Feds say Menendez is not being investigated
HUDSON COUNTY – When federal investigators issue subpoenas to state politicians and agencies, it leads people to wonder whether wrongdoing was committed and who will be charged. Usually, the authorities don’t say anything when the investigation is closed or if they fail to turn up improprieties, leaving the investigated officials under a cloud of suspicion.
But in the last two months, the U.S. attorney’s office has publicly stated that two high-profile Hudson County politicians are no longer the subject of an investigation.
Three weeks ago, federal authorities said that no evidence of wrongdoing was found after Assemblyman/former Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria’s house was raided as part of a 2009 political corruption sting. Many other politicians were charged in connection with that probe. (See related links below.)
Now, the federal government is saying that an investigation has been closed after subpoenas were issued in 2006 regarding Sen. Robert Menendez, originally from Union City.
The federal subpoena was given to the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, a Hudson County-based agency that gives low-cost and free health care to needy people throughout the county.
At the time, sources had said that Menendez helped get federal money for the agency, but also rents property to the agency, which could be a conflict of interest.
The subpoena came during an election against Republican State Sen. Tom Kean Jr.
NJ.com reported on Monday, “In a letter sent to Menendez’s lawyer, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania said the case has been quietly closed. ‘After review and consideration of the matter transferred to me, I have decided to close the file,’ U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger wrote in the Oct. 5 letter, co-signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard P. Barrett.”
NJ.com quotes Jay Fahy, the former head of the corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, as saying, “It’s done in cases where it’s a public figure or a semi-public figure, and the mere mention of the dropping of a subpoena or a search warrant ruins the person’s reputation. U.S. attorneys don’t give out these letters unless they’re sure. It doesn’t say it’s an exoneration, but in reality, it’s an exoneration.”
Menendez is up for re-election next year.
Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition to host rent control debate Friday
HOBOKEN – It's been referred to as the third rail of politics in Hoboken, but this Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., a group of panelists will grab on tightly and discuss the issue of rent control, as a referendum on three recent changes to the law draws nearer.
The debate will be held on Oct. 28 at the Our Lady of Grace Church Hall on Willow Avenue at 5th Street, and is sponsored by the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition.
On Nov. 8, voters will have their say on three recent changes to the city's rent control law.
Rent control applies to apartments built in Hoboken before 1987, and limits the amount that landlords can raise rents on an annual basis. In March, the council unanimously made three changes to tighten the city’s 1973 rent control ordinance. Tenant advocates then went out and gathered enough signatures to place the changes on the ballot.
To read prior coverage of the issue, see links below. Also see the Hoboken Reporter for future coverage.
The two organizations will be represented respectively by Cheryl Fallick and Dan Tumpson for Hoboken Fair Share Housing, and Ron Simoncini and Joe Murray will represent the property owners, speaking on behalf of the Mile Square Taxpayers Association.
The event will be moderated by Ray Smith of The Hudson Reporter.
The public is encouraged to submit questions in advance of the event by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. A panel of Quality of Life board members will select the questions. No questions will be taken from the audience on the evening of the debate. Admission is free.
Hoboken expected to vote on parking agreement with hospital
HOBOKEN – The Hoboken City Council was expected on Tuesday to vote on a proposed parking agreement that is said to be crucial to the sale of Hoboken University Medical Center.
The city and HUMC Holdco, the new hospital owners, reached a 99-year parking agreement after months of negotiations that will provide access to 1,000 parking spots for hospital employees, spread throughout three city garages.
As part of the agreement, some physicians would have access to reserved spots, while other employees
will have unreserved parking. Under the agreement, the rates for the first three years would be for $45 per month, and after that, the rate is $65 per month. Residents pay $185 per month for the spots. If the
property, during the 99 year lease, is no longer a hospital, the new owners would still be guaranteed transponders for the spots, but they would pay market rate, according to the agreement.
The new parking agreement also nullifies the current agreement, starting a new 99-year lease.
The results of the vote were not available at press time, but will be published in this weekend’s Hoboken Reporter. -- Ray Smith
Formula One road race definitely coming to Weehakwen and WNY
HUDSON COUNTY – The Formula One Grand Prix of America is set to hold a race on River Road and Boulevard East with the New York City skyline in the background in June of 2013, according to various media reports. Discussions were already reported earlier this year, and a press conference to announce final plans was held this past Tuesday.
The race will be held in Austin, Texas on Nov. of 2012. The race is typically held on regular city streets.
When the potential race was first announced for local streets, residents told the Reporter that they either hadn’t heard about it, or weren’t concerned about the local impact on traffic. For an update on the plans for 2013, see this weekend’s Reporter newspapers.