Hoboken City Council Passes $700G In Legal Contracts
The amount will cover ongoing litigation for the first quarter of 2013.
The Hoboken City Council passed over $700,000 in legal contracts Wednesday night.
Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo said the amount will cover the city's legal fees through April 1, or the first quarter of the year.
"We can certify the funds passed by the temporary budget," she said. "After the budget is passed, we will come back to you to increase their numbers."
Longo noted that each contract is for a firm that is already representing the city in ongoing litigation, including a challenge to the Election Day referendum on rent control.
The amount the city spends on legal fees often comes under scrutiny from the public, as well as some council members.
Among the contracts was also a resolution approving $35,000 for Montville-based attorney Edward Buzak who was chosen to represent the city in its case to use eminent domain to purchase park land in the city's southwest.
Hoboken resident David Liebler, who is often an outspoken critic of the administration, called for a council subcommitee to oversee the city's legal spending. He also accusing the city of short-changing the landowner who is being offered $2.3 million for the lot known as "block twelve."
"I think this is absolutely disgusting," he said. "Did Hoboken's values drop 75 percent over the last three years?"
Councilman David Mello defended the need for legal counsel on the issue.
"If we don't hire Mr. Buzak and we just leave this festering in the courts, then it will die," said Mello. "We will not acquire land in the southwest."