Thursday, March 14, 2013

HHA Executive Director contract subject of renegotiation

At a contentious Hoboken Housing Authority meeting, a late agenda item to terminate the contract of Executive Director Carmelo Garcia was introduced but later withdrawn in favor of negotiations to change terms on the completion of the agreement.

Here's the key portion of the meeting after the recess:

Voice at the two minute mark from the audience is Hoboken resident Perry Belfiore.  Others in attendance: former councilman Chris Campos who hijacked the proceedings numerous times with inappropriate and out or order "point of order" interruptions, Council members Terry Castellano, Ravi Bhalla and Tim Occhipinti (also yelling out of order at the chair).

Occhipinti was thrown out out of the meeting later for grandstanding at the microphone and refusing to stop speaking outside of a resolution but the chair later relented.  (One observer called that performance Tim Occhipinti's official launch for mayor.)

Other attendees: Michele Russo, mother of third ward councilman Michael Russo, Hoboken Democratic Chairman Jamie Cryan, former HHA commissioner Marianne Camporeale, Mason political operatives Barry Brendel, Tim Brendel and also the Calicchio brothers.  Nick Calicchio spoke at the meeting while brother Matt, a fourth ward Democratic Committeeman and full time Beth Mason political operative was thrown out for disruption.  He would later sneak back in during the recess and remain unchallenged.  Earlier outside the meeting room, MSV heard him telling Lt. Campbell he wanted to file a harassment complaint against Jake Stuiver for "talking" to him.

Talking Ed Note: A lot transpired this evening. Da Horsey faced arrest on several fronts, defamation, personal attacks including charges by Timmy Occhipinti.  He yelled out "hypocrite" twice to Horsey without explanation and an invitation minutes later to speak "anytime you want" was rebuffed in his typical petulant style.  His 575 'campaign workers' who almost all magically voted-by-mail were on the whole not in attendance.

Former fourth ward councilman Chris Campos who no longer lives in Hoboken as heard, exchanged some nice discussion in the hallway early (first time meeting) but then during the recess Campos would come over and try to stage an arrest claiming a resident told him he was threatened by Da Horsey.

More on that and another evening of fun and games and distractions galore but no HUD letter.

It's as if that letter never existed in the local Hoboken media.  MSV is the only news outlet which has printed it and addressed it on the substance.  As an aside, the relevant issues in the letter were barely touched upon at the meeting.

Related: Grafix Avenger has a teaser and promises a feature later today.

Grist exclusive: Rice, Rice, Baby! HHA ED Carmelo Garcia has been Rice noticed!

A Grist for the Mill Exclusive Breaking Report

The Hoboken Housing Authority meeting tonight appears to have an additional item added to the agenda - Executive Director Carmelo Garcia has been served a Rice notice.

Rice notices are required by law to be given to public employees prior to any discussion of their job.  Carmelo Garcia is the self-described "sole appointing authority" who guided a severely problematic and legally conflicted six month process to hire counsel for the HHA.  HUD's response to the numerous procurement problems and possible illegal actions were documented in a letter earlier this month.  (See MSV's Wednesday exclusive story below.)

The full details of the official Rice notice on Carmelo Garcia's contract are not clear and equally uncertain is whether the topic will be discussed privately or in public at the meeting scheduled for 6:00 PM tonight.

Varied accounts of the Rice notice are coming out of the Housing Authority.  Reliable sources say officials are "rounding up the usual suspects" and going through the complex to "gin up a mob" for tonight's 6:00 PM meeting at 220 Adams Street.  Similar acts have occurred in Hoboken previously such as at a BoE meeting last year.

Another source says some HHA residents have gotten wind Carmelo Garcia is in some trouble although it's unclear if they are aware of the disastrous HUD letter issued earlier this month.  That rumor says "they're celebrating" what they believe may be Garcia's demise.

Both Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver were contacted for this story but neither was available for comment.

Not one local media outlet has written so much as a comma about the blockbuster letter issued by HUD on the serious problems cited in their March 6th letter.

A crew of the Old Guard and then some promises to be in attendance to rabble rouse at tonight's HHA meeting.
Beth Mason paid political operatives will most certainly be in attendance to make matters worse.
The Hoboken Police Department present at the last meeting will have their hands full tonight.  

Talking Ed Note: The meeting tonight at 220 Adams Street promises to be the most consequential affecting Hoboken in recent memory.  The 20/20 plan, the illicit vote farming, and ultimately possible control of the 4th ward are all on the table culminating in an Old Guard showdown of dramatic import. Tim Occhipinti will likely be in attendance again.  The HHA is the scene of almost all of his 575 paid 'campaign workers.'

The local media editors are doing their part - as usual. The coverup by those editors of a major federal agency's blistering criticism with direct oversight of the Hoboken Housing Authority's massive incompetence under ED Carmelo Garcia and questionable appointment of Charles Daglian - and the entire process leading up to it, is in and of itself an outrage.

Take note Hoboken, the Machine is not going down without a fight.

Related: Here's a story on Patch ignoring in entirety the numerous serious issues about the HHA raised in the HUD letter this month.

The letter MSV highlighted is available to anyone but there's no mention of the substance of it and how the issue(s) plays into tonight's HHA meeting and/or related to the Rice notice issued to Carmelo Garcia.

Has the importance of the overriding federal agency over the HHA just been entirely missed?

There is however room for an analogy made to the City Council and the mayor's division of powers compared to the HHA.  Unfortunately, it's a faulty one failing to distinguish between the mayor (an elected official) and the Executive Director role at the HHA (a contracted position answerable to the HHA Board of commissioners.)

MSV would classify all this as simply erroneous but that conclusion would be incorrect.
It is what it is.