Monday, December 30, 2013

NJ Superior Court sends Carmelo Garcia "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit to the scrap heap


Superior Court judge gives thorough vivisection to Carmelo Garcia's ethnic cleansing lawsuit

In a minutely detailed dressing down legal analysis, the Hudson County Superior Court sent HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's "ethnic cleaning" lawsuit to the scrap heap possibly ending the negative attention his civil lawsuit brought on Hoboken leading into last November's mayoral election.

The dismissal of the complaint against Mayor Dawn Zimmer and former HHA chairman Jake Stuiver becomes effective within 30 days unless Garcia's attorney amends and resubmits with permission of the court.

The 18 page decision signed by Judge Lawrence M. Maron takes effect in January and dismantled each of Garcia's claims.  The basis of the civil lawsuit was deemed invalid - that Carmelo Garcia's contractual employment was in any way adversely impacted and the claim he was a "whistleblower."  

The court ruled in order to claim whistle blower status protected under law, it's required to "blow the whistle" on something.

Garica also claimed his First Amendment rights to speech were negatively impacted but the court sharply differed saying Garcia has consistently spoke publicly against the Zimmer administration.  Garcia actively backed Zimmer's mayoral opponent Assemblyman Ruben Ramos in the November election.

Louis Zayas, the attorney who filed the complaint betrayed in an interview months ago a lack of confidence in its legal underpinnings saying after its filing it could be enough to alter alleged interference by Mayor Zimmer in the Hoboken Housing Authority.  

The mayor previously described the lawsuit as "despicable." The claims of ethnic cleansing led to national stories on Hoboken about the case, picked up by the Associated Press and featured in the Wall Street Journal among others.

10 days ago the court issued preliminary findings at the start of oral argument two motions to dismiss from attorneys representing Mayor Zimmer with the City of Hoboken and Jake Stuiver were likely to be granted. 

While the Garcia civil lawsuit claimed Mayor Zimmer's competing Vision 20/20 plan was detrimental to minorities in Hoboken, no actual competing plan from City Hall was ever issued.  The mayor however called for Garcia's Vision 20/20 plan to be comprehensively made public and allow citywide community input but no Master Plan has been presented.

A housing authority group independent of Garcia called "Save the Projects" severely criticized Garcia's Vision 20/20 marketing plan that would replace 17 acres of existing buildings downtown saying it was a get rich scheme meant to make minorities homeless and pointed to Garcia's role back in 2001 undermining a lawsuit against Applied Housing which sought protection for low and middle income housing tenants in its Hoboken buildings.

The tenant group led by activist HHA resident Jessica Coco became another point of contention as Coco herself became a victim of multiple crimes over months alleging numerous break-ins to her HHA apartment, vandalism to her vehicle in its parking lot and multiple acts of intimidation and threats by people, at least some believed aligned with Garcia.

MSV verified the hacking of Jessica Coco's computer after at least one of the break-ins to her HHA apartment and the alleged death threats against her.  Carmelo Garcia dismissed "all" of Jessica Coco's claims with no investigation but an earlier exclusive story confirmed part of her criminal allegations.

In oral arguments, Louis Zayas said the civil complaint by Garcia could be amended and the court agreed but it's unclear if any such attempt will follow.  At the hearing the judge called the use of the term ethnic cleansing in Garica's complaint "offensive to real victims of ethnic cleansing."

MSV noted a conversation previously saying the lawsuit would be withdrawn only after Mayor Dawn Zimmer would get out of the way of the massive land deal in Hoboken advocated by Garcia called Vision 20/20.  That conversation took place before the lawsuit was public.

The complete legal opinion of the court is published below.  This story is breaking...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday Season but big news on MSV next week

There's a couple of important, looming stories for readers who are on the whole trying to enjoy the holidays with friends and families while others are feeding their appetite here in the Mile Square City.

While Hoboken isn't its big brother across the way where the city never sleeps, the Old Guard is almost always scheming how to "loveyourtaxmoney" as one of the convicted felons among them use to say on or even better devise some corrupt practice of taking your money from you ways both direct and indirect. The most obvious way has often been in plain sight in a City Council meeting.

It's so corrupt, it's liable to see your vision deterred or totally blurred in Vision 20/20.  

Back on a short holiday week with more exclusive news Monday - only on MSV.

Giddy up!

Whaddaya got Horsey? The other thoroughbreds are lined up awaiting the latest news in Hoboken.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

HFHA enters fray to counter MSTA in court election battle

HFHA announces:

HFHA Files Motion to Intervene in Latest Attempt by MSTA to Thwart the Will of the People of Hoboken

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) recently filed a motion to intervene in connection with the election contest filed by supporters of the Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA) a developer/real estate interests group.  The MSTA-friendly petitioners are attempting to overturn the election results on Hoboken Ballot Question #1, an initiative this developer group sponsored that would have severely weakened Hoboken’s rent control protections. For the second year in a row the majority of Hoboken’s citizens voted “no” on this dangerous ballot question which resulted in Hoboken maintaining its current rent control protections.

The petitioners who are contesting the election include 31 Hudson County residents, 28 of whom are Hoboken residents who are primarily developers and/or real estate agents.  One of the petitioners is Frank Raia, who ran for council-at-large on the 2013 ballot,   Several of them were also participants in the 2012 election contest where the developer group’s attorney submitted non-credible evidence in order to ultimately overturn HFHA’s 2012 election victory on the same ballot question.  The remaining three petitioners contesting the election reside in Jersey City, including an attorney at Brach Eichler, the law firm that represents the developer group, his wife, and a Jersey City realtor.  The developer group is attempting to steal the election by overturning the results and being declared the winners in the courtroom

The contest brief alleges that over 200 vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots were illegally rejected and, if those VBMs are counted, the election results will be changed.  As with the 2012 election contest, the developers’ lawyer’s petition does not specify the names or addresses on the VBM rejections that they are contesting and why they believe those VBMs were improperly  rejected.

