Lenz / Russo alliance appoints Soares
Soares on TWO public boards; gets premium Health Benefits
Political “sore” Tony Soares was appointed to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority Board by five members of the Hoboken City Council, but not the five many were expecting.
As Hoboken411 reported Wednesday, Soares coveted the NHSA position because it includes a Health Insurance Plan and stipend. Soares lobbied hard for the job. When he didn’t get the support he was looking for from Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Councilmen-at-Large Dave Mello and Ravi Bhalla, Soares turned to two other votes he’s both courted and cursed: Michael Russo and Theresa Castellano.
Back in November, Soares appealed to the Russos when Zimmer rejected his pleas to be appointed to the Fourth Ward seat. Russo nominated Soares, but Michael Lenz won when Zimmer broke a tie.
Cajoling and threatening his way to power
In an attempt to dial back his “hatred phasers” to stun, a deal was brokered to make Soares Chairman of the Zoning Board. At the time, Zimmer and company were trying to keep him “too busy” to think about running against Lenz in the November Special Election. That may not have been enough for the high-maintenance fella, so Lenz, Carol Marsh and Peter Cunningham moved to coddle Soares, and give him yet another appointment. Here’s what transpired after new Council President Carol Marsh opened the floor for nominations:
Lenz (figuratively) jumped over Nino Giacchi and Bhalla to nominate Soares, while Giacchi nominated respected former Zoning Board member James Perry and Bhalla offered the name of defeated Democratic committeeman Brian Assadourian. Castellano, Cunningham, Lenz, Russo and Marsh supported Soares on the first ballot. Bhalla, Giacchi, Beth Mason and Mello voted no.
Going to the Russos for the support he needed
Lenz needed to keep Soares happy (and out of the November race) even if it meant Soares would have to again go to the Russos to secure their support. This is nothing new.
Marsh and Soares endorsed Russo when he ran for City Council in 2003, and joined in a council alliance with Russo and Castellano after his election. Lenz, Marsh and Soares sought Russo’s support in the ’05 runoff, but didn’t get it.
Why does Soares need the insurance?
Soares used to be an “advertising executive,” but his bridges to Madison Avenue have apparently been burned to a deep-fried shrimp popper crisp. Without full-time employment (and benefits) his health insurance plan is likely burning cash. Soares suffers from Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism that includes medical complications that can lead to surgeries, also known as a “pre-existing condition” that can make health insurance expensive. Now that he’s on the Sewerage Authority he wont have to worry about that one teeny bit.
Read more about the Soares hullabaloo after the jump!
Soares speaks out on the criticism
In a report on the AOL-owned Patch site, reporter Claire Moses asked Soares about the 411 report:
Hoboken411 speculated (sic) that Soares would be taking the position on the NHSA board for the health benefits package the position comes with.
“I did not go for this for the benefits,” said Soares, adding that he already has health benefits (to prove his point he took out his insurance card from his wallet). When asked if he’d be accepting the benefits, he said “that’s irrelevant.”
That line is classic Soares arrogance on display.
He claims benefits were not his reason for going for the job, but refuses to answer whether he will accept them! In response to criticism in some “reform” circles of Soares’ deal-making with the Russos:
“I was able to reach across the aisle,” said Soares.
Soares has spent many waking hours bashing Beth Mason for accepting support from the Russos, but made a bee-line to Michelle Russo seeking support when he needed it.
There’s a word for that. It’s hypocrisy.
It’s also vintage Tony Soares, who – like his allies Lenz and Marsh – will make any deal they can to attain “power.”
Oh, and Cunningham got in on the act, too with a flowery display of affection for (and his nomination of ) Marianne Camporeale for the Hoboken Housing Authority Board. Camporeale is a force to be reckoned with in the 5th ward’s Fox Hill Gardens, and Cunningham needs votes there in the spring. Some in “reform” circles are shocked by his embrace of Camporeale, who has been an outspoken opponent of Kids First and a major supporter of Chris Campos and Carmelo Garcia, as well as Perry Belfiore.
Belfiore, Zimmer agree that Marsh & Lenz are wrong
Speaking of Belfiore, the former HHA board member reminded the council majority he was told he would not be re-appointed to the HHA board because he was also serving on the Planning Board. When his seat was up, the “new policy” under Zimmer was people would only be allowed to hold one board position while they were calling the shots. That went completely out the window last night as Marsh said she was all for people serving on multiple boards as long as they were her people (like Soares). The Mayor disagrees, according to Moses on Patch:
Zimmer said in a phone interview on Thursday morning that she believes people should only serve one board. “I think it’s best to have one person on one board,” said Zimmer. “I want to involve the community as much as possible,” she added.
Now, supporters of Zimmer who have only been following this stuff for the past couple of years (or less), are starting to see for themselves the real motivation of Lenz, Marsh and Soares (the “Trifecta of Trickery”).
Hoboken411 has been 100% consistent telling you about Lenz for years here, and tried to give you some insight into the true political motivations of Marsh as well. Just look at this retrospective of her continued flip-flopping in and out of the political machine. She’s in when they’ll take her, and “a reformer” when they won’t. I’m sorry for all that don’t get it (yet), but eventually you will.
There’s much more to write on this story, and developments are coming quickly. Lenz and Soares were caught off guard by a wave of disgust over their actions from Zimmer supporters they’ll need in November. Soares has signed on to Lenz’s campaign and will take credit as a political advisor if Lenz wins… that is, if Lenz is even on the ballot in November.
So what do you think?
Are back-room deals with supposed sworn political enemies to get a toxic political player premium health benefits and a second double-dipping board appointment “Change that Works,” or more of the same? Comment below on the original and most read (by a heaping landslide!) Hoboken website.