Garcia vs. Grossbard: Emails Point to Hoboken Housing Authority Involvement

Carmelo Garcia.
Carmelo Garcia.

According to an October 9 filing with the Hudson County Superior Court, new action is still being taken in the case of Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia against Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, her husband Stan Grossbard and former/current members of the Hoboken Housing Authority.

The October 9 filing shows that a cross motion made by Zimmer’s attorney to dismiss discovery extension was denied. The emails detailing the case further were given to Garcia’s attorney as part of discovery.

According to those emails—which PolitickerNJ obtained from an anonymous source—Grossbard consulted members of the Hoboken Housing Authority (mainly former Chairman Jake Stuiver) on how to proceed with pursuing the termination of Garcia’s contract.

Grossbard was not in any way tied to the HHA or the Hoboken City Council. Even so, he was advising HHA members on how to proceed with the contract in an attempt to reform the HHA’s procurement process. A year later, Garcia’s employment was terminated but the emails do not demonstrate that Grossbard advised on the eventual employment termination.

In a February 26, 2013 correspondence, Grossbard emailed Stuiver, HHA vice chairman Dave Mello and HHA member Greg Lincoln stating that an option for dealing with a disagreements to the procurement process was to “vote to terminate the [Garcia’s] contract and give the 120 day notice…”

“In my option the only way the procurement process can be realistically reformed is by immediately exercising the 120 day termination provision,” Grossbard wrote. “Unless and until you move to terminate, Carmelo has all the leverage, and he will never believe you are actually willing to terminate unless and until you actually do it.”

The emails span from October 2012 to February 2014. Carmelo was terminated on August 4, 2014. The initial lawsuit on the matter was filed in August of 2013. On October 27, 2014, after he had already been dismissed from the HHA, Garcia filed a second lawsuit “containing new causes of action premised upon his discharge from employment,” according to the court documents. The second filing also included Dana Wefer as a defendant. Wefer, like Garcia, is currently running for Hoboken City Council. Current councilmembers Peter Cunningham and Jen Giattino—who is facing Carmelo to reclaim her seat in the sixth ward—are also listed as recipients on some of the emails.

Garcia came under fire for recording a conversation he had with Grossbard and former Senator Bernie Kenny. After the recording mess in Hoboken, Carmelo—who had been voted to represent LD33 in the New Jersey Assembly—was dropped from state Senator Brian Stack’s ticket and will not be further pursuing his assembly seat.

The Discovery end date is currently listed for October 29. According to an October 7, 2015 letter from the attorneys for Zimmer and Grossbard, Grossbard’s “deposition was highly contested.”

PolitickerNJ reached out to Stuiver for comment but he could not be reached.

Note: This story was updated on December 1, 2015 to clarify statements that incorrectly linked Grossbard’s email correspondence in reference to Garcia’s contract termination to Garcia’s eventual HHA employment termination.

Garcia vs. Grossbard: Emails Point to Hoboken Housing Authority Involvement