Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tim Occhipinti surfaces with the party line lie on the hospital

Tim Occhipinti the yes man for all seasons (and Beth Mason) emerged on Facebook to answer a question from someone about the hospital.  Well sorta:

Notice Tim Occhipinti can't manage an answer to the question on what his plan is for the hospital.  Well of course not, as the Council of No had no plan to SAVE THE HOSPITAL.  They talk and talk and talk about bidders, the imaginary bidders from the past and just today Hoboken learned how unfavorable their bids actually were and why they came in a distant second and third to Bayonne Holdco.

The Council of No had a plan and that plan was to KILL THE HOSPITAL.  But Tim can't say that so he goes on a ramble about saving the hospital "long term."  There's no entity named of course, because - there isn't any!

Today was a great day for Hoboken and an even better day for Hoboken's HUMC.
We're one day closer to seeing a positive outcome saving this hospital!

As for Tim's logic here, he would probably tell a homeowner when they take out a mortgage to buy a home, that means they are in the mortgage business.

Who's up to explaining the basics of finance to Tim Occhipinti on a REIT?

Bow wow wow, yippee yeah - 7th Annual Pet Parade Sunday!

Hoboken Museum Presents 7th Annual Pet Parade & Fair on
Sunday, Oct. 2, 12 – 4 pm at Maxwell Place Park & Pier

·         More than 20 local pet service providers to offer free advice and services at Pet Fair, 12 – 4 pm
·         Parade starts at 1 pm; costume and talent contests for dogs and other pets!

Hoboken, N.J. – Sept. 22, 2011 – The Hoboken Museum’s 7th Annual Pet Parade & Fair kicks off at noon on Sun., Oct. 2, and promises to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s event is moving uptown to the Maxwell Place Waterfront, between 11th and 12th Streets, and will feature costume contests, talent competitions and more than 20 local pet care professionals dispensing free advice and demonstrations. Participation is free, and the first 100 participants to register for the Parade will receive a free gift bag with goodies from the event sponsors. Costumes are optional, and all pets are welcome—as long as they can tolerate a lot of dogs!

Starting at noon, the Pet Fair will offer “Ask the Trainer” sessions; complimentary nail clipping and ear cleaning by Hoboken Dog Wash; basic pet grooming advice from a variety of groomers; information on a feral cat trap/neuter/release initiative, and much more. Even if you don’t have a pet in the parade, all are invited to meet local pet care businesses and check out adoptable pets from Liberty Humane Society. Local photographer Kristen Pierce will be signing copies of her new photo book, Hoboken Dogs. The Pet Fair will continue until 4 pm.

Mayor Zimmer corrects the record on two bidders who waived nondisclosure agreement

The Office of the Mayor announces:

Mayor Zimmer Corrects the Record Regarding Hospital Sale

There has been much confusion, much of it manufactured intentionally, about the nature of the bids received for the sale of Hoboken University Medical Center.  Specifically, two bidders, CHA/Jersey City Medical Center, (JCMC) and P3, have made public statements and released information with regard to their bids which has had the effect of misleading the public.  By doing so, they have waived confidentiality with respect to the actual content of their bids.   

It is important to clarify the record so that the public fully understands that the offer from HUMC Holdco was at all times the only proposal that preserved our hospital, protected our taxpayers, had real financing in place, and offered the best opportunity for the long term success of the hospital and its employees. 

The HUMC Holdco bid maintains all the vital services of our hospital and fully defeases the bond immediately, eliminating the financial risk for the City.  It was fully funded with a solid commitment from a qualified lender for the full purchase price.  After the sale, the hospital would be obligated to pay its full property tax generating approximately $600,000 of tax savings for Hoboken's taxpayers.  No other bid came close to meeting these criteria. 

As explained in more detail below, the CHA/JCMC bid did not maintain all of our hospital services, required the Hoboken taxpayers to remain liable on $15 million of debt, and was dependent on $59 million of government grants and tax credits that were speculative at best.   P3's initial bid was to manage not acquire the hospital, not defeasing any portion of the bond.  Their subsequent bid contained insufficient detail with respect to the purchase, and no credible assurance that they had access to the financing necessary to complete the deal.

