HOBOKEN– Freeholder and mayoral candidate Anthony Romano held an “emergency press conference” late on Monday, Aug. 28 to raise concerns about bed bugs and other issues in one of the senior housing buildings in Hoboken.
This is the first press conference Romano — who is running simultaneously for Hoboken mayor and for re-election as freeholder — has held in Hoboken in three years, and the first one about a purely Hoboken issue. The election is ten weeks away.
Romano said he had heard from several residents in the 135-unit building of Columbian Towers who reported problems with bed bugs, cleanliness, unlocked gates, and more. Romano called for a solution to the serious bedbug problem, asking for the city and county health department to exterminate the pests and investigate.
When asked if he had talked to any county or city officials or health officials about the problem before holding what was described as an “emergency press conference” at 4 p.m., he said he had only talked to Councilman David Mello, who is on his council slate for election.
Several seniors were invited to the conference to discuss the problem, and two spoke as part of the conference.
Bites and health problems
Carla Scrudata, a resident of the building for the past eight years, said “the dirt in unbelievable.”
“The gates are left open in the back and the lights are never on in the back of the building,” she added. “It’s a safety hazard.”
Thomasina DeLauronolan, a resident of the building for 18 years said, “I have to sleep in a chair because of the bed bugs. It’s unhealthy.”
“I’ve had to go to the doctor several times because of bites to my body and face,” she added. “I was ravaged.”
According to city spokesman Juan Melli, “The Health Department has received a handful of complaints over the past few months regarding bed bugs, heat, trash, and leaks at 76 Bloomfield St. At this time, most complaints have been abated. Summonses were issued in certain circumstances, fines were assessed ($1,066), and other corrective actions have been taken.”
He added that the health department “has been continuously following up with the management company and their exterminator, which has conducted nearly a dozen treatments at the building so far.”
He added, “We encourage all affected residents to report problems to the Health Department at 201-420-2375 so that we can thoroughly eradicate the issue.”
Romano said his last press conference was in 2014 when the county completed the construction of the Fourteenth Street Viaduct.
Six people are running for mayor in November.