Thursday, February 7, 2013

MORTe continues suing Hoboken in emergency appeal to stop Doyle appointment

MORTe emergency appeal approved by judge to see full appellate panel

The City Council last night had nothing of substance to compare in the way of the continuing lawsuit by the Mason family with the Russo clan and Tim Occhipinti costing the City of Hoboken big dollars according to one report in an emergency appeal initially approved.

The appeal was ruled stayed by an appellate judge who will likely hear the matter again within two weeks joined by his two colleagues on the court.

According to Hoboken Patch, the City is already facing a bill in the tens of thousands of dollars.

That legal bill is a direct result of a staged political operation last October, what Assignment Judge Peter Bariso called "gamesmanship" by the City Council minority.  The political operation went from the council to the courts late last year after planned absences and abstentions designed to prevent Mayor Zimmer from casting a fifth decisive vote in favor of decades long Hoboken activist Jim Doyle.

Should the first appellate judge's stay be upheld, further appeals by Beth Mason with Russo, Castellano and Occhipinti could tie up the council seat for months with Jim Doyle unable to take his at-large chair even with an affirmative vote and an outstanding legal ruling in favor of the appointment.

It's premature to conclude MORTe's appeal will be upheld in the appellate court.  Their previous appeal was denied.

Beth Mason is excited with the latest delay in the lawsuit against the people of Hoboken.
Both she and her allies lost the case and a vote was confirmed to appoint Jim Doyle to
the City Council but an emergency appeal keeps it in limbo for at least two weeks.

Tim Occhipinti the occupant of the fourth ward council seat saw his pro-developer ties hit a snag when questions were raised about the controversial restaurant in that ward built illegally extending onto City property.  The matter before a court and the Hoboken Zoning Board will now move to conclusive action before the City Council.

The Old Guard council all voted on the ordinance's first reading in favor while most of the reform members agreed to look at the question "on first reading."  A discussion of the ordinance will be held at the next council meeting.

Tim Occhipinti denied he had spoken before the Zoning Board but according to a transcript from an earlier MSV story (below) he had briefly done so and appeared to be looking to support a developer who contributed thousands to his campaign.

Occhipinti actually left a City Council meeting in progress to speak at the Zoning Board meeting where the matter was on the table.  It appears his intent was to speak on behalf of the restaurant developer.  He was stopped by the board's lawyer who refused to allow him to do so.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino who raised the inquiry to Corporation Counsel about any potential conflict involving Occhipinti voting on the matter was told he was cleared based on the facts as presented by Occhipinti to its office.

Council President Peter Cunningham asked Occhipinti if he had in fact received money from the developer.  Occhipinti admitted he had and eagerly showed his desire to vote in favor of the developer and its encroachment on City property.

Councilman Michael Russo then attacked Councilwoman Jen Giattino for asking the Corporation Counsel about any conflict.  He also attacked her for asking questions about a vague resolution on "comprehensive gun control" that was undefined to the point of being pointless.  When Giattino asked for an explanation she was met with angry remarks by Occhipinti who ignoring the brief questions and then petulantly said, "I'm not going to debate this."

As for Councilman Michael Russo, his attack on Concilwoman Jen Giattino during New Business was perhaps nothing more than reflex.  Peter Cammarano, the former mayor and felon imprisoned for trading illegal campaign donations for promises to a developer had once been his campaign manager.

Then again, Michael Russo had his own problems meeting with a federal informant agreeing to bribes as Cammarano but was never charged as any follow up transaction has never been fully vetted with some observers questioning whether Russo himself followed Dwek's example and turned federal informant.

Everyone else at the lunch at the 2009 White House Tavern in Jersey City with FBI informant Solomon Dwek and the third ward councilman had law enforcement action taken against them - except for Michael Russo.

Coincidence?



