City of Hoboken to vote on $135K settlement for second resident ejected from council meeting

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HOBOKEN — The Hoboken City Council is scheduled to vote on Thursday, March 15 on whether to approve a settlement agreement with resident David Liebler, who filed a lawsuit in 2015 alleging his freedom of speech was violated at an October council meeting in which then-Council President (now Mayor) Ravi Bhalla ejected him for starting to ask questions about Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s husband.
The lawsuit alleged that Liebler’s civil rights were violated when he was ejected. He was trying to discuss a news story that broke that week revealing emails between Zimmer’s husband, Stan Grossbard, and members of the Hoboken Housing Authority boardthat discussed terminating former Executive Director Carmelo Garcia. Grossbard was not a city official, and the HHA board is supposed to be autonomous from City Hall.
Garcia himself received a settlement from the HHA for wrongful termination this past November in the amount of $700,000. The Grossbard emails were part of his case.
Bhalla also had asked resident Perry Belfiore to leave the same meeting for starting to speak about Grossbard. Belfiore received a $50,000 settlement last year.
According to the resolution, the settlement is for $135,000 — $40,000 to be paid to Liebler and Brach Eichler LLC, and $95,000 to be paid to Brach Eichler LLC in legal fees.