Former freeholder, Democratic leader Maurice Fitzgibbons passes away
HUDSON COUNTY – Former Hudson County Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons died late Sunday night at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City at the age of 57. He had been hospitalized since last week.
A Hoboken native, Fitzgibbons worked in government for two decades before he decided to run for freeholder in 1993, a job in which he eventually served for 15 years.
Fitzgibbons became Hoboken’s recreation director at age 20 and was the Hoboken Democratic chairman twice -- from 1994 to 1998 and then again in 2008.
Over the years, he also served as a trustee at the Jersey City Performing Arts Center in the Loew’s Theater.
A proponent of the arts and local tourism, Fitzgibbons pushed for funding for the Hoboken Museum and for restoration of the Hoboken YMCA, as well as for the Boys and Girls Club, improvements to Columbus Park, and the now-ongoing reconstruction of the 14th Street Viaduct.
Fitzgibbons was also recently renominated by Gov. Christopher Christie for a role on the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Fitzgibbons ran a local public relations firm and went to great lengths each summer to publicize the popular St. Ann's Festival in western Hoboken.
Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos (D – Hudson) released a statement on Monday morning: “Maurice was like family to me, but more so than anything, he was a mentor and a true guide. Maurice’s reputation as a freeholder extends far outside our city’s limits. Since I was elected to the Assembly, I haven’t met anyone in the State House who hasn’t experienced Maurice’s random acts of kindness and generosity. His loss is one that will ring throughout the state. Maurice ... fought relentlessly for the city of Hoboken."
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer expressed her condolences to the family and friends of Fitzgibbons on behalf of the city of Hoboken. Among family members, Fitzgibbons was the brother of longtime city housing inspector Jude Fitzgibbons.
Zimmer said of Fitzgibbons, “He was a strong advocate of the arts, with a long history of service to our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Freeholder Anthony Romano said it was an honor to succeed Fitzgibbons in office. Romano was elected in 2008 after Fitzgibbons surprisingly decided not to seek another term as freeholder.
“Maurice was a big influence in Hoboken all of his life,” Romano said on Monday morning. “He was always thinking of the people of Hudson County.”
The wake will be held Wednesday at the Lawton Turso funeral home at Seventh and Washington Streets in Hoboken from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mass will be at St. Ann's Church in Hoboken, Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington.
Former Hoboken parking director pleads guilty
HOBOKEN – John Corea, the ex-director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 to official misconduct, according to a release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office. Corea was indicted in 2009.
Corea was implicated in an alleged scam in which $600,000 was allegedly taken by a Toms River contractor whose company was hired by the city to collect coins from city parking meters, according to the release.
Corea admitted that while he was the HPU director, "he steered three separate no-bid contracts" to the company "to collect, count, and manage the coins from the city's parking meters. He admitted that he made false statements to the City Council about the qualifications and experience of the company, which is a coin-operated arcade game manufacturer."
The owner of the company already pleaded guilty in 2009, the release says.
The state will recommend under the plea agreement that Corea be sentenced to eight years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility, according to the release.
He must pay $300,000 in restitution to the city of Hoboken, and will be barred from public employment in New Jersey.
Corea is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2012.
The city has since switched to multi-space meters, which provide for greater accountability of parking meter funds, city officials said. – Ray Smith
Union City kid suffers machete attack, in ongoing trend
UNION CITY – Last January, an article in the Reporter noted that eight of 11 homicide victims in Union City were killed by machetes, and that in the four years before that, there were an additional 129 victims of machete violence. This prompted Union City's Board of Commissioners to introduce an ordinance on Jan. 4 that prohibited the sale of machetes within the city. It stated that any store, individual, facility, or entity that attempted the sale of the weapon would receive up to a $1,000 fine, up to 90 days in jail, up to 90 days of community service, or any combination thereof as punishment for violating the ordinance.
But the rules did not stop a Union City machete attack this week, according to a newspaper article.
A 15-year-old was taken to Jersey City's Christ Hospital after being cut by a machete found in the possession of a 19-year-old Union City man this week, according to NJ.com. The man has been charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, obstruction of administration of the law and resisting arrest. – Gennarose Pope