Monday, August 6, 2018

Sims and Battaglia Antics Cost Taxpayers over $500,000!

Remember this scoop from September of 2014?  It outlined the harassment and threats of retaliation that were being experienced by DPW and Sanitation workers by council members Dave Sims and Leo Battaglia. If you missed it, or need a refresher, take a few minutes to read it--it is unbelievable the bullying antics those two were (and reportedly are still) up to. 
This could be the only explanation......

Well the complaints went unresolved, the harassment continued, and it eventually lead to a lawsuit filed by two employees, James Murrell and Christopher Haw, against the City of Hackensack and Councilmen Sims and Battaglia in their official capacities.  The suit was quietly settled in late July for.... are you sitting down?.... $500,000! And that doesn't include the legal fees the City spent defending the two "Councilmen" (oh, but there is more coming on legal fees--a story is in the works, because in terms of lawsuits and legal fees, this council makes the Zisa crew they so continue to criticize look like altar boys).  As a part of the settlement, Murrell retired from the City effective August 1st.

And to think there is any validity to the rumors that Personnel Director Simeon Cumberbatch has been pushed out to make a position for the current Assistant City Manager in an effort to have Battaglia hired to the Assistant City Manager post...... Imagine the havoc he would cause if he ACTUALLY had an ounce of power over the day to day operations of the City and employees.  I would say such a move would be so shameless it couldn't be possible, but then again they gave his wife a 21% raise, then when it was reversed, gave it back! Shameless may just be Battaglia's middle name....

August 1 just came, as you write your quarterly property tax checks, ask yourself if this is what you signed on for when you bought a home in Hackensack.  We as residents and taxpayers deserve better!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Saturday, August 4, 2018

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission Comes Down on Council

I have hammered the Council in this space on their lack of transparency and pay-to-play antics for some time.  If you recall, in January of 2014, I called them out on their lack of campaign filings or disclosures for their "Victory Dinner" fundraiser which was a high priced cocktail hour--more of a who's who of trough feeding attorneys and other vendors looking for government contracts.  

At some point during the span of January 2014 to present, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) has pored over the Council's campaign filings and bank records from the 2009 election in which John Labrosse was elected to the council, and the 2013 election when the Citizens for Change slate broke into City Hall (unfortunately like a gang of home invaders who have since wreaked havoc and turned the place upside down).  In an eighteen page and ten count complaint served on John Labrosse, Kathy Canestrino, Leo Battaglia, Rose Greenman, David Sims, and the Campaign Treasurer Regina DiPasqua on July 25, 2018, the NJ ELEC outlines countless alleged violations of the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act from 2009 through 2013.  The alleged violations include making deposits of donations without proper documentation, making reimbursements for expenditures without proper documentation, taking contributions in excess of the allowable amount per donor, not making proper disclosures of large donations from partnerships and corporations, and simply not filing certain required reports and disclosures.

Labrosse is the current Mayor, Canestrino and Sims share the post of "Deputy Mayor," and Battaglia is, well, a councilman.  A former ally to the Citizens for Change team, DiPasqua has since become a harsh critic.  Greenman resigned her post as a councilwoman and is still entangled in litigation with the City.  She was replaced on the ticket by Stephanie Von Rudenborg. 

I attempted to calculate the total number of alleged violations and fines outlined in the complaint, and stopped counting when the meter went over $100,000.  The group have the opportunity to be heard by NJ ELEC after filing an answer to the complaint, which is due within 20 days of the July 25th filing.  

Requests for comments from John Labrosse, Kathy Canestrino, Leo Battaglia, Rose Greenman, and Dave Sims went unanswered.  Rick Salkin, Esq., denies all wrongdoing on behalf of his client, Regina DiPasqua.  Salkin expects to ultimately receive a full exoneration on behalf of his client.  To the veracity of the allegations, Salkin contends that DiPasqua "has, and had, absolutely no knowledge." 

As for my own editorial comment, looking back on the 2013 election and the subsequent breakdown of the Citizens for Change team, we can all recall that the now "Labrosse Team" (my how big his head has become) was propped up by the fundraising efforts of politicos such as Anthony Rottino (he got a nice job in the City after the election which ended in litigation and a $500,000 hush money settlement out of the City), Thom Ammirato (got a lucrative City contract before he left in disgrace narrowly escaping indictment on theft of services charges), Frank Catania (later appointed Municipal Prosecutor and then disbarred for putting his hand in the cookie jar, his trust account), among others.  With such political muscle involved in the 2013 election, I doubt that DiPasqua was much more than a Treasurer in name only.

More to come......