Thursday, October 22, 2015

PolitickerNJ: 2013 emails discussed terminating Carmelo Garcia in HHA

PolitickerNJ story says Mayor's husband in email chain with Hoboken Housing Authority commissioners on procurement and termination discussion in 2013

Hoboken's critical elections for six of nine City Council seats up November 3rd exploded at the last City Council meeting last night with two well known politicos ejected.

The mud is officially flying with the anonymous release of alleged litigation emails in an online story on Carmelo Garcia's "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit discussing Hoboken Housing Authority procurement issues and possible termination of his contract in 2013.

According to a PolitickerNJ story yesterday, the emails were obtained by an "anonymous" source connected to the Carmelo Garcia lawsuit days before the City Council election. Garcia is on the ballot against Councilwoman Jen Giattino in the sixth ward leading the Russo faction ticket attempting to retake the City Council majority.

The emails given to PolitickerNJ, its story said point to allegation of Mayor Dawn Zimmer's husband Stan Grossbard discussing problems with the Hoboken Housing Authority nine member board attempting to fulfill its oversight function over Garcia.

From the PolitickerNJ story:

In a February 26, 2013 correspondence, Grossbard emailed Stuiver, HHA vice chairman Dave Melo and HHA member Greg Lincoln stating that an option for dealing with a disagreements to the procurement process was to "vote to terminate the [Garcia's] contract and give the 120 day notice..."

"In my option the only way the procurement process can be realistically reformed is by immediately exercising the 120 termination provision," Grossbard wrote. "Unless and until you move to terminate, Carmelo has all the leverage, and he will never believe you are actually willing to terminate unless and until you actually do it."

The procurement discussion in question may relate to the contract for legal counsel. At the time, Charles Daglian was the counsel to the HHA board but many members felt he was acting not in their interests but Carmelo Garcia's against them.

In seven separate actions considered by some to be blatant acts of insubordination, Garcia would forward the same resolution seeking to renew Daglian's contract. It was rejected almost in every instance and initially by HUD itself which called the Garcia contract renewal attempt "legally flawed."

The article did not include any complete emails but alleged  Garcia's contract termination from the HHA called by him "ethnic cleansing" suggests Vision 20/20, Garcia's undocumented redevelopment plan in the HHA was the main reason.

Vision 20/20 however was already scuttled after Garcia attempted to intimidate the City Council and Mayor Zimmer into approval for his plan to more than double the size of the downtown HHA he deemed "an emergency." Mayor Zimmer responded to Garcia's "emergency" request to approve the first of a series of new buildings using federal and state funds in a detailed letter denying his request.

Connected to the controversial lawsuit, four hours of secretly taken audiotapes surfaced in another anonymous release to NJ.com and verified Garcia had taped former NJ Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny and Grossbard at a lunch he himself requested. The four hours of tapes reportedly did not match transcripts obtained in discovery in another legal case by Garcia's attorney, Louis Zayas.

As now, the release of the information was lauded as demonstrating questionable activity of the people recorded. After the public heard the tapes in their entirety, the only person suggesting anything illicit was Carmelo Garcia.

After the City of Hoboken didn't back the Vision 20/20 redevelopment, Garcia retaliated with his first "ethnic cleansing" lawsuit even as he continued in his contract  running the HHA. The lawsuit was thrown out of court in its entirety several months later at the end of 2013, amended, refiled, mostly thrown out again, resubmitted and in its current iteration is suing the HHA, the City of Hoboken, the mayor, her husband, Councilman Dave Mello and current HHA chair Dana Wefer among others.

The legal cost to the City of Hoboken to date is $150,000. Legal costs are unknown for the Hoboken Housing Authority.

The PolitickerNJ story suggests the complaint has been amended once more by Garcia and his lawyer Louis Zayas but does not specify the latest changes to the "ethnic cleansing" civil lawsuit.

The story released online yesterday afternoon were immediately thrust into the City Council meeting, the last before the November 3rd election by two well known anti-Administration politicos closely aligned with the Ruben Ramos 2013 mayoral campaign: Perry Belfiore and David Liebler.

Ramos is a fourth ward City Council candidate on the current council slate led by the lame duck Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia who is a sixth ward council candidate.

At the City Council meeting, Perry Belfiore was ejected during public portion after discussing the mayor's husband in his comments.

Shortly thereafter, Belfiore was followed by David Liebler who also was ejected near the conclusion of his five minutes of public comment after he too directed comments against the mayor's husband. Liebler alleged he was the de facto mayor.

Back in 2013, Liebler commissioned a series of cartoons when he supported the Ramos mayoral campaign mocking both the mayor and her husband on issues ranging from flooding to decision-making.

The cartoons all appeared on the Beth Mason backed hate blog Hoboken411 where her political operatives were later discovered running all the political content and censoring residents over years into 2011. Some of the registered user information on Hoboken411 would be handed to those same political operatives and nefariously used in the frivolous SLAPP-suit Bajardi v Pincus.

Mason protested Liebler's ejection and stood up complaining as she yelled at Council President Bhalla he was "abusing the police" who escorted him out. Liebler is also known to have been working for Beth Mason for some time prior to her announcing she was throwing in the towel on any reelection bid.

Liebler sent a comment to MSV late last night stating, "The public has the right to speak. Ravi stopped me due to his relationship. I have a 1st Amendment right."

Council President Ravi Bhalla was not available for immediate comment. Updated City Council rules give the Council President discretion in matters viewed as slander. The council argued the ejections for some time before moving on to the rest of the agenda.

Perry Belfiore ejected from the City Council last night:


Talking Ed Note: Bring on the ugly. As predicted, this was inevitable but the mud using discovery during an ongoing civil litigation i(which MSV has not seen) is somewhat of a surprise even to those who know Carmelo Garcia's penchant for operating in the sewer.

Desperation time and clearly it's Carmelo Garcia who is trading on litigation discovery for political purposes days before an election. It's an obvious Hail Mary with little chance of success and indicates that he (and the Old Guard) consider his candidacy in the sixth ward against Councilwoman Jen Giattino "toast."

If Garcia was confident of victory, he nor any counsel would take such a rash action as apparently releasing limited emails in litigation to PolitickerNJ. MSV concludes that the limited emails released to media is from the Carmelo Garcia camp. Expect the Hudson Reporter to join the Carmelo party.

As stated on MSV the other day, Mister Carmelo may have a Bajardi "Bench Slapp" situation on his hands. More to come.

David Liebler's ejection from the City Council last night: