Second time's not the charm: Judge criticizes criticizes discrimination suit by Hoboken housing head
Feb 28, 2014 | 997 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EXHIBIT A – Carmelo Garcia shows documents to City Council related to the Hoboken Housing Authority projects.
EXHIBIT A – Carmelo Garcia shows documents to City Council related to the Hoboken Housing Authority projects.
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HOBOKEN -- Last summer, Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia filed a discrimination lawsuit against Mayor Dawn Zimmer, alleging she was trying to "ethnic cleanse" the city, but a judge dismissed the complaint, saying Garcia failed to provide any evidence of his claims. In January, Garcia refiled nearly an identical suit, removing the "ethnic cleansing" claim and simply saying Zimmer and her allies on the city's housing board pressured him to make certain decisions and retaliated against him.

Apparently, resubmitting the suit with no new evidence didn't help. According to a report posted late Friday on NJ.com, a state Superior Court judge responded to a motion from Zimmer to dismiss the matter. While he didn't go as far as dismissing it, he gave Garcia bad news.

Judge Lawrence Maron said that Garcia didn't face retaliation as he isn't an employee of Zimmer (the Hoboken Housing Authority is a separate entity, although the mayor can appoint one member to the seven-member board that oversees Garcia, and her allies hold the majority on the board).

The judge also noted that Garcia still has his job and earns the same salary and benefits as before, according to the NJ.com story.

Maron reportedly said, "You have to have an adverse employment action, and show that he's an employee. I don't see where there's an adverse action."

The findings were preliminary and no decision was rendered on Friday. The information was made public after press time on Friday, so watch next weekend's edition of the Reporter for more on the preliminary findings.

Part of Garcia's suit involved him surreptitiously taping a lunch he had with the mayor's husband and a former state senator, which he later said was an attempt to gain evidence for the suit. However, the judge apparently failed to find anything significant in that evidence the last time around.

To read an in-depth story about what was in Garcia's suit and reactions to it, see this story in the Reporter.

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