, right, right.
Dwek: I’m a businessman. Generous guy…
Solomon Dwek and Michael Schaffer walk out to the parking lot. Dwek takes an envelope containing $5000 in cash from the trunk of his car.
Dwek: That’s five thousand cash. I told Pete that, uh, I’ll give him another five after the election, and if you need anything before, call me. Just make sure he gets my stuff, uh, expedited.
Schaffer: I certainly will.
Peter Cammarano, Edward Cheatam, and Jack Shaw leave the diner and speak with Schaffer in the parking lot. Schaffer is holding the envelope. We cannot hear what they are saying. Schaffer and Cammarano walk off and speak to each other. Schaffer, still in possession of the envelope, gets in his car and drives off. Cammarano leaves on foot.
From Cammarano for Mayor ELEC filing received May 6, 2009. Please draw your own conclusions.
Same day, 4pm – Jack Shaw’s home. Shaw is on the phone with Michael Schaffer.
Shaw: So, uh, was Dwek good to you?
Schaffer: Yes, yes, he was.
Shaw: Well, we’ll try to get some more before election day.
Schaffer: That’s what Dwek told me.
Friday afternoon – May 1 – Jack Shaw’s home. Shaw is on the phone with Michael Schaffer.
Shaw: Was Cammarano okay with, uh, Dwek’s, uh, contribution?
Schaffer: Oh, loved it. Loved it. Loved him. He told me, Michael, the way I operate politics, anybody who helps me, I help them. That’s the way I operate. And if you’re not there the first round, I don’t need ya the second round… Peter likes Dwek. Dwek’s a very smart guy.
Shaw: Well, that’s good. Just as long as, uh, he’s happy.
Schaffer: Nah, very happy. Very happy.
Late Wednesday evening – May 6 – Jack Shaw’s home. Shaw is on the phone with Michael Schaffer. They are discussing the upcoming Hoboken election.
Shaw: Uh, my friend Dwek would like to invest some more money in, uh, Peter.
Schaffer: Oh, we could use it.
Shaw: Can we meet Monday morning?
Shaw: Dwek will bring it in the same form he brought it in before.
Schaffer: Right, right, same for our…you want me to come to Jersey City or you wanna come to Hoboken?
Shaw: No, we’ll come back to, uh, the Malibu Diner and meet you and, uh, Cammarano. See if Cammarano can meet us at the Malibu around ten, ten-thirty Monday morning.
Schaffer: It will be done.
The meeting has been moved up to Friday – May 8 – at the Malibu diner. Peter Cammarano, Michael Schaffer, Jack Shaw, Solomon Dwek, and Edward Cheatam are seated. They are discussing the upcoming Hoboken election.
Dwek: Uh, so Peter, uh, I’ll, I’m, I’ll do some, eh, business with Mike like last time. I’ll give him the five thousand green.
Dwek: Don’t put my name – like last time.
Cammarano: (Nodding) Understood. Understood.
Dwek: I don’t need any conflict issues, and just make sure when I come in with some stuff…
Dwek: I have some properties we’re working on together, uh, Jack and Ed. Just make sure I got your support…
Cammarano: Yup. I’ll be there.
Dwek: And expedite my stuff.
Cammarano: I’ll be there.
Dwek: Thank you. Next week, I don’t know if you want to meet Wednesday or Thursday, but whenever you want, I’ll give you – I’ll do another five for you.
Cammarano: Maybe after, uh, we sleep in a little bit on Wednesday.
Cheatam: We should get together for a celebration dinner the following week.
Schaffer and Dwek walk out to the parking lot.
Schaffer: Don’t worry, he’ll keep his word.
Dwek: As long as he expedites my stuff, and I got his support.
Schaffer: No, no, he will, he will.
Dwek takes an envelope containing $5000 in cash from the trunk of his car and hands it to Schaffer.
Dwek: That’s, uh, five thousand cash there. My applications – I don’t want them on the bottom of the pile.
Schaffer: I told Cammarano when we get elected, we put our friends on the boards so we know we get the – don’t listen to these morons who say put this environmentalist on, but they’re, they’re all fucking kooks.”
Dwek: You wanna have guys that will support guys like me.
Schaffer: Guys that worked in the campaign, put ‘em on.
Dwek: I appreciate your help.
Dwek walks back toward the diner. Schaffer holds up the envelope.
Schaffer: I’m going to put it in my car.
Dwek re-enters the diner.
Dwek: I gave that, uh, en-, envelope to, uh, uh, Mike.
Dwek: Just don’t put my name anywhere.
Cammarano: Yeah, no, no, no.
Dwek: Mike says that, uh, you know, you’re a man of your word.
