Zimmer responds to opponent’s criticism over legal fees
Jul 09, 2013 | 3193 views | 6 6 comments | 178 178 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBOKEN – Mayor Dawn Zimmer responded on Tuesday afternoon to criticism from Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, who will challenge Zimmer in a November mayoral election, over the city’s legal expenses, which have grown under Zimmer’s administration. .

“I will always live up to my fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of the city of Hoboken and its residents and will never jeopardize those interests by depriving our residents of proper legal representation,” she said in a statement.

Ramos focused his criticism specifically on lawsuits which have not ended in Zimmer’s favor, including a decision last Friday that said the mayor’s attempts to fill a vacant City Council seat were invalid, and a ruling last month regarding the uptown Monarch development. In that case, the developers originally promised to build tennis courts for the city but later reneged on the offer and proposed building two luxury condominiums. A judge ruled against the city's suit to force them to stick to their original plan.

On Tuesday, Zimmer painted a different picture of the Hoboken’s legal actions, claiming that 92 percent of the cases involving the city in 2012 resulted in rulings favorably to the city.

Her response, verbatim, is:

“In 2008 the City’s budget was found to have not included $12 million of undisclosed expenditures resulting in a State takeover of the City’s fiscal affairs. Since 2008 as the result of my work, as well as the work of Judy Tripodi, the State Fiscal Monitor, the City has an honest, fully funded budget in which one shot revenues are not used to balance the budget. The practice of using one shot revenues to cover recurring expenses has ended in Hoboken. My administration, unlike previous Administrations has also been diligent in defending the City’s interests both by fully defending litigations that are brought against it, and initiating litigation when appropriate.

The recently settled URSA litigation is a case in point. A redeveloper agreement entered into by a prior Administration promised benefits to Hoboken residents that were never fully delivered. As a result of the City’s effective use of the court system, the City received $1.5 million dollars and one acre of land in NW Hoboken. Had the City not resorted to litigation, it would have received nothing. The benefit of this one litigation far exceeds the entirety of the City’s annual legal costs. As another example, the City spent $500,000 in legal fees saving Hoboken’s then bankrupt hospital from closure. This also saved Hoboken taxpayers from a fiscal disaster that nearly resulted in the call of a $52 million bond guarantee that could have bankrupted the City of Hoboken. Entering into the guarantee cost nothing in terms of the legal expense, saving the City from the disastrous potential consequences of having entered into that guarantee cost over $500,000 in legal fees.

I will always live up to my fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of the City of Hoboken and its residents and will never jeopardize those interests by depriving our residents of proper legal representation. In fact, over the last 12 months we have won or favorably settled 92 percent of our resolved cases. The fact that the City has been unsuccessful in a few litigations is not an indication of whether our total legal costs are necessary or appropriate nor is it even an indication as to whether that individual litigation was necessary or appropriate. For example, I do not know whether the City will ultimately succeed in its litigation with regard to the Monarch project, but I do know that using all the tools that we have available to protect the rights of Hoboken residents is the right thing to do.”
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PAX07030
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July 11, 2013
I what appears to be a coordinated move the Councilpersons who are backing Ramos voted down funding to continue the legal City's fight against the Monarch project.

hobokendave
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July 10, 2013
Ramos seemed to be doing a good job in the Assembly...he has yet to give a good answer as to why Stack dumped him (or maybe some other deal was cut)
PAX07030
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July 11, 2013
Maybe ?
VoteHoboken
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July 10, 2013
Ruben Ramos is in a difficult position he can not run on his record as part of Team Roberts which due to it's gross mismanagement drove Hoboken into a State takeover and a huge tax increase.

He is forever tainted by his close connection to Peter Cammerano and dirty politics.

He is getting and taking poor advice from people who appear more interested in continuing their own jihad against the mayor using him to parrot back their talking points.

Everything positive that has come from his campaign so far is a carbon copy of what the Zimmer Administration is already doing.

Yes indeed Ruben Ramos is in a difficult position.
recallbethmason
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July 09, 2013
i simply find it amazing how mayor zimmer comes off so much more professional than her opponents. i think her statement says it all...ramos way to back off your support to fight the monarch, we now see your true colors...
PAX07030
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July 10, 2013
Ramos may have been on the public payroll for years but he has always been a follower and never a leader.