HFHA is being represented by Renee Steinhagen of NJ Appleseed.  HFHA believes that the Board of Elections properly rejected the ballots and that its side once again rightfully prevailed on the election ballot question.  HFHA believes that Hoboken residents deserve fair elections and, like many in Hoboken, have serious concerns about VBM practices in Hoboken. 

Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA), an affiliate of the New Jersey Tenants Organization (NJTO), fights for decent and affordable housing for Hoboken's tenants.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas


by Clement Clarke Moore
or Henry Livingston

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

City Council rejects Angel Alicea settlement terms

After an hour of private discussion last night in a special city council meeting, a vote to settle the Angel Alicea discrimination case failed 5-2.  Council members Michael Russo and Terry Castellano voted yes while the remaining present members voted no. *

Terms of the proposed settlement were not announced and the City released a short statement saying the litigation will continue in January next month.

Details are vague especially considering discussion on the controversial inconsistent verdict in closed session last night doesn't allow public insight but this much is known; there will be no payout to Alicea and his attorney Louis Zayas leading into the Christmas holiday.

Rumors of a settlement appeared last week on but as it turns out the only party apparently talking was Alicea's infamous lawyer, Louis Zayas of "ethnic cleansing" fame.  Zayas was back in Superior Court last Friday attempting to defend the hollow underpinnings of his other client's lawsuit against the City in Carmelo Garcia.  That civil lawsuit looks likely to be thrown out of court as frivolous.

No Christmas loot for "Ethnic Cleansing" lawyer Louis Zayas as the City Council rejected a settlement in his client's
 discrimination case against the City last night.  Next steps in the Alicea case are unclear.

It's unclear what action the City may take moving forward.  A Jersey City jury last week voted 6-2 to awarding $440,000 in damages to Alicea.

A jury of six women and two men also voted 7-1 denying Mayor Dawn Zimmer discriminated against Alicea who was originally hired and stayed on as Public Safety Director after the brief Peter Cammarano administration.

Another aspect revealed in the trial came when Mayor Dawn Zimmer testified Alicea was part of the Data Theft Conspiracy working with former IT Manager Patrick Ricciardi in looting electronic communications in and out of the mayor's office starting in early 2010.

Why Alicea was never arrested and convicted for his alleged role in the federal crimes is unknown.  Word among the Old Guard going back to Alicea's time as Public Safety Director indicates it was widely known he met with FBI informant Solomon Dwek and was "wired for sound."

That information was thrown out as a cover at an April 2011 City Council meeting by Councilwoman Beth Mason  in a coordinated political operation to distract from competing resolutions condemning Councilman Michael Russo's meeting and agreeing to a bribe with FBI informant Solomon Dwek.

In depositions, Alicea denied he had worn a wire for the FBI Hoboken investigation.

Council members contacted for this story declined to characterize the settlement discussed privately citing closed session rules for members.

 * Beth Mason appears to have neither attended or phoned in to the special meeting.

Photo courtesy by arrangement

Monday, December 23, 2013

Report: Carmelo Garcia facing another Hatch Act legal challenge on Assembly seat

A pre-Christmas legal bombshell entered the fray with word another possible legal tendering centered on the Hatch Act and the arrival of Carmelo Garcia replacing his friend Ruben Ramos who is departing the Assembly seat.

Word of a possible second legal challenge when Garcia actually holds the office of Assemblyman has been broached over months but it was thought among many in legal circles to be an effort not worth filing.

The news if true can't be sweet for State Senator Brian Stack who picked Garcia on his machine slate for the position last spring and has reportedly called the selection "a mistake" to vocal Hobokenites who phoned him with their misgivings.

Carmelo Garcia who's already facing bad news his "Ethnic Cleansing" lawsuit is likely to be thrown out
of Hudson County Superior Court may see another legal challenge to his Assembly-elect seat.
Merry Karmic Christmas?

The rumored legal challenge comes outside Hoboken based media on the new Hudson County political website - Hangin' on the Vine.  The report says once again the Hatch Act will be the impetus for the lawsuit against Garcia once he officially takes the office of Assemblyman and the federal regulation becomes valid.  

An earlier suit on the question had been decided lass spring in Hudson County Superior Court saying Garcia's earnings of 165,000 are paid with federal monies making him ineligible to run for partisan elected office before being overturned in the NJ Appellate Court.

A new legal challenge would claim Garcia is ineligible upon taking office.

The Vine cites precedent of another person serving in a similar Housing Authority role writing:

The news hits just before the Christmas holiday when typically the news cycle slows to a crawl into the New Year and comes on the back of MSV's exclusive Friday report Carmelo Garcia's "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit looks likely to be thrown out of court.

Talking Ed Note: Is karma unifying with Christmas this year?  If true, congratulations to the Vine website on its exclusive.
It's the Vine's biggest "get" to its start.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

State of NJ Reval takes its grip on Hoboken

Hoboken’s 2013 property revaluation has been completed and letters are going out to property owners. If you’ve received your letter with your new property valuation, you can use this worksheet from Appraisal Systems, Inc to calculate the tax implications of your new property assessment. Enter your current and new assessments in the orange boxes and see what your new tax amount will be in the yellow boxes, assuming there is no change in spending by the city, school, and county.