Cammarano: I am. I am.
Dwek: He says that if you say you’ll expedite something, you do it.
Cammarano: Yes, absolutely.
Dwek: I’m gonna have applications soon…when will you be in as mayor?
Cammarano: July 1st.
Dwek: So, we’ll wait ‘til August or September or something to come in or something.
Cammarano: Yeah, yeah. Thanks.
Dwek leaves the diner.
From Cammarano for Mayor ELEC report received 5/21/09. Please draw your own conclusions. Bellotti home phone number was unlisted.
Tuesday – May 19 – Malibu diner. Jack Shaw and Edward Cheatam are joined by Peter Cammarano and Michael Schaffer. They discuss the prospects of winning the June runoff election against Dawn Zimmer.
Cammarano: Right now, the Italians, the Hispanics, the seniors are locked down. Nothing can change that now…I could be, uh, indicted, and I’m still gonna win 85 to 95 percent of those populations. Listen – I’ve got to go to film a TV commercial.
Dwek: I’m gonna do the, you know, five thousand cash with Mike.
Dwek: Just again, don’t put my name on anything.
Cammarano: No, no, no. I’ll take it through my good friends. (Points to Michael Schaffer)
Dwek: Make sure you, you know, don’t forget to expedite my stuff.
Cammarano: I won’t, I won’t. You were, you were, you were with me early and often.
Dwek: Jack and, uh, Ed…we, we saw some properties that – not too far from us – around the corner from, uh, Toll Brothers…so, uh, you know, once we come in for something, just, uh…
Cammarano: Yeah. Michael will tell you that, this is, this is something that I don’t know, I don’t know how many times you and I have had this conversation.
Cammarano: This is the way Mr. Schaffer and I both see the world through the same lens, right. In this election, hopefully, we, we, we, you know, we get to the point where I’m sworn in on July 1st, and we’re breaking down the world into three categories at that point. There’s the people who were with us, and that’s you guys. There’s the people who climbed on board in the runoff. They can get in line. . . And then there are the people who were against us the whole way. They get ground . . . they get ground into powder.
Dwek: They have to wait three years for their approvals. They go to the bottom of the pile. Jack or Ed will call you once we have the property to buy, just make sure we got your support.
Cammarano: Thank you. You got it.
Dwek: We’ll do another five thousand once you win. Hopefully, what is it, June 2nd, or whatever?
Cammarano: June 9th.
Dwek: We’ll meet ya’ a couple days after you recover, we’ll do another five thousand.
Peter Cammarano leaves diner. Schaffer and Dwek leave the diner and walk to Dwek’s car.
Dwek: At least, he understands – Peter.
Schaffer: Oh yeah, his, oh, he understands the rules.
Dwek: He takes care of his friends.
Schaffer: I trained him well.
Dwek: (Opens the trunk of his car) Let’s see here. This is five? Yeah, this is five. (He hands Schaffer an envelope containing $5000 in cash) Just again, don’t put my name…
Schaffer: (Laughs) I know, I – I know the rules.
Dwek: I don’t want any conflicts. After the election, I’ll do, we’ll do another five thousand.
Schaffer: Okay, very good.
Michael Schaffer walks away with envelope.
From Cammarano for Mayor ELEC filing received June 8, 2009. Please draw your own conclusions.
Tuesday – June 23 – Malibu diner. Jack Shaw, Edward Cheatam, and Peter Cammarano are discussing the recent election and the appointments that are underway.
Cammarano: I stopped being a lawyer last month, um, hopefully for good.
They continue to chat a while longer.
Shaw: So anyway, we understand you got a debt.
Peter Cammarano nods.
Shaw: (Pointing to Dwek) The main reason we’re here is to see how we can help you, and you’ve got to tell us somewhere in the neighborhood of what you need.
Dwek: Like I told you before the election, I, you know, I’m a generous guy. I’m…you know, I supported you before. I told you I’ll support you after. I keep my word. I’m sure you’ll keep your word with me…
Dwek: You’ll support, uh, you know, my stuff…
Cammarano: I only found out, found out literally on, uh, Friday night that there was any kind of deficit. They wrote street money checks, basically $19,000 beyond what was in the account on election day. I got a bridge loan…for $20,000.
Dwek: With me, you know, I, I, what I’ll do is like I did last time, you know, the time before. I’ll give you ten thousand dollars. Just don’t put my name on anything. I don’t want any trace. I don’t want any conflict issues, and we’ll do through, uh, Mike whenever Mr. Schaffer gets back. Hopefully next week, we’ll meet or something.
Cammarano: Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks – I appreciate it.
Dwek: I try to keep my word. Just make sure, you know, you don’t forget me.
