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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser

Jersey politics is always fun. Hudson County politics is even more fun.

For example, take the Steve Lipski-Steve Kush feud - the Battlin' Steves. Well, I suppose it shows if you make enough noise - or enough threats - it will finally get noticed:

In Hudson County political feuds are often so vicious that if a political shot doesn't kill its victim out right, it is considered a miss.

Political consultant Steve Kush has taken careful aim at Councilman Steve Lipski with a new website totally dedicated to destroying Lispki's political career once and for all.

While the feud started over just who owed the tab on an unpaid bill from Lipski's failed campaign for mayor earlier this year, the matter has become much more personal.

After a serious exchange of attacks on GETNJ.COM, Kush has taken the next logical step in attacking Lipski by setting up a website dedicated solely to Lipski's political demise:

The website which appears to have drawn the attention of the U.S. Attorney's office, raises allegations about Lipski's relationship to developer Steve Hyman that would be - if true - illegal or at best unethical.

"I didn't put anything on the site that isn't true," Kush said.

Lipski told the Hudson Reporter that the matter hasn't ended and that Kush is in for some surprises - escalating the battle if Lipski has anything up his sleeve nearly as devastating. Meanwhile, the website has become the talk of Hudson County politicos leading to the inevitable speculation of whom will replace Lipski if he is forced to resign. Top contenders on this wish list are Tom Murphy, Arnold Bettinger and Assemblyman Lou Manzo.

This week, we learn this:

Lipski/Kush continued

The feud between political consultant Steve Kush and his former client Councilman Steve Lipski took a turn for the worse over the last few weeks.

Kush - according to sources close to him - has spoken to federal law enforcement officials about allegations he raised on a website mocking Lipski.

This sparked sharp remarks on's message board where Lipski and Kush have dueled in the past.

This time, however, the messages were ominous hinting of violence.

"I'm not scared," Kush said during a telephone interview from his home in Virginia.

Lipski supporters, however, claim the whole feud is a political charade designed to increase Kush's name recognition.

"This is a Kush sales pitch to get clients," one sources said.

Kush also did a call-in interview to a Hudson County political radio program where he continued his assault on Lipski.

Kush, partner, James Barracato, also called in to defend against Lipski claims that he started the feud.

Several weeks ago, Lipski claimed internet attacks began when Lipski refused to give Barracato a job.

Barracato, however, said Lipski had called him to offer the job as public information officer for Lipski's charter school.

"I didn't think the job was right for me," Barracato said, both on the air and later in a telephone interview. "But if I wanted a municipal job, I would have sought one in Weehawken where I was raised."

Expect this feud to continue.

So, the story deepens. Either Kush/Barracato wanted a nice job in return for their work or he/they were offered one for some unknown reason.

Lipski has already made public claims to be "cited, not indicted" for his "immoral, yes, criminal, no" actions and shown that he is totally willing to give his constituents the finger publically. None of that means that what Kush says is true. However, as a public official, I believe a thorough investigation into all of Mr. Lipski's dealings would give him the perfect opportunity to clear his name.

Or not.


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