HOBOKEN – A former Hoboken information technology (IT) official who was fired in May 2011 after being accused of forwarding emails between Mayor Dawn Zimmer and people within her administration to third parties was cleared of all charges Thursday, according to a report on Hoboken Patch.
Administrative Judge Evelyn Marose dropped the charges against Jonathan Cummins after concluding that Cummins did not knowingly forward classified emails to third parties at the behest of former IT Director Patrick Ricciardi, according to the report.
Ricciardi was arrested on similar charges in November 2011. The city’s charges against Cummins were based on testimony from former city attorney Mark Tabakin and administrator Arch Liston, who said in October that Cummins confessed to them that he had knowledge of Ricciardi’s actions and forwarded emails to third parties at Ricciardi’s behest.
However, in court, Cummins countered Tabakin and Liston’s testimony, stating that he had never forwarded any classified emails. Marose’s decision said that Tabakin and Liston’s testimony “lacked credibility” and said that “Hoboken presented no actual evidence that Cummins was responsible for the email leaks or any writing or recording which corroborates the claim that he confessed to the charged conduct.”
Cummins will be free to return to his job in City Hall and could be awarded back pay and attorney fees. Marose’s ruling is still pending the approval of the state’s Civil Service Commission, which can still reject or modify the case’s outcome.
City spokesman Juan Melli said Thursday the amount of back pay and attorney fees owed to Cummins has not been determined. He said the administration had no comment on the decision.
Ricciardi pleaded guilty to intercepting communications meant for Zimmer and top city officials, and passing some of those emails on to other officials. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1. – Dean DeChiaro