The lawsuit, which was filed in July, alleged that Zimmer, Grossbard, and former HHA board chair Jake Stuiver (a staunch Zimmer ally) interfered improperly in Housing Authority affairs and engaged in what the lawsuit says is “an ambitious political quest to transform Hoboken politically and ethnically.”
On Dec. 20, Judge Lawrence Maron dismissed Garcia’s suit without prejudice on the grounds that there was insufficient legal basis to support his claims, though the manner in which the suit was thrown out allows Garcia 30 days to file a new suit with more evidence to substantiate his claims.
Garcia’s lawyer, Louis Zayas, said that he is planning on filing a new suit with more substantial evidence.
“We’re pressing forward with the suit because there is a clear violation of the law,” he said. “This is an unexpected delay, but not a delay that we cannot overcome.”
The suit alleged that throughout Zimmer’s administration, she and Grossbard “sought to promote individuals to government positions who were mostly white or who, directly or indirectly, endorsed her political views and policies, including construction projects in Hoboken that would encourage the migration of white, affluent residents while replacing Hoboken’s minorities.”
At the time when it was filed, the suit was largely seen as politically motivated, as Garcia and Zimmer have been at odds since she took office in 2009 over the future of Hoboken’s public housing. The Hoboken Housing Authority Board, which consists of seven members and is tasked with overseeing Garcia’s work as executive director, has been at the center of a power struggle between those loyal to Zimmer and Garcia, respectively.
Furthermore, the suit was filed just before the recording of a lunch meeting between Garcia and Grossbard – made by Garcia – became public. A transcript of the meeting showed discussion between the pair and former state Sen. Bernard Kenny over the future of the housing authority. When it became public, Grossbard said he felt the recording was meant to incriminate him and Zimmer, while Garcia, who was running for election to statewide office at the time, said that he made it with the intention of using it as evidence in his lawsuit.
Zimmer did not comment on the lawsuit at the time, but did say she thought Garcia’s alleged attempt to entrap her husband spoke of his character.
“The bottom line is that [Garcia] invited my husband to lunch,” she said. “My husband is an honest and honorable man and Mr. Garcia is not, so the only person incriminated in that transcript is Mr. Garcia.” – Dean DeChiaro