MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
Indisputable evidence points to Carmelo Garcia pocketing at least $4,600 earlier this year from two companies currently billing hundred thousand dollar fees to the Hoboken Housing Authority.
The undeniable evidence comes in Carmelo Garcia's own political committee report: Garcia for Assembly filed earlier this spring.
In the ELEC report, Garcia for Assembly lists receipts of contributions from Hauser Brothers, Inc. of Orangeburg, NY, ($2,600), Haddad Electric, $1,000 and a possible connection to that firm in Nader Haddad, $1,000.
The $4,600 total is reported on the ELEC report as being contributed last March 11th.
The two entities, Hauser Bros. and Haddad Electric are the focus of controversy for questionable billings to the HHA over the past year. Both have presented the agency with over six figures in billings under questionable procurement standards in questions initiated by Chairwoman Dana Wefer and joined by fellow commissioner Dave Mello.
At the Thursday meeting, Executive Director Carmelo Garcia offered vague reasons for not following federal procurement policy on Hauser Bros. before completely shutting down any further discussion and refusing to say when questions would be answered saying, "I need to speak to my personal attorney."
Garcia has filed two civil lawsuits in recent months going back to late summer last year against Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the HHA and its former Chairman among others. The first lawsuit was thrown out of court and made national headlines for an outrageous claim of "ethnic cleansing" in Hoboken.
The second lawsuit refiled earlier this year was mostly thrown out on the first pass in Hudson County Superior Court with only a single, vague allegation of political affiliation left standing but faces another challenge to be tossed with a current motion already filed.
Both civil lawsuits were filed by Garcia's controversial attorney, Louis Zayas. Of note, Zayas himself reportedly made a $500 contribution to Garcia's political committee on March 11th as well.
|Haddad Electrical also gave money to Carmelo Garcia's political committee last March.|
They too are in the center of a billing controversy highlighted Thursday night at the HHA meeting.
What else are we not seeing Mr. Carmelo?
A federal attorney contacted on the hypotheticals of the actions by Garcia responded to an inquiry on what federal and state laws which may have been violated responded with a single word: "numerous."
The HHA itself passed a pay to play ordinance just over two years ago back in 2012 but the language speaks to conflicts with municipal elections. Garcia currently occupies an Assembly position under the tutelage of State Senator Brian Stack.
It's unclear at press time whether the two firms have filed required Business Entity Annual Statement electronically with NJ ELEC. The State pay-to-play disclosure law requires that prior to entering a contract with a government entity of more than $17,500 that is not publicly advertised, the respective business must disclose certain contributions made during the past year.
Both firms involved may have circumvented those requirements as Garcia has claimed numerous "emergencies" due to Hurricane Sandy in late 2012 as an excuse for not going out to bid and/or contracting properly to the HHA Board of Commissioners. He offered limited and confusing answers but all but admitted neither Hauser Bros. nor Haddad Electrical hold valid contracts with the HHA.
The due date for the Business Entity Annual Statement is March 30th which falls just after the March 11th contributions to the Carmelo Garcia political committee, Garcia for Assembly.
Garcia for Assembly
What pressure(s) or temptations may have induced Carmelo Garcia to take traceable monies from HHA vendors is uncertain. According to his April 2014 ELEC filing, he owes legal powerhouse election law firm Genova Burns $44,000.
The legal bills were incurred in early 2013 when Garcia was challenged by reform minded Hoboken residents on his running for Assembly while being paid with federal funds as a contractor to the HHA, a federal agency.
Initially, Garica was forced off the ballot for Assembly last spring when the case was decided in Hudson County Superior Court by Assignment Judge Peter Bariso who cited a Hatch Act violation. Later, an Appellate Court would reverse the ruling based on recent changes to the law allowing Garcia back on the ballot where he easily won on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line under State Senator Brian Stack.
Ironically, after the Carmelo rat tapes were exposed revealing Garcia taping both the mayor’s husband and former Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny at a lunch, his political future appeared all but over with reports he received a less than warm welcome from his colleagues in Trenton. State Senator Stack reportedly has told Hoboken voters his elevation of Garcia to his ticket and the Assembly seat was “a mistake.”
Carmelo Garcia could not be reached for comment. Further inquires are being made.
Does anyone know if Louis Zayas is experienced in criminal law?