Sunday, March 31, 2013

MSV Premium: Lurking in the weeds...


MSV Premium members have been sent the latest issue.  If you are a subscriber and for any reason haven't received it, please contact smartyjones@me.com.

Thank you.

A Blessed Easter...



Thursday, March 28, 2013

FBI investigation in Hoboken continuing in massive Data Theft Ring Conspiracy

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE


Other Data Theft Ring suspects, Beth Mason emerge with first guilty plea

Former IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi pled guilty earlier this month to three counts for systematic, massive data theft of the electronic communications inside the mayor's office and faces up to five years when sentenced later this summer.  

The FBI investigation in Hoboken shows no signs of ending there.

The former IT Manager's sudden dismissal back in May 2011 followed with a closed session of the City Council briefing on the matter and led to a sudden abrupt silence on local Hoboken websites by the Old Guard and its coterie of Beth Mason political operatives.

Based on a conversation with the US Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey in Newark, the investigation into Hoboken is not likely to end with the guilty plea entered by former IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi.

Rebekah Carmichael of the Public Affairs Office declined to provide additional insight into the ongoing FBI investigation in Hoboken in a recent phone interview.  Asked if there was anything to say in addition since last June when the office confirmed "we're still investigating," Hoboken last summer, Ms. Carmichael stated, "no."

In the November 2011 FBI criminal complaint, at least two Hoboken officials are mentioned, one current and one former who directly benefited from receiving electronic communications out of the mayor's office.  The complaint states the information was distributed directly to them at their request and did not state the data theft conspiracy ended there.

In testimony at a related Hoboken employment case last fall, former Business Administrator Arch Liston said the mayor's communications were leaked beyond what appeared in the FBI criminal complaint pointing to links within the Hoboken Police Department and Police Chief Anthony Falco.  

In a phone interview last October, Chief Falco said he knew nothing about Liston's testimony and the HPD link to the FBI investigation but would "get to the bottom of it."  As reported first on MSV, the police chief filed a lawsuit against the City of Hoboken and Mayor Dawn Zimmer seeking $250,000 in damages for alleged interference and compensation issues including his desire to be paid for over 275 hours of overtime including work through Hurricane Sandy.

Liston testified at least one person in or closely connected to the Hoboken Police Department was involved in sharing information on a confidential Public Safety candidate under review, not available to the public as a background check was performed without knowledge or authorization.

In separate testimony, former Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin spoke about Fire Chief Richard Blohm's possible involvement as the "current official" in the investigation.  As reported in the Jersey Journal, Tabakin said if Blohm wasn't being investigated by the FBI, "he probably should be."

In November 2011, the FBI criminal complaint pointed to a political schism between Reform led by Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the Old Guard telegraphing, "many of the elected and appointed officials in the City retain strong ties to the previous administration or are otherwise politically opposed to the Mayor and have sparred...  These officials include several members of the City Council..."

Over a series of months in 2011, MSV directed questions in live council meetings asking Council members Beth Mason and Michael Russo if they saw any of the emails under FBI investigation.  While Russo never answered, Beth Mason gave conflicting answers over months and directly after a July 1, 2011 meeting.

In April 2011, Beth Mason sponsored and Michael Russo co-sponsored a resolution seeking all the emails of the mayor's aides spanning the exact period of the FBI investigation.  After months of efforts to make the emails public and render them useless in the FBI investigation, their scaled back witch hunt was halted with the elevation and swearing-in of Councilwoman Jen Giattino.

Neither Beth Mason nor Michael Russo have commented on the uncanny coincidence of their seeking the same emails going back to early 2010 when Patrick Ricciardi collected and distributed information from his "archive file" out of the mayor's office.

With the recent announcement of Ricciardi's guilty plea, pressure is sure to build within Hoboken on the massive data theft and the involvement of others in the Data Theft Ring Conspiracy's looting of the mayor's office in April 2010 through May 2011.

A rumor recently surfaced saying a computer in the Beth Mason household contained illegal emails from the mayor's office.  Mason has not answered questions from this website since her threatened civil lawsuit comment in response to questions on political operatives on the payroll of the Mason Civic League during a July 2012 City Council meeting.

Beth Mason has given contradictory responses on her role in the FBI Data Theft Ring Conspiracy investigation into the mayor's office.  From April to July 2011, she and Councilman Michael Russo tried to have the emails made public rendering them harmless in the ongoing FBI investigation.  A rumor surfaced the data was found in her home computer.  Sources say Mason is now "fuming" over being snubbed for the 33rd Assembly seat.  State Senator Brian Stack has reportedly selected HHA ED Carmelo Garcia.

Talking Ed Note: On the reports HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia has scored another public gig replacing his friend Ruben Ramos for 33rd Assembly, word around town is there's one very unhappy Frank "Pupie" Raia.  He's being outbid in unhappiness by Beth Mason, who independent sources are saying is FUMING.

Mason had been trying for well over a year to buy her way into State Senator Brian Stack's good graces.  Mason political operatives depicted her as the choice for over a year to the Hudson Reporter which dutifully reported it on almost a weekly basis.  Most recently it was an Al Sullivan source assuring readers just two weeks ago, Beth Mason was the likely the pick for 33rd Assembly.

MSV never agreed, right until she wasn't.  Does Beth Mason have even bigger problems ahead?

City Alert: Most of Hoboken loses water as United Water breaks water main

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Thursday March 28, 2013, 11:24 AM

City of Hoboken

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Alert: Contractor Hit 30" Water Main; All or Most of Hoboken Without Water

A contractor at a construction site at 14th Street and Willow Avenue hit a 30” water main. All or most of Hoboken is without water. United Water is working to isolate the break. More details will be provided through the City website at www.hobokennj.gov as information becomes available.For full details, view this message on the web.
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UPDATE: Contractor Hit 30" Water Main; Water Pressure to Fluctuate As Main Isolated; Boil Advisory in Effect

A contractor at a construction site at 14th Street and Willow Avenue hit a 30” water main. All of Hoboken is *not* without water, but the water pressure will continue to fluctuate as the water main is isolated. As three valves are closed, water pressure throughout Hoboken will gradually continue to rise. Due to low water pressure, United Water has issued a boil advisory.

