HHA Chairwoman hits out on "appearance of impropriety" and 250K in no bid contracts in HHA by Carmelo Garcia who took thousands of dollars from two vendors.
In the first interview with HHA Chairwoman Dana Wefer, HCTV chief investigative reporter John Heinis discussed the revelations of Carmelo Garcia taking money from vendors without a contract in the agency.
Wefer expresses deep concerns about the "appearance of impropriety" in Carmelo Garcia taking money for his Assembly campaign last March and questions the non-emergency expenditures of the two vendors in question: Hauser Bros., and Hadad Electrical.
In the video, Wefer says Hadad Electrical billed the HHA over $170,000 this year alone.
Additionally, she references billings over 171,000 in 2014.
Neither firms has a contract with the Hoboken Housing Authority but Hauser Bros held an expiring contract back in 2013. Wefer cites that lack of a contract and Garcia's continuing "unilateral" decision to allow them to make six figure billings problematic.
Both of the companies billing in the HHA made political contributions to Garcia on March 11, 2014.
Wefer also says in the interview that Hurricane Sandy can not be used an excuse for "emergency" billings as Garcia claimed at the last HHA meeting. He attempted to get HHA counsel to agree but Charles Daglian said an emergency billing is fine, "but in general you should go out to bid."
Regarding emergencies, Wefer says the legal requirement is for "life and death situations." Garcia had defended the massive billings for Haddad Electrical saying there addressed "salt corrosion" and were all "emergencies."
Wefer is pointing to these massive billings as outside of the federal required procurement requirement totaling almost $250,000.
"There is the appearance of impropriety that we really want to get to the bottom of to make sure that everything is being done competitively for the (HHA) residents."
- Dana Wefer HHA Chairwoman
Video courtesy of Hudson County TV:
Wefer rejected the notion Garcia can avoid providing public records of the HHA bills to its Board of Commissioners because he's suing the agency, the City of Hoboken, etc..
Garcia is suing the City of Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer, the Hoboken Housing Authority but his amended filing has already been mostly thrown out and the last vestige, a vague element about political association and speech being challenged in court later this week in Hudson County Superior Court on May 23rd.
Ethnic Cleansing attorney Louis Zayas speaking for Carmelo Garcia, attacked Dana Wefer calling her recitation of facts "slanderous" and said Garcia's problems stemmed from him not giving contracts to supporters of the mayor.
Zayas has made the same vague charges in his civil lawsuit filings but it's already been thrown out of court. Over months, Zayas has failed to name one firm or individual Mayor Zimmer tried to get a contract for within the HHA.
Last, Mr. Zayas says he and his client welcome any investigation.
Talking Ed Note: Oh this story is not going away. Ready for the heat Hoboken?