Former Hoboken public safety director sues city and mayor
HOBOKEN – The former public safety director for the city of Hoboken has filed a civil suit against the city and Mayor Dawn Zimmer, alleging both race discrimination and retaliation for whistle-blowing, according to a complaint provided to the Reporter on Friday by a North Bergen law firm.
The complaint was filed in Hudson County Superior Court on Thursday, according to an employee from the law offices of Louis Zayas in North Bergen.
Zayas is the same attorney who handled the infamous case of five police officers and SWAT team members who sued the Police Department for alleged racial discrimination.
Former Public Safety Director Alicea alleges in his 11-page complaint that the Hoboken Police Department has refused to conduct random drug testing of officers.
Alicea, who is a member of the Federal Task Force on Steroids, ordered a high ranking officer to conduct tests as soon as possible, according to the complaint. According to the complaint, the police official claimed his staff was not trained in the software used for random drug tests.
The complaint states that from December 2010 to January 2011, Alicea complained to city officials about the lack of drug tests.
Alicea then conducted his own investigation by obtaining records from Hoboken’s insurance company, according to the complaint, and found that four police officers had been given prescriptions for human growth hormone (HGH), which is commonly used to balance the effects of steroids, according to the complaint. The HGH prescriptions cost the city $66,000, the complaint states.
The complaint alleges that Zimmer told Alicea in April to either resign or be terminated. Alicea did, in fact, resign.
However, around that time, the news had broken that Alicea, in his capacity as a City Council candidate in Hoboken, had been among candidates who had met with an undercover FBI informant who was offering bribes to candidates as part of an FBI sting operation. On April 8, Zimmer announced that Alicea had resigned because he had not disclosed to her that he had met with informant Solomon Dwek in 2009. Dwek was the key informant in a 2009 sting “Operation Bid Rig”, which brought down former Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano.
Alicea's suit also alleges racial discrimination, noting that the current public safety director, a white male, makes $110,000, while Alicea, a Hispanic male, earned only $27,500.
The mayor’s office was unaware of the lawsuit when reached for comment on Friday.
“If and when we are served with this complaint, our [Legal Department] will review it and take appropriate action,” Zimmer said.
A message has been left for Alicea seeking comment.
Artists’ Studio Tour scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 5 and 6)
The annual Hoboken Artists’ Studio Tour will be celebrated once again on Nov. 5 and 6.
The free citywide tour allows enthusiasts, residents, and visitors to visit dozens of artists’ personal studios all around town. Exhibits are held in businesses and other locations as well. The event takes place from noon to 6 p.m. both days.
The tour is sponsored by The Hoboken Reporter, the city of Hoboken, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and The Hudson County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.
Maps for the self-guided tour are available in City Hall and in last week’s edition of The Reporter. For a history of the event and what’s new this year, check the Oct. 23 Hoboken Reporter cover story in the print edition or at HudsonReporter.com under “Hoboken News.”
Election Day is Nov. 8
Voters throughout Hudson County will go to the polls on Nov. 8 to elect a number of county and state officeholders. The positions up for grabs are county executive, county register, three state Senate seats, all six state Assembly seats, and all nine Board of Freeholder seats. Only two of the freeholders face competition this time around, including Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano, who is being challenged by Kurt Gardiner.
In Hoboken, voters also can respond to a question on changes to the city’s rent control law.
Hoboken is in the 33rd state legislative district. In that district, Democratic State Sen. Brian Stack of Union City is being challenged by Republican Beth Hamburger of Hoboken. Democratic Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. is running for reelection with running mate Sean Connors. They are opposed by Republicans Christopher Garcia and Fernando Uribe.
In heavily Democratic Hudson County, political races often get more heated during the June primaries, when Democrats face each other for the nomination. The winners then go on to the November race, but do not always face a challenge from Republicans.
Community meeting scheduled for NJ Transit plan
On Nov. 10, the city will hold a community meeting at the Rue School, 301 Garden St., from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to discuss the redevelopment plan for Hoboken Terminal and Rail Yards.
City planners are currently working on their own proposal after talks with NJ Transit fell apart earlier this year.
The second community meeting will provide the opportunity for residents to review development options for the entire terminal site and discuss the community’s priorities to guide the redevelopment plan, according to a city release.
