Mister Carmelo finds himself in trouble and offers "answers" as special counsel investigation looms.
Controversial Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia who also is a NJ Assemblyman finds himself in hot water on several fronts and last week made remarks on the matters for the first time on the record to Hudson County TV investigative reporter John Heinis.
Garcia says there is "no prohibition" on his taking money under his Assemblyman banner and claimed it's "completely irrelevant" that he did so from HHA vendors.
However last weekend, Dean DeChiaro wrote of the law stating otherwise:
the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law that is cited in the HHA's own policies states that "Public housing authority officers, employees or agents shall not solicit or accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value from contractors, potential contractors or parties to contractors...
Garcia who is not an employee of the HHA but a contractor would be subject to the law. He's stated he has not accepted any "gratuities" while at the same time defending the thousands of dollars he's taken from HHA vendors.
MSV had previously written in an exclusive investigative report Carmelo Garcia took thousands of dollars from current HHA vendors in March of this year in political contributions.
In addition, Garcia says salt corrosion is an "emergency" and was an "eminent danger" as a reason for his unilaterally authorizing no bid contracts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars before he accepted money from HHA vendors.
On the subject of Garcia's refusal to answer commissioner questions on numerous bills at the May HHA meeting, a clarification was offered for his needing to speak to his "personal lawyer." The veil of earlier filed civil lawsuits is the reason Garcia presents for not answering but his first lawsuit has already been thrown out in its entirety and five of the six allegations in the second amended lawsuit have already met the same fate on the first pass in Hudson County Superior Court.
HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer said the refusal to answer to the board on illicit billings apparently in the million of dollars in no bid contracts is unacceptable and falls outside HUD's federal procurement rules. At the last meeting, Garcia sought support from HHA counsel Charles Daglian on the issue but the legal counsel concluded, "In general, you should go out to bid."
Last, the claim of a "wonderful victory" by Carmelo Garcia on his lawsuit of a default win against the City of Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer and the Hoboken Housing Authority itself was tossed last week as reported here on MSV. The action issued by Judge Costello last week was confirmed in the Friday hearing last week in Hudson County Superior Court.
Tomorrow at 7:30 a special Hoboken Housing Authority meeting will take place in the City Council chambers with a pending resolution before the seven member HHA Board of Commissioners to hire a special counsel to investigate the complete scope of alleged improprieties. The meeting was noticed last weekend.
Talking Ed Note: Whatever laws on taking money from vendors and federal procurement policies have been allegedly broken, Carmelo Garcia wants that put aside so you keep in mind what he says is the issue:
He's a victim.