The positional ethics displayed by Dawn Zimmer’s group of pseudo-reformers has always been a marvel.
As if a Delphic Precon Minority Report was ignored, everyone associated with my good friend Peter Camarrano has been repeatedly tried and convicted in the court of “Guilt By Association,” but the entire Zimmer Administration, including bloggers, defend, enable, and facilitate the unethical business dealings of Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla.
The facts: in 2008 the Jersey Journal wrote of Ravi’s seeming “Pay to Play” conflict in Union City where $2,400 donated to a Union City PAC was followed by $127,000 in no-bid contracts, ditto Newark, April 2010, where $2,500 was followed by $60,000 in contracts. Zimmer’s reaction? Stonewalling while friendly bloggers mauled anyone who raised questions.
In May 2010 standing before the council questioning the legality of Bhalla’s vote to award a no bid contract to leasehold partner, Paul Condon, I joined the fray. While Zimmer allies defended Ravi, the question regarding the “conflict” was put to Corporation Counsel Michael Kates. Kates, opined a conflict is “subjective”. That is, one must believe there is a conflict, for a conflict to exist. Kates recently lost a decision regarding Hoboken Zoning before the New Jersey Supreme Court because, wait for it, he was said to have a conflict of interest.
Witnessing this absurdity I took the Bhalla facts to the Department Of Community Affairs and on August 27, 2013 a violation was issued to Ravi.
But this is prologue. At the Hoboken Housing Authority a brawl enveloping most of the Zimmer Administration rages. Feigning dissatisfaction with current board counsel, in violation of HUD procurement policy, the Zimmer appointees seem emboldened to evaluate RFPs for legal services. Although confusing and the subject of a lawsuit, in February, the board, absent any metric of rating and ranking, attempted to force appointing the highest bidding law firm, Florio Perrucci, based solely on “comfort”. The resolution failed but at the subsequent city council meeting, the Florio Perrucci firm saw it city contract increase by $35,000. In advocating, the increase Corporation Counsel Mellissa Longo also cited “comfort”.
What’s my hang up with Florio Perrucci? In August, Ravi Bhalla announced partnering with this city vendor and questions abound. In February through April when Ravi was at HHA meetings was he in negotiations to merge with Florio Perrucci? Did Dave Mello as city councilman and Mellissa Longo, corporation counsel, bind the Zimmer Administration in furtherance of Ravi’s economic betterment? How is Ravi a sitting councilman also a city vendor? What do Stan and Dawn know? If the standard is the mere appearance of a conflict of interest constitutes a conflict of interest, haven’t we passed this a long time ago?
My comments at the September 3rd council were met with silence and snickering from Bhalla. The people of Hoboken deserve better than stonewalling and hypocrisy. By keeping Ravi on her ticket, Dawn continues to lower the bar on ethics for public officials.
Thank you for you many courtesies,