Thursday, August 21, 2014

HUD Newark obliterates the reign of Carmelo Garcia in scathing oversight letter

From the desk of Hoboken Housing Authority Chair Dana Wefer:

Attached please find HUD's letter to the HHA concerning the procurement review they conducted the week of July 28th. Attached and below is my statement on the letter.  


                            Update to the Community on Status of the Hoboken Housing Authority and HUD Procurement Review

Yesterday HUD released its report from the procurement review it conducted the week of July 28th.  As part of the procurement review, HUD sampled eight contracts and did a cursory inspection of HHA properties.   The report contains a major finding, which has prompted HUD to put the HHA on a “zero dollar threshold,” and ten observations. 

HUD found that the HHA has no comprehensive vendor log, that the procurement process was flawed in each of the eight contracts sampled, and that the sampled contracts constituted $3 million in “unjustified non-competitive procurement.”  It’s important to emphasize that these findings are just for the eight files HUD sampled.   Extrapolating this data to the whole of the HHA lays bare how dire the situation is. 

In addition to the procurement issues, the HUD report found that the HHA “lacks systematic and organized records keeping for all aspects of maintenance operation, including work orders, unit turnaround, preventative maintenance and annual inspections. “  HUD further found that there is a lack of institutional ability to manage the maintenance of a housing authority of this size.  HUD has informed the Board that due to the cumulative lack of maintenance to the HHA properties, the HHA is at high risk of receiving the designation “Troubled” this Fall when they come to do their full physical assessment.   This risk is compounded by the fact that the HHA lacks the funds to correct all the deficiencies before the physical inspection. 

To be sure, all of these problems are huge.  The strict zero dollar threshold imposed by HUD demonstrates the gravity of their findings.  However, all of these issues are also fixable.   And that’s what we’re going to do.  These issues did not develop overnight, and they are not going to be fixed overnight, especially considering the financial constraints the HHA is facing.  But, with the right management and a dedicated Board, the HHA will come out of this much stronger. 

The Board is having a Special Meeting Tuesday August 26th to formally enter into the shared services agreement with the West New York Housing Authority.  In addition, Mr. Fox will also continue his service to the HHA.   Together the staff and Board are going to put together the Corrective Action Plan to address HUD’s findings.  In addition, we are working on developing comprehensive procurement, personnel, and preventative maintenance policies that will be implemented by HHA management.   

The Board will keep all stakeholders apprised of what is going on with the HHA.  All are invited to come to our meetings and speak to the Board about their concerns, and hopes, for the HHA.  A year from now, the HHA will be on much better financial and physical footing.  We invite you to be a part of the recovery process.

Sincerely,

Dana Wefer, Chair of the Hoboken Housing Authority 

***




Talking Ed Note: And here is your penciled in but incomplete epitaph of one Carmelo Garcia, former Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director.

One can safely say that HUD does not "revere" Mr. Carmelo Garcia as he liked to so often tell others.

Counte$$ of Hoboken Beth Mason bequeaths another message to Hoboken

And now... more words descending from Counte$$ Beth Mason:

People of Hoboken, I come bearing greetings to you from me, myself, and I: Counte$$ Beth Mason, the high holy triumvirate trinity of the Mile Square!

As you my unwilling subjects are bound by law, custom and my SLAPP suits know, I am currently once again in ascendency and you who I reign over with benevolence are under my protection from the K-9 police dogs unleashed by the heinous Mayor Zimmer.

While the illegitimate mayor fraudulently holds the second floor chair at City Hall without my expressed authorization, many are confused with her insistence on balanced budgets, lower taxes, new and refurbished parks and stealing my money to stop your flooding.

What most do not know is she is secretly training a bevy of new Zimmerists dogs to attack Hoboken residents with further "ethnic cleansing" upon my great city. (I paid every goon around, it's mine.)

Even as I have mustered my minions to once and forever destroy that big toothed horse who has continually attempted to liberate my plantation, the Zimmerists and their mindless zombies dare to oppose me. (Whatever you do don't read any of that stuff on hobokenhorse.com. It's really bad and will give you hives and ebola. If you heard this in my earlier missal, that stuff is all true.)