UPDATE 3:00 PM: The broken 30" water main at 14th St and Willow Ave has been isolated. United Water expects water pressure to be restored city-wide within an hour. 

United Water has issued a boil water advisory - rapid boil for one minute. A boil water advisory is a precautionary measure that must be issued when a water system falls below a certain pressure, as occurred today. It remains in effect until the water can be analyzed in a laboratory.

8th and Willow water main break swallows car



Courtesy NJ.com by arrangement

More photos: http://photos.nj.com/4505/gallery/water_main_break_in_hoboken_at_8th_and_clinton_on_thursday_march_28/index.html

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BoE taxes rises 4% on sequestration, charter school expansion, health care costs

First BoE tax increase in four years weighs in at $34.42 per 145K assessed tax property value

The proposed Hoboken BoE budget is available and includes a detailed explanation on its tax increase and cuts detailing:
  • Sequestration of federal funds used to support our students in greatest need;
  • Increased costs for insurance;
  • Increased requirements for funding to charter schools due to enrollment increases;
  • Increased enrollment at lower grade levels require some staffing changes;
  • Requirements to reduce a long-time deficit for our food service operations, and
  • Increased costs for tuition to schools for the disabled. 

Hoboken taxpayers see approximately 26% of their tax bill go to the district with the the other two tax components being County and Municipal taxes.

About $1.8 million was needed to fill a budget gap.  The amount consisted of: salary increases, the expansion of a Hoboken Charter school, health care costs and budgeting toward the Obama Sequestration at approximately over 400K.*

* Although it's unclear if sequestration will take place and remain intact for the year, BoE budgets must account for all of the cost up front.

Complete details are available in the overview posted on the Hoboken BoE website.






Talking Ed Note: There's nothing more contentious when it comes to facts and figures in the Mile Square City then the Hoboken BoE budget. Before you start making comments and asking questions reflecting that you didn't read the information provided here from the BoE, please read it first.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jake Stuiver announces legal approval to remain HHA Chairman

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE


Chairman Jake Stuiver announced in a statement he's received legal clearance to remain as the Chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority.  Yesterday, he stated he was awaiting a legal review on his status from HHA counsel Charles Daglian after moving his family out of Hoboken a week ago Monday.

In an email to MSV, Stuiver wrote:

Yesterday afternoon, Hoboken Housing Authority General Counsel Charles
Daglian confirmed my eligibility to continue serving on the Hoboken
Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. I am thankful and honored to
receive corroboration of my belief, that am able to continue serving
on the HHA in full compliance with all local, state and federal laws and
consider it not only lawful and proper to serve out my term but in
fact imperative that I honor my commitment.

In a memo yesterday responding to my inquiry, Mr. Daglian concluded that "After
all of my research, my answer would be that there is no residency
requirement for a Housing Authority Commissioner and therefore, even
though you no longer reside in the City of Hoboken, you can remain as
a Commissioner for the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken."

I look forward to continuing to advance the cause of transparency,
accountability and reform in the HHA, and invite all
good-government-minded members of the community to attend the next
Board meeting, on Thursday, April 11, at 6 p.m. at Fox Hill Gardens,
311 13th Street.

Executive Director Carmelo Garcia said any HHA commissioner must reside in Hoboken to be eligible to serve in a reply to former commissioner Chris Campos (see video below) at the HHA meeting held earlier this month.  A request for comment on Garcia's misinformation was not forthcoming at the time of this story.

Garcia has been at odds with the reform majority on the HHA seeking to rotate new professionals into the roles of legal counsel and auditor.  A fourth procurement process has been issued and begun for HHA legal counsel in less than a year.

Other local media have avoided discussion of serious problems uncovered by the oversight federal agency, Housing and Urban Development.  The agency issued a scathing letter outlining serious problems in the procurement process and calling the controversial contract renewed with Charles Daglian "legally flawed."

Carmelo Garcia (l) speaking at the last HHA meeting with Jake Stuiver.

MSV covered the issues arising in the HUD letter and published the complete document back on March 13th: http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2013/03/hud-slams-hha-procurement-process-call.html

Monday, March 25, 2013

HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver announces family move and intention to serve

From the desk of HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver:

Effective Monday, March 18, my family and I have moved out of Hoboken
after nearly 10 extraordinary years in this wonderful community. The
decision to leave town was a very difficult decision for us, but
ultimately a necessary one on account of a confluence of personal
circumstances that rendered it impossible to continue living in our
apartment building and also difficult to remain distant from relatives
with rapidly increasing needs for our direct assistance. We are
incredibly grateful to all the amazing people we have come to know
during our time in Hoboken and thank each and every one of you for
enriching our lives in so many ways throughout this highly memorable
decade.

My commitment to the federal programs of the Hoboken Housing Authority
remains steadfast, and my obligation to my oath of office remains open
through the duration of my term, which ends in a few months.   On
Monday morning, I submitted an inquiry to HHA general counsel Charles
Daglian seeking his legal opinion as to whether there is a residency
requirement for continued service on the HHA board.  I have not yet
received a response from him on this issue.  If I am, in fact eligible
to continue serving, it is my intention to continue to do so until a
new commissioner has been appointed by the City Council to replace me
after the conclusion of my term.   While I have not yet received Mr.
Daglian’s guidance, he has assured me that he has been working
exhaustively throughout the week and I am confident that he will be in
a position to provide his answer, together with citations to the
specific statutory authority and case law upon which he is relying,
within the next several days.

