Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grist for the Mill: The cost of corruption strikes home in Hoboken

Corruption is at present a living breathing organism in Hoboken. Back in 2009, at the time of the arrest of then mayor Peter Cammarano, division between the Russo Faction and the rise of Reform was an emerging battle line temporarily abated.

Other than a few discordant voices who said with straight faces, "Don't hate the playa, hate the game," an unsaid rule of thumb prevailed. Let the dust settle and the decks (and bodies) be cleared away then it will be business as usual for the Old Guard again.

It was at best a tip of the hat to corruption in the salty "On the Waterfront" veiny past in the Mile Square City. It isn't quite a novella for the history books though. Let's examine how it may have played out in recent events.

The Hoboken Housing Authority is reeling with revelations of misdeeds, incompetence and financial strangulation. Finger pointing isn't going to solve those problems but MSV can state without final confirmation, a list continues to be unwound and the unraveling will become more a public issue. Transparency and all that jazz being a real deal for reform.

Among the emerging gristy chewables:

Numerous HHA residents unbelievably did not have any "normal" security in their homes. Quite literally, they had no locks on their apartment doors. The reason was a vendor agreement with a local locksmith was not paid and the outstanding bill, in the thousands of dollars stopped all work orders. Buildings also were not secured with no working entrance locks putting some residents in double jeopardy.

How is it that problem never came to the fore? It was never mentioned by any HHA resident at any meeting. What does that tell you about the iron fisted fear they lived under?

Early on this year when the financial irregularities were surfacing, MSV clearly saw the echoes of finger pointing at one HHA officer. It was obvious this person was going to be thrown under the bus should/when the need arise. Once the full weight of financial issues began to surface due largely to the strong investigative efforts of HHA Chair Dana Wefer, right under the bus this officer went. A suspension was thrust upon them and only after the termination of the former Executive Director took place was that wrong righted.

Reports of misuse of HHA authorized vehicles has been whispered about for weeks. There's more than one vehicle involved. One vehicle was in the sights for personal usage but the authorization of use is an open issue too. Unfortunately, a clearer explanation isn't possible for the moment.

There's additional word from the County level of some political shenanigans tied to unnecessary and completely unjustified political spending using HHA vendors. More investigative work is required. 


When trouble began surfacing in the HHA, one official was tossed
right under the bus. More problems are coming to light and will not
be so easily whitewashed, part of the Hoboken "On the Waterfront" tradition.

With the fear of talking removed in the HHA, residents have begun stepping forward asking if they can speak to issues and problems of a personal and legal variety. It's in the early beginnings but it's a positive sign. What emerges will be more than a little interesting.

Corruption rears its head in many forms and the nexus of corruption is very much in our midst and ready to strike, perjure, cheat and steal to advance itself and no gutter is too low to go. As cited here, it's Hoboken's most vulnerable who recently were paying the highest price. 

Grist for the Mill is MSV's rumor column. Have a juicy carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to smartyjones@me.com. Confidentiality is ensured but publication is not. 

Morning Sidebar: Be on the lookout for another in a series of Beth Mason sponsored phone calls to Hoboken residents urging anger over the legally required reval.

Multiple reports are coming in already and the Mason family money is on the warpath. The latest in a fishy smelling political operation on behalf of Beth Mason is an attempt try and blame the reval, decades overdue, on Mayor Zimmer.

A reader emailed MSV saying a caller speaking for Beth Mason was blaming the reveal on the mayor saying she initiated it.

At the spaghetti dinner, the usual jovial Freeholder Anthony Romano was heard by this horse saying similar. When asked why he was saying that which he must know is untrue, he pointed to resistance to the law in a neighboring municipality.

Mr. Freeholder, is the race for Hoboken mayor already underway?