The Bet Eagle has Landed?

Currently, I am working with my Old Guard friends to rally the people on my payroll and launch an attack on City Hall which will once and for all devastate and rid our land of the hated Zimmerists.

Then under my direction and edicts, we will deploy Vision 20/20 on the masses who will tremble before our mighty new develop or die marvel. See before you, a political architectural masterpiece, a prophecy come to fruition with more than double the size of the new revitalized Hoboken Housing Authority. (With a Sandy proof basement for mating jackals and their Zigsbee managed semitic females.)

Each floor of the new buildings will have a designated Masonista. Upon each and every election this captain will knock on every door and assist our voter filling out a voucher, who will then sign and collect a Vote by Mail ballot on their behalf. My personal goon Mongo will ensure the safe passage of our votes to be tallied not once but thrice.

In this way, those who are true Hoboken will regain their lofty status, lord it over the yuppie scum in our midst and rule over all of Old Hoboken who will bow down in fealty to our Old Guard mantle. Once again, you will know and kneel before my never ending maleficence.

I pay homage in your fealty to me. That's about $50 per vote or $140 per in street money. Someone has to do something about the leakage in my elections in this town. 

Please email me at beth@fourmasons.com and tell me you want to be in on my loot.

Let the peace of my vindictiveness be upon you all.


Original graphic courtesy of Grafix Avenger

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HHA Board to renew legal counsel RFP

At the regular scheduled Hoboken Housing Authority meeting held at City Hall last Thursday, a determination to restart the RFP process replacing existing counsel Charles Dalian will temporarily allow him to remain as a holdover.

The counsel position had been one of the foremost contentious issues going back two HHA chairs (two years) as the board rejected former HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's insistence they repeatedly vote to approve his selection of Charles Daglian.  The HHA ED is a contracted position serving at the pleasure of the board.

Mr. Garcia attempted to install Daglian as official HHA counsel more than six times. Depending on how you count, a seventh attempt failed due to a lack of quorum when several HHA commissioners were out of town.

In the end, the stalemate between Garcia and a HHA board which refused to rubber-stamp his selection maintained the status quo as the former HHA Executive Director kept Daglian was carried in holdover status far longer than a one year contract approval.

The latest RFP process was called "flawed" by Chair Dana Wefer for numerous reasons. Among them, one firm  on the last RFP list was declared "a concern" when Wefer discovered the application came via Carmelo Garcia Assembly aide Chris Campos' fax number. 

Garcia had consistently demanded under his tenure he be "the sole appointing authority" on all contracts and employee matters. Some legal observers have stated this authority, one of many generous terms installed in Carmelo Garcia's controversial contract is not legal.

The Hudson County View recorded this video at last Thursday's meeting and filed this report.




Assembly aide Chris Campos who reportedly makes $40,000 under Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia responded with outrage to the questions of his participation in the process. According to HCV, Campos complained, "I find it shocking... there must be a more sinister plan here. What's the real issue?"

HHA Chair however differed simply calling the effort by Garcia's Assembly aide "extremely improper."

For the full HCV story, see the link:
http://hudsoncountyview.com/hha-chair-chris-campos-compromised-hha-rfqs-campos-responds/#more-933


Talking Ed Note: Was Carmelo Garcia about to steer the contract through his Assembly aide? Is that ethical or legal? The point is moot. There's a new sheriff in town and her name is Dana Wefer.

Politcos of many stripes in Hoboken and Hudson County are "blaming" the mayor for terminating Carmelo Garcia's contract. Mayor Zimmer however deserves none of the credit. It was HHA Chair Dana Wefer who requested and reviewed several contracts leading to a cascade of revelations all problematic to Carmelo Garcia's tenure and eventual termination.

Each time you poked under the covers, illicit activity was exposed. When HUD Newark, months after reports of procurement problems came to light on MSV decided to "sample" HHA contracts, the audit findings were already out and News 12 had jumped on another MSV story highlighting alleged possible kickbacks from HHA vendors to Carmelo Garcia's campaign committee. The same HHA vendors had no current contract with the HHA and had not been approved as required by the HHA's board.