I take my commitments and obligations with the utmost degree of
seriousness, and am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to
fulfill my duties as a Hoboken Housing Authority commissioner and
pledge my full ongoing attention and work ethic to ensuring the best
possible policies, practices and administrative oversight in the
interest of the residents of the Authority and the fiduciary duties to
which I am sworn to uphold.

 

 Talking Ed Note: At the last HHA meeting in public portion former HHA commissioner and fourth ward councilman Chris Campos raised the residency issue and receives an answer to his inquiry from Executive Director Carmelo Garcia who says there is a Hoboken residency rule for HHA commissioners and it's vetted through the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

MSV has not been able to confirm Caremlo Garcia's stated conclusion.

Jake Stuiver founded and personally aided in funding at no small personal cost an annual Thanksgiving Dinner the last several years at the HHA.  That he has suffered graciously the personal attacks of the Old Guard stalwarts backing Carmelo Garcia and the Vote-by-mail crowd in the HHA is to his great credit.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Letter to a Hoss: Hoboken Resident Margaret O'Brien

The following was submitted to Da Horsey by lifelong Hoboken resident Margaret O'Brien:

Sour grapes and scuttlebutt is presently all over town from those who lost both public opinion and favor from the powers in charge. Their argument which doesn't hold water is that moving the elections to November and getting rid of time consuming runoffs and illegal fliers on cars and poles is an insult to Democracy.

Our Founding Fathers would certainly disagree on all three counts, and the reasoning behind these issues needs again to be presented to the public before the sky is falling chicken little's leftover from old teams begin "educating" the public back to the old electoral ways of doing business.... Less elections are less expensive, and cleaner for our city. I lobbied hard for this with the COUNTY and have recently been insulted by members of an old group that say they want OLD HOBOKEN back for CONTROL!

New groups in town including volunteers and humanitarian efforts since Sandy are bringing new ideas and new people into the electoral process. They want and deserve clean, efficient processes...and certainly less dirt.............. The same old same old has lost power and prestige here especially in the Democratic Party, which names like PHIL COHEN and others are doing their best to clean up with new laws and new rules.

Please, don't kill the messenger by allowing these old time rumor mongers either any space in your head or any headway into your voting process. Margaret O'Brien - INDEPENDENT VOICE and VOTER...and "new senior."

The People deciding has made for some sour grapes
according to Hobokenite Margaret O'Brien.

MSV invites guest pieces for its "Guest of the Stable" series.  Please submit the topic of your 
choice on matters of importance to the Hoboken community of 1,500 words or less.  
Unsolicited letters as in this case may be also submitted for publication to smartyjones@me.com.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grist for the Mill: Bidding war? How much for the the 33rd Assembly Seat?

A Grist for the Mill Million Dollar Exclusive


If you wanted to be an Assemblyman in the State of New Jersey, the first thing you'd want to do is find a listing of openings.  You'd discover in due course, there's a spot open for 33rd Assemblyman currently expiring with Ruben Ramos.

So how would you submit your application?  Well one Hoboken resident appeared a month back asking just that question but not in any state forum choosing oddly enough of all places, a Hoboken City Council meeting.  2011 second ward candidate Franz Paetzold suggested if there was an interest in the Assembly seat on a Brian Stack ticket among council members Beth Mason and Ravi Bhalla, it would be great not to have that decided behind closed doors but in a public forum where everyone could listen in to those two candidates.

It was a very odd proposal not just for where it took place but how it came about with only those two names.  Paetzold didn't think the idea was applicable to different potential slates re: the Hudson County Democratic Organization and another possibly by State Senator Brian Stack.  He only thought of it as related to a slate by the State Senator and Union City Mayor.  In an interview later, he wasn't sure why he missed applying his idea to both sides, but he assured MSV it was his idea.

No one has heard more on his idea since, not with peace breaking out in Hudson County where one unified ticket is the talk of the land.

Franz Paetzold shares a happy moment at the Hoboken Democratic Committee
count outside in May of 2011 with Hoboken's Frank "Pupie" Raia.

That odd escapade is nothing to what's swimming in the bowels of the mile square.  Which two Hoboken candidates are the talk of the town for entering into a rumored SEVEN FIGURES BIDDING WAR for one State Assembly seat?  The chatter has spread like wildfire throughout the mile square and reached the staff of a certain downtown Jersey City councilman less than enamored by the auction.

One bidding Assembly candidate has plenty to do with business ventures across the state of New Jersey but if you want to outbid him for a pretty picture, he's not sure he wants to see it hanging on your wall.

The other bidder is a morose political dead ender in Hoboken who is asking their spouse to buy them one more political gift and this time promises they won't squander it with an army of checkbook vampiric political operatives.

Well rumors even juicy ones with million plus dollar exchanges bandied about are certainly entertaining but didn't a certain governor in the State of Illinois try to generate a bidding war for a US Senate seat landing him in jail?

                                           

Are there any federal agents in town available to collect a well deserved promotion?  
This scalp could be quite the prize.


Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column.  Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey?  Send a note to smartyjones@me.com

Friday, March 22, 2013

Poser Magazine: the Inaugural Issue with Councilman Michael Russo



The blowback from the 9-11 Memorial vote where the Hudson Sopranos shot down approval flexing their muscle from blocking Jim Doyle's council appointment is reverberating around town.  A brand new satirical magazine just published on Grafix Avenger introduces Councilman Michael Russo in a new light to his legion of fans in the third ward and beyond.

This should help folks understand what's truly important to the third ward councilman.

In this issue of Poser Magazine:
  • City Councilmen who pose for pix then cry about it
  • Shutting down Pier C Park for Fun
  • What to wear when you vote NO on a 9-11 Memorial
  • Grifting or Sex: Which is more satisfying
  • Public housing for the well off: Why Not?

