Saturday, February 27, 2010

Councilman Ravi Bhalla to Hoboken411 - 100% WRONG!


Councilman Ravi Bhalla rejected any charge he violated the Hoboken pay to play law ordinance as charged earlier in a Hoboken411 "exclusive."  Hoboken411 accused Councilman Ravi Bhalla and Council President of the violation and said both had a legal requirement to abstain on a contract issued to attorney Paul Condon in the last City Council meeting.  The contract is intended for legal services in the case of Lt. Angelo Andriani who was recently suspended without pay after an incident in the Tampa Bay Airport.

Councilman Bhalla spelled out the actions he took when he saw the resolution pack.  Noting the contract named attorney Paul Condon for its potential services, he approached Corporate Counsel Michael Kates before the meeting to inquire on whether it was required he abstain on the matter.  The Corporate Counsel indicated it was not the case but the Councilman had been prepared to sit out the vote, "If he told me I had to abstain, I would have abstained."  Responding to any mere appearance of impropriety, he said Paul Condon is not a business partner adding, "We're separate business entities" although their respective firms do share office space, a practice not uncommon in the legal world. (MSV's Wall St. attorney's actually sublet office space to other attorneys in Manhattan.)

On the specific application of the City's pay to play ordinance, Mr. Bhalla shed some light on the incorrect charges by Hoboken411.  "As a legal matter, a City Council member can not violate the pay to play ordinance.  It's the mayor's and the the City of Hoboken's agreement with the vendor." Without mentioning Peter Cunningham by name, the same fact apparently applies to the Council President as well.  Dismissing all the charges out of hand Mr. Bhalla described Hoboken411's actions - "Never lets the facts get in the way of a good story."  Asked what conversation he had with fellow office attorney Paul Condon before the City Council meeting, the Councilman was emaphatic, "Zero....Zero," he repeated.

Councilman Bhalla addressing the matter of the 2007 contract to Paul Condon noted this would have occurred under the Mayor Roberts Administration concluding, "There's no violation but if there was, it would have been by Dave Roberts."

Due to a death in the family, Council President Peter Cunningham could not be reached for comment.

Talking Ed Note:  Would it be farfetched to guess - that no one related to the penning of this Hoboken411 hit job spoke to or even attempted to speak to any of the parties in the story?  Once again, Hoboken411 and yellow journalism at its finest!

MSV calls on Hoboken411 to print a retraction to its fabricated "story."

We look forward to it being posted.  (But we're not holding our breath.)  We think Hoboken411 should get some better "City Council watchers." In the words of Rosie Perez from the film, "Do the Right Thing," - cuz the ones you got ain't working.

Doesn't that little guy have anything better to do?

Wile E.Coyote - just a minute

On the Hobo411 claim of violations by Councilmen Bhalla and Cunningham.

More to follow soon.

Upon further investigation, I see that Condon has been representing the case since 2008. Your investigator needs to see what sort of contract he entered into and when:

Was the contract entered into within 12 months of the contract – by May 2008?

Was the contracted amount over the annual bid limit (the threshold was somewhere between $25K or $29K)? If not, the public bidding requirement does not apply; the professional services exemption from public bidding would then be not applicable and consequently the Pay-to-Play ordinance would not apply.

I don’t see the contract on any of the 2008 agendas, so it may have been under the bid limit and thereby not have appeared before the council for a vote.

Eric Kurta

Update: Eric has asked for the following added as some people may be unclear on the details of his current status:

I’m no longer president of POG and am not officially speaking on the organization’s behalf.

City begins pumping it up, moves taxi stand for construction

City of Hoboken announces:


City of Hoboken, February 26, 2010 - The Hoboken Terminal taxi stand will be relocated and a loading zone for shuttle buses will be created at the terminal, effective on or about Monday, March 1st  (weather permitting). The existing taxi stand will move to the south side of Hudson Place, east of River Street to accommodate construction of a sewerage pump station by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority. Construction of the pump station is scheduled to begin in March.

Also, to streamline shuttle bus service at the terminal, the city is creating a designated shuttle bus loading zone on the north side of Hudson Place, east of River Street. Permitted shuttle buses will be able to stand in the shuttle zone for up to five minutes Monday through Friday from 7 to 10 am and 4 to nine pm.

The area will be designated as a loading zone for local businesses from 10 am to 4 pm and will be available for parking at other times.

Related: Hoboken Patch reported on the reaction of local taxi drivers earlier.