Friday, June 28, 2013

Did Terry Castellano really tell people to protest at the mayor's home?

The question has been raised since it appeared on Hoboken Patch as the first comment on a story HHA residents would protest against its commissioners Dave Mello and Greg Lincoln for not backing Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's appointing powers.

Did Councilwoman Terry Castellano tell people to go protest at the mayor's home?

Did Councilwoman Terry Castellano tell HHA residents to protest at the mayor's home?

Many people couldn't or didn't want to believe it but the comment stood as the first on the story as authentic into today and has not been taken down, convincing some Castellano has gone rogue nasty blogger.

Back in 2009, then mayor Peter Cammarano saw a protest of Hoboken residents rise up and protest on his block when he refused to resign after the FBI released details of his comments when he accepted $25,000 in illegal campaign contributions from a phony developer.

The seriousness of the charges and Cammarano's arrogance who refused to resign after he said opposition to him would those people "ground into powder" nevertheless saw a small vocal minority complaining residents were acting inappropriately in having a protest on upper Bloomfield Street.  

In that instance, Cammarano had left town with his family but yesterday the announcement of a protest by a spokeswoman from the HHA office was a clear sign the action was directed by Executive Director Carmelo Garcia.

The Sky Club home to the families of both Mello and Lincoln did not see a large protest in the end scheduled for late afternoon.  A group of several dozen HHA residents appeared two hours later to no great effect.  Residents of the Sky Club off the record found it less than amusing but several reportedly inquired to Dave Mello about the matter finding it grossly inappropriate.

Terry Castellano is somewhat infamous for her efforts saying almost a million dollars in parking meter quarters was "cleared up," three times back in 2007 when then director of the Parking Utility John Corea looted the bounty and sent it to a south jersey mob connected firm.  Questions as to why both she and her cousin, Councilman Michael Russo fought to cover up the missing million dollars has never been satisfactorily answered although they've upgraded their answers in council meetings last year blaming former Mayor Dave Roberts for misleading them with inaccurate information.

John Corea was sentenced to a seven year stretch last year for his role in the theft. 

Councilwoman Terry Castellano urged HHA residents to protest outside the mayor's home
if a comment appearing first out of the gate on Hoboken Patch is accurate.


Talking Ed Note: This is a shocking development by Terry Castellano who has submitted a defense of the Mason family lawsuit against Hoboken people to appeal the legal appointment of Jim Doyle early this year to the Mason sponsored cybersewer Hoboken411.

Unlike Hoboken411, Hoboken Patch does not have a Nazi like censor to protect the Old Guard's misinformation.  Castellano's remark was not received well with one commenter replying in response, "Just when we all thought you couldn't disgrace your elected office any further, you make a liberlous remark against citizens on an unpaid board and recommend that a mob go to the mayor's house."

Mayor thanks Senator Sacco and Assemblyman Prieto for aid in protecting waterfront

Office of the Mayor announces:



STATEMENT FROM MAYOR ZIMMER ON PASSAGE OF S-2680/A-3933
Mayor Thanks Senator Sacco and Assemblyman Prieto for Amending Pier Legislation

“Today the State Senate passed legislation that will enable Hoboken to protect our treasured waterfront. I want to give a huge thank you to Senator Sacco and Assemblyman Prieto for listening to my concerns about waterfront development in our City and working with my Administration to craft an amendment that would give Hoboken a right to decide about future waterfront development. Under the new legislation that passed both the Assembly and Senate, but still needs Governor Christie’s approval, municipalities will be permitted to opt into a State law that would permit municipalities to develop on existing piers.

As I reflect on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on our City and the increasingly severe weather predicted in the future, I want to let Hoboken residents know that we are working on developing municipal legislation that will specifically not permit development on any of Hoboken’s piers in the future. This legislation is currently being drafted as a result of the passage of the State legislation, and it will be designed to help ensure the long-term protection of our City’s treasured waterfront and public safety for our community.”

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Carmelitos are coming, the Carmelitos are coming!

Better late than never, the word is that a band of Carmelo Garcia's finest have arrived on the scene to protest at the Sky Club.

Word is there are several dozen Carmelitos and they are demanding the Sky Club be turned over to them immediately or Carmelo Garcia will come down and order Tim Occhipinti to have the police empty the building.

Okay, well the last part is only farce but the several dozen Carmelitos are actually true.