Don't miss this important issue.  Place your order at Grafix Avenger now!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund to begin payments to 493 recipients

The Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund announces:


Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund Set to Mail Aid Checks
Will Distribute Almost One Million Dollars
At a press conference yesterday, the Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund announced that funds are ready to be released to local residents and businesses.  A total of $974,309.46 will be distributed.  According to Bernard Kenny, chairman of the fund, 493 checks will be mailed next week, each in the amount of $1976.46.  The grant award was determined by the total funds available divided by the number of qualified applicants.
The mission of Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund was to help fill the gap between FEMA assistance and insurance reimbursement.  The 501(3)(c) charitable organization sprang up immediately after Hurricane Sandy, and within days its website, http://rebuildhoboken.org/, became a central source of information for those seeking assistance and for those desiring to make contributions to the Fund.
Applications for aid were received until February 9th.  The board enlisted the Hoboken Clergy Coalition to independently review the applications to determine whether all criteria for aid had been met.
An early and generous gift of $250,000 from Haven Savings Bank, headquartered in Hoboken, was included with major donations from The Robin Hood Foundation, Marsh & McLennan and Major League Baseball.  A black-tie gala was held at the W Hotel in Hoboken in early February and was supported by local businesses and by hometown celebrities including Buddy “The Cake Boss” Valastro, in addition to the Sinatra Family, helping the gala gross over $500,000.  The Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund also drew individual checks and online contributions from residents as well as people across the country.  The proceeds from numerous activities staged by small business and local nonprofits, such as cut-a-thons held at hair salons, a concert by Broadway musical stars and fundraisers by local bars, swelled the fund to nearly $1 million in less than four months. 
According to Kenny, the Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund now will shift its focus to provide financial assistance in future disasters, such as displacements of victims from major fires or floods.  To that end, $15,000 will be held as a reserve fund, a small portion of which also will cover insurance and necessary auditing and tax filing fee.  “The fund will have some money on hand to provide instant aid, but even more important is that the infrastructure is now in place to respond immediately to raise money for victims of future catastrophes,” says Kenny. 
The seven-person board of Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund represents all facets of the Hoboken community:  residents, business owners, government officials and clergy.  Other members of the board are Toni Tomarazzo, formerly of the Municipal Hospital Authority; Mayor Dawn Zimmer; local businessman Scott Delea; Larry Henriques; Monsignor Robert Meyer, pastor, Saints Peter & Paul Church; and Joseph Mindak, publisher of hMag.

Sign of the Times: Hoboken Sopranos' creepy obstructionism meets resistance

A recent sign pointing to Councilwoman Terry Castellano's blocking funding to repair and reopen Pier C Park has led to another, this one starring a second member of the rat pack Hoboken Sopranos.

Congratulations Timmy Occhipinti, here's your moment of truth atop the Hoboken Sopranos page:

A guerrilla Hoboken resistance movement having hit out letting people know about the sabotage by Councilwoman Terry Castellano
and the Hoboken Sopranos to keep Pier C closed has struck again on their street repair sabotage.
This sign was discovered one day after their voting down the Hoboken 9-11 Memorial.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HOBOKEN SOPRANOS VOTE DOWN 9-11 MEMORIAL

Clearly frustrated with being limited in power even while they have blocked the fifth swing vote on the council with their manufactured lawsuit out on appeal, the Hoboken Sopranos took maybe their most audacious obstructive action, voting down an emotional issue in the form of the 9-11 memorial.

The project, a replacement for the smaller scale, interim glass design that broke was ready to go ahead in its new form, but in the end, flexing their political power courtesy of the legal wrangling, the vote failed 4-4.

Councilman Michael Russo kicked off the conversation with some blistering grandstanding complaining about the memorial taking more than a decade for completion.  Councilwoman Terry Castellano insisted the 9-11 committee needed to be brought up to speed since 2010.  Tim Occhipinti who saw his pocket parks plan fail to ignite his unannounced mayoral candidacy with only a few people speaking in favor who live across the street requested the memorial be tested in a Stevens engineering wind and water testing machine.  Councilwoman Beth Mason relied on her old standby she needs more information.  (It's all on the city website.)

In response, Council President Peter Cunningham made it clear there would be a vote as the memorial was ready to go and Director Brandy Forbes informed Castellano there had been many conversations and conference calls since 2010 the last of the councilwoman's recollection.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla spoke plainly on what was transpiring before him and said politics shouldn't enter into the process with the vote before them.  His pleas for unity on the matter to approve the 9-11 Memorial was met with on and off mic heckling of Timmy Occhipinti.




Voting yes to approving and building the 9-11 Memorial: Council members Ravi Bhalla, Jen Giattino, Dave Mello and Council President Peter Cunningham.

Voting no: Council members Terry Castellano, Timmy Occhipinti, Beth Mason and Michael Russo.

Followed by much gnashing of teeth and moaning by the no voters, not dislike a chapter out of the Bible with devils being exorcised.

Go ahead Timmy, run for mayor on this.  
Got hypocrisy?

Councilman Michael Russo stops to pose in the lobby of City Hall for Da Horsey's photo.
Minutes later he would complain about "blogs" taking photos outside the bathroom, which is around the corner
150 feet away.  He followed that leading the Hoboken Sopranos to vote down the 9-11 memorial.  Good job Mikey.

Talking Ed Note: The $1.2 million bond for parks passed but the Pier A bond was kicked down the road. Nothing is simple or easy without Jim Doyle.

It's going to get worse, a lot worse if the budget sabotage signaled by Russo and Occhipinti reaches fruition. If the NJ Appellate Court upholds the Hudson County Superior Court decision of Assignment Judge Peter Bariso sooner than later, Hoboken will be fine. If not, it's going to be a long, ugly summer.

Wednesday's traffic was the highest of this year, proving once again when it comes to corruption - Hoboken takes notice.