On average, Hoboken property assessments have increased by about 3.5 times the old amount. If your new assessment is 3.5 times greater than your current assessment, your taxes will stay flat. If less than 3.5, your taxes will go down, and if greater than 3.5, your taxes will go up. This ratio is provided in one of the yellow boxes on the worksheet as well.

To see how your neighbors and others have fared, find your block or building on this list:

Use the NBHD number in the left column to find the corresponding assessment list here:

 The Wiley Coyote tending to varmints after the reval.

Talking Ed Note: In recent years, municipal taxes have been reduced while school taxes have been mostly flat over several years but Hudson County taxes have been rising at a steady clip and the expectation for 2014 may be more of the same.

Again, to obtain your estimated tax data in 2014, just enter box A (old assessment) and box B (new assessment) and hit return. The 2014 estimated data will calculate automatically.

July 1st the new assessment will be noticed with new rates for 2014. If there's an increase, that will be when it first shows up in your quarterly bill.

Reval story and worksheet calculator courtesy Eric Kurta, the Wiley Coyote
Talking Ed Note: Da Horsey, SmartyJones

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Four arrests made in murder of Hoboken resident Dustin Friedland

9:15 am
CBS reported on the scene of one of the arrests in Irvington. Four suspects are in custody and a press conference is minutes from beginning on most of the major TV networks.

Dustin Friedland lived in Hoboken with his wife and was murdered at the scene of a carjacking at the Short Hills Mall. The car was found in Newark the next day.
The names of the four suspects have not been released pending a press conference.
Ted Sherman of the Star Ledger filed this early morning news report:

News conference with Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray. Names were not released in the four arrests made by multiple law enforcement agencies between 9:00 pm and 3:00 am this morning.
Three arrests were made at the homes of three suspects and one suspect at a Pennsylvania hotel.

Update: 10:30 am
The four suspects arrested in the murder according to Ted Sherman's updated Star Ledger story:
The four, were identified as Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, Kevin Roberts, 35, all of Newark, and Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington. All were being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility on $2 million bail each.
Thompson was taken into custody at his home in Irvington. Ford and Roberts were arrested in Newark. Henry was arrested, by an FBI task force, at a hotel in Easton, Pa., said Anthony Ambrose, chief of detectives for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. He said the arrests began around 9 p.m. Friday and concluded at about 3 a.m. today.

All four men have been charged with murder, felony murder carjacking conspiracy and weapons possession...

Photo courtesy NJ Department of Corrections

Friday, December 20, 2013

BREAKING: Judge preliminary finding on Carmelo Garcia "Ethnic Cleansing" lawsuit - "offensive" and "insufficient"


Although a written opinion will be issued next week, Judge Lawrence Maron held a hearing in Hudson County Superior Court and issued a preliminary finding deeming Carmelo Garcia's "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit insufficient. The court's designation means it may be thrown out of court.

The bar for the joint motions to dismiss against Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the former HHA chairman is high based on NJ law but the judge indicated in his questions he was not impressed with Carmelo Garcia's claim he was "a whistleblower," stating there was nothing shown in the civil complaint and you have to blow the whistle on "something."

Louis Zayas, the attorney for Garcia was given the vast majority of the hearing's time to make his case but appeared to fail to offer much in the way of legal reasoning supporting his client's allegations.  He would make more and more outlandish claims as the hearing progressed alleging his client was under duress of "extortion" and was told "if he didn't hire the mayor's vendors, he would be fired."

Nowhere in the plaintiff's complaint did it demonstrate which contract Garcia claims he had been extorted. The only contract contested by the HHA Board of commissioners repeatedly in the past year has been its counsel contract. Garcia has attempted to force the HHA Board to approve his selection of existing counsel Charles Daglian seven times and failed in each attempt.  Garcia's current Hoboken Housing Authority contract spells out he has the "sole appointing authority" to make recommendations to the board on hiring professional services for the HHA.   It's unclear how Mayor Zimmer could impact such a choice.

No mention of any specific contract or professional hire was mentioned in the hearing or in Garcia's complaint alleging where such an action took place.  The judge noted the mayor held no authority to fire Garcia under the HHA's existing laws and she had appointing powers for only one of the seven seats. Hoboken's City Council makes most of the appointments and one seat is appointed by the NJ governor.

Judge Maron said Garcia's attorney, Louis Zayas should not use the term "ethnic cleansing" in the court as it was "offensive to real victims of ethnic cleansing."  Zayas would reply his client had his rights to free speech and the judge agreed but politely said it should not appear in court documents or be applied in the courtroom itself.  Zayas remained mum to the admonishment.

Vision 20/20 was mentioned once in passing and was the unsaid elephant in the room. The controversial idea to more than double the downtown HHA has been a point of controversy since Garcia first began publicizing a marketing brochure for it two years ago. Requests for a master plan and details be made to the public have never been satisfied.

The line between public policy disputes and civil litigation was made abundantly clear if the preliminary findings conclude similarly with the court's legal opinion expected next week.  HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia was not present at the hearing.

Carmelo Garcia learned today what a court of law
thinks of his application of "ethnic cleansing."
The court was not appreciative of its use.