Here's exclusive video from a Sky Club resident of the protest.  Of the approximately 4,000 HHA residents, we have a rather small, tepid band of Carmelitos.



Talking Ed Note: Was there $40 per protestor distributed first causing the delay?


Carmelitos' HHA protest fizzles out at the Sky Club


The scene at the Sky Club about an hour into the scheduled Hoboken Housing Authority protest shows zero protestors and a number of Hoboken police on the scene.

Not a Carmelito was stirring not even anonymouse?

Who pulled the plug on Carmelo Garcia's protest? Was it Boss Brian Stack?

Talking Ed Note: C'mon Brian, turn'em loose!

"Carmelitos" plan on protesting at Sky Club at 5:00 PM today

Based on a story by the Old Guard friendly Hudson Reporter, a group of HHA residents will be holding a protest at the SkyClub at 5:00 pm later today.

The protest is against the "political hijacking" of the Hoboken Housing Authority's Board according to the story.  Reform oriented members currently hold four of the seven seats and under former chairman Jake Stuiver efforts looked to rotate new professionals for legal counsel and auditor.

The attempt to do so outside of Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's insistence no such change occur became an almost year long struggle with current legal counsel Charles Daglian failing to win approval on a new contract after five attempts.

The attempt by the HHA board to exert its authority over its contractor in the form of Garcia has led to wild meetings with screaming and chanting to defend the HHA Executive Director's unilateral powers to appoint - powers negotiated in a contract by Daglian who said he did so on behalf of the HHA board.

The underlying protest appears to be driven by the rejection of the undocumented Vision 20/20 plan.  Garcia attempted to ram it through the City Council after midnight last month but was met with resistance by the reform council members who said they had not seen anything presented to them (documentation) in a plan.  One council member, Ravi Bhalla called Garcia "a snake oil salesman" stating he didn't even believe there was a written plan.

After recent council meetings where a presentation was permitted, the Old Guard council members Beth Mason, Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Timmy Occhipinti tried to force through approvals for a "letter of need," and a PILOT (tax abatement) for one of more than a dozen buildings for a new HHA overhaul.

When that failed and reform members departed after midnight, the Hoboken Sopranos took over the meeting and attempted to illegally pass an approval even after being told they had no legal number of council members to do so.

Councilman Michael Russo added in racist charges in both meetings on Vision 20/20 and was challenged for living in a segregated PILOTed building, a series of buildings which is the base of Russo clan support. (Church Towers.)  Many observers complain the Russo family controls who moves into the building.  Even though the list for entering Church Towers has been closed for years, Russo's in-laws were admitted several years back along with others who sold their homes locally, sometimes for severn figures then jumping to the head of the list.

Garcia according to today's report, says the protest is sponsored by a HHA tenants group.  While not directly claiming responsibility for the protest, some observers anticipate that among the thousands of HHA residents, the same small group of rabble rousers dubbed "Carmelitos" will be making much of the noise.

Again.

Greg Lincoln at the last HHA meeting will see a protest at the building
where his family and Dave Mello's live.  The protest is against the reform
members' "political hijacking" in not voting for Carmelo Garcia's choice to retain
HHA counsel Charles Daglain.
At a meeting in February, Garcia told the commissioners any vote against Daglian was "criminal and unethical."
HUD later revoked the vote for Daglian calling Garcia's process "legally flawed."

Talking Ed Note: MSV last Wednesday challenged Beth Mason and her Hoboken Soprano allies to produce a redevelopment plan for Vision 20/20.  Also noted at the meeting is the terms laid out in Garcia's own Vision 20/20 brochure had not been followed.

All four of the Old Guard Council members, Ruben Ramos and his council slate along with their political operatives have insisted Vision 20/20 be approved - even without any official plan presented to any major approving authority in the City.

Tonight the Carmelitos will try to make everyone forget that unfortunate fact.

UPDATE: No protest has taken place.  Some speculate that Union City Mayor Brian Stack caught wind of it and thought it a disaster ordering Carmelo Garcia to stop it before it happened.

No protestors from the HHA tenant group are protesting at SkyClub.