Correction: The lower Jackson St. restaurant encroaching on City land up for consideration last night was pulled for legal reasons but was described as transgressing 500 square feet.  The accurate figure is actually 390 square feet.

Timmy Time? Grandstanding in council meeting for $17 million for pocket parks



Pt. 3 - http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/30146879

The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 tonight and one political operation could be the unofficial kickoff to an Old Guard mayoral candidacy.

Money has been getting behind Occhipinti at least in the form of a hired gun to do press releases and Hoboken Patch correctly notes there's been two in recent weeks and is confirming rumors the Hoboken Sopranos: Beth Mason and the Russo clan will be getting behind and financing a mayoral race for Timmy against Hoboken's own Ruben Ramos.

MSV previously stated the Old Guard was furious with the announcement by Assemblyman Ruben Ramos he was running for mayor.  They've been trying to elbow him out ever since planting negative spin in the Hudson Reporter and blocking mention of the seasoned Assemblyman on Beth Mason sponsored Hoboken411where she's typically run her censored political operations.  Hoboken411 has been pushing Tim Occhipinti for a while now even going as far as praising him during Hurricane Sandy when Timmy was sight unseen and believed out of town right after the storm.

Tonight a pocket park petition will be grandstanded ad nauseum by Tim and you will see some real in your face astroturfing Hoboken Old Guard style.  Don't be surprised to see some Hoboken moms getting up and advocating for these overpriced pocket parks on the edge of town before finding out they were hoodwinked when the full details come out of the cost (at $17 million per acre).

Long time Southwest Parks advocate in the form of Councilman Dave Mello will probably have something to say about all this.  Okay, maybe more than something - it's a driving issue for his entry into the public square.

Early in the evening is an ordinance on the restaurant Occhipinti backs which stole Hoboken public land of approximately 500 square feet.  The developer was an early contributor to Occhipinti so you already know how he will vote on the controversial allowance to let the impediment stand.

That is up and staying on the agenda this time, item number one in a second ordinance reading.  Expect at least four Hoboken Sopranos votes with the Old Guard council members trying to get Timmy off to a good developer (contributor) footing.

Can you sue the Hoboken people to force them into making Tim Occhipinti mayor?  Councilman-in-waiting Jim Doyle remains sidelined having won his legal appointment in Hudson County Superior Court, but he's stuck with MORTe's second appeal.

That appeal is going to allow for the kind of chaos the Hoboken Sopranos need to have any chance to regain power, by hook or by crook.  First victim is the Hoboken budget.

Resolutionshttp://www.hobokennj.org/docs/council/agenda13/ccm-03-20-13.pdf
Meeting starts at 7:30.

Former City IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi pleads guilty for looting and sharing emails in Mayor's Office

Da Horsey BREAKING NEWS ...


The US Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey announces:

FORMER CITY OF HOBOKEN IT MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY INTERCEPTING AND DISCLOSING E-MAILS INTENDED FOR HOBOKEN MAYOR AND TOP CITY OFFICIALS

NEWARK, N.J. – A former management information systems specialist for the city of Hoboken pleaded guilty today for intercepting communications meant for the mayor of Hoboken and top city officials and passing some of those communications on to other officials, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Patrick Ricciardi, 46, of Hoboken, entered a guilty plea – before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court – to an Information charging him with accessing a computer without authorization, interception of wire and electronic communications and disclosure of intercepted wire and electronic communications.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ricciardi was a longstanding employee of the city of Hoboken and worked as the chief information technology officer for the mayor’s office. As part of his job duties, Ricciardi was responsible for keeping the city’s network running and had access to email accounts within the city’s computer system and other aspects of the city’s computer network.

In April 2011, Ricciardi created an archive file on his work computer to intercept and store all emails sent to and from the mayor and certain of the mayor’s employees. Neither the mayor nor any other city employee authorized the storage of the emails or the creation of the file.

During his guilty plea proceeding, Ricciardi admitted he used his access to set up the email accounts of the mayor and two of the mayor’s top lieutenants so all of their incoming and sent emails would be sent to the archive folder.

He also admitted that he read some of the emails in order to spy on the mayor and her assistants, and forwarded them to other current and former city officials.

Ricciardi is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1, 2013, before Judge Salas. Each of the three counts carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Task Force, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section in the Office’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

13-130 ###


Defense counsel: Assistant Federal Public Defender Donald McCauley, Esq.


Patrick Ricciardi pled guilty to three counts for his
theft and distribution of communications from the
Mayor's Office.  Sentencing is set for July 1.
Update: 4:30

According to a Jersey Journal story:

(Judge) Salas said she cannot impose more than a 5-year sentence, but will follow the sentencing guidelines that take into account what he did and how he cooperated with the justice system.

Talking Ed Note: MSV believes there's been clarification when the communications looting took place out of the Mayor's office. In the complaint against Patrick Ricciardi, the theft started in early 2010. It's probably a typo in today's release saying 2011, it likely meant April 2010.

 In April 2011, Council members Beth Mason and Michael Russo sponsored a resolution to obtain all the emails of two of the mayor's staff.

Their effort by was finally halted but not by the FBI raid on City Hall in late May, but on July 1 when Jen Giattino was sworn in and voted the email hunt resolution down thus ending Beth Mason's efforts to make harmless the FBI's evidence, rendering it public.

Related:
Beth Mason and Michael Russo 'declare war' on FBI email conspiracy investigation
Public Questioning: Beth Mason, have you seen the (stolen) emails?
Mason answers the wrong question on email conspiracy, confesses!
A possible chronology with the FBI and Michael Russo
Hoboken411 linked to Patrick Ricciardi in secret visits to his City Hall office
Beth Mason's meeting with FBI informant Solomon Dwek
The Ultimate Email Conspiracy Timeline by Grafix Avenger
Video: Beth Mason loses it on questions surrounding email theft

Update: An early evening conversation with the US Attorney's Office in Newark confirmed the dates of the  massive Data Theft Conspiracy going back to April 2010.  Mayor Dawn Zimmer was elected mayor by the people of Hoboken in November 2009.

