Carmelo Garcia emerges for first interview since his infamous Rat Tapes surface

Hudson County TV highlights Garica’s claim how he had no choice but to ‘set people up’

In a rambling, ranting interview with Hudson County TV, the embattled HHA Director Carmelo Garcia repeats a number of allegations in his civil suit and points the finger at others he says forced him to try and set them up in a recorded lunch with former State Senator Bernard Kenny and the mayor’s husband, Stan Grossbard.

“What they had been asking of me to do,” Garcia says claiming harassment and intimidation forced him to corroborate so he “had to record the meeting.”

Nowhere in this interview or his civil lawsuit does it say what Garcia was coerced or illegally asked to do.  In what MSV calls the Carmelo Garcia Rat Tapes, the only attempt at steering a contract illegally outside of a legal bidding process is made by Garcia himself.

Although Garcia repeats his allegations how he’s a victim, there’s no evidence that he is being intimidated and harrassed into doing anything.  In the transcript, the mayor’s husband urges Garcia to make a stronger effort in the bidding process to identify a lawyer from a wider range of responsive bidders and earn the trust of the HHA commissioners.

At the previous HHA meeting where a fifth vote on the counsel contract occurred, the vote itself was deemed illegal by HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver in a 4-3 vote.  The reason for his statement was no HUD bidding process had been completed as required under federal law.

Garcia would later claim the stenographer recorded the vote 4-3 in favor of Daglian’s re-appointment at the meeting but a video later published by MSV showed it false.  Garcia’s plan to have it reviewed by outside legal counsel in Hudson County was stopped and HUD did not need to come in once again to inform Garcia his attempts at steering the HHA counsel contract to Daglian was “legally flawed” as it did last March in a MSV exclusive.

In an attempt to defend the charge of “ethnic cleansing,” Louis Zayas the attorney for Garcia says the mayor in not supporting Garcia’s Vision 20/20 plan is akin to an action to “obstruct” and has “the effect” of “ethnic cleansing.”

This new ethnic cleansing definition is a departure from the civil suit’s claim the mayor had a competing Vision 20/20 plan.  MSV has earlier stated no such plan exists.

Garcia airs a number of gripes against the HHA board no longer under his total control including their continued resistance as his boss to re-appoint Charles Daglian for legal counsel, raising the possible creation of a deputy director position and that he was Rice noticed and saw a potential discussion with possible termination of his contract.

The specter of Vision 20/20 also is raised by Garcia what he calls in connection to his lawsuit “a big issue.”  In his civil claim, reference to Vision 20/20 is said to have incurred economic loss to him personally.  It’s not clear how that would occur or how much compensation Garcia expects to reap if Vision 20/20 does not move forward as he wishes, a plan which he says is for “the people.”

The last time there was a deputy director position created in the HHA, the job went to – Carmelo Garcia  – who then would eventually move up to executive director.

In the video, Garcia accuses the mayor’s husband of impropriety at a lunch meeting he pursued and set up saying he “… should not be the wheeler and dealer.. should not be negotiating.”  The transcripts made public which Garcia himself made never expecting they would be legally obtained and publicized show the opposite as Grossbard urges him to work with the HHA board and enhance the width of the HUD contract bidding process.

In the transcript, Garcia attempts to get agreement on one local attorney, Joe Garcia, but his offer is not accepted by anyone at the lunch.  Joe Garcia was briefly chief of staff under mayor Peter Cammarano and does some work in his existing firm for the City of Hoboken in an ongoing rent control case.

Garcia also accuses the mayor’s husband of calling him “a janitor” and adds, “I felt I was being threatened… under the iron fists of these people… to get me to do what they want to do.”

Carmelo Garcia late in the interview calls himself “a man of great integrity.”

Both Garcia and Zayas declined to discuss if any additional secret recordings of others were made.  While Hudson County pols are asking themselves what they may have said to Garcia, there’s at least two other meetings where Garcia may have gone in wired in an attempt to “set up” others.

Earlier last spring, Garcia held a meeting with the mayor in a last second attempt to present an “emergency” to gain her support to approve phase one of Vision 20/20.  The mayor replied with a formal letter stating her list of concerns.  At least one other lunch is known to have been requested by Garcia with HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver.

Was the Carmelo Garcia rat machine also rolling at these two meetings?

Talking Ed Note: Let’s restate the incontrovertible fact that the Carmelo Garcia Rat Tapes were not made public by him or his lawyer or submitted to law enforcement as part of his self-appointed “Entrapment Crime Wave.”

The lawsuit was a response to their knowing they had been legally obtained by other parties against his will and were discussed here and elsewhere at great length leading up what was clearly coming: their exposure.

You can say the sky is brown when a video shows it’s blue, but it hardly makes a case for you to point to the video and say it proves your case.

This will certainly provide lots of weekend entertainment and for some such as State Senator Brian Stack, additional sweating.

Garcia isn’t denying he’s taped others in his attempt to set up others.  Obviously he never expected his rat tapes to become public.  MSV continues to hear the secret tape recordings were a Carmelo Garcia staple and he’s been at it “a long time.”

The word on the Hudson County streets now extending to Trenton and all NJ points beyond is that Carmelo Garcia is a pariah.  Union City Mayor Brian Stack who made a recent visit to Hoboken is said to be steering clear of Carmelo Garcia and the visit to Hoboken with Garcia out of town is no accident.

That’s too bad.

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