I must take issue with the letter authored by Mr. Ed Mecka published a couple of weeks ago in the Hoboken Reporter. Mr. Mecka purported that the Board of Commissioners were asleep at the wheel. I beg to differ.
Ed Mecka's speculative estimation of the Hoboken Housing Authority debacle is clearly inaccurate and perjortive interpretation. The preliminary report released by the interim director Robert DiVincent was utterly disturbing. The report did confirm the incompetence and mismanagement cited by the board majority that has, subsequently, left the Housing Authority in a financial wreck. Mr. E. Troy Washington's administration conduct was at best, dumbfoundly incompetent and at worst, unbelievably deceitful, petulant and arrogant.
In late 2002, I became the Chairman of HHA and enjoyed the comfort of a slight majority on the Board of Commissioners. We immediately began to scrutinize Washington's administration in an attempt to halt the relax oversight created by the previous boards under his tenure. While in the process of circumspecting the HAA operations, we found plenty of irregularities that were profoundly concerning.
Consequently, the collaboration between Troy Washington, the three resident commissioners and the board attorneys at the time, inculcated to HUD officials in Newark that the board majority was untrustworthy and that we were attempting to corrupt the authority with politics. Director Edward DePaula and Director Diana Johnson accepted this to be the truth and chose to support Troy Washington and his administration by admonishing the board majority in its many correspondence received which amounted to threats of sanctions against the Housing Authority, threat of certain board members being removed via New Jersey State DCA and even jail.
Troy Washington's despotic tactics to keep the board majority in the dark and uninformed of all aspects of the operation was indeed reprehensible. Washington, unequivocally, misled the board to believe that we were financially sound and should be barred from ever working in any Housing Authority in New Jersey and/or any other state in this country.
Nevertheless, the board majority, which consists of Commissioner Jessica Andreula, Councilperson Chris Campos who replaced Council President Ruben Ramos, Jr., Perry Belfiore and myself, are all vindicated, and I am greatly appreciative for their courage to stand by their principles. The concerted effort by the aforesaid board members to remain firm in ensuring that Washington's administration was held accountable at all times, was a factor in his departure to the Jersey City Housing Authority.
And so, Mr. Ed Mecka if you would have taken the same time that it took you to write the letter and attended one of our board meetings, you would have been writing a letter praising the board majority for their resolve and commitment to the Hoboken taxpayers and the residents of Hoboken Housing Authority. There are protocols that must be followed that must be confirmed and verified, and I am certain that you are familiar with them in your field of work.
In conclusion, the final report from Director DiVincent is due very soon and an audit to follow which will then be forwarded to the federal authorities for further review and/or possible legal action. Director Robert DiVincent, Marie Mayo, Ramos, Campos, Andreula, Belfiore and HHA employees that had the courage to come forward, thank you. Because of you, the residents of HHA will finally have a promising future.