People for Open Government

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Lawsuit

 

 

 

 

              

 


 


 

"Law without enforcement is only good advice"

Abraham Lincoln

 

 

POG Lawsuit Filed June 2, 2005

LAW DIVISION: HUDSON COUNTY PEOPLE FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT, ANN GRAHAM, ROBERT T. DUVAL,ALICE CROZIER, and JAMES D. VANCE,

Docket No. vs. Action in Lieu of Defendants,  Prerogative Writ

DAVID ROBERTS, in his VERIFIED COMPLAINT capacity as Mayor of Hoboken, RUBEN RAMOS  in his capacity as a Member of the Hoboken City Council, and theCITY OF HOBOKEN.

 

The plaintiffs, by way of Verified Complaint, state as follows:

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

Plaintiffs seek to expose any occurrence of "Payto-Play" in Hoboken politics.  Pay-to-Play is the practice of a business entity making campaign contributions to a candidate for public office or a public office holder with the hope of obtaining a government contract.  Plaintiffs were instrumental in collecting signatures on a petition to have the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance placed on the public ballot in November.  After successfully collecting all of the signatures necessary to place the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance on the November 2004 ballot, plaintiffs had to go to court to prevent the Hoboken City Council from watering down and weakening the proposed ordinance.  On November 2, 2004, the voters of the City of Hoboken voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance.  Despite the passage of the ordinance, the "Roberts Team" (Mayor David Roberts, councilman Ruben Ramos and their running mates, Terry LaBruno and Peter Cammarano), have received over $250,000.00 in campaign contributions that violate the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance.  This action seeks to compel Mayor David Roberts and councilman Ruben Ramos to report those violations to the Hoboken City Council and it seeks to have the City of Hoboken, Mayor Roberts, and councilman Ruben Ramos enforce the ordinance.

 

PARTIES

Plaintiff, People for Open Government ("POG"), is an unincorporated, non-partisan political committee consisting of more than seven (7) Hoboken residents.  This organization is dedicated to the promotion of open, accountable and transparent municipal government; active participation of Hoboken residents in municipal affairs;

and curbing the undue influence of campaign contributions on public policy.  People for Open Government has a specific interest in seeking to limit any occurrence of "Pay-to-Play" in Hoboken politics, and thus supports public reporting of campaign contributions that violate the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance.  Its address is P.O. Box 1554, Hoboken, NJ07030.

Plaintiff, Ann Graham, whose address is 1021 Grand Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, is the president of POG.  She is interested in limiting any occurrence of "Pay-to-Play" in Hoboken politics and enforcement of the ordinance.

Plaintiff, Robert T. Duval, resides at 303 Park Avenue, Hoboken, New Jersey and is interested in limiting  any occurrence of "Pay-to-Play" in Hoboken politics and enforcement of the ordinance.  He was a signer of the initiative petition that led to enactment of the ordinance.  Mr. Duval was a plaintiff in the prior Action in Lieu of Prerogative Writ that successfully forced the City of Hoboken to place the initiated ordinance on the ballot.

5. Plaintiff, Alice Crozier, resides at 917 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, New Jersey and is interested in limiting any occurrence of "Pay-to-Play" in Hoboken politics.  She was a signer of the initiative petition that led to enactment of the ordinance.  Ms. Crozier was a

plaintiff in the prior Action in Lieu of Prerogative Writ that successfully forced the City of Hoboken to place the initiated ordinance on the ballot.

Plaintiff, James D. Vance, resides at 107 Monroe Street, Hoboken, New Jersey and is interested in limiting any occurrence of "Pay-to-Play" in Hoboken politics.  He was a signer of the initiative petition that led to the enactment of the ordinance.  Mr. Vance was a plaintiff in the prior Action in Lieu of Prerogative Writ that successfully forced the City of Hoboken to place the initiated ordinance on the ballot.

Defendant David Roberts is currently Mayor of the City of Hoboken and the head of the Hoboken Democratic Party.  He is running for reelection on June 14, 2005.

Defendant Ruben Ramos is currently a member of the City Council of Hoboken.  He is campaigning for reelection to the City Council as part of the "Roberts Team."

The City of Hoboken is a municipality located in Hudson County, New Jersey.

 

CLAIM FOR RELIEF

The Hoboken Public Contracting Reform Ordinance prohibits certain contributions.  Specifically, in Section 1(b), all professional business entities who currently render professional, banking, or insurance coverage services, or have any other no-bid consulting contracts with the City, are prohibited from making any contributions to any Hoboken candidate or Hoboken party committee or PAC that is organized for the primary purpose of supporting a Hoboken municipal candidate from the time that business entity first enters into negotiations until the time that its contract is completed. 

