The threat to Reform: the Courts as a tool for political intimidation


MSV’s exclusive political analysis on the latest Carmelo Garcia lawsuit

Despotism is typically viewed through the lens of a single individual abusing power in an absolute and unjust manner. Hoboken finds itself in a rather unique aspect where individuals seeking despotic power or in this instance having lost it are eager to use the Courts as a tool of personal intimidation.

It’s a message sent to the entire Hoboken community and a stern warning. If you wish to participate in the public process of governance, you best mind your manners and steer clear of us and our money pot – or you will be destroyed using the civil and criminal courts.

Partners in crime? Councilwoman Beth Mason and Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia have stood united in an attempt
to suppress Reform oversight inside the Hoboken Housing Authority.
The use of the Courts as a political tool is all the rage even with the Feds crawling all over the joint.
The institutional failure has seen their abuse of the Courts as a tool for intimidation.

Yesterday’s statement from Carmelo Garcia’s attorney, Louis Zayas of “ethnic cleansing” infamy is maybe the best public announcement of that Old Guard policy. Other recent occasions include the political application when Beth Mason and her family dropped well into six figures to stave off the appointment of Councilman Jim Doyle. Lacking the personal flavor of running up a personal bill, Zayas made it clear his targets are the bank accounts and assets of HHA Chair Dana Wefer, HHA commissioner Dave Mello and of course Mayor Dawn Zimmer. The last due to the mayor’s most unforgivable offense of not allowing the Old Guard to cash in on a once in a lifetime swindle – the corrupt undocumented doubling of the HHA called Vision 20/20. 

The more recent and appropriate application is Beth Mason’s backing for the 2012 SLAPP suit against over a dozen Hoboken residents she prematurely announced when questioned by this editor at a City Council meeting. That vindictive backlash sputtered out exactly two weeks before the lawsuit’s filing in Hudson County Superior Court.

Legal analysis of the latest Carmelo Garcia lawsuit deem it more a political treatise than a legal document, let alone a serious civil complaint. With the Feds breaching the walls of the Hoboken Housing Authority and a special counsel appointed last week by the HHA board, many observers feel it’s only a matter of time before more serious criminal transgressions are identified and exposed.

With the latest Carmelo Garcia filing, the impact of intimidation has been largely erased by the offsetting factors in the public domain and HHA Chair Dana Wefer’s retaliatory strike yesterday there’s far more the public doesn’t know about Carmelo Garcia’s reign of error inside the agency. What’s already in the public domain on the corruption exposed in the HHA would give most pause but the Old Guard has one motto, “No admission of any wrongdoing until the jail cell door slams the back of your rear end.” There too is the Beth Mason motto during the FBI investigation of the 2011 Data Theft Ring (DTR) conspiracy, “Unless there’s proof, I’m going to say I’m innocent.”

It’s a creed the entrenched Old Guard live by.

As one federal attorney shared with MSV, “Couldn’t finish reading (Garcia’s) complaint. It’s awful, there’s practically no legal argument; it’s a political statement.” Another noted the attempt at injecting racketeering is simply laughable. Mayor Zimmer has called it “absurd” and pointed to the desperate aspect of Garcia’s most recent legal action mocking it even as she’s a personal target.

Underlying the obvious attempt to use the Courts as a weapon, there’s reason for real concern. Hoboken’s political environment is so toxic even politicos in Hudson County steer clear. The City Council has remarkably improved its discourse of late under the fine stewardship of Council President Jen Giattino but it’s always a second or two from an ugly outburst and election season is unofficially begun. The six ward seats are up with an election for each next November.

The use of the term Old Guard, coined in Hoboken by MSV has also been turned on its head. In another cynical invention, Louie Zayas writes the Old Guard is not a long time political class attempting to hold sway over Old Hoboken voters, but a (discriminatory) class of residents made up of minorities and Italians.

It’s a view deployed to advance a phony civil rights claim when corruption and the despotism of a former head of a Banana Republic lost his way. This Old Guard political intimidation lacking any remote semblance of decency is likely the last dying gasps of a political class desperate to maintain its corrupt hold on Hoboken institutions. One election however can turn the balance of power and it’s all turned on a dime. The current City Council makeup is a 5-4 reform majority and can be erased in the next November election.

The use of the Courts, civil and criminal is a warning to individuals who consider participating in the public process. As most of the local boards positions are unpaid, the message is to discourage citizen participation or raising their voice in a public setting as in a City Council meeting. “You are welcome to come hat in hand and beseech us but don’t you dare criticize or oppose us” is the clear and obvious Old Guard message.

It really doesn’t end with these people. Until the cancer is finally excised from our community, no one is safe.

Look at the time, Da Horsey has to run. Have to get the attorney and prepare for Beth Mason’s criminal complaint this Tuesday in Jersey City.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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