Here's the video late in the meeting where Occhipinti defends taking developer money and clearly will support the restaurant taking City property illegally in a development riddled with zoning violations.  Do you think Occhipinti's conscience may change his vote?
MSV's original exclusive story from March 2012:


MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012


Tim Occhipinti received $3,500 from controversial developer of 4th ward building laden with zoning violations on public property


MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE 


Tim Occhipinti's "pay-to-play" speaking effort last week on behalf of a controversial building riddled with zoning violations in the fourth ward where the City of Hoboken wants to build a Southwest park turns out to involve more money than originally thought.

The actual amount of money Occhipinti accepted from the developer is $3,500.

Based on a disclosure statement submitted by the developer Danny Tattoli, the friend and long time partner of the controversial former Hoboken Construction Office terror Al Arezzo gave Tim Occhipinti money in both 2010 and 2011.

On Saturday, MSV broke the story of Tim Occhipinti accepting $2,000 from the developer at 61 Jackson Street in its rumor column, Grist for the Mill - but the story was not fully confirmed and was posted under "the grist" moniker, with the full amount of the money understated.

In addition to the $2,000 listed by the developer Danny Tattoli in his June 2010 disclosure statement to the Hoboken Construction Office, Tim Occhipinti also received $1,500 in his May 2011 campaign.

The $1,500 appears on the NJ ELEC Occhipinti campaign report on May 10th, City Council Election Day but the first contribution of $2,000 does not appear in any Tim Occhipinti NJ ELEC report.

As Tim Occhipinti was not a declared candidate in June 2010 for the November special election in the fourth ward, the money was clearly intended for that purpose but only a select group among the Old Guard knew of that plan.  It may be possible the donation falls outside of the NJ ELEC reporting requirement, although that's not altogether clear.

The 61 Jackson Street project, intended to be a bar/restaurant currently sits on public property and never obtained proper zoning approved documents from the Hoboken Construction Office.  A wall encroaches on an area the City of Hoboken wishes to see as part of a Southwest Park, a plan Tim Occhipinti has said he supports.

His actions on behalf of the developer and his effort to speak for the retention of the building loaded with zoning violations say something entirely different. 


Tim Occhipinti is on sale at City Hall in more ways than one.  Developers: please swipe here.

At the Hoboken Zoning Board meeting last Tuesday Tim Occhipinti attempted to deliver a prepared speech on behalf of his $3,500 donor and developer friend, Danny Tattoli.

From the Hoboken Zoning Board transcript at last Tuesday's meeting.  
Tim Occhipinti is "the voice" arguing to speak on behalf of the developer Tattoli.

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Let's open it up to the public. Any member of the public have a question of Mr. Tattoli? Seeing none, can I have a motion to close the public portion?

COMMISSIONER SMITH: Motion to close the public portion --

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Hold it.

A VOICE: Is this just to the witness?

THE REPORTER: I need his name.

MR. GALVIN: Councilmen shouldn't participate at the Zoning Board, sir. 

A VOICE: Well, can I --

MR. GALVIN: No. You shouldn't participate at all. I am sorry.

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay.

COMMISSIONER SMITH: I'll make a motion to close the public portion.

COMMISSIONER DE FUSCO: I'll second. Thank you. All in favor?

(Tim Occhipinti continues to interrupt and the stenographer does not record his continued demand to read his speech during the commotion. - Da Horsey) 

MR. GALVIN: Councilman, right?

A VOICE: Yes.

MR. GALVIN: I am saying it respectfully, but if you are unaware of that, that is the rule. 

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: The public portion is closed.

A VOICE: So no --

THE REPORTER: Can I just have your name?

MR. GALVIN: No. Council people generally are recommended against speaking at Zoning Board matters. 

A VOICE: You and I could have a quick sidebar. five?

MR. GALVIN: Sure, we can, outside.

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Do you want to take

MR. GALVIN: Yes.

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Take five. (Recess taken)

CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. MR. SPECTOR: A decision was reached?

 MR. GALVIN: It was a non decision, just me having a consultation with somebody.

MR. SPECTOR: Fine. The applicant rests, so obviously it is open to the public at this point.


Tim Occhipinti is an eager developer puppet.
He's gleefully looking to vote for a developer's property
encroaching on City land.  His MORTe allies voiced
support for him at the council meeting last night.