Mayor Zimmer statement on 2013 budget, hails 10 percent tax reduction

Office of the mayor announces:


STATEMENT FROM MAYOR ZIMMER ON ADOPTION OF 2013 BUDGET

“Last night the Hoboken City Council adopted our 2013 budget. I am very proud that my Administration has reduced municipal taxes by approximately 10 percent since 2009, despite the financial upheaval that has caused property taxes to increase in many other New Jersey municipalities. While I do not agree with the City Council's choice to defer important projects, this is an excellent budget consistent with the budget my Administration introduced in March. A special thank you to Council President Cunningham for his statesmanship and Budget Chair Giattino for leading the budget process to a successful completion.”


Tim Occhipinti goes tilt with corruption question on his campaign finances

Tim Occhipinti nailed in pay-to-play scam by Star Ledger runs to police for protection - from one question

Last night's budget hearing hearing held little drama.  More of the usual attempts at a gotcha moment by Councilman Michael Russo who thought he had his golden moment when he said insurance costs to the City were $400K more than the year prior, not the $1.5 million quoted by the Administration.

Shown where the other $1.1 million in insurance costs resided ended his effort but not the Old Guard noise that followed as Tim Occhipinti pretended refusing to pay 900K in terminal leave to retiring members of the fire department members was a noble poison pill to force into the budget rather than pay over five years as allowed by State law.  Lots of misinformation by the bucket load with prepared remarks by Councilwoman Terry Castellano followed with mythology about the mayor's introduced budget raising taxes.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino corrected the record, not for the first time on that obvious fabrication.

After a less than dramatic 7-1 vote passing the budget amendment concluded the council meeting, one  question from behind the dais barrier was posed to Tim Occhipinti on his 2015 campaign expenditures.  Grafix Avenger had charted the receipt and expenditures leaving many questions unanswered, namely is Occhipinti running a "Birdsall" scam collecting numerous small donations unidentified from nefarious donors below the $300 threshold?

Occhipinti who has never handled questions well, relied on a scripted binder of answers he read from in a 2010 debate at the Jubilee Center.  He didn't like the one question posed on his campaign finances last night either.

At first, he ignored the simple question.  As the question is clearly heard from four feet away, Michael Russo makes a weak attempt to distract but the question is asked again as Occhipinti walks down the aisle.

So the question is asked again.  Occhipinti continues to refuse to address the question turning suddenly with a "face injection" then says without an ounce of sincerity "I'm sorry."  This is met in the mostly empty chambers with much laughter by the Old Guard crew in the back: Michele "five-bucks-a-tow" Russo, Beth Mason political operative Matt Calicchio and Michael Russo.

Out the council chamber door Tim Occhipinti goes.  MSV follows asking the simple question again.  Occhipinti pivots and makes a threatening sticking his face in inches away and says, "Why are you getting in my face?"

The matter of fact reply, "You're getting in my face" as the camera keeps rolling showing exactly that.

Occhipinti decides leaving City Hall is not the way to end the Q&A and makes a plea to the police officer to help him.  The question on campaign finances is repeated again.  Then he threatens to file charges over the one simple question asked.  Occhipinti claims MSV is not a reporter and tells the police officer to ask for "credentials."  MSV informs the officer no such thing is required to ask a question of an elected official.

Beth Mason goes by kvetching along the same lines as Occhipinti with Matt Calicchio in tow.  Occhipinti departs with Matt Calicchio and Beth Mason.  One thing is clear; Tim Occhipinti is unhappy with the stories appearing in media about his pay-to-play secret Birdsall contribution and doesn't want to address his odd "2015" campaign finances.

He's gone through thousands of dollars, mostly from unnamed "secret" donors and there's no campaign in sight.

Do you think Tim Occhipinti is hiding other Birdsall type donor monies beneath the radar?




Talking Ed Note: Neither Beth Mason nor Tim Occhipinti have a shred of respect for the First Amendment and surely this NJ story won't help either.  Frankly, it's embarrassing people such as this hold public office.

Hoboken's Old Guard hates sunlight.  Prefers to keep censored news on Hoboken411 sponsored by Beth Mason or the Mason Media complex media who "play ball." When something bad surfaces they go into hiding until the questions are not asked. Or as in the SLAPP suit last summer, the obvious question on Beth Mason's role is never asked.


Related: Some background on the NJ legal system on who holds the rights of a journalist.  To people like Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti who look at the First Amendment as tissue paper, this is a most unwelcome development.

