Monday, December 30, 2013

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

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE


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...