Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Carmelo Garcia amended lawsuit thrown out as HHA lawyer demands: withdraw your 3rd frivolous lawsuit!


Carmelo Garcia again sees his civil complaint dismissed "without firing a shot!"

Hoboken's litigious environment where public, elected figures attempt to abuse the courts crying victimhood took one on the chin when Carmelo Garcia saw his second (amended) lawsuit dismissed against the Hoboken Housing Authority and its former chair.

Strikingly, the motion to see his amended civil lawsuit dismissed with its added civil rights claim was not opposed by Garcia's attorney Louis Zayas.  

The request by legal counsel, Thomas Abbate of Decotis, Fitzpatrick & Cole representing the Hoboken Housing Authority and its former chairman, Jake Stuiver saw no opposition at all and was approved by Hudson County Superior Court on December 19th.

Earlier this year, Hudson County Superior Court threw out Carmelo Garcia's first civil complaint filing in its entirety. The exclusive MSV story on the findings being "offensive" and "insufficient" was first reported here last December.

The latest dismissal of Garcia's second lawsuit comes as good news for the Hoboken Housing Authority which has been reportedly discovered in severe financial duress after former Executive Director Garcia saw his contract terminated in a 5-2 vote in a special meeting at City Hall last August. 

A mob bordering on a full out riot and some say paid to show up by Garcia's Old Guard allies (re: Beth Mason) attempted to interfere and halt the proceedings and did so successfully for a limited amount of time. An unplanned recess preceded by what MSV called "The Fracas" forestalled but couldn't stop a vote on his eventual dismissal.

Earlier this year, Hudson County Superior Court threw out Garcia's first "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit in its entirety. Garcia and his attorney then refiled the charges adding a civil rights claim. 

The second amended lawsuit remains for the moment against the City of Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer and her husband. It's likely to see a similar motion following the successful one by the HHA's attorney.

The stakes for Garcia who has filed a third outstanding civil litigation against the City of Hoboken, Mayor Zimmer, the HHA and two of its commissioners, Chair Dana Wefer and HHA commissioner and City Councilman Dave Mello get higher. He himself may face a countersuit for frivolous litigation.

Garcia has 28 days to withdraw his last outstanding civil complaint or possibly face "appropriate monetary sanctions."

In a letter dated December 29th, counsel for the HHA Thomas Abbate joined an earlier letter from December 11th on behalf of Mayor Zimmer and the City of Hoboken demanding Garcia withdraw his frivolous litigation. The letter indicates representation on behalf of current HHA Chair Dana Wefer and HHA commissioner Dave Mello who is also an at-large City Councilman.

The letter disassembles Garcia's last lawsuit stating it's a regurgitation of his earlier claims dismissed and "despite his overheated and patently offensive rhetoric," the plaintiff did not put forward "a single interrogatory" or issue "a single document request" or "take a single deposition" concluding his litigious filings are nothing more than "a cheap publicity stunt."

Questions why Garcia failed to act in any substantive way went unanswered. The Assemblyman's press release office failed to respond to an inquiry why he and his attorney allowed his litigation be dismissed without opposition.

One federal attorney in Hudson County familiar with the pleadings of the case described the position of both Garcia and his attorney as problematic and explained one possible reason why not a single shot was fired on his behalf stating, "With a federal investigation at the Hoboken Housing Authority, there's a legitimate reason to fear information revealed in the civil complaint will find its way to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and its enforcement arm, the FBI."

Adding to the sense of foreboding, the legal beagle offered, "Any attorney worth his salt is not going to hand over evidence likely to find its way to the Feds and see his client not only lose his litigation but see him sent to federal prison."

Asked to explain the silence of Garcia and his attorney, one last observation was offered, "Filing civil lawsuits can be hazardous to your health. Be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it."

Former HHA Chair Jake Stuiver who sees the claims against him by Carmelo Garcia dismissed was unavailable for comment as he's on vacation with his family.

MSV previously reported a federal investigation at the Hoboken Housing Authority is ongoing, confirmed by interim Executive Director Bob DiVincent last month.

This story is breaking hard...

Backlash against possible PATH service reductions mount

Even in the twilight of the holiday period, there's mounting criticism since the Port Authority report targeted service on the PATH for weekday and weekend overnight elimination of service.

First, the PATH's own rider's council announced:

The PATH Riders' Council is strongly opposed to any reduction in PATH service that would adversely impact the communities it serves. We vigorously oppose the suggestion by the special panel convened by Governors Christie and Cuomo to eliminate weekday and weekend overnight service. The proposal itself comes at a time when PATH is experiencing record ridership numbers, when jobs and commuting patterns no longer follow the traditional 9-5pm, and when governments throughout the region and country are investing – not divesting – in transit. The $10M cost reduction – a tiny portion of the Port Authority's $7.8B budget – would be devastating for communities on both sides of the Hudson, especially for hard-working New Yorkers and New Jerseyans in industries like construction, healthcare, and hospitality who rely on PATH to come home from an overnight job or commute to a job with an early morning start.

It would be devastating to a region that relies on mass transit more than any other in the country. Hoboken, one of the cities served by PATH, has the highest rate of transit ridership in the nation at 56%. Jersey City has the second highest rate of transit usage (45.8%) among cities with 100,000 more residents, second only to New York City’s 55.7%, according to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. 

PATH is the lifeblood for communities and working families on both sides of the Hudson who rely on the system 24/7 to get to work, to school, to see family and friends.  To eliminate overnight service at a time when more and more families rely on this service is simply unconscionable.
Ya-Ting Liu, Chair
Stewart Mader, Vice Chair
PATH Riders' Council
Stewart Mader details more on his Gotham & Hudson website, which also holds a link on MSV's list of local websites of interest.

Then Carmelo Garcia who had endorsed Gov. Christie in order to obtain State Senator Brian Stack's backing to gain an Assembly seat on his coveted 2013 ticket offered:

“A plan being considered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to possibly eliminate overnight PATH train service is a bad idea that could have a devastating impact on thousands of commuters.  Many of the 244,000 riders who use the PATH every week are hardworking residents from my district in Hudson County.  Cutting this rail service would cut their livelihood because many of these working class citizens with limited resources would have no affordable alternative
to get to and from work in the middle of the night.  White collar workers, revelers, and tourists would also be left scrambling trying to find a way back across the Hudson River.  

Reducing PATH service could also impact the state and local economy.  Transit hubs like Hoboken, where more than 50% of residents rely on public transportation, owe much of their growth to rail service like the PATH.  The 24/7 public transit access to New York City sets these communities apart from the rest.  And the state has made an investment in promoting transit hubs to help ease congestion and negative impacts to the environment.

As the sole member of the Assembly Transportation Committee whose district is home to multiple PATH stations in several municipalities, I know firsthand how vital this service is to our residents.  Over the past several months I have been working with a variety of neighborhood groups and constituents to try to expand our transportation options.  I concur with the Mayors of Jersey City and Hoboken who believe that cutting service would be counterproductive.  While some say it’s merely a recommendation, it’s definitely an off track one that will hurt riders in both Hudson and Essex Counties.  So let’s get on the right track and work together to increase public transit not decrease it.”