Garcia refiles nearly identical lawsuit against Zimmer, but without ‘ethnic cleansing’ accusations
Newly elected State Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, who also serves as the executive director of the Hoboken Housing Authority, recently refiled a lawsuit against Mayor Dawn Zimmer, along with her husband and a political operative, alleging that the trio engaged in patronage practices which impeded Garcia’s job performance as they embarked on campaign to transform Hoboken.
The lawsuit was originally filed last summer and first reported in depth in a Hoboken Reporter story.
The lawsuit was an expected next move by Garcia. His original lawsuit, which alleged that Zimmer and her husband, Stan Grossbard, were planning a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” in Hoboken, was thrown out by a judge two weeks ago for failing to provide sufficient evidence to support its claims.
The suit quotes from a tape that Garcia made of a lunch he had with the mayor’s husband a year ago. It did not appear to capture any illegal conversation. The original Hoboken Reporter story includes quotes from the tape (look for it at hudsonreporter.com).
At the heart of the tape, and the allegations, is a power struggle over the more than 3,000 units of low-income public housing in southwestern Hoboken, which are a safety net for the city’s poorest residents, and also a source of votes for the politically powerful. The members of the seven-member volunteer Board of Commissioners tend to hold a lot of sway in that area. The suit reveals an ongoing tug of war among many powerful political entities in town, including the mayor and her allies on the board.
Last year, the mayor’s allies achieved a majority on that board, and were frequently at odds with Garcia, and last year attempted to introduce resolutions to terminate him. Garcia has since won a seat on the state Assembly.
The new complaint foregoes any mention of ethnic cleansing, replacing much of that language with charges of political patronage. The suit restates Garcia’s original charges that Zimmer, Grossbard and Jake Stuiver, a former chairman of the housing board, allegedly “began to subject Director Garcia to an unlawful pattern of harassment, threats, intimidation and extortion.”
“We’re pressing forward with the suit because there is a clear violation of the law,” said Garcia’s attorney, Louis Zayas. “This is an unexpected delay, but not a delay that we cannot overcome.”
Gerald Krovatin, the attorney representing Zimmer, was not immediately available for comment. Krovatin is also representing the city in dealings with the investigation into Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s recent claims that the administration of Gov. Chris Christie intimidated her.
Garcia’s lawsuit is getting more play in the media in the context of those claims, as he is alleging that the mayor’s administration is being hypocritical because it allegedly exerted pressure on him to undertake certain actions.
In fact, comments from Zayas have appeared in stories in mainstream media outlets including UPI International, the Star Ledger, and ABC News. Zayas has also been commenting on another suit he has handled involving Zimmer, a wrongful termination lawsuit by former Hoboken Public Safety Director Angel Alicea against the city. Alicea recently won more than $1 million in judgments against the city.
Some of the media reporting on the suits has gone to extremes, with one conservative website falsely claiming that Zimmer had been “found guilty” in connection with the Alicea suit.
Jake Stuiver, a housing commissioner allied with Zimmer who is mentioned in the suit, has since moved out of Hoboken and left the housing board. He has recently posted a supportive note on Zimmer’s Facebook page regarding the Christie matter. – Dean DeChiaro
CarePoint Health sponsors two Super Bowl numerals on the Hoboken waterfront
In honor of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII coming to New Jersey, CarePoint Health sponsored two of the twelve foot Super Bowl Roman Numerals located at Pier A Park in Hoboken, the company announced this week. The illuminated sculpture, designed by architect John Nastasi, was unveiled Tuesday afternoon by former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer and former Jets linebacker Bart Scott.
The unveiling kicked-off the week-long Hoboken Huddle celebration on the Hoboken Waterfront which features lanes for curling as well as the official Super Bowl XLVII Fan Store, entertainment and local food vendors. The life-sized Roman numerals will be on display through Super Bowl weekend.
For updates on the Super Bowl and related events, go to hudsonreporter.com. To read our “Huddle Zone” guide, click on the Huddle Zone icon on the website.
Hoboken Catholic Academy to hold Texas Hold ‘Em fundraiser
Hoboken Catholic Academy announced this week that it will hold a Texas Hold ‘Em poker fundraiser on Feb. 28 in the school’s gymnasium, located at 555 Seventh St. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., when instructors will be on hand to teach beginners the rules of the game. The first official deal of the evening will take place at 8 p.m.
The initial buy in will be $150, unless a ticket is purchased in advance, in which case the buy in is $125.
Food, beer and wine will be included in the buy-in. Blackjack tables will also be provided. Prizes will include Visa cash cards, the top prizes being for $1500, $1000 and $500, respectively. A 50/50 raffle will be held throughout the evening with winners announced at its conclusion.
Volunteers are needed. To purchase tickets, visit hobokencatholic.org and download the enrollment form available on the site.