Talking Ed Note: MSV has withheld publishing one important piece of information related to this case.  Before the civil lawsuit became public, a source stated a senior party in the Ruben Ramos for Mayor campaign commented about it.  A matter of fact statement was made that the lawsuit would be withdrawn only after Mayor Zimmer agreed to stand down, not question and stay out of the way of Carmelo Garcia's Vision 20/20 plan.  The implication was the lawsuit would be damaging politically to the mayor leading into the November election.

For legal reasons, MSV is not able to detail more on this revelation.  Vision 20/20 also known by many as Vision Money/Money has been harshly criticized for both its lack of transparency and the apparent visions of greenbacks twinkling in many Old Guard eyes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

City pushback on inconsistent Alicea verdict: Special Council Meeting Monday

City of Hoboken announces the mayor is calling for a Special Meeting of the Council this Monday:

Via Hand Delivery
City Clerk James Farina
94 Washington Street Hoboken, New Jersey 07030

Dear City Clerk Farina:

Please be advised that as the Mayor of the City of Hoboken, I hereby call a Special Meeting of the Governing Body for Monday, December 23, 2013 to begin promptly at 7:00 P.M. in the City Council Chambers, 94 Washington Street, First Floor, Hoboken, New Jersey, for the following purposes:





5.Action may be taken at this meeting and no other subjects shall be discussed. Please ensure the City Council Members are noticed of this Special Meeting in accordance with applicable laws and rules. Also, please publicly notice this Special Meeting, as required by the Open Public Meetings Act N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.


Very truly yours, //s//
Dawn Zimmer Mayor 

Councilman Russo puts his vote where his mouth is on Sinatra design firm

In what may have been a masterstroke political play, Councilman Michael Russo stunned the City Council and the public when he pivoted on a decisive vote approving a design vendor for Sinatra Drive: Kimley Horn and Associates in a 5-3 vote.

The approval in the end for the 107K design contract pitted Russo on the other side of the Old Guard council where a 4-4 vote would have been sufficient to stop the Administration's RFP selection.

The Fund for a Better Waterfront sent in five people to speak against the design firm including Executive Director Ron Hine, Jim Vance and Ines Garcia Keim.  Their complaints ranged from questioning the scoring in the RFP process to FBW not being permitted to attend a committee meeting the previous night on the firm selection.  Lots of criticism was made especially by Hine about a design plan that did not exist.

Not one of the five people speaking on behalf of FBW mentioned their obvious conflict.  The organization had a member who submitted a failed bid on this design RFP and last September Jim Vance declined to receive a copy of the design bid according to comments made by Assistant Business Administrator Steven Marks.

Marks noted the Fund for a Better Waterfront expressed interest in bidding on the RFP and that he was lobbied by its member Jim Vance to select Craig Whitaker for Sinatra Drive's design earlier.

Councilman Dave Mello replied to the slew of FBW speakers it didn't seem proper to have its members appearing at a committee meeting on a potential vendor coming up for a contract vote adding the City could later be criticized for contract steering.

Beth Mason looked more bitter than usual especially with the dramatic turnaround where Russo voiced his support and decided to put his money where his mouth is as he put it to extend "more trust" to the Administration. Mason inexplicably spoke against the design firm complaining she had not received information sent to all council members and went into one of her signature incoherent political attacks being caught with her pants down.

The problem for Beth Mason was even with her army of paid political operatives and consulting staff, no one told her about the documentation on the RFP selection.  (Mason neither reads nor writes her own "stuff.")  She went on a rant and said "garbage" was being tossed at the council members.  No one came to her aid in her latest self-exposure of incompetence for the second time in as many months.

Mason completed her incoherence on the issue voting to abstain, rendering her vote meaningless.
(MSV is counting it as a "No" vote because that's how she vehemently argued against the resolution.)

Oh what the hell... Councilman Michael Russo voted in favor of the design
firm designated the winner in a scored RFP to redesign Sinatra Drive.
The vote was cagey and tactical looking ahead at political realities.  Merry Christmas!

Talking Ed Note: City Clerk Jimmy Farina made an extremely rare comment to the council on the design firm resolution speaking on behalf of the Hoboken Veterans group who voiced strong sentiment against moving the World War II Memorial.  He added the matter was discussed among almost two dozen Vets and among them only Jim Vance voiced support to the idea of moving the WWII Memorial from its current waterfront location.

Jim Vance concluded his overtime remarks beyond the five minute portion for public speakers by putting on a Veterans hat.  Farina was less then impressed with the attempt by Vance suggesting Hoboken Veterans would find the move acceptable.

Clearly they do not.  Someone may want to pass that along to the $40,000* a year Executive Director of the Fund for a Better Waterfront who has called moving the memorial "an opportunity to build a better WWII memorial, an idea that most (not all) of the Hoboken Vets support."

Perhaps he should have checked with City Clerk Farina and the vocal Veterans leadership that has made it clear it would be "over (their) dead body."

It's a new day my friends, a new day.

* MSV is not confirmed on a 40K or 25K FBW Executive Director Salary past or present.
Will try to do so.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

City Council - Last Call for year long Old Guard obstruction

The final City Council meeting for 2013 ends the year long plus obstruction in the efforts by the Old Guard council underwritten by the Mason family to stop progress and block the ninth and open council seat.

With the elevation of councilman-elect Jim Doyle, more than a year of obstruction fails on January 4th when the will of the people will trump Beth Mason and her allies Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Timmy Occhipinti.

On the agenda tonight, a year end resolution to transfer funds within accounts. Among more than 500 municipalities in New Jersey, this is done in ten minutes but in Hoboken it's become a bruising battle in the attempt to force a tax increase.

