People for Open Government
2007 Redevelopment Pay-to-Play Reform Ordinance
Shall the redevelopment "pay-to-play" reform ordinance, duly submitted by initiative petition to the City of Hoboken, which includes, among other provisions, (a) prohibitions on contributions to Hoboken and Hudson County candidates and political parties from redevelopers (including individuals, family members, firms of all types and affiliates), between the time that the City of Hoboken adopts a resolution to direct the Planning Board to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if the site is in need of redevelopment, and the date that the redeveloper enters into the redevelopment agreement with the City of Hoboken, and (b) prohibitions on contributions to Hoboken and Hudson County candidates and political parties from redevelopers (including individuals, family members, firms of all types and affiliates), between the time of first communication between that redeveloper and the City of Hoboken regarding a redevelopment project, and the later of the termination of negotiations or the completion of all matters or time period specified in the redevelopment agreement, be approved?
We the undersigned registered voters of Hoboken, New Jersey, petition that the City of Hoboken adopt the following ordinance:
REDEVELOPMENT PAY-TO-PLAY REFORM ORDINANCE
Be it Enacted by the City of Hoboken:
WHEREAS, it has become more frequent for developers, sometimes at the request of candidates for local elected office or political party officials, to make substantial political contributions to the election campaigns for local government offices, and to the political parties which support them; and
WHEREAS, the local government officials are, once elected, responsible for deciding the terms of a redevelopment agreement; and
WHEREAS, political contributions from developers entering into agreements for redevelopment projects approved by the elected officials who receive such contributions raise reasonable concerns on the part of taxpayers and residents as to their trust in the process of local redevelopment, including but not limited to redevelopment decisions on tax abatements, zoning densities, publicly funded infrastructure improvements, and acquisition of property rights pursuant to eminent domain; and
WHEREAS, the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1 et seq. provides a mechanism to empower and assist local governments in efforts to promote programs for redevelopment; and
WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-8 allows municipalities or a designated redevelopment entity to enter into agreements with redevelopers for planning, re-planning, construction or undertaking of any project or redevelopment work without public bidding and at such prices and upon such terms as it deems reasonable within areas designated for redevelopment; and
WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-11 provides that redevelopment entities are instrumentalities of the municipality; and
WHEREAS, both the exceptions to the Open Public Meetings Act, more specifically N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b and N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-8, provide that negotiations for such agreements can be conducted in executive session, provided the full terms of any such agreements are discussed and approved in open session; and
WHEREAS, the City of Hoboken has previously or may declare certain areas of Hoboken to be Areas in Need of Redevelopment under the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, and has or may adopt a Redevelopment Plan; and
WHEREAS, given the potential of negotiating with private parties or redevelopers and the entering into agreements with such redevelopers without a formal public bidding process, as permitted by the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, it is necessary to establish certain limitations on political contributions which may undermine public confidence in any redevelopment effort; and
WHEREAS, the restriction against local political contributions contained herein does not impair in any way the remaining opportunities for such redevelopers to speak, write and publish their sentiments about local elections and candidates or to volunteer or associate with campaigns of their own choosing; and
THEREFORE, be it ordained by the Council of the City of Hoboken, in the County of Hudson and State of New Jersey, that the policy of the City of Hoboken will be to create such a regulation which states that any entity or individual seeking to enter into a redevelopment agreement or amendment thereto, or is otherwise seeking to obtain rights to develop pursuant to a redevelopment agreement, who makes political contributions to Hoboken City elected officials and local and county political committees, will be ineligible to receive such agreements, or rights from the City of Hoboken.
