HOBOKEN—Was it the fact that residents of the projects recently wore shirts to a Hoboken Housing Authority meeting reading "Benedict Jake?" Or just family and personal reasons?
A letter from Hoboken Housing Authority chairman Jake Stuiver was released Monday announcing his plans to leave Hoboken after nearly a decade. The news comes 10 days after the latest in a series of controversial meetings at the Housing Authority. Stuiver said that several personal reasons are forcing him to leave.
The Housing Authority oversees Hoboken's public federally subsidized housing. Stuiver chairs the faction of the unpaid Board of Commissioners that is allied with Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Stuiver and his allies have been opposed to the HHA's paid executive director, native Hobokenite Carmelo Garcia, and recently submitted a resolution to possibly terminate his contract.
According to Stuiver’s letter, “The decision to leave town was a very difficult one, but ultimately a necessary one on account of a confluence of personal circumstances that rendered it impossible to keep living in our apartment building.” Stuiver also cited family reasons.
At the recent HHA meeting, several residents asked if it was a requirement to be a resident of Hoboken to serve on the board. Hoboken Housing Authority Director Carmelo Garcia said that it was. If this is the case, Stuiver will have to vacate his chair before it is up in May. Stuiver said in his letter that he submitted an inquiry to HHA general counsel Charles Daglian on the residency requirement, but has not gotten a response.
The re-hire of Daglian as general counsel was the catalyst to nine months of warring over who has the authority to appoint professionals. Garcia was backing Daglian, but the board wanted to hire another professional.
Two meetings ago, some HHA residents came to the meeting wearing shirts that took aim at Stuiver. The shirts said "Benedict Jake."
Stuiver has an active recent history in Hoboken politics. During the last mayoral election that pitted Councilwoman Beth Mason among Zimmer, Stuiver was Mason's campaign manager. But he became disillusioned with her actions and eventually switched to the Zimmer side. Then Zimmer supported him for the volunteer HHA seat.
The HHA is a powerful entity in town because it has jurisdiction over the projects, containing thousands of residents.
For more on the ongoing controversy at the HHA, see our recent cover story.