After Carmelo Garcia's contract was terminated, HUD Newark revealed its contract sampling showed procurement problems for each and every one reviewed. An official report is expected.

The cascade at the HHA is expected to continue. On the list is the Section 8 voucher program, another problematic area HUD Washington holds a strong interest. Stay tuned.


Related: The MSV July story, "HHA audit findings spell TROUBLE for Carmelo Garcia."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beth Mason splurges on latest screed of lies to Hoboken

Beth Mason launches screed of lies against HHA Board, the mayor and Da Horsey

It's summer, entering late August and for Hoboken residents it's a time of vacation, enjoying the great weather or merely spending quality time along the Mile Square's quaint river view promenade looking out on the Big City.

Then there's Beth Mason or rather her coterie of political operatives led by a fishy stank bottom feeder who pens most of her rancid "stuff" as here. It's on the whole regurgitated attacks designed for distraction mixed with cynical HHA exploitation. Why stop with the overwhelming truth in the HHA beginning to emerge? The Masonista creed is almost always to reach for the wallet and double down. Even if the Mason political operatives can't shoot straight, the Mason family checkbook is seen as the easy out, ace in the hole equalizer. (They just can't seem to hit a horse inside of a barn.)


This paper bag made with recycled paper courtesy of the latest from a vile Beth Mason mailer.

The Old Guard is displeased with the latest Reform advance getting to look behind the curtain in the Hoboken Housing Authority. In addition to an established semi-organized army of Vote-by-Mail captains and soldiers, there's a lot of bodies buried back there. It's a public humiliation about to get worse with further revelations of impropriety and malfeasance or worse adding to an already fetid pile of disclosures in recent months following the termination of Carmelo Garcia's contract.

For many, the feigned anger and obstructive political attacks on HHA board members has followed with silence and the anticipation of worse accompanied with the clinking of handcuffs. Even the pro Old Guard rag Hudson Reporter has begun distancing itself, burying the details of seven figure financial malfeasance in its weekend cover story. As MSV mentioned previously, the troubling numbers come in the million dollar variety.

According to reliable sources beginning to unravel the hidden financial condition of the agency, the HHA is overspent seven figures to date and projecting a three million dollar deficit in 2014. None of this is embarrassing to Beth Mason who fiddled with her ally Carmelo Garcia as the HHA was being figuratively burned to the ground. For Beth Mason, the personal politics of destruction is the watch word and her singular goal is political advancement, by hook, crook or family check.

The political promotion thing however hasn't worked out too well. Beth Mason has used the family checkbook donating tens of thousands to numerous NJ Democratic county committees, NJ candidates and media outlets in recent years all in the hope of purchasing a political promotion from lowly ward council member. She even purchased a prosecutor but that didn't obtain the desired results either.

Here it's August, in the bow wow days of a lovely summer and what arrives in resident's mailbox but this pugnacious purple plopping pillow fabrication fare which looks like it could have been dredged right off Mason sponsored Hate411 in its vitriolic heyday.

That would be pre-FBI Data Theft Ring raid which shut up familial Mason political operatives faster than you can say "Pentagon Papers" three times. Have you ever wondered why? Oh those pesky stolen mayor's office emails, who's inbox were they found in last? It's going to be so sad when an officer of the court must fulfill their legal obligation and turn over the file to a smiling, grateful US Attorney in Newark. At least there's no FBI open file of any prior interviews with Mason's boys of hate, right?

There's little doubt this latest political operation by Beth Mason or rather her family checkbook has fail written all over it. It's a particularly vile piece top to bottom and foretells the desperation the Mason brain trust feels for her dwindling political prospects. The uptown developer with financial ties to the HHA is not going to be motivated to turn out the tenant vote in 2015 for her and Beth Mason's very late pronouncements against the double crossing attempt to build the Monarch development has no one fooled, especially the vast majority of newly awakened residents in the Hudson Tea Building.

It's difficult to categorize which lies rise to the top or in this case the bottom where Mason and her political operatives dwell on a regular basis. Is it the implied use of K-9 police dogs against minority residents? Or is it the exploitative fabrication again referring to the HHA as "the plantation."

