Monday, February 11, 2013



Carmelo Garcia's contract revealed shows controversial authority over Federal and State law, generous increases, benefits and "sole appointing powers" in the HHA.

The controversial secret contract of HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia withheld from the HHA board and the public at large is finally revealed today in a MSV exclusive report.

The five year contract shows Garcia scheduled to receive a salary increase to $165,000 on September 1 later this year, an increase from his current salary of $157,500.  The contract shows Garcia's starting salary of $150,000 back in September 2010.

In September of 2014, the contract is scheduled to pay Carmelo Garcia $172,500.


The contract was negotiated by current HHA counsel Charles Daglian, his signature appears on the contract with an attorney also representing Garica.

The generous salary is met with even more luxurious benefits including 21 days of vacation and another 21 days of sick time annually!

The most controversial terms however in the agreement concerns any conflict with state and federal laws.  Article XII states anything "illegal under Federal or State law" does not affect the remaining terms of the contract!

Is it ethical or legal for an HHA attorney to negotiate illegal terms into a government contract?

The contract also states as quoted in last Thursday's HHA meeting, Garcia has "sole appointing authority," a centralization of powers Hoboken has found distasteful after the revelation of corruption under former Mayor and felon Peter Cammarano who sold zoning rights for $25,000 to FBI informant Solomon Dwek in 2009.

It's unclear if the contract meets NJ and Federal statutes and also if any inherent powers of HHA commissioners can be transferred without a public vote as stated in the 2010 agreement.

One member of the HHA did see the contract back in 2010 as the signature of Jean Rodriguez appears as a signatory.

The red flag in the contract may be Article XII to subrogate Federal and State Law to Carmelo's Garcia's contract never seen by the public.  Is this the reason the contract has been kept secret for years?

Talking Ed Note: One point in the contracts addresses an annual performance review by the HHA commissioners.  It's unknown if there's been any performance review of the Executive Director to date.  If not, it's overdue by years.  Since, no HHA commissioners have been able to obtain the contract from Mr. Garcia or Mr. Daglian, MSV guesses it has not taken place.

Both Garcia's current and starting salary are far more than Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer who cut her salary upon taking office in 2009  to under 115K and saw repeated attempts by the City Council under Michael Russo and Beth Mason to cut it again.

As for the terms of Carmelo Garcia's contract, Hoboken we have a problem!

Reconsidering the motion to foul up Hoboken in 20/20

The HHA counsel reappointment of Charles Daglin failed to follow motion to reconsider procedure 

The Robert Rules of Order, the procedures used by many legislative bodies is front and center in another Hoboken governing body's decision.

The Hoboken Housing Authority joined the City Council last Thursday where the latter saw the politically staged absences and abstentions by MORTe to circumvent the rules and impose an outcome using the courts could repeat itself at the HHA - but this time arising from a real error not a faked one to sue the City taxpayers.

Last month in the City Council, a motion to reconsider was attempted to give the late arrival of Beth Mason a second shot at the apple and vote on resolutions earlier handled.  Urged by Councilman Michael Russo with a straight face, he said Mason should be given an opportunity to vote on the earlier resolutions, rules be damned.  He saw no irony in how Beth Mason hid from the council meeting in early October with no excuse to vote on the critically important matter of Jim Doyle's appointment to the City Council.

And that's the Old Guard at work.  All short term memory and power grab today.

Charles Daglian seeking reappointment to the HHA as its counsel shares an intimate moment with ED Carmelo Garica
before Thursday night's HHA meeting.  Daglian says he represents the HHA board's interests.  When Garcia's contract made an appearance Chairman Jake Stuiver requested to see it after Daglian instructed Garcia to read a specific clause.
The contract never seen by any HHA commissioner was swiftly returned into Daglian's briefcase as Daglian ignored Stuiver's half-dozen requests to see the document.

Russo called Mason's inability to vote coming in late to the meeting "devastating."  As someone who resides in Church Towers being subsidized by Hoboken taxpayers, Russo sees no issue with joining the Mason family in suing Hoboken and all its taxpayers to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars and counting in a staged political operation in the council a Hudson Superior Court judge rejected and called nothing more than "gamesmanship."

Which is "devastating" to Hoboken after the severe impact of Hurricane Sandy taking a $100 million chunk out of Hoboken.  To the Russo clan, piling on suing the City in an attempted power grab is just business.

At last Thursday's HHA meeting, two commissioners made a motion to reconsider the resolution failing earlier in the meeting to reappoint Charles Daglian to another HHA contract.  Typically, the counsel to a governing body will prevent incorrect procedure but in this case, Daglian failed to intervene when commissioners Eduardo Gonzalez and Jeannie Rodriguez who both approved the contract motioned to bring back the resolution for another vote.

Putting that conflict aside, one of many that evening, the basis for Daglian's appointment may be challenged on that basis and require at a minimum revisiting the appointing resolution with a new vote.  The question of doing it properly could come with a review by outside counsel (to avoid further conflict) in a non-binding legal opinion.

A legally binding decision would need to come via the courts in an action brought before a judge.  The Old Guard is not likely to agree to correcting their mistake without being forced to at the point of a judge's gavel.

This Thursday the Hoboken Housing Authority will have its regularly scheduled meeting.  On the agenda is the controversial 20/20 plan.  The Old Guard's friends and families and the connected are already lining up for a piece of the action.

Old Guard Row: Mason political operatives "Stalker" Tim Brendel, son of Barry Brendel (partially visible center rear) was taking his job very seriously at the HHA meeting Thursday night.    From left Perry "Plan B" Belfiore, Mason political operative Matt Calicchio and next to Brendel, Tim Occhipinti feared a new attorney would be approved to represent the HHA board.  If you're wondering why the hysterical concern you're not alone?  The hysteria is gaining the attention of many Hobokenites.

Talking Ed Note: At the end of the HHA meeting, Mason operative Tim Brendel placed his camera inches away from commissioners Greg Lincoln and Dave Mellow for no apparent reason.  Unlike the City Council where a dais separates spectators from the proceedings, there is no such barriers at HHA meetings.  Does Beth Mason pay Stalker Tim extra for that as when he stalked the mayor outside her home?

Mason operatives are becoming quite the characters.  When they aren't attempting to intimidate others, they threaten or run to the police crying their victimization.

It happens fairly often at Hoboken government meetings including this one.  A complaint by one elected official recently to Beth Mason in a phone call was met with her yelling, "Grow up."

Well that official should count their blessings; it could be a lot worse.  Mason could have her political operatives sue you.