We'll see what desire there is to sabotage Hoboken leading into Christmas and the New Year.  Once the gavel falls tonight for the last time, that's not going to be tolerated anymore.

Here's the full agenda;

BREAKING: Jury awards Angel Alicea win in discrimination case

Observers shocked in jury award of $440,000 in discrimination case

Breaking: City loses jury trial in stunning outcome

The verdict arrived in the Alicea discrimination lawsuit against the City and it's a whopper.  The Hudson County jury of six women and two men awarded $440,000 to Alicea who was eventually replaced by the current Public Safety Director Jon Tooke.

The City's record of winning or settling over 90% of its cases in recent years just took one on the chin.

The verdict was divided into two parts.  In the first part of the decision involving Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the jury said the mayor had not discriminated against Angel Alicea.

In the second part of the decision against the City, the jury decided Angel Alicea had been discriminated against and made the award.

The Jersey Journal reported the jury voted 7-1 Mayor Zimmer didn't discriminate against Angel Alicea and the mayor isn't liable.  The jury then followed with another vote 6-2 the City had discriminated in a odd "compromise" verdict as some legal observers described it.

The inconsistency seems to revolve around the part time status of the public safety position where Alicea made $27,000 while the replacement role acting full time paid $110,000.

The jury decision and the Jersey Journal story suggests the $440,000 is 'back pay.'

Talking Ed Note: The decision by the jury is already being described as inconsistent.  Since the Public Safety Director reports to the mayor, she was in charge of his performance and accepted his resignation.

The jury made the City responsible but not the mayor.


Hudson County TV covered the trial and filed a report saying:

After roughly two long years in litigation, a jury, consisting of six women and two men, in Hudson County Superior Court has ruled in favor of former Hoboken Police Director Angel Alicea... Read the rest at:


Original story filed December 18th

The case alleging discrimination in a civil suit by former Public Safety Director Angel Alicea is now in the hands of the jury.  MSV will have an update when a verdict is reached.

In court testimony, Mayor Dawn Zimmer identified Alicea as the former municipal employee who received her emails  in the 2011 FBI criminal complaint from former IT Manager Patrick Riccicardi.

Ricciardi was sentenced to five years probation for his role in the Data Theft Conspiracy Ring.
No other arrests have been made in the case.

Former Public Safety Director Angel Alicea in a stock MSV photo back when he served the City.
He's pending on a civil lawsuit against Hoboken being weighed by a Hudson County jury.

Mayor Zimmer: 'Angel Alicia never told me he met with FBI Informant Solomon Dwek'

The Jersey Sting, the state's largest corruption sweep in its history back in 2009 took its place front and center in the discrimination trial of former Public Safety Director Angel Alicia.

The discrimination suit alleged by Alicia claims he was victimized due to the issue of his efforts to institute drug testing in the Hoboken Police Department. A September 2009 Jersey Journal article however uncovered Alicia meeting with Dwek back when he was a council candidate on Peter Cammarano's ticket earlier that year.

Mayor Zimmer recounts in her testimony Angel Alicia had denied to her meeting Solomon Dwek.

Denials surrounding that meeting later led to his resignation when it was uncovered in a Jersey Journal story by Amy Sara Clark the Public Safety Director had met with the FBI's 'big sting' Solomon Dwek, not once but twice.

In the video, Alicea's attorney attempts to find something, anything to deflect from the basic problem in his case looking for any possible error in Mayor Dawn Zimmer's testimony to attack.

None of these revelations bode well for Alicea's civil lawsuit.

Talking Ed Note: Alicea resigned when confronted with the truth of his meetings with Solomon Dwek. The matter should have ended there. In its place is the embarrassing fiasco of a trial where Alicea is being raked over the coals.

His attorney Louis Zayas is also representing Carmelo Garcia in another civil lawsuit against the City for what Garcia calls "ethnic cleansing."

Sidebar: The Hoboken mayor may not have known she had kept on Cammarano's Public Safety Director Angel Alicea after his meeting with Solomon Dwek but the OLD GUARD KNEW!

A political staged diversion at the early April 2011 City Council meeting saw a finger pointing distraction madly looking to aid and abet Beth Mason's ally - Councilman Michael Russo who had hidden his meeting for two years with FBI informant Solomon Dwek.  (Russo would tell a bagman at a Jersey City lunch to make out a $5,000 illegal contribution to "Russo for Hoboken.")

A coordinated Masonista effort was marshaled to try to protect Russo from the complaints being made by a line of residents at the council meeting following an earlier protest by dozens of Hobokenites in front of City Hall.  A leader of that protest, HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver would later reveal he went ahead and released information on Beth Mason meeting with Solomon Dwek because she wouldn't.  (She didn't take any Dwek loot but took Stuiver along to the meeting two days before the spring 2009 mayoral election.)

Anyone remember this staged performance?

Notice the complicity with the chair in allowing the hijacking of the subject (improper against council rules) on what MSV calls Michael Russo FBI surveillance night.  Who was chair of the council meeting?

Beth Mason.

The Hudson County TV video notes it was Councilwoman Beth Mason who brought up Alicea's meeting with Dwek (in the April 2011 City Council meeting).  Mason's attempt to deflect from Michael Russo was stopped by the Corporation Counsel noting Alicea had not been given any legally required Rice notice in advance.  The resolution before the council of course was about Russo.

The attempt to spin Michael Russo accepting a bribe into an attack on Alicea in what the Mayor and the public didn't know backfired.

