Tuesday, February 19, 2013

HHA Chairman: City attorney rules HHA board attorney appointment invalid

HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver announces:


The Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners' Feb. 7 vote to reappoint Charles Daglian as general counsel has been invalidated based on legal advice provided by the City's Corporation Counsel.

HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver referred the matter to City of Hoboken Corporation Counsel Mellissa Longo on Feb. 11, due to his concerns that (1) Mr. Daglian's representation of the Board in connection with his own contract may have been improper, and (2) that Mr. Daglian permitted a vote to reconsider the initial rejection of Mr. Daglian to be taken in violation of proper procedures. Under New Jersey Local Housing and Redevelopment Law (NJSA 40A:12A-22), housing authority boards are permitted to seek legal guidance from the City's Corporation Counsel: “For such legal services as may be required, a redevelopment agency or housing authority may call upon the chief law officers of the municipality or county.”  Since the issues here involved the holdover board attorney's own potential conflict, it was necessary to obtain the legal opinion from Corporation Counsel as a nonconflicted attorney in accordance with state law.

Ms. Longo responded to the Chairman's inquiry on Feb. 13, stating that due to the conflict created by Mr. Daglian advising the Board in connection with his own contract as well as the failure to follow proper procedures, the reappointment of Daglian was invalid. Ms. Longo advised that Mr. Daglian should not advise the Board in connection with the legal contract and should recuse himself as counsel to the Board during any future consideration of the contract.

“Ms. Longo's legal opinion confirms our suspicions that many aspects of the Feb. 7 Special Meeting did not pass the smell test, and that those Commissioners who have been questioning the soundness, validity and objectivity of Mr. Daglian's advice have been on the right track,” said Chairman Stuiver. “I thank Ms.  Longo for taking the time to address this matter amid her numerous other obligations, and look forward to finding an unconflicted special counsel to advise the Board in what will hopefully be a resolution to the longstanding debate over who can serve the Board as a trustworthy general counsel going forward.”

HHA Commissioner Greg Lincoln, who voted for Mr. Daglian at the Feb. 7 Special Meeting, said he regrets that vote in light of the conflicts and impropriety of Mr. Daglian's conduct, and that he would not vote for him again.

”I voted to appoint Mr. Daglian despite serious reservations.,” said Commissioner Lincoln. “I was concerned about the fact that there was a clear conflict of interest, but I assumed that as an officer of the court, he would have recused himself if it was appropriate. The questionable legal advice he provided the board left me feeling I had little flexibility or choice. In essence, he advised the board that we were legally required by the current procurement policy to reappoint him as legal counsel, which is patently false. “

Commissioner Lincoln added: “Additionally, Director Garcia wrongfully asserted that failing to reappoint Mr. Daglian might even be a criminal act. I now understand that not to be the case, and am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism and integrity that was displayed at the special meeting. I plan to support an effort to amend the HHA procurement policy as soon as possible.”

Charles Daglian (l) appears to be telling HHA Chair Jake Stuiver there's only one choice to make at the previous HHA special meeting where appointing a HHA counsel was the sole item on the agenda.  The City attorney Melissa Longo issued a legal opinion that advocating for your own contract is a conflict and ruled the appointment invalid.

Talking Ed Note: Well as MSV said, there was something rotten in Denmark.  In this case, the HHA too.

Horse Sense: The rush to cash in on a 25% bigger HHA monolith

Jersey Journal article claims Hoboken Housing Authority expansion of 25% "approved" going to RFP 

With the scent of corruption and political attacks swimming prominently within the Hoboken Housing Authority in recent weeks, an article in the Jersey Journal appeared yesterday announcing the first phase of expanding it with new construction in Hoboken.

There's only one problem.  Nothing has been approved by any legislative body.

The article without journalistic attribution features mysterious unnamed HHA officials discussing the initiation of an RFP process, describing the groundbreaking of 44 HHA units on Harrison Street as a done deal that is neither done nor approved going to to construction later this year.

Who fed this misinformation to the Jersey Journal and why?

At the previous HHA meeting, before the proceedings ED Carmelo Garcia pleads with Chair Jake Stuiver to renew HHA attorney
Charles Daglian's contract.  With the mysterious Jersey Journal article claiming an approved 25%
expansion, are you beginning to get the picture why? A "short list" of developers is waiting to go.

As important, what does the broader Hoboken public think of expanding the Hoboken Housing Authority?  Did anyone even hold a single public meeting with the wider Hoboken community to ask what they think?

Was there a poll commissioned asking Hoboken residents and taxpayers who pay the freight what they would like to see in a HHA redevelopment?

The Old Guard is in a serious rush to get the HHA expansion going breaking ground and present it to the rest of Hoboken as a fait accompli.  While their initial proposal of massive monoliths have been scaled back, what's on the table is large-scale expansion.

Around the country and in neighboring Jersey City, the old model of massive project structures has been reduced to three story buildings with far smaller density but that is not the case in Hoboken.

The plan being thrust on the City is to increase the current stock of 800 plus units to over 1,000.

Exactly who will be cashing in remains to be seen.  You can be sure Executive Director Carmelo Garcia knows.  He already has plenty of questions swirling around him with the yet questionable legal re-appointment of Charles Daglian.  Two weeks back they advocated for a renewal of Daglian's contract in a circus atmosphere raising all kinds of concerns about conflicts of interests.

Those concerns are not going away any time soon.

Do you support increasing the size of the HHA? What impact do you think that would have on the larger Hoboken community in terms of costs in policing, education and other services underwritten by the Hoboken taxpayer?

Do you support expanding the HHA 25% as stated in the Jersey Journal article?

Working against the national model for smaller Housing Authorities, ED Carmelo Garcia is pushing to ram through a denser Hoboken Housing Authority of over 1,000 units without any of the wider Hoboken public having a say about any of it.

Need further evidence of the money grab?  Beth Mason's mercenary website Hoboken411 takes some ridiculous cheap shots at Jake Stuiver with the mayor's husband and the Wiley Coyote tossed in for good measure.  The story up today will get mostly yawns as it doesn't have that old Masonista ghostwritten style known for twisting the full out lie with the half-truth and distortion defaming Hoboken residents and officials.  

This one tosses out the laughable claim Jake Stuiver wants to replace Carmelo Garcia on the HHA.  Shades of other mercenary claims by the nutter Perry Klaussen who publishes this dreck similar to another whacked out claim a software professional was after a finance position at City Hall.  As it turned out, that was nothing more than a ruse and retaliation for a former public official sending a letter of concern for defamation to Beth Mason's crew of paid liars penning for Hoboken411.  

If Beth Mason is trotting out this garbage back on Hoboken411, they're reaching for the bottom of the barrel.  Again.  Then again Beth Mason is bottom of the barrel.

Talking Ed Note: What of the almost $500,000 owed the City of Hoboken in Pilot payments never made by the HHA. ED Carmleo Garcia claimed last quarter an agreement with the City by his "predecessor" on large amounts owed to the City of Hoboken was only just "discovered."

According to the October 2012 meeting, "extra" police security is paid for by the HHA but should that be offset against pilot payments due the City of Hoboken? Isn't that just handing a larger policing bill to Hoboken taxpayers?  

Want to pay even more for "extra" extra policing for a 25% bigger HHA?

See the October minutes for the discussion: