MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Part Two in the MSV ‘Ethic Cleanser’ Series*
Carmelo Garcia hinted last January at mounting legal civil lawsuit case to counter HHA board majority
After a lunch with the mayor’s husband set up by a former State Senator at his request, Carmelo Garcia, the Hoboken Housing Authority’s contracted Executive Director subsequently in the privacy of his car tells his wire he isn’t going to allow any HHA board majority to impact the selection of its professionals.
The duplicity Garcia exhibits as he blatantly abuses a former State Senator in a bid to cut a deal while secretly recording others at the lunch is the first horrid action heard in the tapes but when no illicit deal materializes, he concludes there’s a plan afoot to have a HHA board majority impact the selection of the board’s professionals.
With no small irony, Garcia is heard talking to himself in the restaurant bathroom complaining those attending the lunch don’t know the law, implying he is the law in the HHA.
Garcia makes it plain he will not allow any such thing to occur. More than a year removed from the secret tape recording in a midtown Manhattan restaurant, he’s lived up to his prediction refusing to put up any other legal counsel for appointment other than Charles Daglian – more than six times even after in one instance HUD called his process last February “legally flawed.”
That scathing criticism from the governing federal agency changed absolutely nothing in Garcia’s behavior as he has continually bucked the HHA board’s obvious rejection of his legal counsel. Commissioners have publicly complained about Daglian’s “legal analysis” and advice at HHA meetings on numerous occasions with votes reflecting “no confidence” to reappoint.
At the Manhattan lunch, a long discussion explaining how a board needs to deem its professionals credible in their performance temporarily silences Garcia’s contention he is the ultimate arbiter and power in the HHA. As he would blithely admit on the PATH ride home, the law impressed him little and he arrogantly trumpets he could overcome the point saying of the mayor’s husband, “He thinks he knows it all. I could have ate him up… I could have ate him up man.”
Attempts during the lunch to counter what a public board’s role is with the mayor’s husband Stan Grossbard fail as former State Senator Bernard Kenny agrees saying he’s correct on the law. Repeated urgings that Garcia work with the HHA board and earn “credibility,”fall on deaf ears even when it’s pointed out if the mayor had taken issue with Garica it would have not taken three years since her first election for any conflict to arise.
Garcia feigns interests throughout the lunch in looking to identify a way (deal) to “get on the team” and “call off the dogs,” referring to various blogs. One story is discussed on Hoboken Patch where a deputy director position is contemplated and Garcia tried to get the HHA commissioners to denounce Grafix Avenger and MSV at public board meeting last summer.
Later, as soon as Garcia is alone in the privacy of his car, he reveals his true designs and a possible plan to for legal action. Speaking to his recording device Garcia says:
“Much of what you heard today, involves them wanting the professionals picked by their people, the majority of four.”
While it’s unclear who Garcia is directing his soliloquy other than his expansive ego, he clearly believes he has successfully “set up,” his enemy – people who think a public board majority constitutes legal authority within the public process of selecting professionals. While alone, he calls the seven member HHA body, “my board.”
Bizarrely, Garcia who is contracted and serves at the pleasure of the HHA board, concludes that should the board choose to exercise a desire to identify firms for professional services in upcoming bid selections, it’s “steering of a contract, and a rigging of a bid,” he says to his recorder.
Last February HUD severely criticized and questioned how Charles Daglian was selected as he has appeared as the low bidder repeatedly and occasionally his cost would magically lower just below another bidder.
Garcia in his final moments taping shows he has no recognition let alone any desire whatsoever to work with a HHA board majority not under his control. What’s obvious in the ruse he set up in the lunch and his secret taping of everyone from the former State Senator Bernard Kenny, to the mayor’s husband and a chance encounter with Jen Sargent of HoLa. All are subservient to his autocratic surreptitious taping.
What is evidenced in the signature closing to his wire? Carmelo Garcia was already plotting baseless legal accusations of some kind as early as January 2013 should an HHA board majority exercise its fiduciary role and responsibility not to his liking.