It all smells bad but that's how low Beth Mason is willing to go leading into her desperate bid to hold on to one of nine City Council seats scheduled for vote in November 2015?

November 2015? Yes, it's more than a year off but Beth Mason, unofficially topping the most despised in Hoboken list is opening up the family checkbook to try to find a way to overcome her massive negatives. The Old Guard poll in 2013 was so upside down negative for Beth Mason, it saw them put up Timmy Occhipinti even as a weighted anchor on a ticket they hoped would salvage at least a single but decisive council seat.

That alleged mole ridden election even looks far better today than this bottom feeding fish effort.




One quick aside. Here's a short video where Beth Mason's original public "planation" attack was countered in a City Council meeting where she first made it. As originally written and a staple atop the MSV homepage in the October 2010 story, "Tim's Street $$$ Time," MSV wrote:

For the Old Guard Machine operating in the playground in the back of the fourth ward, candidates may come and go but the plantation game stays the same. None dare call the practice of descending on the 4-4 at election time buying votes for a few quick bucks racist. Tim Occhipinti's campaign has tossed aside its earlier pronouncements and instead gone after MSV, the Hoboken Journal and Hoboken residents who back the law defending the integrity of local elections.  

Apparently in almost four years hence, no one has been able to teach Beth Mason the difference between a noun and an adjective. Perhaps one of her political operatives can buy her a vowel.

The quality of the video is due to Old Guard direction in 2010 to deter you from involvement:





Talking Ed Note: Least anyone forget, this HHA board of commissioners deserves meritorious awards for valor. The fabulous five: Dana Wefer, Dave Mello, Dave Dening, James Sanford and Judy Burrell withstood an ugly mob incited to do their worst to deliver on "concern" for public safety and see ended the proceedings.

MSV has never witnessed such a horrific meeting with several council members looking on in silent acquiescence as the meeting neared a full out riot. While the HHA special meeting was adjourned and pressure mounted on them to end it and leave with their tails between their legs, they did not. It would have been the far easier thing to do with Hoboken public safety urging the meeting's cancellation during the stoppage.

Last, Beth Mason and her Old Guard allies on and off the City Council owe the HHA board of commissioners starting with HHA Chair Dana Wefer an apology. Of course that won't happen. Beth Mason doesn't do decency or apologies, only lawsuits.

Related: Grafix Avenger posted a hilarious sendoff on the Beth Mason letter:
http://grafixavenger.blogspot.com/2014/08/an-important-message-from-councilwoman.html

Thursday, August 14, 2014

HHA Chair Wefer: HHA in "State of Crisis"

Update: The Hudson County View attended the regular HHA meeting Thursday night reporting on an agreement unanimously approved with the West New York Housing Authority.  A national search for an Executive Director is getting underway.

http://hudsoncountyview.com/hha-adds-bob-divincent-interim-director-resident-calls-richard-fox-2/



From the desk of HHA Chair Dana Wefer:








Update to Community on Hoboken Housing Authority’s Management Transition


I write to update the community on the HHA’s management transition and the condition of the authority.

The HHA is facing severe financial and physical problems.  Really, it is in a state of crisis.  The budget is overspent and the HHA is in a severe financial crunch.  Our recent audit revealed a plethora of issues, including frequent violations of NJ and federal laws, and HUD has informed us that they are going to subject the HHA to a $0 procurement threshold because of the very concerning results of their recent procurement review.  This means that every HHA procurement will have to be approved by HUD.  The very strict oversight will likely result in some initial hardship, but the HHA is taking steps to mitigate that by fleshing out the inventory tracking system and enforcing a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. 

The current lack of internal control mechanisms to track preventative maintenance, inventory, and vendor contracts is the reason maintenance issues go unaddressed for so long.  The administrative issues may seem boring, but they are the foundation upon which the authority is built.  If they are weak or failing, so is the HHA. 

In addition to the administrative and financial issues in the public housing management, the Housing Choice Voucher Program is also in crisis.  The HHA’s HCVP program is in shortfall, which means that the funds being expended to help subsidize rents for hundreds of low income residents exceeds the amount the HHA is getting from the government and administrative fees.  HUD’s offices are collaborating with the HHA to minimize the shortfall and get us on the right track, but the extent of the problem is not yet clear.

