Thursday, August 15, 2013




Hoboken Housing Executive Director Carmelo Garcia alleged to have been the person discussed in recent weeks as taping public officials launched a bizarre counter to that emerging story with a lawsuit filed in Superior Court against Mayor Zimmer, her husband and the former HHA Chair charging among other allegations planned "ethnic cleansing" of minorities.

The breaking story first appeared late today on Politicker NJ, "Assembly candidate charges Hoboken Mayor Zimmer with 'ethnic cleansing' in lawsuit."

Garcia alleges he has been the subject of a 'hostile work environment' according to a statement from his lawyer where he claims he is the victim of the mayor, her husband Stan Grossbard, and former HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver.

Garcia makes numerous charges among them claiming Mayor Zimmer proposed a version of Vision 20/20 counter to his.  "Mayor Zimmer's version of the Vision 20/20 project was essentially an ethnic cleansing initiative in which Mayor Zimmer.... sought to replace Hoboken's minorities with white affluent voters," the suit says.

Mayor Zimmer has however never proposed an alternative Vision 20/20 plan but exchanged letters of concern with Garcia on his proposal with strong reservations.

Mayor Zimmer who had not seen the Garcia lawsuit countered the "ethnic cleansing" charge blowing the whistle on Garcia's taping of others widely known in Hudson County political circles for weeks saying in a statement, "Sadly, the fact is, Mr. Garcia invited my husband to lunch, taped him, and tried to trick him into saying something that he could then use to try and extort me in my capacity as mayor.  Since my husband is an honest and honorable man, and Mr. Garcia is not, the only person incriminated on the tape is Mr. Garcia."

The mayor in her statement described Garcia as "focused on playing the race card in order to cover up his own wrongdoing."

The other person taped at the Garcia invited lunch is thought to be a prominent former State Senator unavailable at the time of this story.

Garcia's numerous charges include coercion, intimidation, harassment and political corruption in regards to the appointment of the HHA legal counsel.  Garcia says he was pushed to approve a HHA lawyer aligned with Zimmer.  Last month Garcia stated to Hoboken Patch he would continue to push his choice Charles Daglian in the HHA contract for the sixth time even as another bidding process was not complete.

Earlier today MSV spoke to residents in the HHA who said Garcia has been telling residents "the mayor wants to tear down the projects" but according to those residents, they don't believe or trust Garcia.

A HHA tenant group calling itself "Save the Projects" has been the center of alleged attacks and intimidation, with members saying they were asked to sign their own eviction notices last week.  Garcia denied the allegation and said in the weekend paper he didn't understand why racist allegations weren't being lodged against anti-Vision 20/20 opponents.

One STP member, Jessica Coco has been outspoken on alleged harassment and intimidation tactics she says she and others have faced.  The tenant group expressed no trust in Garcia and believes it's a scheme to eject them for money and bring in wealthier non-minority residents.

At least one other Hoboken official told MSV for this story, Carmelo Garcia threatened them with taking tapes he made of their conversations public.

According to sources within the HHA, Garcia has been known to be taping others "for a long time." One resident in the HHA who declined to go on record for fear of retaliation by Garcia said, "It's not exactly news here.  We've known Garcia has been taping people for a long time."

This week MSV commenters noted Carmelo Garcia's photos have oddly disappeared from the Ruben Ramos campaign website, Facebook and campaign office windows.  Ramos along with HHA commissioner and slate council candidate Eduardo Gonzalez have been vocal supporters of the undocumented Vision 20/20 plan.

In the photo below posted publicly by the Ramos for mayor event last April, Ruben Ramos is pictured with Carmelo Garcia in attendance along with Laura Miani also a council candidate in the Hoboken November election.

MSV requested comment from The Ruben Ramos campaign spokesman but hasn't received a reply.

HHA ED Carmelo Garcia (c) is named as the person discussed for weeks secretly making recordings 
of Hoboken and Hudson County political figures' conversations.
Mayor Zimmer says Garcia did exactly that in a lunch he requested with her husband to extort her while
Garcia claims the mayor has proposed a counter Vision 20/20 plan that he calls "ethnic cleansing."

Talking Ed Note:  Louis Zayas the lawyer of record for Garcia is himself linked to the case he's representing.  He's rumored to have used Garcia's tape(s) and transcript in an unrelated case.  That usage directly led to the exposure of the Hoboken Watergate Garcia story.

MSV is looking to obtain Garcia's civil suit, the Garcia tape(s) and transcript.

Vision 20/20, a massive redevelopment scheme in downtown Hoboken has been extensively panned by critics for not making any redevelopment plan available to local officials or the public.

Can you sue people into handing you a massive undocumented redevelopment of public housing?

Ramos campaign claim ' Better for business,' will form task force on local business

Ruben Ramos for Mayor announces:


Hoboken Assemblyman and Mayoral Candidate Ruben Ramos today announced plans to hold scheduled monthly meetings with local business owners and form a Blue Ribbon Task Force for local business in Hoboken in order to receive input on how the city can best serve merchants in the wake of multiple recent departures and closings of small businesses.

Ramos, an experienced legislator who has represented Hoboken in the Assembly since 2008 and served on the Hoboken City Council prior to his time in Trenton, believes that an open dialogue is the first step to effective governing and meaningful legislation.

“Under Mayor Zimmer, the leaders of our city have not taken a proactive approach in finding out how to best help our business community thrive,” Ramos said. “Because of, in part, a lack of communication and leadership, we are losing businesses and institutions that shape the culture of Hoboken. As mayor, I will first establish an open dialogue to find out what City Hall can do to help Hoboken’s economy thrive.”