Cammarano: We’re going to be friends for a good long time.
Dwek: Just make sure you cover my back. Expedite my stuff when it comes in front of you. That’s all I ask.
They chat a bit longer, then Cammarano departs.
Thursday – July 16 – Malibu diner. Jack Shaw and Edward Cheatam are joined by Peter Cammarano and Michael Schaffer.
Dwek: There’s two properties. There’s a property on Grand Street that my guys are looking at. I, I haven’t seen it yet.
Cammarano: Where is it?
Dwek: I don’t know the cross street. I think it’s, it’s a parcel of land or something that’s available…and then on, uh, Hudson, uh, Street, there’s an apartment building that’s all rentals now…and the whole building might be coming on the market. There’s, maybe there’s an opportunity to go higher, add some density, go wider. I don’t know, you know, there will be different things, so – between the two projects. I’ll, uh, let you know as, uh, we get, uh, closer. So, I know I got your support so…
Cammarano: Yes, wholeheartedly.
Dwek: At least I bet on the right horse this time.
Cammarano: Yeah, you did.
Dwek: So, uh, Peter, and I know Jack and Ed said that, you know, you needed some, uh, help or something.
Cammarano: I need all the help I can get.
Dwek: Me too, at some point will need you. I’ll give the, uh, uh, Mike the, the ten thousand, uh, you know, green.
Dwek: Just make sure my name, like the other time.
Cammarano: Yeah, I’m planning, and we’ll, uh, yeah.
Dwek: Just don’t put my name on nothin’. I don’t need any, uh, issues.
Cammarano: So where’s this project?
Dwek: I’ll get you all the information next week.
A short while later.
Dwek: (asking Jack Shaw) What was that? They wanted twenty, ten…?
Shaw: Twenty altogether.
Dwek: So what I’ll do is I’ll give ‘em the ten, ten now. And then we’ll meet again, you know, and next week or something, I’ll do the other ten. This way, you, know, we’ll be in good graces.
The group leaves the diner. Dwek and Schaffer walk to Dwek’s car. He opens the trunk and hands Schaffer an envelope containing $10,000 in cash.
Dwek: Here, this is the ten thousand, uh, cash.
Dwek: Don’t put my name like…
Schaffer: (laughs) I know, I…I know the drill.
Dwek: Then we’ll, we’ll see you, you know, we’ll do end of next week or something.
Schaffer: Sure. Let us know the address.
Schaffer walks to his car and put the envelope in the trunk of his car. Dwek walks over to Cammarano, who is standing with Jack Shaw and Edward Cheatam.
Cammarano: Thanks again!
Dwek: I’ll be in touch with you next week. I’ll take care of the other, uh, the other ten.
Cammarano: Yeah…just give me a holler.
Dwek: I’ll get you those two addresses. Just, you know, make sure I have your support…expediting my stuff.
Cammarano: Yeah, yeah. I’m with you.
- Peter Cammarano, 32, of Hoboken, was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
- Michael Schaffer, 58, of Hoboken, was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
- Edward Cheatam, 61, of Jersey City, was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right and attempted extortion.
- Jack Shaw, 61, of Jersey City, was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
For the charge of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right and/or attempted extortion under color of official right, the maximum statutory penalties are 20 years in federal prison and a maximum statutory fine of $250,000.
Hoboken411 Production Notes:
I appreciate that Eric put this together because judging by some of the comments I’ve seen (and some of the signs at the politically motivated rally this weekend) there’s a misunderstanding about Cammarano’s infamous “They get ground into powder” comment. I believe there’s been a deliberate misrepresentation of what Cammarano meant when he allegedly said this. If you read the whole criminal complaint it becomes clear he didn’t mean he would “grind” voters and constituents who didn’t support him “into powder” but was instead referring to DEVELOPERS who didn’t climb on board with him by providing campaign contributions early and often.
Does this make the allegations against Cammarano any less heinous? Of course not, but it calls into question the motivation of those politically active people who took the comment out of context and blasted it out to their e-mail lists in an effort to inflame people. Hoboken Revolt is behind the latest “grassroots protests” and misleading e-mail blasts. (NOTE to the national media now reading Hoboken411 after our appearance in the NY Times this weekend: Don’t be fooled. Hoboken Revolt is a “Zimmer for Mayor” front.)
The irony is Cammarano actively reached out to supporters of Beth Mason and Dawn Zimmer to help him set an agenda for his first year in office, one that probably would have left the likes of Solomon Dwek greatly disappointed. So, if you see some clowns tossing flour on themselves claiming to be the target of a Cammarano grinding, ask them if they are developers seeking favors, because that’s who he was actually referring to.
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