They can't even handle a simple question.

http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news/new-jersey-blogger-considered-journalist-under-state-shield-law

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Progress updates on 1600 Park and Sinatra Park


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Wednesday June 26, 2013, 3:48 PM

City of Hoboken

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Community: Construction Progress Update on 1600 Park & Sinatra Park

Progress continues to be made on two major parks projects: the new 1600 Park and the waterfront soccer field at Sinatra Park. Due to soft soil conditions found at 1600 Park, it was necessary to revise the design to strengthen the foundation for the field lighting. The lights are critical so the field can be used after dark and accommodate the high demand for field use by all ages in the community.

1600 Park
This week, drilling is taking place for the foundations needed to install light poles at 1600 Park. Drilling 60 feet to the bedrock for foundations is complicated by the presence of various nearby utilities. The City thanks PSE&G and United Water for their tremendous collaboration during this process. United Water will be shutting off and rerouting water of a nearby 12” water main during drilling. This Saturday, PSE&G will install extensions so that overhead wires are not impacted by the drilling equipment and the work can be safely completed. This work may require Willow Avenue to be partially closed. County Sheriff officers will be on the scene to direct traffic. The City contractor used hand tools to dig through an area near a steel gas main, and PSE&G will be using vibration detectors to ensure drilling is performed safely. Pouring of the concrete for the foundations is scheduled for the end of the week. Concurrently, work is taking place to prepare the restrooms and storage facilities building. In early July, the contractor will start installing the sports lights, fence and turf. The benches, restrooms, slide, and dog run will be installed shortly thereafter.

Sinatra Park
At Sinatra Park, pile driving is complete and sheet piles have been installed to hold back the soil. Last week, construction began for the new pre-cast concrete pier structure which is the foundation upon which the new soccer field and walkway will be built. The steel-reinforced concrete beams were poured off-site and are in the process of curing. Delivery and installation of the beams will begin at the end of this week and next week. At Castle Point Park, pile driving will soon begin to repair the waterfront walkway.

Pupie Power Polling Alert: Man your telephones Hoboken!



MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE

There's a telephone poll looking for insight into the political innards of Hoboken and someone wants to know what you think.

Be on the lookout for PPP, no not the polling company - this is a Pupie Power Poll.  

Here's a detailed report on the questions coming soon to a phone near you.  The poll starts with basic questions about likelihood on voting. It follows with general ratings of elected officials in NJ, from Governor on down with favorable or unfavorable ratings for:

Governor
State Senator
Assemblymen
Freeholder
Mayor
City Council

The next was interesting in it was entirely open ended, not multiple choice asking "What is the most important issue to you in Hoboken? 

Here's an oddball question asking you to rate issues on a one to ten in importance and the dead giveaway it's seriously Old Guard.  It asks about bike lanes as the first "issue." Don't be confused with that reference to the political operative on Patch; this is not a Beth Mason poll.

Rank the following issue on a scale of 1-10 in importance:

Bike lanes
Parking
Parks and Open Space
Flooding
Property taxes
Traffic
Political infighting and stalled City Council
Crime

Here's the meat of the poll. It's looking for the key rating favorable or unfavorable of people and trying to see what is the awareness of the person.  Note how high Joe Mindak appears.  He is a council candidate on the Ruben Ramos slate but Ramos himself is quite far down on the list.

Ranking from very favorable, favorable to somewhat unfavorable, about five categories, how do you rate these people in this order:

Terry Castellano
Joe Mindak
Frank “Pupie” Raia
Bill Decker
Chris Christie
Michael Russo
Beth Mason
David Mello
Dawn Zimmer
Tim Occhipinti
Carla Katz
Ruben Ramos
Stick Romano
Barbara Buono
Ravi Bhalla

Next question: If the election were held today, who would you be most likely to vote for in the Governor's race: Chris Christie or Barabara Buono?

If the race were held today who would you vote for Hoboken mayor:
Ruben Ramos, Terry Castellano, Dawn Zimmer, Frank Raia, Stick Romano?

(Notice Beth Mason isn't even on the polling list. In a Beth Mason poll, Beth Mason is the center of the universe.)

The key question: Head to head match ups:

Dawn Zimmer vs. Terry Castellano
Dawn Zimmer vs. Anthony "Stick" Romano
Dawn Zimmer vs. Frank Raia
Dawn Zimmer vs. Ruben Ramos

The order here is another indicator it's a Frank "Pupie" Raia sponsored poll.  They put Ruben Ramos last even though he's the only announced candidate against Mayor Zimmer.  Pupie no likey Ramos - especially with that Assembly seat going to Ramos pal Carmelo Garcia under State Senator Brian Stack.