Related: MSV followed its Hoboken exclusive breaking March story with this one leading into the April 2011 council meeting -

Taken in total, it's a window into the Old Guard philosophy and tactics as they circled the wagons on behalf of Michael Russo.  A toothless resolution was put forward by Russo cousin Councilwoman Terry Castellano with Timmy Occhipinti and Beth Mason in support backed by then sixth ward councilman Nino Giacchi.

They all knew about the Public Safety Director Angel Alicea meeting with Solomon Dwek two years earlier but never let on choosing to wait to use it for political advantage when the chips were down for Russo.

This is the type of mental gymnastics they do all the time and is a window into their souls.  Remember that in January 2014 and spare us any kumbaya nonsense.

The Jersey Journal article where Angel Alicea is reported to have claimed he never met Dwek.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Back to back championships and a parade

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Tuesday December 17, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: Parade on Wednesday to Celebrate Redwings Back-to-Back State Championships

The Hoboken High School Football Team won their second State Championship in two years on Saturday, December 7th. The Redwings defeated Shabazz 13-7 to win the Group I North II Championship and their 10th State Championship in program history. The team, led by Coach Lou Taglieri and his staff, will be honored in a parade down Washington Street on Wednesday, December 18th. The parade will begin at 11th Street and Washington Street at 3:00pm and will conclude at City Hall at 94 Washington Street.

“Congratulations to Coach Taglieri and the Redwings on their back-to-back championships,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I invite our community to come out and celebrate their great accomplishment.”For full details, view this message on the web.

Monday, December 16, 2013

MSTA looking to reverse subsidized housing votes thrown out by county in rent control ballot election


The Mile Square Taxpayers Association (MSTA) is seeking to reverse the latest rent control ballot election results in a court action challenging controversial VBM ballots tossed out by the Hudson County Board of Elections.

Last year a NJ court overturned the narrow 52 pro rent control ballot question victory with questionable provisional ballots showing addresses from NJ residents who lived outside of Hoboken The court had ruled voting rights of Hoboken residents were impacted after Hurricane Sandy disrupted residents.

The court eventually altered its ruling and ordered the same rent control ballot question back on the ballot last month where the question failed, this time by 122 votes.

MSTA filed a legal challenge saying the Hudson County Board of Elections improperly threw out Vote by Mail votes and in-person votes placed at their Jersey City office in advance of election day.

A Hudson County election official declined to speak on the record due to the pending litigation but acknowledged hundreds of paper ballots were ruled invalid from the parts of town known for systematic compromised voting integrity.

In total 286 VBM ballots were rejected in Hoboken.  188 were rejected for undisclosed assistance.  Any Vote by Mail ballot aided by anyone not the voter themselves must sign and disclose their role along with the voter.

"This has got to stop," the official stated in reference to the escalating misuse of Vote by Mail ballots and the new "shuttle" of voters to the Board of Election offices before Election Day.  Referencing the effort by MSTA, the view of the legal effort was seen as less than benign:

"They are spending money because they think they can flip 122 of the 188 votes. “
         - Hudson County Board of Elections official on MSTA's legal effort.

It's unclear how many of the 188 ballots were declared invalid due to the lack of supporting signatures.  MSTA may be focusing on that group for where it will seek to obtain most if not all of the 123 votes needed to overturn a second election result on a rent control question in as many years.

Last week MSTA's press release also complained about voters being turned away at the Jersey City Board of Elections.  It's unknown how many of those, if any, may be challenged.  An earlier "Grist for the Mill" story detailed an effort to shuttle minority voters to the County Board of Elections last October from Frank "Pupie" Raia's Civic Association at 5th and Jefferson.

The operation of busing Hoboken voters to the county office was described by one reliable witness as "the Mason Shuttle" referencing the second ward councilwoman Beth Mason who backed the One Hoboken Move Forward campaign headed by Timmy Occhipinti.

As MSV exclusively reported, the Department of Justice, the federal arm the FBI reports into was  investigating into the same area of questionable votes, in the Hoboken Housing Authority and subsidized housing before and after the election.

Questionable ballots in Hoboken's Vote by Mail Old Guard army may be further
scrutinized as MSTA seeks to apply ones thrown out to overturn the rent control ballot question.
What federal law enforcement agency may be interested in the evidence and witnesses?

Talking Ed Note: MSV previously noted both Old Guard campaigns had slugged it out to a draw in subsidized housing regarding the controversial usage of Vote by Mail in the back of the fourth ward in the Hoboken Housing Authority.   The conclusion was made based on valid votes tabulated but is incorrect based on the true tallies of votes submitted and ruled invalid by the County Board of Elections.

The trial date on the rent control ballot question is set for January 17th in Hudson County Superior Court.

Monday night public workshop for Washington Street redesign

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Monday December 16, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: REMINDER: Public Workshop for Washington Street - Monday, Dec 16, 6-8pm

All members of the Hoboken community are invited to a public workshop to gather input on the planning of the complete streets redesign of Washington Street.

Washington Street Redesign Community Workshop
When: Monday, December 16, 2013, 6pm-8pm
Where: Multi Service Center, 124 Grand Street
Format: Brief presentation followed by breakout groups and visioning station (participants are encouraged to attend presentation at 6pm but may visit at any time from 6pm-8pm)
Online survey:

The City has hired the RBA Group to plan the complete streets redesign of Washington Street. The City adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2010. Complete Streets are roadways that enable safe and convenient access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, children, people with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation. Complete Streets stimulate active, healthy behavior, reduce automotive traffic and pollution, encourage more foot traffic to businesses, and enhance interaction with the shared space we all know as the street.