SECTION 1 - PROHIBITION OF ENTERING INTO OR AMENDING REDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS WITH CERTAIN CONTRIBUTORS
(a) Any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the City of Hoboken or any of its purchasing agents or agencies or those of its independent authorities, as the case may be, shall not enter into an agreement, amend an agreement, or otherwise contract with any redeveloper, as defined in section (c) below, for the planning, re-planning, construction or undertaking of any redevelopment project, including the acquisition or leasing of any public property in conjunction with the redevelopment of any area within the City of Hoboken pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, if that redeveloper has made any "contribution" (as such term is defined at N.J.A.C. 19:25-1.7, which definition includes loans, pledges and in-kind contributions) (hereinafter "contribution"), to (i) a candidate, candidate committee or joint candidates committee of any candidate for elective municipal office in Hoboken or a holder of public office having ultimate responsibility for arranging, entering into, or approving the redevelopment agreement, or for appointing those who enter into the agreement on behalf of the City of Hoboken, or (ii) to any Hoboken or Hudson County political committee or political party committee, or (iii) to any continuing political committee or political action committee that regularly engages in the support of Hoboken municipal or Hudson County elections and/or Hoboken municipal or Hudson County candidates, candidate committees, joint candidate committees, political committees, political parties, political party committees, (hereinafter "PAC"), during the applicable time period which, for purposes of this section, shall be defined as the time period between the date that the property which is the subject of the redevelopment project has been included in a memorializing resolution adopted by the governing body directing the planning board to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if the site is in need of redevelopment pursuant to and in accordance with the New Jersey Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1 et seq., and the date of entering into the redevelopment agreement, amended agreement, or contract (hereinafter "agreement").
(b) All redevelopment agreements or amendments thereto entered into by the City of Hoboken shall contain a provision prohibiting redevelopers, as defined in section (c) below, to solicit or make any contribution to (i) a candidate, candidate committee or joint candidates committee of any candidate for elective municipal office in Hoboken or a holder of public office having ultimate responsibility for arranging, entering into, or approving the redevelopment agreement, or for appointing those who enter into the agreement on behalf of the City of Hoboken, or (ii) to any Hoboken or Hudson County political committee or political party committee, or (iii) to any "PAC", between the time of first communication between that redeveloper and the municipality regarding a redevelopment project and the later of the termination of negotiations or rejection of any proposal, or the completion of all matters or time period specified in the redevelopment agreement.
(c) As defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-3, a "redeveloper" means any person, firm, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, organization, association, or public body that shall enter into or propose to enter into a agreement with a municipality or other redevelopment entity for the redevelopment or rehabilitation of an area in need of redevelopment, or an area in need of rehabilitation, or any part thereof, under the provisions of this act, or for any construction or other work forming part of a redevelopment or rehabilitation project.. For the purposes of this ordinance the definition of a redeveloper includes all principals who own ten percent (10%) or more of the equity in the corporation or business trust, partners, and officers in the aggregate employed by the provider as well as any affiliates or subsidiaries directly controlled by the redeveloper. Spouses and any child/children shall also be included.
(d) For the purposes of this section, the office that is considered to have responsibility for arranging and entering into the redevelopment agreement under the Act shall be (i) the Hoboken City Council if the redevelopment agreement requires approval or appropriation from the Council or a public officer who is responsible for arranging and entering into the redevelopment agreement if that public officer is appointed by the Council, or (ii) the Mayor of Hoboken if the redevelopment agreement requires the approval of the Mayor or a public officer who is responsible for arranging and entering into the redevelopment agreement if that public officer is appointed by the Mayor, or (iii) a designated redevelopment entity, if the redevelopment agreement requires the approval of the redevelopment entity.
SECTION 2 - CONTRIBUTIONS MADE PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE
No contribution or solicitation of contributions made prior to the effective date of this Ordinance shall be deemed to give rise to a violation of this Ordinance.
(a) Prior to arranging and entering into the redevelopment agreement with any redeveloper, the City of Hoboken or any of its purchasing agents or agencies or independent authorities, as the case may be, shall receive a sworn statement from the redeveloper that the redeveloper has not made any contribution in violation of Section 1(a) above. The City of Hoboken, through any appropriate redevelopment agent, agency, officer, authority, or department, shall be responsible for informing the City Council that the aforementioned sworn statement has been received and that the redeveloper is not in violation of this ordinance, prior to awarding the agreement. Furthermore, the redeveloper shall have a continuing duty to report any violations of this ordinance that may occur while arranging and entering into the redevelopment agreement, and until all specified terms or time period of the agreement have been completed. The certification required under this subsection shall be made prior to entry into the agreement with the municipality and shall be in addition to any other certifications that may be required by any other provision of law.
(b) It shall be the municipalitys continuing responsibility to give notice of this Section when the municipality gives notice of redevelopment pursuant to 40A:12A-6 and when the municipality adopts a resolution directing the planning board to prepare a redevelopment plan and at the time that the municipality adopts the ordinance to implement the redevelopment plan.