To guide the HHA out of this difficult time, the Board is bringing in experts.  Acting Director Richard Fox is currently managing the day to day operations of the HHA and the HHA is negotiating an interlocal agreement with West New York whose director is Robert DaVincent.  Together, Mr. Fox and Mr. DaVincent bring a combined 60 years of executive director experience to the table and are skilled at guiding housing authorities out of troubled times.  We are aggressively pursuing solutions to longstanding maintenance problems, such as the elevators constantly being down and security issues.  We are working to replenish our inventory so when a resident calls in with a maintenance issue, we do not have to wait for the part to come in, we already have it.   It’s going to take some time to right the ship, but the HHA Board and staff are committed to moving beyond this crisis.   

My goal is to get the HHA out of crisis mode and to a point where the authority is humming along in an established routine.  It’s going to take some time, but once we have achieved that, we can tackle our infrastructure issues.  It’s not fair for residents to be living in apartments with constant leaks and mold.  It’s not fair for residents to be out of power for days because of corroded electrical panels.  It’s not fair for senior citizens to be forced to navigate steep stairs because of unreliable elevators.  And we must fix that.  We must bring the buildings into the 21st century and all residents should feel secure that they will not be displaced in the process.  To be clear: No residents' home is threatened in any way.   

I hope that the Board and residents will have a productive and ongoing dialogue about the HHA’s future.  I encourage all residents and members of the community to attend our meetings and voice their views.  The Board, residents, and staff are strongest when they are united toward a common goal.  Come, tell us what your goals are for the HHA, and let’s work together to navigate this crisis and plan for the HHA’s future. 


Sincerely,

Dana Wefer, Chairperson of the Hoboken Housing Authority  

Sign of the Times: Julio Fernandez at Sinatra Park tonight @ 7:00


photo courtesy the Boken

Tonight at 7:00 down at Sinatra Park, it's son of Hoboken Julio Fernandez of Spyro Gyra fame in what will be a great summer event in Hoboken.


More at the link:
http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2014/08/hobokens_jazz-fusion_superstar.html

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hoboken Housing Authority Special Meeting - part 2




With the transcript available below some may be inclined to see more unedited footage of the HHA special meeting or rather the takeover of same in the video above. This leads into the complete stoppage of the proceedings with the HHA commissioners exiting.

The first portion from start of the meeting is available here.

In this clip the effort to shut down the meeting repeatedly includes a myriad of interruptions stopping the proceedings. Carmelo Garcia's assembly aides and spokespeople feature prominently. Among them Assembly Aide Nick Calicchio, ($8,000 from the taxpayers), Assembly aide and former Hoboken resident and councilman Chris Campos ($40,000), the Carmelitos, Vote by Mail "Captains" and "soldiers" in the HHA, and Council members Terry Castellano, Michael Russo and Beth Mason.

From the link below when insanity ensues, each council member is visibly seen doing absolutely nothing to instill calm and allow the meeting to proceed. Why would they? That wasn't the plan.

Lots of disruptions and not much meeting here but it is featuring the chants, "Hell no we won't go," "Do the right thing," "It's not fair," the Beth Mason favorite, "This is illegal" and that old democratic standby, "Shut it down." (9:10)

Footage where this reporter is targeted in The Fracas is available at the link:
http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2014/08/the-fracas.html?m=1


Talking Ed Note: Based on the information coming public, it certainly appears the HHA board who voted to terminate the contract actually did the right thing. More on that to come.

Thursday night in City Council chambers, the HHA will return for its regularly scheduled August meeting. The board is expected to approve an interlocutory agreement with the West New York Housing Authority. Bob DiVincent is expected to bring senior leadership in addition to interim Acting Director Richard Fox.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In the aftermath of HHA scandal, Beth Mason political robocalls strike Hoboken

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE



Be on the lookout for a Beth Mason paid robocall coming your way. Yesterday, the first reports of a Beth Mason funded robocall struck the Mile Square.