“Washington Street is already nationally recognized as a ‘Great Street,’ but we know it can be improved,” added Mayor Zimmer. “Whether it’s safer pedestrian crossings, green stormwater management, or smart technologies to improve parking and public transit, we want to hear the community’s vision and priorities for making Washington Street an even greater street.”For full details, view this message on the web.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sign of the times: End of days for the Old Guard council

The time is neigh for the Old Guard council as Timmy Occhipinti, Michael Russo, Beth Mason and Terry Castellano gathered briefly before the last City Council meeting.  The obstruction blocking the seating of a ninth member will end officially on January 4th when councilman-elect Jim Doyle is sworn in bringing a full nine members to act.  
There's one final council meeting left for the year.

Unrelated: An attempted hit job on Hoboken Democratic Chair Jamie Cryan was sent to local media last night. Markers suggesting it was a Russo-Ramos operation point to Beth Mason's bottom feeding catfish political operative as the author according to analysis today on Grafix Avenger.

MSV alerted Cryan who declined comment and Da Horsey attempted to speak to the alleged authors of the letter but received no response.  It's post election but the Hoboken waters remain murky and swampy.  Of note and a likely tell, all local media in the email were contacted with MSV listed first sans Hoboken411.

Real Masonista hit jobs go to Hoboken411 exclusively.  This one didn't.  Sorry FinBoy.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

City: Hoboken credit rating jumps all the way up to AA+

Expected to Result in Immediate Additional Cost Savings

The credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has assigned a credit rating of AA+ to the City of Hoboken, a dramatic and unprecedented improvement from the City’s prior near junk bond rating. In assigning their second highest obtainable rating, S&P cited Hoboken’s “very strong economy,” “strong management,” “very strong budget flexibility,” “very strong liquidity,” “very strong debt and contingent liabilities profile,” and “good financial management practices.”

“In four years, we went from a city under State fiscal monitoring with near junk bond status to a thriving, financially strong urban center that is the envy of our state,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I’m proud that since becoming Mayor, we righted our fiscal ship so we can now stand on our own two feet and finance our infrastructure needs so our great City can continue to improve. I want to give a special thank you to Council President Peter Cunningham who has been fighting this fight with me since 2007.”

The most recent credit rating was in 2008, when Moody's issued a Baa3 rating (the S&P equivalent of BBB-), one notch above junk bond status, to hospital bonds guaranteed by the City of Hoboken. Moody's cited the City's “significant deferred charges, annual cash flow borrowing, and a history of financial mismanagement.”

As a result of this new bond rating, the City will save an estimated $1 million in interest over a 10 year period when it refinances existing Parking Utility debt during the next few weeks. The City will also be evaluating all other existing debt to determine if there are other potential cost savings.

Under Mayor Zimmer's Administration, the City has established and maintained a responsible surplus for the first time in years, maintained a low debt level, consolidated and restructured departmental operations, eliminated the use of one-time budget gimmicks, and privatized Hoboken University Medical Center in order to relieve the City of a $52 million hospital bond guarantee.

“Mayor Zimmer and I have prioritized the issue of fiscal responsibility since 2007,” said Council President Peter Cunningham. “It is and will continue to be a priority as it is fundamental to everything we do from infrastructure improvements to future development to ensuring Hoboken is financially protected from the unexpected.”

MSTA: 'Let's go back to court on Rent Control Ballot Question'

MSTA to challenge VBM and in-person ballots at county rejected

MSTA announces:


JERSEY CITY – The results of the Public Question on rent control in the November 5th Hoboken Election have been challenged and will be the subject of a trial on January 21st in Jersey City Superior Court, it was decided today. 
There are multiple causes of action, including the County Board of Elections excluding more than 280 mail-in ballots from being counted, depriving those voters from participating in the election. 
“The purpose of the petition is to have all legitimate votes counted,” says Charles Gormally. attorney for the group of 15 challengers.  “We are going to get to the bottom of why registered voters, some of whom delivered their own ballot to the County Board of Elections, were denied the opportunity to vote.” 

City: The "Hoboken Huddle" and 'thank you' Super Bowl Tickets

City of Hoboken announces:


The City of Hoboken will host the Hoboken Huddle at Pier A Park on the Hoboken waterfront the week of January 27 to February 2 leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII.

The centerpiece of the Hoboken Huddle, which will include activities, food, and entertainment, will be a large 16 foot tall illuminated sculpture of the Roman numerals “XLVIII” overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

“We invite visitors to Hoboken to complete their Super Bowl experience with an iconic photo only available on the New Jersey side of the river,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “With Hoboken’s restaurants, nightlife, easy access to Manhattan, and train access to the stadium, there is no better place to celebrate the big game.”

The Roman numerals will be visible from both sides, and up to 12 individuals or local businesses can own a piece of history for $5,000 or $7,500, respectively, and have their names engraved on a Roman numeral. Those wishing to “adopt” a letter can contact Scott Katz at A “thank you” drawing among the twelve individuals and businesses will be held for a pair of Super Bowl tickets with prime location.

In partnership with the US Curling Association, the Hoboken Huddle will feature 3 lanes of curling which will be free and open to the public. Early in the week, an instructor from the US Curling Association will be on hand to provide tips to participants. The curling lanes will remain at Pier A the entire month of February to coincide with the Winter Olympics.

