Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grist for the Mill: Tim Occhipinti oversteps in Zoning Board controversy

Hoboken's special friends and favors past meets the present as one restaurant development has become a point of controversy in the fourth ward with a problematic history and money exchanging hands.

A restaurant built in the southwest part of town is a focal point on several counts.  First, a wall is built right out onto public property, it's riddled with zoning violations, the owner has major connections to Al Arezzo the former construction office terror and last the owner, Danny Tattoli gave the 4th ward council seat occupant Tim Occhipinti $2,000.

There's nothing illegal in the owner Danny Tatolli giving Tim Occhipinti the $2,000 for his campaign as it falls below the individual maximum contribution limit.  Occhipinti however  left a Hoboken City Council budget hearing early to go downstairs and demanded to speak on behalf of his donor growing indignant by the resistance allowing him to do so.

Reports are Occhipinti had a prepared speech to give on behalf of the restaurant owner and attendees are curious who wrote it for him.

The Zoning Board Attorney Dennis Galvin after attempting to dissuade Occhipinti from continuing to speak had to stop the meeting and take him out into the hall and explain basic legal and ethical rules on council members speaking about open matters before the Zoning Board.

Part of the approval process will likely come before the City Council, another issue will arise on whether Occhipinti's expressed intent to defend the developer at the Zoning Board hearing already conflicts him out of voting on the City Council.

Five votes are required for Tattoli if his building comes before the City Council.  If Occhipinti is conflicted from voting, it would leave the Russo votes: Michael Russo and Terry Castellano with Beth Mason left and two votes short.  The council majority's five members would likely not be sympathetic.

A wall must be demolished first as it was constructed on public property.

Tim Occhipinti's never say die attitude on behalf of developer donors is front and center again after boorish demands he made to speak at last Tuesday's Hoboken Zoning Board meeting.

Talking Ed Note: If there's one thing you can be sure, Tim Occhipinti gets wee weed up for his developer friends.

Grist for the Mill is a rumor column but it meets an even higher standard than some news in these parts.  
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