Understanding CHA/Jersey City Medical Center's Bid: 
The CHA/JCMC bid was in fact not from JCMC, but from an entity called Community Healthcare Associates, LLC.  JCMC's involvement was limited to its agreement to lease a portion of the facility.  They would maintain only some of the services currently provided by HUMC.  The bid was for a for profit development project that would create a commercial building characterized as a medical mall that would lease space to healthcare related businesses.  In order to facilitate this commercial development, a redevelopment zone would have to be created and payments in lieu of taxes would have to be agreed upon. 

It is unclear whether the area even qualifies to become a redevelopment zone, which meant that their proposal may not have been legally possible.  In addition, the funding for the transaction was largely speculative with only $22.7 million in private equity. 

Their speculative proposal was dependent on successfully applying for and obtaining $59 million of public funding in the form of: 
1.  A $20 million Stabilization grant from the State of New Jersey.
2.  Applying for and receiving Urban Transit Hub tax credits in the amount of $39 million which would then be sold to another entity for $34.3 million.

These two elements of "financing," all of which involves the use of public money, would defease only $42 million of the debt under the bonds guaranteed by the City.  The balance would be refinanced as a direct obligation of the City of Hoboken through the issuance of $15 million of redevelopment bonds. The bid assumed that the PILOTs granted through redevelopment would pay the costs of these bonds.   In other words, this commercial for profit venture would pay no taxes and the City itself would remain liable for $15 million. 

Last but not least, the proposal explicitly stated that "the management company, Hudson Healthcare, will be able to satisfy its financial obligations with the collection of its accounts receivable."  Given the Hospital's bankruptcy filing, it is clear that this condition was impossible to meet and that CHA/JCMC's proposal provided no value whatsoever to the Hospital's unsecured creditors, including the two unions. 

Understanding P3's Bid:
Their initial proposal was only for the management of the hospital, not for its purchase.  This proposal was not considered because we were seeking to sell the hospital not hire a new manager.  It was, however, consistent with P3's experience given that they are a consulting firm that, to best of my knowledge, has never owned and operated a hospital.  They subsequently modified their bid to include an actual purchase offer.  There was no indication however that they had the financial resources to acquire the hospital themselves or had any ability to finance such an acquisition.  In the financing letter that P3 provided the financing firm stated “We have had discussions with P3 regarding its acquisition of Hoboken University Medical Center and would be interested in providing financing for HUMC after it has been stabilized and able to meet our lending criteria.”  The assertion that this represents a firm commitment to provide the financing is simply ridiculous. 

Given these facts, it is clear that the Holdco bid was the only bid that we received that would maintain our hospital services, fully defease the  $52 million bond, and which had the financing in place so that the transaction could actually be completed.

Finally, the public should know that the bid award for HUMC Holdco was voted on unanimously by the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Board, a team of volunteers dedicated to protecting the interests of our hospital and our City.  

The CHA/JCMC and P3 bids are provided here:

Beth Mason: Don't forget me and my attempts to sabotage the hospital sale!

While efforts are continuing to save the hospital, Councilwoman Beth Mason wants you to know she is gong to continue to put out as much innuendo, false information and sabotage as possible.  (Can her exclusive talking points here be far off from "release" to Hoboken411?)

At the last City Council meeting she didn't want to risk $5.5 million in consideration of a bond to help the hospital be saved.  Now she makes reference to two past failed bidders and pretends they are not only applicable but viable today!

Of course she was looking to put the City and the hospital at IMMEDIATE risk for tens of millions of dollars with a hospital closure.  There are no last minute new bidders who will fulfill the objectives Holdco is committing to for the next seven years for the hospital but there are people who are not happy with that outcome for both financial and ideological reasons.

As for Mason, whether it's zeroing out a budget surplus or setting Hoboken up for massive failure on the hospital, the objective is always the same: force Hoboken into a corner and create the maximum negative impact on the taxpayers - all the while you say the sabotage is for their benefit!

Here, Mason urges, no she's practically begging the mayor to do something, anything other than complete the sale of the hospital to Holdco.  Her consulting team is hoping you will be confused enough to believe something, anything here.

What would you call the seven figures Beth Mason has spent seeking more power in Hoboken?  One apt description is it's nothing but blind ambition of Mason's solitary special interest.  Those issues have a way of leading people into bigger problems.

The closer the hospital gets to being saved, the more feverish the pitch to undermine the sale keeping it open for seven years as an acute care facility.  Here Beth Mason listens to her friend who she does not pay for friendship at a City Council meeting earlier this year.  They are the leading voices for sabotage and false information on the pending sale of the hospital.

