Summer weather is here but there's things afoot in the Mile Square City. While not quite the city that never sleeps, Hoboken almost always generates items of interest.
The Hoboken City Council on Wednesday approved a plan to install new parking meters citywide in a 7-2 vote.
Council members Peter Cunningham and Ruben Ramos dissented with the latter voicing a vocal no of some length. Councilman Cunningham recently issued a release preferring another option less visibly intrusive in Hoboken's historic neighborhoods.
Paying for Hoboken's budding infrastructure issues is described as the driving impetus.
The NJ Attorney General's Office issued a release naming five additional individuals charged with filing false applications for Superstorm Sandy Relief funds. 62 individuals have been arrested for those charges to date.
Among the latest sweep, a Hoboken police officer, Nikola Lulaj of Dumont. The story was first reported yesterday on the Hudson County View.
From the release:
Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that five additional individual were charged criminally today with filing fraudulent applications for federal relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy. Since March 2014, the Attorney General's Office has filed criminal charges against 62 people for allegedly engaging in this type of fraud, including the five individual charged today.
The Attorney General’s Office is continuing its aggressive efforts to investigate fraud in Sandy relief programs, working jointly with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the Offices of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The individuals who have been charged are alleged, in most cases, to have filed fraudulent applications for relief funds offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In many cases, they also applied for funds from a Sandy relief program funded by HUD, low-interest disaster loans from the SBA, or assistance provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. The HUD funds are administered in New Jersey by the Department of Community Affairs.
“Each of these defendants knew the requirements to qualify for this disaster aid, but each selfishly lied about their circumstances to steal funding intended for those hardest hit by Sandy, namely homeowners who were left homeless and displaced renters forced to pay for new leases,” said Acting Attorney General Lougy. “It’s a sad truth that even in the direst of emergencies, when so many generous people step forward to lend a hand, there are others who will dishonestly exploit an offer of assistance.”
The following defendants were charged today by complaint-summons:
- Nikola Lulaj, 42, of Seaside Heights, N.J., (formerly of Dumont, N.J.), allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance, a low-interest SBA disaster-relief loan, and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP), the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, and the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP) funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. As a result, he received a total of approximately $187,074 in relief funds. It is alleged that Lulaj falsely claimed in his applications that a home he owns on Webster Avenue in Seaside Heights which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy was his primary residence at the time Sandy struck. In fact, his primary residence was in Dumont, N.J. Lulaj has since moved to the house in Seaside Heights, but at the time of the storm, it allegedly was a vacation/rental property. As a result of the alleged fraudulent applications, he received $2,820 from FEMA, $90,200 in SBA loan proceeds, a $69,054 RREM grant, a $10,000 RSP grant, and a $15,000 SHRAP grant. Lulaj is charged with second-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
|Photo courtesy the NJ Attorney General's Office|
They collected a long list of Hoboken residents' information: names, home, employment, online comments and photos. It's unclear if photos of Hoboken residents' children were swept up into their political operations.
The emails show the Masonista political operatives actions were going on well into 2013 after the SLAPP-suit was originally filed in July 2012.
Part of the personal information came from the unique political content control at Hoboken411 where Perry Klaussen handed over the private registration information of users on his website to Beth Mason political operatives. Some of these Hoboken residents found themselves tossed into the frivolous lawsuit in 2012.
One of the objectives of the SLAPP-suit was to obtain and identify more members of the public who dared to speak out against the Old Guard and the Russo faction. Backed by Beth Mason and her family's underwriting, the political operations against Reform was a central obsession. Most of the screen names identified and pursued in the frivolous lawsuit never saw any allegation made against them.
MSV wrote an article on the abuse of the courts as a tool for political intimidation recently as 2014. Beth Mason complained about the article in court this year claiming it among ten MSV articles, two being of the April Fools variety, constituted criminal harassment (along with being handed a subpoena).
One person targeted in the emails is clearly a Hudson Tea building resident. That person and their family had more than once publicly voiced their opposition to Beth Mason's policies harming Hoboken.
The objective of the political operatives? They wanted to shut people up.