Council Nixes Deal with TV Firm Accused of Fraud

Council president: 'The cons outweighed the pros.'

The township will wait for its 15 minutes of fame.

At its Tuesday agenda meeting, the voted to rescind the municipality's contract with U.S. Media Television Inc., the company behind the television infomercial “Today in America.”

The move came after a number of municipalities made  These municipalities had made deals with the company similar to the one recently approved by the Parsippany council.

On Feb. 14, the council voted 4-1 in favor of doing business with U.S. Media Television. The lone opposing vote came from Councilman John Cesaro.

Under the contract, narrated by NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw. The ad, which, according to Mayor James Barberio, was designed to attract new business to the township, would have cost about $20,000. In return, the ad would air about 20 times on FOX Business Network and CNN Headline News in many of the top-100 markets in the country.

“Basically, I like to put the pros and cons together, and the cons outweighed the pros," Council President Brian Stanton said. "I did a lot of research on the computer. I read how great it was in [Fayetteville,] Arkansas, but at the same time, I read about 20 different places that had a hard time getting their money back and the contracts weren’t followed.

“I just didn’t think it was a good move for our township.”

Some residents attending the council meeting agreed.

“I’d just like to commend the council for rescinding (the contract),” said Jonathan Nelson, who advocated against the contract. “I thought it was done in haste, and it was nice to see that you guys rescinded it.”

Although the TV deal fell through, Stanton said he is not opposed to exploring other promotional avenues  as long as they make financial sense.

“I love the idea,” he said. “We definitely have to do something economically. I like the whole concept of ‘Today in America,’ just not their firm.”

