Trial Date Set For Hoboken Rent Control Challenge

A group of Hoboken property owners are attempting to overturn the results of November's rent control referendum.

A Hudson County Superior Court judge will hear arguments challenging the results of November's rent control referendum on Tuesday, January 22.

The referendum, which would have changed Hoboken's current rent control law to a vacancy de-control model, was voted down by a relatively small margin.

A group of 15 Hoboken property owners is petitioning the State and County Boards of Election to take another look at the votes.

Their attorney Charles Gormally said the circumstances of voting after Superstorm Sandy may have altered the outcome.

"It's not about rent control," said Gormally. "It's about whether the votes that were cast were properly counted in an inclusive way and whether the election deprived anyone of the intent to vote."

Included in his defense are 92 mail-in ballots which Gormally said were wrongfully rejected because they were postmarked on Election Day, November 6. He said he has also spoken to voters who received electronic ballots, but were unable to vote.

At a hearing on Friday, tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick with the Hoboken Fair Housing Association attempted to enter the case as an intervenor, but was denied. The judge also rejected her motion to dismiss what she called a "flimsy" case.

"There's no doubt in my mind this is a bogus case," said Fallick, who maintains that the original vote, which was certified by the Hudson County Board of Elections, should stand.

However, she is not optimistic about how the judge could rule in court next week.

"It is Hudson County, so anything can happen," she said.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify Fallick's position on the next week's court date.

PeoplePlease January 15, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Hey Patch...can you remind us again what the actual vote results were?
Katie Colaneri January 15, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Hi People, you can see the results in the story I linked to here: http://hoboken.patch.com/articles/rent-control-upheld-in-hoboken-after-all-votes-are-counted
Hazel January 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM
"It's not about rent control," said Gormally. "It's about whether the votes that were cast were properly counted in an inclusive way and whether the election deprived anyone of the intent to vote." That is the funniest thing I've heard in ages. Actually, what this is about is 'we paid for a certain number of votes and where are they".
PeoplePlease January 16, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Things that rock... I. Stonehenge II. The Rolling Stones III. Katie Colaneri Thanks Katie!
QJ201 January 16, 2013 at 01:36 PM
We convinced all those living in the big rent control buildings that voting to remove it means they won't lose their apartments. We convinced all those paying market rate rents that doing away with rent control will lead to lower rents. Twisted logic...but too many people bought it
franksinatra January 16, 2013 at 07:47 PM
qj -- ending rent control generally does lower the average level of rents by bringing more units on the market and making the market more competitive. let's hope this case wins and the moms and pops trying to merely make some money by renting out a flat in their homes finally get some justice here. very few towns in the U.S. still have rent control and it would be great if cheryl and her "property is theft" crowd would stop trying to block this effort to make Hoboken better and find a better cause.
Ojo Rojo January 16, 2013 at 09:30 PM
I would love to end rent control but not at the expense of letting the courts decide the outcome of an election. Win at the ballot box through the votes of people who honestly vote for what they believe in free of any financial incentives or undue influence or not at all.
recallbethmason January 16, 2013 at 09:57 PM
qj, i am one of the people who voted for this referendum. there was no confusion, i completely understood what the implications were (it helped when the mayor made them change the language of their wording) but I digress. the bottomline, most people knew exactly what they were voting for...we simply do not believe rent control is fair. it is that simple. I have no interest in seeing people thrown out of their homes who cannot afford it but if we have to pay market price, there is simply no logical reason why others (like mike russo) do not have to? again no confusion, simply free choice on the part of voters. if this referendum is put up for a vote again in a few years, it clearly will pass as more and more residents realize that rent control does not work and is not the best option for hoboken.
steve January 17, 2013 at 01:19 AM
The Rent control in Hoboken is as outs dated as the 2nd amendment. It was set up over 40 years ago. There is no reason a single family condo should fall under rent control. None. The landlord cant kick you out to get a higher market rent. It's against the law without rent control.
MadisonMonroe January 17, 2013 at 04:26 AM
If Ms. Fallick or others need governmental assistance with their rent, they should apply to the welfare department, or whatever it may be called these days. The city government shouldn't turn to homeowners with basement apartments and tell them to give a big discount to Ms. Fallick. And certainly it shouldn't be a permanent discount; it should be means tested on a regular basis. Food is just important as shelter, yet the government doesn't empower her to show up every night for a cheapo dinner at the same address for decades and decades.
Matt Shapiro January 17, 2013 at 08:20 AM
Charles Gormally's claim that this case is not about rent control but rather about the vote counting process is ludicrous. Mr. Gormally represents the large landlords in Hoboken who backed the ballot initiative to effectively end rent control in Hoboken through the route of vacancy decontrol. That ballot question was defeated at the polls, and he is trying to overturn that result because they don't like the fact that they lost. Mr. Gormally has filed more lawsuits against rent control than any attorney I know of. He and his clients are partisans with regard to the ballot question, not independent actors seeking "justice." In this context, it is a travesty that Cheryl Fallick, who was the campaign manager for the successful opposition to the ballot question, was denied the right to intervene in the case as a defendant. Contrary to what the judge said, her interests, and the interests of the tenants of Hoboken, in maintaining rent control in Hoboken, are not represented by any other party. No other party has the same motivation to vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit. Consider, if you will, the analogous situation of a losing candidate for office who files a legal challenge to the election result. Would any judge even think twice about allowing the winning candidate to become a party to the case? Not in a million years. Prohibiting Ms. Fallick from becoming a party in this case is a clear miscarriage of justice.
Joel Horwitz January 17, 2013 at 11:45 PM


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