The poll concludes asking age group, years living in Hoboken, rent or ownership, if own, house or condo.  Last, it asked for any political affiliation: registered Democrat or Republican.




Talking Ed Note: How does Horsey know this is a Pupie Power Poll? We have our own innate horse sense, some fillies call it Psychic Pony Power.  On occasion, Da Horsey uses it to smell out corruption. In Hoboken you don't have to try hard, witness this Hoboken Patch story smoking out Tim Occhipinti:

http://hoboken.patch.com/articles/occhipinti-i-had-no-contact-with-birdsall-donor

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

City: 'We'll appeal Shipyard Associate's Monarch decision'

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Tuesday June 25, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: City of Hoboken Will Appeal Monarch Decision & Continue to Fight Waterfront Development

The City of Hoboken is appealing a recent decision regarding Shipyard Associate’s attempts to develop residential buildings on a waterfront pier, known as the Monarch project, in place of promised amenities.

“Defending the City’s interests can require an investment in strong legal representation, but that investment is paying off,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We will continue to defend our interests, and in the case of the Monarch development, continue to fight to hold developers to their promises and protect our waterfront from inappropriate development.”

On Friday, June 21, Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Arre dismissed Hoboken’s complaint which sought a court order to enforce the Developer’s Agreement and compel Shipyard Associates to construct 3 tennis courts and a tennis pavilion on the North Pier. The City filed suit in 2012 in order to enforce the 1997 Developer’s Agreement between Shipyard, the Planning Board and the City that provided for the construction of a multi-phased, mixed use project along the waterfront, including over 1,000 residential units. According to the Agreement, Shipyard agreed to construct the tennis improvements as the last phase of the development.

But in 2012, Shipyard unilaterally decided to abandon the public recreational tennis use and replace it with two 11 story residential buildings, known as the Monarch project, on the pier in front of the Hudson Tea condominiums instead.

Judge Arre concluded that the Development Agreement could not be enforced by the City because it was dependent on the terms of the 1997 Planning Board Resolution. He ruled that a developer could seek to amend a planning board resolution, which, if approved would alter the development agreement.

Last year, the Planning Board denied the application of Shipyard to amend the 1997 Resolution. The Planning Board cited the pending lawsuit filed by the City which asserted that the City’s consent was needed before a change in the project on the North Pier could be considered. The Planning Board denial was without prejudice, pending the conclusion of the City litigation.

Shipyard countered with a lawsuit against the Planning Board, claiming that, under statutory law, an application which is determined to be complete by a planning board, but that is not considered after 120 days, is automatically deemed approved. The lawsuit against the Planning Board to determine the validity of Shipyard’s argument will now proceed. The outcome of that separate litigation will determine whether it will be necessary for Shipyard to proceed with the application to the Planning Board.

The Judge also dismissed Shipyard’s counterclaim which sought damages from the City and alleged that the City breached the Developers Agreement by filing suit and objecting to the Monarch project. He concluded that the City had a right to object and seek judicial review and did not act in bad faith in challenging the decision to replace the tennis improvements with the new towers.

Shipyard has financially benefited from development of more than 1,000 residential units on Hoboken’s Gold Coast and now seeks to renege on the agreement to provide the public recreation improvements that will benefit the people of Hoboken.

Mayor Zimmer has instructed the City’s special counsel to file a Notice of Appeal of the decision with the Appellate Division, in order to legally enforce the commitment of Shipyard to build the tennis improvements as a key feature of the massive Shipyard project and to prevent inappropriate residential development on the North Pier.

In a related matter, Mayor Zimmer has successfully lobbied for a critical change in proposed State legislation that would have overridden local laws and permitted residential and commercial development on Hoboken’s piers. The sponsors, Senator Sacco and Assemblyman Prieto, listened to Mayor Zimmer’s concerns and agreed to amend the bill to apply only to communities that choose to “opt-in” and authorize such development, something that Hoboken will not do.

In addition, the recent impacts of Superstorm Sandy on the City have demonstrated the need to prevent inappropriate development uses on the City’s piers. Mayor Zimmer will therefore pursue additional legal measures to protect against such development that exposes residents and property to hazards.

