Judge Mary Costello heard the case two weeks ago, despite the fact that it is also scheduled to be heard on Friday by Costello’s colleague, Judge Lawrence Maron. Costello ruled that Zimmer and her co-defendants – husband Stan Grossbard and former housing board chairman Jake Stuiver – did not respond to Hoboken Housing Authority Director Carmelo Garcia’s lawsuit by a set deadline, and thus by default lost the case.
But the mayor’s response had been filed, and on time, said Zimmer’s attorney – just to be reviewed by Maron, not Costello. On Wednesday, Costello reversed her decision.
“We learned this evening that Judge Costello granted our motion on short notice and summarily vacated the defaults against all defendants,” said Zimmer’s attorney, Gerald Krovatin, in an email statement.
Garcia’s feud with Zimmer and her allies dates to last summer, when Garcia filed a lawsuit against the mayor accusing her administration of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” in Hoboken. The mayor’s allies had been at odds with Garcia for some time, in a struggle over management of the low-income housing projects in town, which Garcia directs as the housing authority’s paid executive director.
A judge tossed out Garcia’s case in January of this year, saying there was no evidence of the “ethnic cleansing” campaign, but allowed Garcia to re-file his other charges, amongst them political harassment and civil rights violations. Garcia re-filed the case without the “ethnic cleansing” language.
The hearing before Judge Maron is scheduled for this Friday. – Dean DeChiaro