If you think the looting of approximately 100,000 electronic communications in and out of the mayor's office including some from this website ends with three or four people, Da Horsey has a bridge to sell you.

The Jersey Journal added some critical information to the news today of Patrick Ricciardi's plea of guilty.  Happy nightmares minions.

Hat tip: Charles Hack.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gristy chewable: Police Chief Falco - 'I'm suing Hoboken for overtime pay'

Late last night, a Hoboken resident not of the legal persuasion passed along some breaking legal news:

Anthony P. Falco as Chief of Police of the City of Hoboken and individually v.
Dawn Zimmer; City of Hoboken 3/18/2013 2:13 cv 1648
Cecchi (Newark)

Violation of civil rights and due process. Defendant Zimmer, the mayor of defendant City of Hoboken, has been relentless in trying to undermine the plaintiff and his authority as Chief of Police.  In addition the plaintiff is not protected by a collective bargaining agreement and defendant Zimmer has refused to provide the plaintiff with an employee agreement.  The plaintiff "doesn't even know how many vacation days he is entitled to per year, or whether he will continue to enjoy health insurance or other benefits upon retirement."

The plaintiff believes defendant Zimmer has animosity towards him because he was the lead investigator in a hit-and-run accident that killed defendant Zimmer's father-in-law and, despite the plaintiff's best efforts, the driver was never caught.

===

Hoboken Police Chief Anthony Falco earns approximately $180,000 annually and seeks overtime pay including for extra hours performed during Hurricane Sandy. He currently resides in Hoboken at Church Towers and is the top paid municipal employee in the City of Hoboken.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer released a statement saying, This is a personnel matter and ongoing litigation so I cannot comment, but on a personal note, I find it extremely unfortunate that Police Chief Falco has introduced my father-in-law's tragic hit and run death into a lawsuit about his own compensation."

Chief Falco was not reachable earlier and his lawyers did not return a call for comment.

Hoboken Police Chief Anthony Falco as pictured at a 9-11 ceremony
several years ago.


Update: Hoboken Patch today confirmed MSV's "grist for the mill" story yesterday and says Falco is unhappy he was denied a uniform allowance of $1,300 and a sick incentive of $1,500.  The story says Falco is suing for $250,000 in damages.

Mayor updates park progress for Southwest, Pino and Henkel in western Hoboken

Office of the Mayor announces:



Timmy Occhipinti has a plan for far more expensive and much smaller pocket parks in Southwest Hoboken.
He hopes people won't distinguish those from the continued efforts for far larger and more inexpensive parks
around western Hoboken detailed in a letter from Mayor Zimmer.

Tim Occhipinti issued the following press release Tuesday afternoon:


 OCCHIPINTI TO SUBMIT OPEN SPACE PETITION TO ACQUIRE VACANT LOTS AT 1ST AND JACKSON
Over 350 Hoboken Residents Signed The Petition in Just A Few Weeks
(HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY) – At tomorrow night’s Hoboken City Council meeting, 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti will present a petition to Mayor Zimmer and the City Council to turn vacant lots at 1st and Jackson Streets into open space. In just a few weeks, the petition already has over 350 signatures and continues to gain steam.

“In our urban landscape, we need as much open space as possible - especially here in Southwest Hoboken,” said Occhipinti. “I’m sick and tired of those who make open space promises while running for office and then turn their back on our community when it comes time to take action. Hoboken needs less lip service and more leaders committed to creating safe places for our children to play and for all our families to enjoy.”

Councilman Occhipinti believes now is the time to begin the process of acquiring the vacant lot and “Nardine's lot” at 1st and Jackson Street. The next step is to get the Administration to submit a resolution at the next City Council meeting to hire an appraiser to determine fair market value of the properties. These lots are not well-maintained and have received numerous citations from the City. There are three day-care facilities within a few blocks that could utilize new open space.  But since the lots are located in a residential zone, a developer could snap them up for more condos. If that happens Hoboken would lose the opportunity forever of turning them into open space.

Advocating for new open space at these lots does not infringe upon the goal for a large, continuous park in the 4th Ward. This would simply be in addition to the SW6 Plan.  By purchasing these two lots and turning them into green, open space for Southwest Hoboken families, it in no way minimizes the urgent need for a six-acre park in the area.

“Bringing open space to Hoboken's Fourth Ward is long overdue, but sadly doesn’t seem to be a priority even for some who call this neighborhood home.” said Christopher Gizzi, President and Executive Board Member, Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition. “This petition is the continuation of a critical open space initiative, and I urge all park supporters to sign it. For well over six years, local residents have asked for open space and all the advantages that come with it - including flood mitigation, bike/walk/running/stroller lanes, traffic abatement, and other recreational activities. By turning these vacant lots into open space, we’d begin to see what a true, contiguous, six-acre park will do for Southwest Hoboken residents and families.”

The City has two funding mechanism - the $3 million Hudson County Trust Fund Grant and the $20 million bond authorization by the City Council approved in the spring of 2011. For years, residents have been taxed by both Hudson County and the City for open space - with no new parks added to our neighborhoods. In fact, it was Zimmer herself who fought for this new tax for land acquisitions, which has brought no new open space. The $3 million county grant dedicated to open space in Southwest Hoboken is due to run out this summer. It was extended last summer by request of the Zimmer Administration.

Just like with flooding and potholes, Mayor Zimmer has failed to deliver on her open space promises, time and again.  This is a slap in the face to the families of her home ward, as Zimmer pledged to make open space a priority in both her multiple 4th ward council campaign and her multiple mayoral campaigns. And Zimmer has failed.

Legal conflict versus defensible action? HHA legal contract issue burns...