WestwoodOne Sports, the official national radio partner of the NFL, and NBC Sports Radio will have a broadcast presence within the Hoboken Huddle.

The City is seeking sponsorships for additional activities for the Hoboken Huddle, including an outdoor ice skating rink.

The Roman numeral concept is a vision born from the Hoboken Events Committee, led by Chairman Scott Katz. Local architect John Nastasi has volunteered to spearhead the design. Through the cooperation of Freeholder Anthony Romano and President of the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council Patrick Kelleher, the Hudson County labor unions will be volunteering their time to build the sculpture.

Hoboken is a vibrant city and residential, cultural, commercial, educational and tourist destination. Ranked the country’s most walkable city, Hoboken’s charming, nationally-recognized main street features eclectic restaurants, night clubs, and diverse retail shopping. The award-winning waterfront offers uncompromising views of Manhattan and New York Harbor. Hoboken is home of the Redwings, the back-to-back state high school football champions.

What I saw at the Refomulution - part deux

As the clock approached eight and the polls closed, decision time lay ahead.  The sidewalk made for some clammy hooves and the trot back was achy making street duty less than pleasant.  Among the candidates, Joe Mindak and Eduardo Gonzalez extended pleasantries.   The brief passing with Timmy Occhipinti at 14th and Washington St. unsurprisingly less so.  A woman with Occhipinti's small crew bellowed out to passersby to "vote for my brother." She seemed too nice to be related.

The Ruben Ramos campaign conveyed late optimism Election eve and one member of the campaign said they thought Ramos had a shot of winning along with one council candidate.  (The council candidate wasn't named.)  An unofficial operative for the Ramos campaign began texting around 7:30 pm mocking the voter turnout and saying Zimmer and her team were doomed.  Horsey quickly responded letting him know turnout was similar, as that proved accurate when the private call of between 12,500 and 13,000 votes came in at 12,900, an increase over November 2009.  The Ramos operative was given time for prayers and Da Horsey texted back "Prepare for the SWEEP!At least he bought kleenex in advance.

After the polls closed, a quick retreat to the stable where an inner debate continued. Stay for results to post for the public or hoof it down to Zimmer HQ and hope nothing of importance occurs in the interim?  As reported on MSV exclusively, it wasn't long before the blockbuster of the night would roll in foretelling the Reform sweep across the board.  Marine View had suffered an earthquake, 9.0 plus on the Richter scale and First Ward Councilwoman Terry Castellano must have had a heart attack when she learned Team Zimmer had swept "her" towers and with it Kids First too!

Pen of losers: The HPD cordoned off most of the sidewalk outside Raia-Mason HQ on Washington Street as Frank "Pupie" Raia (l) speaks on the phone.  Councilwoman Beth Mason seeing Da Horsey slipped away into the office on this second photo of the scene but one of her long time consultants is seen middle rear, a solitary figure absorbing another Mason election disaster.  With expenditures perhaps more than the other two mayoral campaigns combined, it managed a measly 17% of the vote.  Beth Mason is now allying with a south NJ State Senator close to Gov. Chris Christie seeking... something to alter her string of Hoboken election failures.

The rest of this story is MSV Premium.  If you don't receive it please email

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

City announces Super Bowl sculpture and "Hoboken Huddle" events

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Wednesday December 11, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: City of Hoboken Announces Hoboken Huddle to Celebrate the Big Game

The City of Hoboken will host the Hoboken Huddle at Pier A Park on the Hoboken waterfront the week of January 27 to February 2 leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII.

The centerpiece of the Hoboken Huddle, which will include activities, food, and entertainment, will be a large 16 foot tall illuminated sculpture of the Roman numerals “XLVIII” overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

“We invite visitors to Hoboken to complete their Super Bowl experience with an iconic photo only available on the New Jersey side of the river,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “With Hoboken’s restaurants, nightlife, easy access to Manhattan, and train access to the stadium, there is no better place to celebrate the big game.”

The Roman numerals will be visible from both sides, and up to 12 individuals or local businesses can own a piece of history for $5,000 or $7,500, respectively, and have their names engraved on a Roman numeral. Those wishing to “adopt” a letter can contact Scott Katz at A “thank you” drawing among the twelve individuals and businesses will be held for a pair of Super Bowl tickets with prime location.

In partnership with the US Curling Association, the Hoboken Huddle will feature 3 lanes of curling which will be free and open to the public. Early in the week, an instructor from the US Curling Association will be on hand to provide tips to participants. The curling lanes will remain at Pier A the entire month of February to coincide with the Winter Olympics.

WestwoodOne Sports, the official national radio partner of the NFL, and NBC Sports Radio will have a broadcast presence within the Hoboken Huddle.

The City is seeking sponsorships for additional activities for the Hoboken Huddle, including an outdoor ice skating rink.

The Roman numeral concept is a vision born from the Hoboken Events Committee, led by Chairman Scott Katz. Local architect John Nastasi has volunteered to spearhead the design. Through the cooperation of Freeholder Anthony Romano and President of the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council Patrick Kelleher, the Hudson County labor unions will be volunteering their time to build the sculpture.

Hoboken is a vibrant city and residential, cultural, commercial, educational and tourist destination. Ranked the country’s most walkable city, Hoboken’s charming, nationally-recognized main street features eclectic restaurants, night clubs, and diverse retail shopping. The award-winning waterfront offers uncompromising views of Manhattan and New York Harbor. Hoboken is home of the Redwings, the back-to-back state high school football champions.For full details, view this message on the web.

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94 Washington St, Hoboken, NJ 07030