    Numerous contributions to the "Roberts Team" (Mayor David Roberts and his running mates, Ruben Ramos, Terry LaBruno and Peter Cammarano) violate Section 1(b) of the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance.

   Those companies who currently have no-bid contracts with the City of Hoboken, but who nevertheless violated Section 1(b) of the ordinance by contributing money to the "Roberts Team" or to the Hoboken Democratic Party (HDP) headed by Mayor Roberts are as follows:

 

Developers with No-Bid Redevelopment/Planning Contracts

Contributions

Dean Geibel, Metro Homes, LLC 4/20/2005 $10,400 Roberts Team Dean Geibel, Metro Homes, LLC 4/21/2005 $7,200 HDP

Dean Geibel of Metro Stop, LLC has a no bid contract to develop 800 Jackson Street in the Tarragon and URSA are partners in various development projects in Northwest Redevelopment Area.

 

Northwest Redevelopment Area:

Tarragon Realty Invstrs. 4/19/2005 -$10,400 - Roberts Team

Arthur Garfield, Tarragon Realty Invstrs. 4/20/2005-$7,200 -HDP

Michael Sciarra, URSA Development 4/14/2005-$10,400- Roberts Team

Michael Sciarra, URSA Development 4/21/2005-$6,000-HDP

Michael Sciarra, URSA Development     1/23/2005-$1,200-HDP

Other No-Bid Contractors

Steve Edwards, Business Governmental Insurance Agency $1,600 (4/12/2005) Woodbridge, NJ Roberts Team

Howard Birdsall, Birdsall Engineering $300 (3/2/2005) Eatontown, NJ Hoboken Democratic Party

Stephen Boswell, Boswell Engineering $300 (2/11/2005) South Hackensack, NJ Hoboken Democratic Party

Douglas Bern, Kaufman Bern & Deutsch  $1,500 (4/18/2005) Fort Lee, NJ Roberts Team

Krivit & Krivit $1,600 (4/20/2005) Washington, DC Roberts Team

Anthony Amabile, Meadowlands Associates $300 (2/9/2005) Jersey City, NJ Hoboken Democratic Party

B. Perricone, PMK Group  $1,600 (4/27/2005) Cranford, NJ Roberts Team

Ralph Tango, Schoor DePalma   $1,600 (5/9/2005) Manalapan, NJ Roberts Team

Martin Statfeld, Statfeld-Vantage   $300 (2/24/2005) Livingston, NJ Hoboken Democratic Party

James Caulfield, Fields Development Group (City contract via Marchetto-Caulfield Assocs.) $1,800 (5/6/2005) -- Roberts Team

Sarkisian, Florio and Kenny $28,000 (5/5/05) via intermediary of Election Fund of Senator Kenny Roberts Team

 7,200 (5/9/05) via intermediary of Election Fund of Senator Kenny HDP
40,000 (5/16/05) via intermediary of Hudson Cty. Dem. Org. headed by Kenny-HDP
37,000 (5/5/05)  via intermediary of Hudson Cty. Dem.. Org. headed by Kenny-HDP
25,000 (4/25/05) via intermediary of Hudson Cty. Dem. Org. headed by Kenny-HDP
20,000 (4/14/05) via intermediary of Hudson Cty. Dem. Org. headed by Kenny-HDP
20,000 (4/18/05) via intermediary of Hudson Cty. Dem. Org. headed by Kenny-HDP
10,000 (3/24/05) via intermediary of Hudson Cty. Dem. Org. headed by Kenny-HDP

 

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand relief against defendants David Roberts, Ruben Ramos and The City of Hoboken as follows:

(1) Mayor David Roberts and Councilman Ruben Ramos should be ordered to report to the Hoboken City Council that they received illegal campaign contributions from the following professional business entities who currently have no-bid contracts with the City of Hoboken:

Marchetto-Caulfield Associates Metro Homes, LLC Tarragon Realty Invstrs. URSA Development Business Governmental Insurance Agency Birdsall Engineering Kaufman Bern & Deutsch  Krivit & Krivit Meadowlands Associates PMK Group Schoor DePalma Statfeld-Vantage Sarkisian, Florio and Kenny

(2) Mayor David Robert, Councilman Ruben Ramos and the City of Hoboken should be ordered to enforce the Public Contracting Reform Ordinance against any professional business entities who made campaign contributions while having no-bid contracts with the City of Hoboken.

(3) Granting plaintiff such other further legal and equitable relief as this court may find just and proper.

 

TOBIN, KOSTER, OLECKNA, REITMAN, GREENSTEIN & KONRAY, P.C.

Attorneys for Plaintiff

 

 

(NOTE: the quote at the top of the page, while often attributed to Lincon, has never been definitively linked to him through any legitimate historical source) 

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