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Infighting Over Attorney Contract Continues at Hoboken Housing Authority

An ongoing power struggle on the board could impact when the Housing Authority commissioners will vote on a developer for the first phase of vision 20/20.

An ongoing disagreement about a legal contract between the majority of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Carmelo Garcia is heating up again.

The dispute could affect when the board votes on a developer to start the first phase of the Vision 20/20, a plan that looks to overhaul the entire housing authority.

"We have other concerns that need to be resolved before we can take any other further steps on 20/20," Chairman Jake Stuiver said in an extensive phone interview on Tuesday.

While a majority of the board voted to reappoint longtime board attorney Charles Daglian as the legal counsel at a recent heated meeting, Stuiver is now saying that vote — as well as the rest of the meeting — was invalid.

A stale-mate early on in that meeting failed to appoint Daglian in a 3-3 vote, but he was later appointed when Vice Chairman Rob Davis dropped into the meeting to take a re-vote. (Davis left shortly after taking the vote.)

According to Roberts Rules of Order — in essence, the rule book the board follows — Stuiver said, only board members with a dissenting vote are able to propose a re-vote. That didn't happen.

Furthermore, Stuiver said that Daglian's attendance at the meeting was a conflict of interest, because he was advising the board on a contract that pertained himself.

Stuiver proposed a resolution to award with the yearlong contract for a base of $60,000 a year. Daglian is asking for a base of $45,000, a $15,000 decrease from Daglian's last year's contract.

Stuiver is basing his decision on a ruling from City Attorney Melissa Longo, whom he asked for advice.

Daglian, reached on the phone on Wednesday afternoon, said he disagreed with that opinion, but wouldn't comment on the situation further.

Garcia, meanwhile, said that Longo has no jurisdiction or power over the Housing Authority Board.

Stuiver said that Longo's opinion "confirms our suspicions that many aspects of the Feb. 7 Special Meeting did not pass the smell test, and that those commissioners who have been questioning the soundness, validity and objectivity of Mr. Daglian's advice have been on the right track."

Stuiver has been on the housing authority board for more than three years and said he approved Daglian's contract "at least once" in the past.

Another part of this struggle, is the disagreement on who at the HHA has the power to hire attorneys and other professionals.

While the Board of Commissioners — of which the current majority sides with Stuiver — put forth a resolution for one law firm, Garcia said he is the sole appointing authority. The board, Garcia said, simply has the power to approve or deny the director's decision.

"My priority is going to be resolving the question of appointing authority," Stuiver said, to avoid "any messy situation."

Stuiver said that before this is resolved, he is in no hurry to appoint any other contracts or hire any other professionals, something that could impact the Vision 20/20 timeline.

A subcommittee on which Stuiver, as well as Commissioners David Mello and Rob Davis serve, is supposed to look into the six developer contracts for Vision 20/20.

Stuiver also said that Commissioner Greg Lincoln — who voted against Stuiver on February 7 — will not be approving Daglian's contract if a future vote is taken, which secures a four-vote majority against Daglian.

"We cannot appoint anybody with Daglian serving as council," Stuiver said. "He cannot participate. He’s too conflicted."

peterbelfiore February 23, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Hey Recall, pdq,demo, daHorsey, Since the meeting wasn't televised let me catch everyone up. HUD issued a directive to send all source materials to it's Newark for evalution and though Jake and Crmelo were talking over each other, HUD may have barred action on the Florio contract. "Recal" ,he like most of us, is against award to the highest bidder who was selected in secret using comfort as the criterion. Why aren't you? ""Nancy/Demo" this has happened before you found Jugde D'Itlia ruling.The low bidder assuming all other factors equal gets the contract. I fought this fight. "pdq" the commissioners do vote on the contract, but as stated above, the award is based on the objective outcome of rating and ranking scoring not the more subjective; comfort. TTFN. Perry
demosthenes February 23, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Hey Perry, Quick question - did Judge D'italia work for HUD? Or did he work for the Hudson County Superior Court? Because it sounds like your attempt at whatever you consider to be "reform" was slapped down based on your violation of state law not by HUD. If Mr. D'aglian wishes to bring a lawsuit before the Hudson County Superior Court and explain why he feels he had no conflict and why he got Roberts Rules all wrong accidentally or on purpose, it is of course his right to do that. My legal beagles tell me that would be extremely unwise but I personally hope he does it. Of course I'm just looking for entertaining material and reporting on Mr. Daglian being reprimanded by a judge would certainly be entertaining.
Grafix Avenger February 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Perry, you silver-haired minx, you... I came here just for you! I heard you are calling me 'Demo', and I can see that I have competition in my lust for your opossom-like dreamy-do. God, it's beautiful. Listen, my rug got damaged in the flood- mind if I borrow yours? (Oh, I kid... you've got better locks than 624 Washington Street.) I am flattered. Demo is one of my fave posters. But he/she addresses you a bit more sharply than I do/would, don't you think? You are my favorite Dark Side guy. Intelligent, great vocabulary and hair like Apollo. And you're not a schmuck. To your point above (speaking for myself- no mistaken identities)- I am sure what I don't know about the HHA could fill oceans, but when a rotten fish stinks up the room, just follow your nose and you'll find it. Hands off, Demo. I
Grafix Avenger February 24, 2013 at 12:29 AM
No, no, no. I (italicized) dream about his hair. You can only wish (italicized) you could run your fingers through those locks- they're soft as butter (but not greasy.)
pdq February 24, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Just curious, how do you think HUD will evaluate the contract of an attorney who violated conflict of interest? Florio contract? There is no contract for an attorney named Florio.

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