Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Carmelo Garcia unplugs HPD Hoboken Housing Unit as chaos and rule breaking in meeting ensues

MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE FEATURE



HHA commissioner Judy Burrell gives Carmelo Garcia deciding vote to do away with five man police section


The March Hoboken Housing Authority meeting may have been a disaster on many levels but the issue most in its immediate threat to residents and Hoboken at large was the unilateral proposal by HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia to unplug the five man Hoboken Police Department section. 

The special Hoboken Police section was set up contractually with the City to operate inside the area of the HHA more than two years ago.

The cost to the HHA as part of that arrangement is approximately $500,000 annually, funds Garcia announced at the meeting were now cost prohibitive. According to minutes of the meeting, Garcia claimed HUD rule changes on the use of capital funds no longer permit the HHA to procure policing services with the City of Hoboken.

But it appears the HHA commissioners at the meeting did not see any detailed documentation in advance of the meeting explaining that claim. A vote on Garcia's resolution followed anyway approving notice be given to the City of Hoboken terminating the police agreement in 90 days.

That resolution narrowly passed even though no security backup plan is in place with the summer season approaching. Voting in favor of Garcia's resolution: Chairman Rob Davis, Vice Chairman Eduardo Gonzalez, Jeanne Rodriguez and Judy Burrell.

Commissioner Judy Burrell handed Garcia his desired outcome in the narrow 4-3 vote as the reform oriented commissioners led by Dana Wefer was joined by Dave Mello and James Sanford in sounding the alarm the action was premature and could risk public safety to residents.  (All three of the commissioners live directly adjacent to the HHA in the fourth ward while Carmelo Garcia lives on Bloomfield St.)

Last year, Carmelo Garcia told commissioners if they didn't vote the way he told them to they would face criminal liability. That fabrication led to an approval last year renewing a contract of HHA counsel Charles Daglian with HUD intervening and later rescinding the contract, declaring it and Carmelo Garia's procurement activities "legally flawed."  (MSV reported on that meeting here.)

HHA holdover legal counsel Charles Daglian (l) injected himself repeatedly into the proceedings of the commissioners
ruling motions illegal even before discussion or votes were held by the board. Now that's illegal!

Even with that recent history and questions about how a 90 day notice to the City of Hoboken would jeopardize the HHA and other Hoboken residents living in the vicinity, a vote was called on the controversial resolution. Garcia detailed a failed meeting at City Hall to further discuss the situation and a dance commenced around his well known secret recording of others. Apparently, it led to the meeting not taking a place at all. That story was previously highlighted in City Hall: Carmelo Garcia "the wire" is here.

Carmelo Garcia announced he had a scheduled meeting with Public Safety Director Jon Tooke and other senior City officials but it was derailed when he was asked to sign a form he was not surreptitiously recording it.

Already known in Trenton as "The Wire" for secretly recording others including the former NJ Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny when his illicit taping was revealed in the Angel Alicea discrimination lawsuit, Garcia announced he had ended the meeting refusing to sign claiming it was against his "civil rights" and his "professionalism." He said he would need to speak to his attorney for being singled out.

According to the meeting transcript, Garcia went on to defend the action he took at City Hall ending the meeting and implicitly his recording others on his wire, recounting comments by his mother when he was growing up saying it's okay for him to do so.

Banana Republic rules

The Carmelitos, a band of HHA residents who are encouraged to vocally back the contracted HHA landlord in Garcia at HHA meetings, disrupted the proceedings numerous times and focused their wrath on commissioner Dana Wefer who attempted to introduce a resolution updating the bylaws under Roberts Rules.

The attempted introduction, the second this year led to a series of questionable declarations by HHA counsel Charles Daglian that a notice via email was not legal. That and other motions were repeatedly pronounced in increasing hysterical interruptions by Daglian as "illegal."

The meeting transcript captures the ensuing chaos with comments directed at Wefer including "suck ass" and "Lady you don't have no money for us" but no disciplinary action was taken to stop the numerous disruptions.

Chairman Rob Davis more than once complains the introduction of motions under Roberts Rules are "bullying" and he would complain to HUD. More than once he condescendingly calls commissioner Wefer "darling."

Wefer repeatedly attempted to introduce motions ignored or ruled out of order by Davis and supported by odd unsolicited interference by HHA counsel Charles Daglian. Attempts to overrule the chair, a well established procedure were also ignored but that saw no opposition from Daglian.

The HHA acting counsel is recorded in the transcripts repeatedly interfering with the proceedings by the commissioners and declaring motions "illegal." It's wrong by any current reading of Roberts Rules on every count except the last where he says the meeting could not be ended before public portion.

Commissioners have repeatedly complained about the improper "guidance" by Charles Daglian for over a year. The transcript however shows some of his worst demonstrative behavior as he clearly injects himself into matters above and beyond counsel. At one point, Wefer informs Daglian he isn't a commissioner, to no avail.

Daglian remains HHA counsel as a holdover appointment. Attempts by Carmelo Garcia to renew his contract have failed seven times.

What usually happens to contractors who act with insubordination to a board they report to once or two times?



Talking Ed Note: Where to begin, there's so many problems here it's overwhelming as the Banana Republic of Carmelo Garcia is now bleeding its megalomania dysfunction into serious matters of public safety to both the Hoboken Housing Authority and greater Hoboken itself.

Garcia claims there isn't adequate funds to maintain the existing policing contract with the City but he has no problem twice filing a frivolous lawsuit against both the Hoboken Housing Authority and the City of Hoboken. The lawsuit on life support is facing severe obstacles but as it stands today, the HHA stands to lose well into six figures in legal costs or more alone for Garcia's claims, almost all of which were thrown out of court on the first pass.

There's also contracts being put up for passage by Garcia with single bidders. Hoboken, we have a problem.

An earlier planned story to humorously dissect a spoon fed story on the HHA recently featured in the pro Old Guard rag, the Hudson Reporter was jettisoned in favor of the critical featured analysis of the March meeting.

According to the Hudson Reporter, Carmelo Garcia in his contracted role has "some oversight" by the HHA Board of commissioners. That spurious claim among others has no basis in law but certainly gives the self-appointed ruler of the Banana Republic all the leeway he deems necessary, the law be damned.

You've never heard a word about this 2013 HHA story where Garcia indirectly threatens commissioners with criminal charges if they don't renew Charles Daglian as his choice for consigliere, (cough, cough) legal counsel.

As for the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, the laws governing their hiring and oversight of a contractor to perform day to day responsibilities are set by federal law, under HUD. The federal rules governing the contractor are executed by the commissioners.

This meeting based on interviews and the transcript may have been the worst. The implications for Hoboken certainly are.

Hey, let's hand the keys to the City over to Carmelo Garcia so he can move ahead with his undocumented plan and more than double the size of the Hoboken Housing Authority with his Vision 20/20 scam?