Jake Stuiver reminds fellow HHA commissioners on Carmelo Garcia "legally flawed" contract designation by HUD

Commissioner Stuiver responds to HHA Rob Davis letter on Hoboken Patch


Dear Horsey:

I agree wholeheartedly Hoboken Housing Authority Chairman Robert Davis III’s central argument in his response to my statement on the ongoing general-counsel-contract standoff – “The facts speak for themselves.”

Chairman Davis is 100 percent correct, the facts do speak for themselves, and on this issue there is no fact more devastating to Chairman Davis, Vice Chairman Eduardo Gonzalez and Executive Director Carmelo Garcia, or more fortifying to the tenacity of the Reform majority on the HHA board, than the HUD memo I cited in my first letter on this topic.

While I certainly regard Chairman Davis as a gentleman capable of his own due diligence, some of the statements in his rebuttal gave me the impression that he may not have read or at least fully digested the contents of the March 6 HUD memo. In the interest of clarifying my and the rest of the board majority’s point of view, I would like to take the opportunity to draw Chairman Davis’ attention to a few other excerpts from the HUD review in addition to the ones I highlighted last week:

n  “Please note, if the contract for General Legal Services is to be funded in whole or in part using HUD funds, the HHA is not exempt from the HUD procurement requirements.”
n  Serial re-issuance of the RFP
Although PHAs (Public Housing Authorities) may amend or cancel RFPs when otherwise considered to be in the best interest of the PHA, information should have been provided listing what amendments should have required a cancellation of the RFP. Multiple changes to a RFP may (be) construed as a lack of confidence in the Authority’s procurement process. Furthermore, issuance of the last amendment within 10 calendar days from the RFP due date raises a concern whether the time period was sufficient to achieve full, open and effective competition.”
n  “RFP’s Scope of Services – Respondents were invited to define which of the services would be included in the flat fee and which could be seen as an extraordinary service for which the respondent could charge a separate hourly fee. This is problematic for many reasons, not the least of which is that it makes evaluation of dissimilar proposals difficult. The RFP should have excluded extraordinary litigation for which the retained counsel will receive extra compensation based on an hourly rate. This is necessary because a non-competitive award for an attorney on retainer violates the requirements of full and open competition.”
n  “The RFP reveals that the contract price will be an evaluation factor for which a specific number of points will be awarded. In fact, as much as 25 points out of a possible 100 (or a 25% weight) will be awarded based only on the acceptability of the ‘…proposed fee and other charges.’ However, nowhere in the RFP is it revealed that the HHA has already set a budget for such services at an annual amount not to exceed $50,000.” Hence, the proposals that contained a flat contract fee that exceeded $50,000 automatically received a zero for that criterion, allowing the respondent to achieve only a maximum rating of 75 at best, and ultimately ensuring that the respondent had priced itself out of competition. The HHA should have disclosed its budget cap in the RFP.”
n  “It appears that the HHA prepared an evaluation report to document the ranking of the proposals by technical merit, using point scores or similar methodology, as is required by HUD-procurement rules. Similarly, a written narrative accompanied the scores, detailing the strengths, weaknesses and deficiencies of each proposal. However, factors not specified in the RFP should not have been considered.”
n  “Price in proposals were downwardly negotiated
Our review revealed that evaluations were based on proposals that HHA negotiated after initial offers were made; presumably after it was revealed to respondents that the HHA had in fact only budged $50,000 for this purpose… Negotiations in a competitive acquisition should occur in post-proposal time period; that is, after the establishment of a competitive range.”
n  “Given the information we have been provided and the questions the HHA’s procurement process raises, we find the recent award of the contract for general legal services to be legally flawed.”

With HUD stopping just short of openly accusing our Executive Director and General Counsel of colluding to steer a contract, I trust that Chairman Davis can be fair-minded enough to transcend the vitriol of his initial rebuttal and come to understand the very valid and well-founded concerns of those of us who feel that the HHA’s integrity has been tarnished by its recent dealings involving Mr. Daglian, and it is in our agency’s best interest for all of us to move forward. The fact that I have voted for Mr. Daglian’s renewal in the past in no way mandates that I must do so in the future. Our general counsel terms are one year, not lifetime appointments, and Mr. Davis appears to have forgotten a number of discussions he and I had last year in which I itemized for him in great detail specific issues that had led me to feel it was time to change attorneys, and Mr. Davis at the time claimed to have had his own doubts about Mr. Daglian as well.