Dear Friend,

Today’s settlement hearing between the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority and its creditors has again been postponed. To date two other potential buyers have released their bids.  It is time for City Hall to open discussions with the other bidders.  If our hospital is really on the verge of closing, as the Mayor says it is, why is she not urgently exploring every option possible to keep it open?  What steps has she taken to ensure that a hospital shut-down does not harm the patients?  Every option must be explored immediately to protect the patients and to relieve taxpayers of the burden of $100 million in debt we may be responsible for if the hospital closes.

Yesterday the Star Ledger reported that the current buyers, HUMC Holdco, have spent over $350,000 in special interest money to prevent the increase of transparency for “for-profit hospitals.”   Sadly, the sale of our hospital is no different.  It has been marred by secrecy and the Mayor is attempting to use this sale for political gain.  Currently, taxpayers are paying millions of dollars for the various politically connected law firms who have been hired to handle this matter, and who aided the Mayor in negotiating a flawed contract and creating a flawed process to conduct the sale.

I am once again calling on the Mayor and Hospital Authority to release their depositions and the documents they provided the creditors in this ongoing lawsuit.  The release of these documents will go a long way to provide Hoboken residents with insight into the allegations of fraud made by the hospital’s former attorney. 

I will continue to be your voice on the City Council and fight for more public inclusion in this sale process.

Thank you for your time.  


Sign of the Times: Controversial Ex-Hoboken Construction Official Al Arezzo returns to Hoboken

Hoboken's Al Arezzo, once known as the terror of the town construction office was rumored to not only be back in town but holding court in one of his favorite watering holes in the middle of the day yesterday.  Just like old times.

Word is he's back and looking to sue the City's taxpayers since he was forced out of his position for some unknown conduct unbecoming last February as reported first in an earlier MSV exclusive.

Michael Russo leaves the closed session of the last City Council meeting walking past the Hoboken Construction Office.  That office may be in the news again with Al Arezzo back in Hoboken and believed looking for a payday.

Arezzo is thought to have had his hand in businesses in town when not regulating the construction of others.  One rumor is he was one of the original owners in a group of nine for the bar/restaurant Nine on Washington with Scott Delea.

"Mr. Integrity" Scott Delea

Delea to our knowledge never answered the question as to whether Arezzo was one of the partners.  Then again, who gets a straight answer from Scott Delea?  Mr. Delea who is currently wanted for copyright theft from this website with material used in his third failed run for City Council last spring has sidestepped addressing that issue too.  He said that both he and his lawyer would be getting back to MSV "later today" to address the matter.

That was more than two months ago.  He's been MIA and avoiding numerous invoices ever since.  Way to go Scott!

Hobo Operation Clean up

From the desk of 6th ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino:

Greetings from Jen Giattino for City Council
Dear Friends & Neighbors,

Please join me and my family for the second
Clean It Up Hoboken Day on  
Sunday, October 2nd at 12Noon.
This time it will be larger and more exciting because it's going
to be a city-wide event. My fellow council members are going to
organize efforts in their own wards, therefore, it is sure
to be an even bigger success!!

Clean It Up Hoboken was organized to raise community awareness about an ordinance against the distribution and postings of handbills, flyers, and circulars on utility poles, signs, the street & other public spaces. 

This was a big issue in Hoboken prior to the first Clean It Up Day
back in July. However since then, the postings & distributions of
these advertisements have greatly decreased.
Because more Hoboken residents are aware of this ordinance, there
have been more efforts to keep the streets clean and The Department
of Environmental Services is continuing to do an excellent job
enforcing the ordinance.
There has been a very positive response from the offenders as well.
Most of them have no idea that the ordinance exists either and have
started to follow it.

The first Clean It Up Hoboken Day only concentrated
on postings. Now that this issue is starting to subside,
we can expand our efforts and also clean up the litter
on our sidewalks and streets as well.
On October 2nd, we will come together to do just that. 
Please consider joining me and bring your families, friends,
or anyone else who would like to help.
To sign up or for more information, please email
Otherwise, feel free to just show up that day. We will meet in
Church Square Park at Noon.

Clean It Up Hoboken Day is one way
to bring our community together and
continue to restore Hoboken to the
beautiful place we all know it can be.
Hope to see you on October 2nd!