SECTION 4 - CONTRIBUTION RESTRICTIONS AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT APPLICABILITY TO CONSULTANTS
(a) The contribution and disclosure requirements in this Ordinance shall apply to all redevelopers as well as professionals, consultants or lobbyists contracted or employed by the business entity ultimately designated as the redeveloper to provide services related to the: (i) lobbying of government officials in connection with the examination of an area and its designation as an area in need of redevelopment or in connection with the preparation, consultation and adoption of the redevelopment plan; (ii) obtaining the designation or appointment as redeveloper; (iii) negotiating the terms of a redevelopment agreement or any amendments or modifications thereto; and (iv) performing the terms of a redevelopment agreement.
(b) It shall be a breach of the consultants contract, and shall require immediate termination, for a consultant to violate the contribution limits and disclosure requirements in this Ordinance.
(c) A redeveloper who participates in, or facilitates, the circumvention of the contribution restrictions through consultants or professionals shall be deemed to be in breach.
SECTION 5 - RETURN OF EXCESS CONTRIBUTIONS
A redeveloper or municipal candidate or officeholder or municipal or county party committee or "PAC" referenced in this ordinance may cure a violation of Section 1 of this Act, if, within 30 days after the general election which follows the date of the contribution, the redeveloper notifies the Municipal Council in writing and seeks and receives reimbursement of a contribution from the recipient of such contribution.
SECTION 6 - PENALTY
(a) It shall be a breach of the terms of the Hoboken redevelopment agreement for a redeveloper to: (i) make or solicit a contribution in violation of this ordinance; (ii) knowingly conceal or misrepresent a contribution given or received; (iii) make or solicit contributions through intermediaries for the purpose of concealing or misrepresenting the source of the contribution; (iv) make or solicit any contribution on the condition or with the agreement that it will be contributed to a candidate, candidate committee or joint candidates committee of any candidate for elective municipal office in Hoboken, or a holder of public office having ultimate responsibility for arranging, entering into, or approving the redevelopment agreement, or for appointing those who enter into the agreement on behalf of the City of Hoboken, or any Hoboken or Hudson County political committee or political party committee, or any "PAC"; (v) engage or employ a lobbyist or consultant with the intent or understanding that such lobbyist or consultant would make or solicit any contribution, which if made or solicited by the redeveloper itself, would subject that entity to the restrictions of this Ordinance; (vi) fund contributions made by third parties, including consultants, attorneys, family members, and employees; (vii) engage in any exchange of contributions to circumvent the intent of this ordinance; or (viii) directly or indirectly, through or by any other person or means, do any act which would subject that entity to the restrictions of this Ordinance.
(b) Furthermore, any redeveloper who violates (a) ii-viii shall be disqualified from eligibility for future Hoboken redevelopment agreements for a period of four calendar years from the date of the violation.
Notwithstanding any other common right of law, any Hoboken citizen or citizens group shall have the right to sue any or all entities in violation of this ordinance, including the redeveloper, the candidate or committee as specified in subsection 1(a) above, and/or the City Hoboken, in order to compel those entities to comply with this ordinance.
SECTION 8 - SEVERABILITY
If any provision of this Ordinance, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstances, shall be held invalid, the remainder of this Ordinance to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid shall not be affected thereby, and to this extent the provisions of this Ordinance are severable. The drafters of this Ordinance, the persons signing the petition in support of this Ordinance, and the persons who cast votes in favor of the Ordinance, declare that they would have supported the Ordinance and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or provision or application thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, phrases, or provisions or applications thereof may be held invalid.
SECTION 9 - REPEALER
All ordinances or parts of ordinances which are inconsistent with any provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed as to the extent of such inconsistencies.
SECTION 10 - EFFECTIVE DATE
This Ordinance shall become effective twenty (20) days following the earlier of (a) final adoption thereof by the Municipal Council of the City of Hoboken or (b) the date on which the passage of this Ordinance as a public question is certified pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:20-9 or other applicable law, and shall be published as required by law
Committee of Petitioners pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:69A-186
James A. Castiglione, 300 Washington Street 2, Hoboken, NJ07030
James R. Hine, 258 Newark Street, Hoboken, NJ07030
Eric S. Kurta, 214 Garden Street 4, Hoboken, NJ07030
Edward J. Mecka, 2 Marineview Plaza 20E, Hoboken, NJ07030
James D. Vance, 107 Monroe Street, Hoboken, NJ07030