Taping the lunch was part of that master plan. It doesn’t on complete hearing appear to be his first time at that rodeo either. Rumors abound Carmelo Garcia has been taping others without their knowledge for “a long time.”
As for a master plan revealing the controversial massive redevelopment Vision 20/20, none has ever been put forward.
Among Garcia’s greatest hits talking to his hidden secret wire:
- He’s “not looking to run for higher office” as his “focus” is his “career”
- Argues quoting a statute by number claiming he holds all power in the HHA
- Repeatedly looks to cut a deal asking for “guidance”
- No deal other than what he puts forward himself on the legal counsel contract is ever discussed as he’s urged by everyone to cooperate with the HHA board under the law
- Ultimately thinks he can “run HUD or FEMA”
- Repeatedly says he “is revered by HUD”
- Neither Timmy “Occhipinti (nor) Frank “Raia have anything to do with Vision 20/20”
- Calls Timmy Occhipinti and Frank “Pupie” Raia “fools”
- Describes himself as “a general who follows protocol”
- Says to himself while urinating in the restaurant bathroom, “these folks misunderstood what the law is” on the legal authority of the HHA board
- On BFF Joe Branco, “He’s nuts!”
- “I’m not corrupt” he concludes because he’s “too smart”
- “I know I’m destined for greatness”
- Says the 2012 Mason-Raia BoE “Nazi Truck” group failed to get it done
- Vision 20/20 expanding the downtown HHA by 25% is “reducing density”
- Calls one reform commenter on Hoboken Patch “a henchman”
- “They (reform) don’t know what the fuck they’re doing”
- “They (reform) created the monster of Joe Branco” by not appointing him to the HHA and handing Garcia a rubber stamp majority
- “They can claim the reform veil all they want…we were the original reformers” taking on former Mayor Anthony Russo.
For those who follow the issues in Hoboken, listening to Garcia is akin to being eyewitness to a reality distortion field. Nothing through that lens is clear, nothing is what has occurred and he spins whatever issue aries to whim.
For example, not having his best friend added to a HHA board is a reform failure that “created the monster of Joe Branco.”
The entire three and a half hours tape is like a modernized Shakespearean play demonstrating a singular theme – Carmelo Garcia’s endless duplicity.
|Ethics, what ethics? Listen to the tape, it’s less than zero. Graphic courtesy of Grafix Avenger.
Talking Ed Note: This is hubris run amok and then some. Carmelo Garcia’s is clearly angered at the idea of a legal entity such as the Hoboken Housing Authority having independent impact on what he thinks is his turf in the tradition of toothless Hudson County housing authority boards.
This is the true face of the Old Guard in Hoboken and the county.
Mere law is not going to dissuade Carmelo Garcia of that mistaken thinking and he clearly believes he can concoct civil suits ad nauseum with “ethnic cleansing” lawyer Louis Zayas until the HHA commissioners relinquish their fiduciary responsibility (to him of course) even though they swore to uphold same when they took their oaths.
Then again, he has a non-binding “sole appointing authority” designation in his contract, courtesy of Charles Daglian. Unfortunately for Garcia, State law prevails over a lawyer you are in bed with parsing unilateral powers on a limited contract.
Garcia has repeatedly put forward Daglian for legal counsel to the HHA Board in more than a year and refuses to accept any other alternative, in over half a dozen instances.
If residents in the HHA want to see overdue improvements or a comprehensive plan to overhaul the existing buildings, they should recognize supporting one HHA contractor is the problem in their midst – not the mayor, not the HHA commissioners and not the Hoboken community.
The existing HHA political pecking order won’t like it. Deals have been struck and promises made.
Elections have consequences and so does gross insubordination.
* The Ethic Cleanser series is a special MSV feature combining analysis, facts, horse sense and opinion offering an inside look of the playas.
Talking Ed Note: Don’t hate the game, hate the playas abusing public institutions.