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE


The HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver requested as allowed under law, an analysis of the awarding of its legal counsel contract last month to the Hoboken Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo.  The memo, subject of much discussion but no public examination is released for the very first time here on MSV.

HHA counsel Charlie Daglian submitted his own memo in reply.  Both are included below.



           City of Hoboken
Office of the Corporation Counsel




To: Jake Stuvier, Chairman, Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners

From: Mellissa L. Longo, Esq., Corporation Counsel, City of Hoboken
March 19, 2013
Hoboken Housing Authority – Meeting of February 7, 2013
We are providing this legal advice pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-22(l), which allows housing authorities to “call upon the chief law officers of the municipality, as the case may be, or may employ its own counsel and legal staff.” 

Our office has reviewed the transcripts from the Thursday, February 7, 2013 special meeting (the “Meeting”) of the Hoboken Housing Authority (the “Authority”).  According to the public notice, the new business listed on the agenda is a resolution to award a contract for general legal services for the Authority.  Charles P. Daglian, one of four attorneys/law firms who responded to a request for proposals to provide legal services for the Authority, provided legal services during the Meeting. The first page of the transcript lists Mr. Daglian as “Attorney for the Board.” From our review of the Meeting transcripts, there were two resolutions presented for the commissioners’ consideration; one resolution was to appoint Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader, LLC as general counsel, and the second resolution would reappoint Mr. Daglian as general counsel.

From our review of the transcript, Mr. Daglian provided legal advice throughout the Meeting, including on the issue of whether the Board of Commissioners or the Executive Director was the appointing authority for the Authority. Mr. Daglian also discussed information presumably contained in his request for proposal, including the fact that he lowered his price so that he could continue working for the Authority. At no time during the Meeting did Mr. Daglian recuse himself or state on the record that he had a potential conflict of interest.

The Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically RPC 1.7(a)(2), state that a concurrent conflict of interest arises any time a lawyer’s representation of a client creates a “significant risk that the representation of one . . .client[s] will be materially limited . . . by a personal interest of the lawyer.”  Public entities cannot waive such a conflict. See RPC 1.7(b)(1). Mr. Daglian was working as legal counsel for the Authority and his continued representation was among the subjects raised during the Meeting.  An argument can be made that there is a significant risk his representation of the Authority during the Meeting was limited by his interest in remaining the Authority’s attorney.  As noted previously, Mr. Daglian advocated for himself to be reappointed as legal counsel, including discussing his pricing under the request for proposal. 

Because the concurrent conflict of interest existed at the time that the contracts for legal services were discussed at the Meeting, at a minimum, the vote from the Meeting should be invalidated, and the issue should be reconsidered at another Authority meeting.  In addition, when the Authority discusses the contracts for general legal services at its next meeting, Mr. Daglian should not serve as attorney for the Board when the issue is discussed.  He must recuse himself as the Board’s attorney, and the Board should have substitute counsel available when this issue is discussed.

          The next inquiry was whether the Motion to Reconsider was properly brought, and if no, was the revote to reappoint Mr. Daglian valid.  The Amended By-Laws of the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken, New Jersey state, at Article V, that “Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, shall be the final authority on all questions of procedure and parliamentary law not covered by the By-Laws of the Authority.”  Furthermore, the procedure for motions, including without limitation motions to reconsider, are not otherwise discussed in the bylaws.  Therefore, a motion to reconsider by the Housing Authority is subject to Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised. 

        Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, Article VI Section 36(a) states that a motion to reconsider must be made by a member who was on the prevailing side of the original vote on the matter to be reconsidered.  As such, in the present instance, since the prevailing side was the Nay’s, only Commissioners Mello, Burrell, and Stuiver had the authority to move for reconsideration.  Contrary to Robert’s Rules requirements for a motion for reconsideration, Commissioner Rodriguez, a member on the non-prevailing side made the motion for reconsideration.  Therefore, the motion to reconsider the contract was contrary to the proper procedure under Robert’s Rules of Order, Article VI Section 36(a).

      Consequently, the motion to reconsider the contract was in violation of Robert’s Rules of Order and the By-Laws of the Housing Authority. 

     Should you have any questions or concerns in this regard, certainly feel free to contact me.  Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

-------

Mr. Charles Daglian replied:

MEMORANDUM TO: Carmelo Garcia, Executive Director

FROM: Charles P. Daglian, Esq.

DATE: February 22, 2013
page1image5504

RE: Response to opinion issued by Mellissa L. Longo, Corporation Counsel City of Hoboken
______________________________________________________________________________
You have requested that I review the memo dated February 13, 2013 in which Chairman Stuiver had requested Mellissa Longo, who is the attorney for the City of Hoboken, her opinion on the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken’s meeting of February 7, 2013.

First, while I certainly respect the right of Chairman Stuiver to request legal assistance from any source, it is clear from N.J.S.A.40A:12A-22(l), that a Housing Authority may call upon a chief officer of the municipality for its legal services or may employ its own counsel. I would respectfully suggest to the Chairman that this is an either/or situation and not where both can render legal opinions to the Authority. The Statute contemplates that a small Authority may not have the funds to retain their own attorney and may utilize the municipality’s attorney for its legal advise, otherwise it retains its’ own legal counsel. A Housing Authority is a completely autonomous agency and the City has no direct authority over the agency or its policies. The City appoints the Commissioners and the Commissioners are the sole authority as to policy.

However, I would still appreciate the opportunity to respond to her memo.

The issue she raises that as one of the four applicants for the position of legal counsel, I should have not given any opinion as to the legal aspects of the Procurement Policy for the Hoboken Housing Authority during that meeting. She refers to Professional Conduct Rule 1-1.7. The Chairman and Board should know that Rule is when an attorney represents more than one client. There is an aspect of the Rule that deals with a personal interest of the lawyer but the Rule states that there must be a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the personal interest of the lawyer. Clearly, if I advised the Board that they had to vote for my contract, that would be a conflict of interest but as explained below, there was no significant risks that my representation would be materially limited by my statements to the Commissioners and therefore, there is no conflict of interest under this Rule.

