Breaking: Council not likely to pass Suez contract; Councilman Bhalla recused from vote
In a story published by Hudson County View confirming MSV’s earlier report, City Council members stated there’s little interest in voting to approve a Suez water contract presented by Mayor Zimmer.
Councilman Ravi Bhalla in a letter yesterday to City Council members informed them he would be recusing himself from any pending vote on the contract.
MSV noted earlier the opposition to the Suez water contract presented by the Administration was DOA based on three council members seeking further financial details. Eight of the nine members will decide as Councilman Ravi Bhalla will not be voting after recusing himself from all matters connected to the proposed Suez contract.
Bhalla is a law partner in Florio, Perucci who lists Suez on their website as a client.
|Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a partner in Florio, Perucci
will not be voting Wednesday on the City’s proposed Suez contract.
The above chart is from the law firm website.
Council members Ruben Ramos expressed he will not be voting for the Suez water contract and Councilman Dave Mello voiced doubt he would vote to approve it. The Suez contract requires five votes for approval.
The only council member who may be open to approving the Suez contract is Councilman Jim Doyle who is running for re-election on the Bhalla ticket. All other council members are backing other mayoral candidates. Both Mike DeFusco and Jen Giattino filed to be on the November ballot leading full council at-large slates.
MSV obtained a copy of Councilman Ravi Bhalla’s email from non-governmental sources, excerpts of which were published earlier on Hudson County View.
The complete email from Councilman Ravi Bhalla to Hoboken council members, the mayor, business administrator and Bhalla council at-large slate mate Emily Jabbour follows.
DeFusco at the last City Council meeting, about whether potential conflicts of
interest may exist in connection with our forthcoming vote to authorize the
Mayor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Suez United Water
at the next Council meeting. I also write to address inquiries and
statements set forth in a press release issued by Councilman DeFusco the day
following our last Council meeting.
subject matter therein, beyond being a water customer of Suez by virtue of my
residency in Hoboken and the fact that water is supplied through this utility,
an interest shared by virtually all residents in the City, all Council members
and members of the administration residing in the City.
firm of Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader, LLC (“FPSF”).
This means that I do share, directly or indirectly, in the profits generated by
the firm or firm business. I am essentially an “at-will”
employee of the firm.
involving United Water Suez at my firm, nor have I ever been involved, directly
or indirectly, in any matters involving United Water Suez during the course of
my employment at FPSF.
Suez do not involve the City of Hoboken, nor have they ever involved the City.
subject matter of the MOU, other than the impact it can have upon me as a
resident of Hoboken, a common interest shared by virtually all residents of the
City, the Council and Administration residing in Hoboken.
from any further involvement in United Water/Suez matters.
DeFusco, please be advised as following:
United Water/Suez in any professional capacity as a Council Member or attorney;
negotiations involving the City of Hoboken and United Water/Suez, including but
not limited to the MOU that is before the Council shortly.
United Water/Suez is a government affairs client of the firm and all fees are
subject to public disclosure, as referenced in the Councilman’s press release.
form in any of the City’s negotiations with United Water Suez regarding the MOU
or any other matter.
complaint “under active review” by the Local Finance Board.
This is false, as the matter brought by Peter Belfiore, was rejected on two occasions
when reviewed by the courts, most recently by the Appellate Decision.
There was no finding of any ethics violation by the Appellate Division in its
June 2016 decision, it is not under “active review” in any court or
agency, and is a closed matter.
interest with other clients of FPSF, such as New Jersey Transit, please accept
this communication to clarify that if elected as Mayor, I will serve in this
capacity full-time, and will sever my employment with FPSF before taking office
to avoid any alleged or potential conflicts of interests.
vendors, advisors and/or agents that are contrary to the aforementioned
disclosures would be false, legally actionable and I expressly reserve all of
my rights and remedies against any and all breaching parties thereto.
not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.