Thursday, May 2, 2013

Garcia Assembly ballot battle sees second appeal

Lawyer for the five Hoboken residents confirms, 'If necessary, we will take the battle to the NJ Supreme Court'

The lawyer for the five Hoboken residents, Flavio Komuves who won the original decision in Hudson County Superior Court knocking HHA Executive Director Carmelo off the ballot for Assembly confirmed the battle isn't over.

In a phone interview earlier, Komuves confirmed there was disappointment in the appellate panel's ruling but the appeals process is well underway to again challenge Garcia's eligibility.

"We've asked (the court) to take another look at the matter.  We argued Garcia's salary is paid completely in federal dollars based on auditor payment flows," Komuves stated as the basis of the appeal.

Carmelo Garcia slated to be back on the ballot is in a holding pattern as his Assembly candidacy is under appeal.

Detailing that legal position, Komuves said the point of whether or not Garcia is being paid completely with federal funds clearly barring him under both state and federal law was an unanswered legal question not required in the original decision by Assignment Judge Peter Bariso nor in the appeal.  He said this was the key basis for the requested "second look" to the appellate court.

"The Appellate should have given remand on the point of Garcia's salary," Komuves clarified, adding "The trend in New Jersey is we see more ethics and restrictions on dual office holding."

Gov. Chris Christie has pushed through a number of ethics changes restricting dual office holding.

A request for a stay in the original appellate decision and a halt to the printing of ballots with Garcia's name has been granted pending further legal review of the court.

If the "second view" at the appellate level doesn't succeed, Komuves made clear an application to the New Jersey Supreme Court is in the works saying in either instance, "We're going to make some pretty compelling arguments about increasing ethics, anti-corruption and dual office holding at the State level."

It's not altogether clear when a decision will come but based on the June 4th Democratic Party primary timeline, it can't be far off.

Carmelo Garcia was contacted for this story.  MSV will update this story when possible.