Chairman Davis raises the fact that I initially supported the concept of overhauling HHA resident facilities but have developed concerns about the direction the Vision 20/20 project has taken. Again, I would like to respectfully remind Chairman Davis of discussions in which he actively participated, when many commissioners on both sides of the political aisle began to grow concerned about the piecemeal level of information being disclosed and the way numerous fundamental elements of Director Garcia’s story kept changing dramatically. I remain firmly resolved that neither the HHA nor the City of Hoboken should sign off on anything about which they do not feel fully informed or have reason to suspect the facts being presented are slippery to say the least. Certainly, at the time I tentatively supported an expansion-free redevelopment plan, I had no idea that at least six of our buildings were about to go onto the fire inspector’s watch list for lack of fireproofing and backup power, that numerous questions were about to arise regarding appropriate deployment of FEMA funds to raise our buildings’ backup generators, or that, amid all the critical public-safety shortfalls in the HHA, our Executive Director was about to announce his candidacy for state Assembly, yet another part-time job on top of his Board of Education commissionership, Hudson County Freeholder aide position and well-compensated, supposedly full-time position at the HHA.

What I find truly ironic is that while Chairman Davis criticizes me for moving to Pennsylvania, I could make a plausible argument that even volunteering from 200 miles away, I have been dedicating more time and attention to the Hoboken Housing Authority than the well-paid Executive Director, who is too busy running for office and jet-setting to “conferences” on our dime to ensure the safety of our residents through proper fire precautions.

Sincerely,

Jake Stuiver
Hoboken Housing Authority
Board of Commissioners




Related: The Rob Davis letter as it originally appeared on Hoboken Patch:

Monday, June 24, 2013

MSV announces Phobos Communications

MSV announces:

Phobos Communications, a division of Phobos Solutions, Inc. offers progressive communication solutions specializing in company and executive communications, marketing solutions with fully integrated web development.


In this day and age, no one is staffed for every problem or has all the resources and more importantly the right answers to engage the increasing complexity of business communications and marketing. Phobos Communications brings innovative, out of the box solutions tailored to get results - whether it's a real world marketing solution with impact or an online presence engaging the audience you're seeking.

Our real world business experience ranges from banking and brokerage Wall St. firms to leading national consumer firms.

Product offerings:
Company/online communications for external and internal audiences, benefits writing, branding,  PR campaigns, speech writing, public speaking, executive coaching, integrated internet solutions with graphic design.


For more information contact: (646) 450-0780  or via email to roman@phobosinc.com
New York - New Jersey - London

Monarch Project wins court battle; must return to Hoboken Planning Board

An uptown review of the Monarch Case from residents close to the legal case:

This afternoon Judge Arre delivered multiple rulings.  Attorneys for Hoboken residents Stark & Stark summarized the primary ruling written below in italics: 
Judge Arre granted Shipyard’s motion for summary judgment and held that Shipyard has the right to have its application heard before the Hoboken Planning Board.   He relied on the case of Toll Brothers, Inc. v Board of Chosen Freeholders for the proposition that a developer’s agreement is not an independent contract, but rather is tethered to the underlying resolution granting approval (that "resolution" is the original 1996 Hoboken Planning Board Resolution Approving the entire Shipyard Complex.).  While the facts in "Toll Brothers" are distinguishable from those in our case (in Toll Brothers the developer had drastically reduced the scope of the proposed development and forcing the developer to pay for off tract improvements based on the project’s size before its reduction would be unfair and in violation of land use law), Judge Arre ruled that the principles enunciated in that case are applicable to this matter.  Judge Arre read his decision into the record and the written version should be available next week.


Given his primary ruling, his secondary ruling therefore denied the City's Motion which sought to enforce the Developer's Agreement (as a contract) and compel Shipyard Associates to build the tennis courts, public parking, etc. as previously promised.  This does NOT mean however that the judge ruled or in any way approved the Monarch project. 

As the primary ruling notes, he simply ruled that Shipyard Associates has a right to appear before the Hoboken Planning Board and attempt to seek an amendment to their previous plans.  There the Planning Board will approve or deny the project on its merits.  (If you recall, the Planning Board previously stated they thought Shipyard Associates would first have to have their Developer's Agreement with the City amended before they could hear Shipyard's application.  The judge said that is not the case and that the Planning Board should hear the case first.)  So it is back to the Hoboken Planning Board for Shipyard Associates, where their application will face challenges (and also steadfast opposition from Hoboken residents). 

