Local business owner publicly offers to fund protest at Pennsylvania home of board commissioner
Jul 16, 2013 | 4239 views | 2 2 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBOKEN – Joe Branco, a local business owner, offered at a recent Hoboken Housing Authority meeting to fund a protest trip to the eastern Pennsylvania home of Jake Stuiver, the former chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, who has drawn the ire of public housing residents because he has opposed Executive Director Carmelo Garcia on various issues, according to a report on Hoboken Patch.

It was revealed that Stuiver moved to Pennsylvania several months ago, much to the chagrin of some residents and Garcia, but there is nothing in the law that says a housing commissioner must live in the municipality he or she serves. Stuiver has continued to serve as a commissioner on the board. Additionally, there is nothing in the law that prevents Stuiver from continuing to sit on the board as a “holdover” until the City Council can appoint a new commissioner.

Stuiver is allied with Mayor Dawn Zimmer and against Garcia. A main bone of contention is the Vision 20/20 project, a plan supported by Garcia to demolish sections of Hoboken’s public housing and replace them with modern, mixed income buildings. Zimmer's allies on the housing board have failed to support the proposal, saying more information on it needs to be made public.

Recently, public housing residents have protested against Zimmer's allies, including one protest at the Hoboken high rise complex where two of them live. But no one had suggested going to Pennsylvania to protest at Stuiver's home.

However, at an HHA meeting a week ago Thursday, Branco reportedly made his offer when Stuiver, apparently weary of listening to residents bombast his loyalty, asked Garcia to provide an itemized list of his donations to HHA functions during his time as a commissioner, according to Patch.

Branco, an ally of Garcia’s who has said he will assist the director with his upcoming campaign for the state Assembly, shot back at Stuiver.

“I’m pretty astonished that you would actually ask for a total of how much you donated to the housing authority. If you give from the heart, you give. You don’t ask to keep track of how much you gave,” said Branco, according to the report.

“I think Jake feels left out, that nobody’s protesting in front of his house in Pennsylvania,” Branco continued. “So tonight, I am going to pay for the bus with money out of my pocket so we can go to Pennsylvania to Jake’s house so his neighbors can see what Jake does to us in Hoboken.”

According to the report, Branco said he would take no part in organizing the protest,but would be happy to fund it.

Stuiver, according to the report, has alerted both the Haverton, Pa. and Hoboken police departments, and contacted his lawyer.

“I need to prepare for the very real possibility that it’s not going to be a safe situation for me,” he told Patch. “It wouldn’t surprise me if I come back with windows broken.” – Dean DeChiaro

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 16, 2013
The Patch article makes clear that Stuiver's fear for his safety was based on what sounds like an explicit threat made by Mr. Garcia:

"noting a phone conversation with Garcia in which the executive director allegedly asked him why he didn't resign and warned him that he had reason to believe tensions could escalate during the protest."
July 18, 2013
Oh thanks for nothing Dancing Rudy. We had a perfectly good story leaving the extortion out.