Judge dismisses some of housing director’s claims against Zimmer but allows another to stand
Mar 12, 2014 | 1474 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBOKEN – An ongoing court battle between Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer and state Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, who also heads the city’s housing authority, resulted in minor victories for both sides last week when a judge dismissed Garcia’s claims that Zimmer retaliated against him professionally, but allowed Garcia to continue to charge that Zimmer violated Garcia’s civil rights.

Judge Lawrence Maron dismissed some of Garcia’s claims – made under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) -- that alleged Zimmer threatened to fire him if he didn’t direct housing authority contracts to politically connected firms. Garcia technically doesn’t work for Zimmer, meaning she could not legally fire him.

But Maron allowed another of Garcia’s charges, that Zimmer, former housing board Chairman Jake Stuiver, and Stan Grossbard, Zimmer’s husband, allegedly threatened his right to free speech by allegedly making Garcia believe he might lose job security if he did not support the mayor politically.

“It’s a big victory for Mr. Garcia," Luis Zayas, Garcia's attorney, told NJ.com. "We hope that this will bring Mayor Zimmer's political improprieties to the public’s attention and hopefully put a stop to it.”

An attorney for Zimmer, Gerald Krovatin, could not be reached for comment when called on Wednesday. He declined to comment on the suit to NJ.com.

Garcia’s original lawsuit, which alleged that Zimmer was on a mission to “ethnically cleanse” Hoboken of minorities like Garcia, who is Puerto Rican, was filed last summer but thrown out by a judge. It was refiled without the ethnic cleansing claims in January, as was a motion from Zimmer seeking to dismiss the claims. – Dean DeChiaro

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