In addition, the Judge made no rulings today regarding Shipyard Associates challenge of the Hudson County Planning Board's denial of the Monarch project.  Any ruling on that matter will be made at a later undetermined date.  (Remember, Shipyard Associates ultimately needs three YES decisions if they hope to build; DEP, County and City.  Right now they just have the DEP.)  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Star Ledger nails Tim Occhipinti in pay-to-play scam

The Star Ledger's latest story on engineering firm Birdsall's pay-to-play scandal reveals a number of New Jersey politicians caught taking secret illicit funds.  In Hoboken, two names appear on the list: Tim Occhipinti, the occupant of the fourth ward council seat and former mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano.

Tim Occhipinti is shown receiving $300 in a "secret" payment in the fourth ward special election back in late 2010.

The Hoboken politicians snared in the breaking Star Ledger story on secret "pay-to-play" payments are Tim Occhipinti 
and former mayor and convicted felon Peter Cammarano.  The "S" stands for "secret."


That Tim Occhipinti is the current Hoboken politician taking the loot with Peter Cammarano won't come as a surprise to many close observers of Hoboken's corrupt political scene.  Back in 2010, many called Occhipinti a Cammarano clone minus the smarts.  Occhipinti was the poster child of the late Maurice Fitzgibbons who wanted to get back into the political game and run his Cammarano playbook again.

Fitzgibbons obviously succeeded right down his Cammrano-lite protege getting snared in illicit, secret cash contributions.

Tim Occhipinti also has received funds from an employee of NJ Transit, an almost picture perfect imitation of the Birdsall scam where employees would write monies to pols for under $300 to escape any written record of the contribution.  The firm would then repay the employees with bonuses and other payments to make them whole.

The secret "pay-to-play" scheme became unglued during a divorce of a Birdsall employee caught on tape explaining how the scam worked.

In recent council meetings, Occhipinti has bitterly complained about contracts going to a Birdsall engineering competitor firm Boswell.  He's also reportedly said the engineering contracts should be "spread around."

Tim Occhipinti has voted against contracts in Hoboken for engineering firm Boswell on a number of occasions, some in the past year alone related to repairs due to SuperStorm Sandy.

In addition, the same pay-to-play scheme using employees also appears to be similar to a $2,000 payment Tim Occhipinti received from an NJ Transit employee.  Occhipinti was reported by MSV to be very cozy with NJ Transit officials at public meetings on developments plans in southern Hoboken.

MSV noted while the public went to various breakdown sessions to look at models on what the City of Hoboken felt were positive ways to incorporate the NJ Transit proposal, Tim Occhipinti ignored both the plans and the Hoboken public and remained glued to the side of the NJ Transit officials who completely ignored the sessions going on around them.

The MSV story, "Sign of Tim's Times: NJ Transit, the constituent that matters most," showed Tim Occhipinti standing with NJ Transit's John Leon.

A NJ Transit employee gave Tim Occhipinti $2,000 back in the 4th ward special election in a similar method to
how Birdsall used employees to move money to politicians.  The difference is the NJ Transit employee's contribution
was far larger.  Why would a Maplewood, NJ resident be giving $2,000 to a Hoboken political race? 

Talking Ed Note: The embarrassment being caught in this pay-to-play scam means at a minimum Tim Occhipinti should return that $300 and also the NJ Transit employee's $2,000 as they are obviously the same type of scam.

Then the Boys of Summer, that's the FBI to you new readers, should do what they do best and extract the maximum out of Timmy.  MSV is pretty sure this is above and beyond any existing "deal."

Deals are the operative word in Hoboken these days.  Patrick Ricciardi is scheduled to be sentenced July 1 for his part in the Data Theft Conspiracy Ring on July 1st.  It ain't a conspiracy until all the other birdies sing and smoke out their co-conspirators.

Can't wait.

Grafix Avenger covered this breaking story from a similar and different vantage point.

Related: Hoboken Patch has also published a comprehensive story on the Hoboken pols Birdsall scandal naming 2009 BoE candidates Frank "Pupie" Raia, Hector Irizarry and Anthony Oland.

Hoboken Patch also reports Freeholder Anthony Romano received $625 in three contributions.

Anthony Oland who was a BoE candidate on the notorious Move Forward campaign last November featuring a campaing ad on the Nazi Truck underwritten by Beth Mason has also filed to run in the BoE race this fall.