City Employees: Financial Disclosure
Forrest files, others ignore the law
Resident and government watchdog Eric Kurta recently checked with the City Clerk’s office for an update on missing disclosure forms. Hank Forrest of the Planning Board, who had not filed by the April 30th deadline, did file in June. Hank joins fellow Planning Board member Jeff Barnes as the only people who filed their disclosure forms after the deadline, and since 411 published the story. None of the other individuals listed below have complied with the city and state financial disclosure requirement.
Picardo refuses to cooperate
Eric says Hoboken Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman has informed him that letters will be sent to individuals reminding them of their obligation to file. Tax Collector Louis Picardo still maintains that state law does not require him to file. Not filing is a pattern for Mr. Picardo. An attorney representing him recently admitted Picardo has NOT filed to register the four (possibly illegal) apartment units in his Castle Point Terrace home with the city Rent Control office.
No forms yet from the indicted Monacos
James Monaco, Sr. – a Roberts appointment to the Hoboken Planning Board – was indicted in February for racketing conspiracy, money laundering, financial facilitation of criminal activity, illegal gambling activity, and forgery. His son James Monaco Jr, was indicted on the same charges. James Jr was a Roberts appointment to the Zoning Board and a computer teacher at the Calabro elementary school. Since Junior was not reappointed to the Zoning Board, while Roberts replaced Senior with Perry Belfiore on the Planning Board, the Monacos are not expected to file their disclosure forms anytime soon.
See original updates from this past summer after the jump…
(Hoboken Financial Disclosure, continued…)
Eric Kurta would like you to know that Jeffrey Barnes, member of the Hoboken Planning Board, has informed him that he has since filed with the city and provided him with a copy of his filings. He will be checking periodically with the city clerk for others who have since filed…
As a follow up to last night’s council meeting, Hoboken resident Eric Kurta has provided the following article:
Not everyone filed financial disclosures
The refusal to file financial disclosures by Hoboken Construction Code Official Alfred Arezzo and Hoboken Tax Collector Louis Picardo were a hot topic of discussion early last year. A new city ordinance, sponsored by Peter Cammarano and approved at the March 27, 2007 City Council meeting, listed city officers and employees that are required to file financial disclosure forms with the city and the state Local Finance Board. Included on that list were the Construction Code Official and the City Tax Collector. Appointed board members, such as on the Planning and Zoning Boards, are also required by state statute to file. Financial disclosures must be filed by April 30 each year.
Cammarano stated at the March 27 meeting that the filing of financial disclosures by city officials was an important measure that promotes openness and transparency in our city government and confidence in our officials. He was later quoted as saying: “If people want to flout the law, or thumb their noses at City Council and the people of Hoboken, they must know there are consequences”.
As president of People for Open Government, I am very much interested in issues of openness and transparency in our local government. Earlier this year, I filed five OPRA requests for the 2007 and 2008 disclosure filings. With the 2007 filings I received, I was also given a roster – a master list – of individuals required to file. The list had columns showing names, positions, and a yes/no check-off for filing. All names had “Yes” checked off, indicated 100% compliance. At first glance, things looked to be in order.
The list indicated that Al Arezzo had filed. His disclosure was indeed in the pile of filings provided to me. Lou Picardo, however, was not listed on the roster and I could not find his filing. I looked over the roster and noted that some other names were missing.
I did a little research and compiled my own master list of city officials, employees, and board members that I believed were required to file and checked it against the filings provided for 2007 and 2008. In all, there were 24 individuals who had not filed for one or both years. So much for the city’s roster and 100% compliance indicated therein.
I filed complaints with the state Local Finance Board in April and June. Based on a recent telephone conversation with one of their staff, I expect that it will take months for them to take action, and that the LFB is unlikely to take any punitive actions against these individuals for their non-compliance. We shall see. Nevertheless, here are the filings I received for 2007 and 2008. Below are the individuals that I believe are required to file and that had not done so by the required deadlines:
SEE THE LIST BELOW
(financial (non) disclosures, continued…)
No Filing – 2007
- Jose Ponjoan – Zoning Bd
- Walter Johnson – Zoning Bd
- William Netchert – Planning Bd Counsel
- Andrew Hipolit – Planning Bd Engineer
- Dr. Alfred Fayemi – Hospital Authority
- Philip Salinardi – ABC
- Raymond Fiore – Rent Level Bd
- Annette Chaparro – Rent Level Bd
- John Raslowsky – Library Committee
No Filing – 2008
- Thomas Mooney – Planning Bd
- James Monaco Sr – Planning Bd
Hank Forrest– Planning Bd
- Graciela Orellano – Housing Authority
- Fred Tompkins – Hospital Authority
- Jean Bossolina-Lubin – Library Trustee
No Filings – Both 2007 & 2008
- Louis Picardo – Tax Collector
Jeffrey Barnes– Planning Bd
- Alex Corrado – Zoning Bd
- Randall Underwood – Zoning Bd
- Angel Alicea – Housing Authority
- Vincent Wassman – Historical Pres
- Elayne Nestor – Historical Pres