Lenz caught on tape (again!)

10/18/2010 Update:

Update: Political Opportunist Lenz salutes Anthony Russo

Political operative Michael Lenz has a love-hate relationship with the Russo family in Hoboken.

On the one hand, he uses the specter of convicted former Mayor Anthony Russo to motivate his “reform” minions whenever possible, and on the other hand he’s always ready to “make a deal for votes” from the Russo contingent on the City Council – 3rd ward councilman Mike Russo and 1st ward councilwoman Terry Castellano.

In this latest clip from Lenz’s 2008 interview with TV and Radio host Pat O’Melia, Lenz admits he believes Anthony Russo was a better Mayor than Dave Roberts:

The idea of an “incompetent” running against a “crook” resonates today as Peter Cammarano begins his prison term while Dawn Zimmer continues to face criticism she’s mismanaging the city. Everything from the continued inability to deal with the issues facing Sinatra Park and Pier C Park, to the $25.5 million dollar botch of the Municipal Garage Sale is leading more people to believe Zimmer is not up for the job.

Lenz and Russo: many deals over the years

In 2001, Lenz negotiated a deal to receive $1000 a week to take on the title of campaign manager for former Mayor David Roberts.

In 2003, Lenz orchestrated the endorsement of Mike Russo for council by his allies Carol Marsh and Tony Soares. Each signed letters urging people to vote for Russo:

Hoboken Letters to the Editor Soaresand Marsh - Lenz caught on tape (again!)“Michael’s support of Tony and I has been constant and welcomed. I am well aware of the charges facing his father, and of Anthony Russo’s many other outrageous actions over the years. But I also recognize that Michael has been implicated in none of this.

Michael Russo is saying all the right things… If you support accountable government in Hoboken, and you live in the Third ward, there is really only one choice. Please remember to vote for Michael Russo, next Tuesday, for City Council.”

– Carol Marsh

“On Tuesday I urge all my constituents in the 3rd Ward to cast their vote for a hard-working young professional by the name of Michael Russo. While some may think me supporting a Russo is out of character for a reform politician, he’s exactly the independent voice Carol Marsh, Terry Castellano and myself need as a fourth vote to what I believe will be a total collapse of our city’s financial future. I fully understand the issues surrounding Michael’s dad, but no verdict has been made nor will I hold a son accountable for the actions of a father.”

– Councilman Anthony Soares

Lenz, Marsh and Tony Soares have always been more interested in using the Russo family to attain their own political goals, whether it’s to join with them or use them as a convenient villain.

This triumvirate begged for Russo’s support in the 2005 runoff election against Dave Roberts, but didn’t receive it. Don’t forget the most recent deal made by Lenz, Soares and Marsh to secure the Russo votes for Soares’ appointment to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority board, complete with health benefits and a $5000 stipend.

The next time you hear Lenz drop the Russo name, remind him that he said corrupt Anthony Russo “spent money intelligently and well” and was a better Mayor than Dave Roberts.

If he denies it, tell him it was caught on tape.

See the original Lenz caught on tape segment where he admits to the political connections used to secure his Hudson County job, after the jump.


O`Melia grills Lenz on Politics & Patronage

Unelected 4th ward councilman Michael Lenz has often been criticized for leveraging his political involvement for public paychecks.

One day in 2008 Lenz found himself on a Jersey City TV show suddenly being grilled about how he got his Hudson County job. It’s Must See TV for anyone who wants to get a real sense of the man, and his weaving on and off the public payroll.

From Board of Ed to the Meadowview Campus

When he was out of work in 2000, Lenz began to kick around the idea of running for Mayor. Dave Roberts offered him $1000 a week to be his campaign manager, so Lenz decided not to run. When Roberts won, Lenz had his eyes on the becoming Director of the Hoboken Parking Authority. When he didn’t get that job Lenz ran for 4th ward council. After losing that race Roberts hired him as the city’s Chief Financial Officer.

Lenz joins the County Payroll after 2007 election

Roberts fired Lenz, who later agreed to keep quiet about it when he was offered a $180,000 settlement. In the following video recorded in the summer of 2008, radio and TV host Pat O’Melia grills Lenz about his political history (repeatedly calling him a hack) and exactly which political “strings” were pulled to get him his county job. The original program ran an hour, with Lenz, Councilwoman Theresa Castellano and Freeholder Anthony Romano as the guests (keep an eye out for their reactions to the grilling.)

Watch the 9-minute segment below to see how the deft O’Melia puts Lenz on the spot, before going in for the kill.

Key Moments

If you don’t have time for the whole thing, here are some key points:

  • Part 1: 00:00 to 02:28 – O’Melia asks about Lenz’s work from 2003 to 2007
  • Part 2: 02:29 to 03:20 – Lenz gets back on board with the HCDO
  • Part 3: 03:21 to 05:39 – Questions about Lenz’s qualifications for the county job
  • Part 4: 05:40 to 09:07 – Lenz has to admit he got his job through politics

Lenz got his job as part of a deal that put Carol Marsh on an HCDO ticket for Assembly. Marsh’s running mate also received similar consideration from the county machine. Lenz and his apologists have long claimed otherwise. Hoboken411 knows you’re smart enough to make up your own mind, and this rare footage from The Weekly Show should go a long way toward doing it.

Watch Lenz in his own words and decide for yourself.

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Night Watchman
Night Watchman

Lenz is a hypocrite. We all see Lenz is just another machine hack working to line his own pockets.

He has fooled many people in the past, but now only fools vote for Lenz.


I don’t know this guy from adam but i’ll tell you he is a cardiac time bomb, one good old fashion shouting match and he kneel over. He has no lap, no neck, no knuckles,and there is no sign of his ears,WTF


It has been said by many for many” “To understand politics is like trying to grasp smoke with your fingers’. Do the best you can, when you can. 😛


michael is the best qualified: the other candidate is not: he is surrounded by the
political has beens. that video is over two years old, he has lost a tremendous
amount of weight and looks fabulous. i’ve lived in Hoboken all my life- not a newcomer
thankfully we have dawn zimmer as mayor and not cammarano and these same has


It’s not his weight that is the problem, it’s the weight of his words. He has jobbed the system for too long, and he says so himself[quote comment=”198814″]michael is the best qualified: the other candidate is not: he is surrounded by the
political has beens. that video is over two years old, he has lost a tremendous
amount of weight and looks fabulous. i’ve lived in Hoboken all my life- not a newcomer
thankfully we have dawn zimmer as mayor and not cammarano and these same has

Had Enough
Had Enough

This guy shouldnt work in McDonalds let alone have any input on our city. He needs to be thrown out of office as well as thrown out of town. Another black eye for hoboken politics!