“The last census shows that Hoboken is growing by leaps and bounds. We have an unprecedented amount of people making Hoboken their home, yet we continue to see businesses shut their doors for good,” Ramos continued. “The rate of business growth should measure up to the rate of population growth and we just aren’t seeing that in Hoboken. The Zimmer regime has clearly failed the business community.”

"I understand that small businesses are the backbone of our community. It's why I've started my small business here and it's one of the reasons why I am running for Council. I strongly believe that this city doesn't do enough to help businesses succeed in Hoboken," added Joe Mindak, who is running for Councilman at Large. Joe started the Hoboken based lifestyle magazine h-Mag in 2009 and knows first hand how hard running a small business has become.

In 2013 alone, the Yankee Ferry Boat departed for Brooklyn, Diana’s CafĂ©, Tutta Pasta, Hudson Athletic Club, Oddfellows, multiple salons and cleaners, and Maxwell’s all closed their doors.

“When so many merchants are leaving town for good, there comes a time to elect leaders who will be proactive and work with our Chamber of Commerce and small store owners on a consistent basis, not just in the 11th hour. When I am Mayor of Hoboken I will make sure Hoboken is the most business-friendly city in the State,” Ramos said.  Ramos chaired the State Regulatory Oversight Committee which was responsible for making state business relations more friendly and has a track record of securing both Democrat and Republican support for his pro-business initiatives. He has been a consensus builder in the State House and will do the same in City Hall.

In the case of Maxwell’s, press reports stated that the current mayor tried to help the business once she found out that the famous venue was due to close. However, the Vision for Hoboken Team believes a proactive approach and listening to our merchants on a regular basis will prevent the Mile Square City from losing more institutions that contribute to the Hoboken’s unique character and charm.

Below is a list of Hoboken businesses that have been identified who have closed or departed within the last year:

Beau Brummel
Energy Kitchen

full list at the jump

Court approves: Hoboken can purchase SW acre of land for park; City Council vote last step toward years long dream

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Thursday August 15, 2013, 2:05 PM

City of Hoboken

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Community: City of Hoboken Receives Court Approval for Southwest Park Acquisition

Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ruled on Wednesday that the City of Hoboken may acquire a nearly 1 acre property for the first phase of a Southwest Park, an important component of a comprehensive flood mitigation strategy.

“I have been involved in the fight for a Southwest Park for many years, and I am very excited that we are finally in a position to acquire the first building block of what will ultimately be a larger park,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “As soon as we deposit the check with the court, we will own the property and can begin the community planning process for this much-needed park. We are now just one vote away from turning this vision that so many have fought for into reality. The future of the Southwest Park is now in the hands of the City Council. I urge them to support this park because for most of us, parks are our shared back yards, and I believe all our residents - regardless of where they live - should have a park within a short walking distance.”

At the September Council meeting, the City Council will be asked to approve the deposit with the court for the offer amount of $2.937 million. The funding is available through a $3 million Hudson County Open Space grant. In addition, the City Council will be asked to award a contract for a planner to begin the public planning process for the Southwest Park.

“Hoboken deserves this new park,” said Hudson County Freeholder Anthony L. Romano. “Working with County Executive DeGise and my colleagues on the freeholder board, I am glad we are able to provide the grant funding to make this possible. We are proud to work with Mayor Zimmer and the Hoboken City Council as they endeavor to acquire this land.”

“This is a great day for Hoboken,” added Councilman David Mello. “We have been working towards having a park in our neighborhood as parks advocates since 2006. The acquisition of the properties on this particular block has been a top priority for me as Chair of the Community Development committee. I am confident it will serve as the ideal cornerstone for what will one day be an even larger Southwest Park.”

The Judge found that the City engaged in good faith negotiations with the property owners of Block 12, which is located between Jackson Street, Harrison Street, Observer Highway and Paterson Avenue. While the City offered $2.937 million for the property based on an appraisal, the final value would be established by an independent three-member commission appointed by the Judge.

As part of a comprehensive resiliency and readiness strategy to protect from flooding, the City is receiving $500,000 in technical assistance through the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Re.Invest Initiative to incorporate sustainable flood mitigation strategies, including underground water detention systems, into a new Southwest Park and other proposed parks in flood-prone areas. The City’s full Resiliency and Readiness Plan is available online at

The Southwest Area has been designated an Area in Need of Rehabilitation, and if the first phase of the park is acquired, the City intends to substantially expand the park through the Rehabilitation process. For full details, view this message on the web.

Opening remarks from Mayor Dawn Zimmer at Little Town

Focusing on accomplishments in the last four years, Mayor Zimmer noted the extensive renovations of the parks, purchasing new land for parks, fiscal stability and the hospital being saved along with the efforts post Hurricane Sandly.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer thanked attendees, old and new supporters calling the excitement invigorating.
She first thanked Freeholder Anthony Romano, BoE Members Leon Gold, Ruth McAllister, Irene Sobelov, Jean Marie Mitchell, Council President Peter Cunningham, former council member Carol Marsh and union leader Patty Kelleher.

Talking Ed Note: Strong turnout for a vacation time election event with very strong enthusiasm and lots of new faces and some surprising faces not expected.

With the big news of the City winning the case to purchase the parking lot in the Fourth Ward to leverage a new Southwest Park, thanks needs to be given to Freeholder Anthony Romano who aided Hoboken in helping to bring that long term dream to reality.