Frank Drebin March 14, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Why wasn't the research done before the Council approved the contract? It seems the council is not doing their Due diligence, 20K, on an overpriced web site, 20k on the infomercial, 700k (?) on an old house, and 4.5 million on turf fields. The Mayor jumps at bad investments, and the Town Council "rubber stamps" his flighty ideas. I can't wait for the elections.
PeoplesChamp March 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Wow Mr. Stanton weighed the pros and cons AFTER we voted to approve the contract? He's about as smart as he looks.
Kevin Guhl March 14, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Also, I'd like to think the excellent news coverage of this topic and the informed opinions against the contract were a factor in this decision. :)
Kevin Guhl March 14, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Glad to see cooler heads ultimately prevailed. Was it a unanimous vote to rescind the contract?
Brian Stanton March 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I am sorry to admit we can not all be as smart as the PeoplesChamp. I also hate to admit that there are going to be times that I vote in favor of matters that are not always popular with the public. And there will also be times that the Council is given less time then normal to make decisions on certain matters. I spent a lot of time researching "Today in America" as well as there other company names and we did what is right for our town residents. I usually do not like to post on these sites because they are generally made up for people that like to sit home and hide behind there screen name. The last time I checked the phone book I could not find anyone listed under the PeoplesChamp. So thank you for being so concerned and again the end result was in the best interest of the residents of our township. Councilman Brian Stanton
Jeff March 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Brian - I appreciate your feedback as well as being open minded to re-think decisions. In this case not all facts had been presented. I urge the council to seek other options such as bidding it out or using video to go or the local schools/town celebrities to promote our town.
Jonathan Nelson March 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Brian, I said it last night and I'll repeat it again here......the council earned a lot of respect by rescinding the vote. The council wasn't given enough time to their homework and you corrected a wrong. Again, if the mayor feels he wants to do a promotional video, that's his prerogative. I was only pointing that out hiring US Media Television was the wrong way to do this and clearly the council after seeing some facts, agrees.
Jeff March 14, 2012 at 04:47 PM
On separate note - the town really should bid out the website. For a canned site - it appears to be over-priced. My expectation is that large cost savings can be had if a little additional research is pursued. Just a thought.
Hughes March 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Though many things may be taken out of context when written, I find Councilman Brian Stanton's comments a bit condescending. I am glad that he, "did a lot of research on the computer" (after the fact) and ultimately rescinded the contract, however; I hope this serves that research should be done PRIOR to spending any taxpayer money. There is truth on both ends of the spectrum. I think our council are pretty much a bunch of nice, good ole friends but they appear to make hasty decisions or backdoor deals in effort to keep their circle impenetrable. In the end, I applaud Mr. Stanton for making the right decision and not going with "the flow." It shows integrity.
Kevin Guhl March 14, 2012 at 05:54 PM
PeoplesChamp, there's no reason to stoop to insults. There have been many healthy debates on this site that remained civil, and I'm sorry Mr. Stanton came across a post like that so early in the comments.
Tom Wyka March 14, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I completely agree with all on the council's decision to rescind (don't say I've never said anything nice about ya :-) And I completely agree with Jeff on the website situation as well. Bidding saves money - and that was a badly selected service item as well.
Linda Burnstein March 14, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Councilman Stanton, while I commend you for coming forward and defending yourself on this site, I must say that I was terribly disappointed to read your reply. I was willing to overlook the juvenile tone of your message and your subtle, unprofessional jabs at my fellow commentators, but I had do something I have never done before. I had to come out from "hiding behind my screen" and say something about my shock at the syntax and grammar of an elected official. Do you really not know the difference between "there" and "their"? I am saddened. I can assure you that I can not trust someone who can not even learn the difference between there, their and they're to make decisions for my town. I went to our town's website to see which educational system failed you and unfortunately it is the very same that my own children are in. Very frightening Councilman Stanton.
Jeff March 14, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I cannot believe that the arguments being made now have been reduced to grammar checks goofs. Come on people - grow up. I understood the intent of Brian's comments. Even though there were typos throughout the post - the fact is it is difficult to spell/grammar check a post left on this website when typing from a smartphone. Regardless, the main point is that any anonymous post created with derogatory statements does not further an argument in my opinion. Putting that to the side -- I am still pleased that they decided to rescind their vote.
PeoplesChamp March 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
"And there will also be times that the Council is given less time then normal to make decisions on certain matters." Oh there are also times when the Mayor gives you less notice of how he wants you to vote? I apologize then. What was this...aid that had to be rushed to a disaster site asap? It was a TV show contract. Next time, if you don't know what you need to, vote on it at the next meeting after you use due diligence and research...it's a motion called "tabling" just fyi.
Carol M. March 14, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Ms Burnstein pardin me 4 sayin it but, I find ur comints utterlee ridiqulus.
Jonathan Nelson March 14, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Jeff, I completely agree with your comment. I'm not going to speak for Brian or anyone on the council, but they know they dropped the ball on this and corrected it. No one should be judged on typos when writing a quick response. On the other hand, if someone types in all Caps, THAT is unforgivable.
Brian Stanton March 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM
To the PeoplesChamp and anyone else I might have offended I am sorry. I just don't understand why people can't use their real names when they make comments. I don't see the Mr Wyka, Mr.Nelson, or Mr. Crawford as well as a bunch of others hiding behind the screen. If you have something to say good or bad own up to it.
Bob Crawford March 14, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Brian Just got home from work and saw your post. Not sure what you mean by "hiding behind the screen" as all of my comments have always had my name attached to them. Please let me know of any post that you believe belonged to me that did not have my name attached to it. Having said that I want to acknowledge that last night you stated that you would not be ready to form an opinion about the FOD proposal until you have had a chance to get all of the information you needed to make a decision that serves the best interests of all Parsippany residents. That was refreshing to hear given the ongoing attempts by the Mayor to browbeat the Council and members of the Open Space Advisory Committee into accepting his self serving viewpoints. The more independence you and your Council colleagues are willing to demonstrate the more trust you will earn from those of us who believe in a system defined by checks and balances rather than by the self serving interests of poliiticians desperate to remain in office. Again thanks for your courage. Bob
Jonathan Nelson March 14, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Um. Mr. Crawford, I believe Mr. Stanton was paying you a compliment.
Jonathan Nelson March 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Listen, I actually give Mr. Stanton a lot of credit for posting here. He's not so naive to think that by doing so he wouldn't be exposed to criticism; something none of us like. I hate to paraphrase Michael Coreone, but this is the life Councilman Stanton chose and he should expect it. Last night, I was ready to give him an earful over the "Today in America" vote. There was no need because the council rescinded their own vote. End of story. Almost. On the other post, the producer of "Today in America" has challenged me to debate him. I accept.
Bob Crawford March 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Jonathan You are absolutely right and my apologies and thanks to Brian for his kind words and wise comments at last evening's meeting Bob
PeoplesChamp March 15, 2012 at 04:10 AM
This isn't a court, Mr. Stanton...you don't have a right to see the accuser ;) You represent me and the rest of Parsippany's taxpayers, which is what matters most. Just use due diligence before you vote next time...all we ask.
Brian Stanton March 15, 2012 at 08:19 AM
Sorry Bob, was actually giving you and the others a complement for posting your names when you post on the site. Can't stand the negative people with their fake screen names.
Michael March 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I would say an apology is in order from Mayor Barberio to Mr. Wyka In a Parsippany Life Article, the Mayor said the following prior to the Council canceling the project: "In fact it will let those who watch the segment see what ‘Pride in Parsippany’ is all about. It goes to demonstrate that since Mr. Wyka is upset that I am doing the ‘Today in America’ segment, then something good is happening for the taxpayer."
Robert Simpson July 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM
This Country was founded by brave people who were not afraid to speak their beliefs. This website has cowards who hide behind fake names. Their comments carry no weight and does not even deserve a reply.
unknownauthor February 07, 2013 at 05:01 AM
Another fraud everyone should be aware of is the Amway Tool Scam. Google "Stop The Amway Tool Scam Wordpress" for more information, and forward this information to every non-Distributor/IBO you know, so they don't get ripped off.
Selene February 07, 2013 at 05:40 AM
People the point has been made. There is some merit to Linda's comment, or who ever she is. Parsippany is one of the largest towns in Morris county and a councilman who is sloppy and (maybe) ignorant of proper grammar AND insults posters with his cynical comments is not an impressive public leader...but hey...one of the largest towns in Morris county also has a mayor with a high school education. Awesome!


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