All Saints Episcopal Day School schedules event for community leaders
On Nov. 7 at 8:30 a.m., community leaders from the Hoboken City Council, clergy from local churches and temples, Board and Vestry members of All Saints and the Jubilee Center along with middle school parents will gather at All Saints Episcopal Day School for the fourth annual “Month of the Young Adolescent Leadership Summit.”
Several middle school students will present speeches and letters they have written to leaders in Hoboken to express their concerns about the world and their community. In addition to broader concerns, students will focus on issues of homelessness and hunger, both locally and globally.
Downtown Farmers’ Market to remain open until Nov. 22
Due to popular demand, the Downtown Farmers’ Market, located at Washington and Newark streets, will be open on Tuesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. up until and including Nov. 22. The market is sponsored by the Quality of Life Coalition.
Hoboken Rotary Club schedules spelling bee
The Hoboken Rotary Club will hold their third annual spelling bee on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m at Hoboken Catholic Academy (555 Seventh St.). Fourth graders from throughout the city will duke it out for a chance to be the spelling champion of Hoboken.
It’s official: Office Depot coming to Hoboken
Office Depot is on its way to Hoboken, according to Jeff Koenig of Washington Associates LP, the landlord of the former Barnes & Noble site on Washington Street near Observer Highway.
Signs advertising Office Depot’s arrival have appeared in the windows of the downtown large retail space, which has sat vacant since Barnes & Noble left the site around January 2010.
Koenig said Office Depot, a national office supply and services company, will take “a large portion” of the space, but more of the building still remains to be rented. He said that he has been receiving a lot of attention from national companies about the rest of the space, and hopes to have the entire building rented by the end of the year.
Man dressed as gladiator goes on attack, police say
When it’s getting close to Halloween in Hoboken, maybe some people take their costumes a little too seriously.
On Oct. 29 at approximately 2 a.m., police met with a bleeding 25-year-old man who alleged that he was assaulted inside a bar on First Street by a man who witnesses told police was dressed as a gladiator.
The alleged victim said he was struck with a pint glass on the left side of his face, according to a police report, and he was bleeding from the head. The gladiator fled from the scene before police were able to intervene, the report said.
The suspect is described by police only as a Hispanic male wearing a gladiator costume. Police are investigating.
Quality of Life Coalition to present Hoboken Thanksgiving Awards
On Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m., the Quality of Life Coalition will present their Hoboken Thanksgiving Awards for the sixth year.
PSE&G is underwriting the event, which will be held at Hoboken Historical Museum, Hudson and 13th streets. A reception will follow.
The community service award will go to Valerie D’Antonio for her volunteer efforts on many committees. The environmental award will be awarded In Memoriam to Marj Laue for her efforts in the development of green gardens in the city. A community awareness award will be presented to Mark Singleton for his “extraordinary work involving the care of the poor and shelter for the homeless.”
The QLC’s Green Award will be presented to Jason Scott and Chris Viola, the owners of The Taco Truck and restaurant, for their “green” store and contributions to the city’s tree planting program.
Kim Kardashian and (ex?) Hoboken resident Kris Humphries split after 72 days of marriage
Gossip website TMZ reported last week that basketball star Kris Humphries, who recently moved out of the Tea Building in Hoboken, is officially separated from model Kim Kardashian, who has a famous rear end. ABC news followed up by reporting that a producer of Kardashian’s reality show confirmed, via Twitter, that the couple will divorce. The couple was married for 72 days.
During NBA season, Humphries lived in the Tea Building in uptown Hoboken. In late August, he Tweeted a goodbye to Hoboken, but it’s unclear when he moved out.
The pair’s courtship was chronicled on the reality show about Kardashian’s famous family, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. On the show, Kim’s family repeatedly accused Humphries of using his fiancée to get famous. The show also showed Kim’s mother, Kris Kardashian Jenner, pushing to make sure Kim had a prenuptial agreement with the NBA star.
TMZ reported that among other reasons for the breakup, Humphries thought the couple would live in his native Minnesota someday, while Kardashian wanted to stay close to her family and fame in Los Angeles, Calif.
Now Humphries can come back to Hoboken for a while and perhaps find a single Hoboken gal who appreciates him.