As you and the Board are fully aware, this issue of appointment of legal counsel was on the agenda for two prior meetings. In each of those meetings, I, by necessity, was present but did not participate in the discussion. In this meeting however, there were two instances in which I was requested to speak and I only answered the question posed.

Memorandum February 22, 2013 page -2-
Ms. Longo states that I discussed the information contained in my Request for Proposal including the fact that I had lowered my proposed fee. A review of the transcript, proves that this statement is erroneous. The Chairman requested that I advise the Board whether I had been overcharging the Hoboken Housing Authority in prior years since I lowered my fee from $60,000 per year to $45,000 per year. My response was based upon my past practice and not advocating my proposal. In addition, I am obligated, based upon my position as Hoboken Housing Authority Corporation Counsel, to respond to a question requested directly by the Chairman or any other Commissioner.

That was the same basis for my discussion of the Procurement Policy since it was a direct question by Commissioner Lincoln. He requested that I give an opinion as the Procurement Policy of the Hoboken Housing Authority and who was the appointing authority. Again, I was obligated to respond, but, what is not being addressed by Ms. Longo’s opinion letter was the I was not discussing the specific Procurement Policy of the Hoboken Housing Authority as it relates to the appointment of legal counsel. Commissioner Lincoln, on pages 50 and 51 of the transcript, clearly was discussing the overall Procurement Policy of the Hoboken Housing Authority. This has been the issue for the past six months. The appointment of legal counsel is minor compared to the other issues that will result from the settlement of that question. There has been the issue of the appointments of an auditor, public relations specialist, web master, special counsel to the Board, engineers to the Board and all other consultants to the Board. There also is the open discussion as to the creation of an Deputy Executive Director and the appointment and management of all Hoboken Housing Authority employees. My answer to Commissioner Lincoln was my legal opinion as to the Procurement Policy and the appointing authority of the Hoboken Housing Authority. That is the central legal issue that needed to be addressed and as Corporation Counsel to the Chairman and Board, I was obligated to respond. My response was for the issue of the overall Procurement Policy. At no time in my response did I advise that the Board must follow the recommendation of Executive Director Garcia. In fact, on page 54 and 55 of the transcript, I clearly advised the Board that they had the power to reject any appointment, including mine.

If the Housing Authority followed Ms. Longo’s opinion as to potential conflicts of interest, no legal business would be conducted. As I am sure Ms. Longo would advise you, many times attorneys must answer questions that would have a direct impact on their positions and financial dealings with the governing body. Any time Ms. Longo issues an opinion that is favorable to the Mayor and is disputed by the City Council, someone could point to a conflict of interest since she is appointed by the Mayor and she is only giving her legal opinion because she is afraid of not being reappointed by the Mayor. Another example that illustrates this point is when an attorney advocates litigation to a governing body. It could be stated that advocating litigation was only based on the fact that the attorney would profit from the extra legal billings that would be generated by that litigation.

The problem that has developed at Hoboken Housing Authority meetings, is that the messenger is being questioned because the message is a controversial one. Interestingly, in Ms. Longo’s opinion, she never addresses the fundamental question of who is the appointing authority for the Hoboken Housing Authority. No matter who gives that opinion, that is the issue that must be resolved. I would submit to the Chairman and the Board that if my opinion is wrong, then that would be addressed by legal counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is my understanding that at the request of the Chairman and Executive Director and pursuant to the Rules and Regulations of HUD, that before the contract for legal services can be signed, it is being reviewed by legal counsel for HUD. It is my further understanding that review is ongoing at the present time.

Memorandum February 22, 2013 page -3-
As the funding authority, HUD has the ultimate power over the policy and procedures of a Housing Authority. This is based on Federal Law and Regulation. The decision of HUD as to who is the appointing authority will have the legal effect of settling this issue.
I would respectfully request that this memo be distributed to the Chairman and Board of Commissioners. 

Talking Ed Note: On the matter of the HHA counsel contract, the process to rebid will commence anew, begun almost eight months ago for the fourth time.

The matter was settled by the federal agency with oversight authority, HUD.  It deemed the awarding of the HHA counsel contract to Mr. Daglian as legally flawed.  No local editors even addressed this and other serious problems outlined in the process as detailed extensively in HUD's letter. On the contrary they sought to portray the differences in awarding the counsel contract as nothing more than competing political factions.  

This is a serious breach of journalistic norms.  That a major federal agency's scathing assessments over a local institution the size and scope of the HHA was given but scant to no attention in the local media is a serious betrayal of the public trust.  MSV is exempting the Jersey Journal because it covers Hoboken part time.  Hoboken Patch's stories have been cartoonish in its bias and the editors of the Hudson Reporter, Caren Matzner and Gene Ritchings sat on the HUD memo during the week, flagrantly ignoring the clearcut seriousness of its contents.

This is clearly the narrative preferred by HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia who has described the serious flaws in the HHA procurement process as nothing more than simply "perfecting" its operations.  That local editors allow such slipshod antics with no scrutiny whatsoever is absolutely deplorable.

A journalistic critique is incomplete without mentioning a vulgar screed in the form of an anonymous letter in the Old Guard rag last weekend.  This dog whistle at the Hudson Reporter raises serious questions how an anonymous letter headlined and reeking with an out and out anti-Semitic punchline was published.  We're not even sure the Beth Mason sponsored Hoboken411 would dare venture this deep into the gutter and that's saying something.

The barbarians are truly at the gates.  Without a vigilant reform community led by its de facto leader in the form of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, this town would descend to viral corruption in a heartbeat.  At the HHA, the Old Guard with the help of the Hoboken Sopranos is fighting to keep it that way.


Bring in the Feds!