As one reader remarked on the call they received yesterday:

"With a real person saying he was calling for Beth Mason... saying we need to do more to protect the civil liberties of Hoboken residents. I hung up at that point from sheer laughter."

We could of course ask Beth Mason to confirm but she won't talk unless it's scripted through her political operatives in an advertising friendly publication.

Beth Mason, a clear and present danger to the free speech of Hoboken residents.


Beth Mason is concerned about civil liberties? Well how about First Amendment civil liberties?

There are five civil liberties protected by the First Amendment: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of press and freedom of petition.

Do you think suing numerous Hoboken residents does harm to civil liberties? MSV the most commented Hoboken website continues to suffer with numerous residents who only feel safe to do so under the anonymous moniker "guest." They don't want to be subjected to a Mason family funded SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).

Or does civil liberties only apply to Beth Mason's misguided efforts to oppose a federal meeting properly noticed and open to the public for an Old Guard ally?

The rank hypocrisy of Beth Mason stinks to high heaven.  She's writing family checks doing harm to the First Amendment in Hoboken while bankrolling this latest tone-deaf political operation.


Another Hoboken resident listened to the Beth Mason "This is illegal" poll and flipped the tables on the pollster.
Doesn't sound like Beth Mason can make this case for an HHA connected uptown developer to turn out votes for her in the second ward next year either. Maybe $100,000 in street money will work this time Beth.


Update: Another Hoboken resident gets the Beth Mason "it's an illegal meeting call" and opted to have some fun with the pollster saying of an MSV guess of the call's position, "You hit the nail on the head; meeting was illegal because everyone could not get in."

Really? That's the best scam Beth Mason's paid brain trust can come up with?

The polled Hoboken resident continues:

"... also they said that it was illegal because other police departments had to be called in. I replied to him that if that was the case then are all parades illegal; by calling the other police departments they were protecting my civil liberties.  Silence... I asked him again why the meeting was illegal and they hung up."


CITY OF HOBOKEN RECEIVES APPROVAL FOR LOAN TO BUILD NEW FLOOD PUMP

City of Hoboken announces:


STATE AGENCY APPROVES LOAN FOR NEW FLOOD PUMP

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Loan Will Also Fund City Hall Sustainable Stormwater Improvement Project


The City of Hoboken's application for a low interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, in partnership with North Hudson Sewerage Authority, has been approved by the State of New Jersey. The $11.7 million loan will pay for the construction of Hoboken's second wet weather pump station (WWPS) to be built underground near 11thStreet and Hudson Street. The wet weather pump station will be designed, constructed, operated and maintained by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) on a long-term lease from the City.

“We are very pleased that our application for this critical flood pump was approved by the State,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “The latest National Climate Assessment confirms what we have all been experiencing first-hand -- heavy rain events in the Northeast have increased more than 70% in the last 50 years, and when those downpours occur near high tide, we flood. This pump will help alleviate flooding in Northwest Hoboken, particularly in the area around ShopRite, as part of an integrated four-part ‘Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge’ water management strategy.”

“The partnership between the City and the Authority is an excellent example of how we can work together to solve the critical infrastructure and environmental challenges facing our communities today,” said Dr. Richard J. Wolff, NHSA Executive Director. “We expect the new H-5 WWPS to operate as effectively and efficiently as the Authority’s H-1 WWPS that has significantly alleviated flooding in the southwestern sections of the City.”

The station, which will consist of two 40 million gallon per day pumps with an emergency back-up generator, will be operated and maintained by North Hudson Sewerage Authority. The City is hopeful that if all paperwork is approved, it will be possible to go out to bid for construction in the fall. Construction is estimated to last approximately 24 months.

In addition to the wet weather pump station, the loan will also fund the City Hall Sustainable Stormwater Improvement Project. The aim of the project is to set an example for other city blocks for how to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that enters the combined sewer system. The project will disconnect downspouts from the sewer and will include vegetated bioswales, a large cistern, community gardens, porous pavers and shade tree pits. The project is estimated to prevent 47% of City Hall's stormwater runoff from entering the combined sewer system and collect an average of 13,122 gallons of rainfall per month.
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