Mayor berates Priest, stuns witnesses!

Letter: Mayor Zimmer a no-show for public safety mass on 9/11

Hoboken411 received emails from residents wondering why Mayor Dawn Zimmer didn’t attend Mass here in Hoboken for the police & fire personnel this past weekend – including Sasha, who wrote:

“The Mass at OLG was just as significant as honoring those that perished on Sept 11. The first responders in Hoboken and every community are there every single day of the year. Including emergencies like hurricanes and flooding, or heat waves and blizzards (like the one where Zimmer was nowhere to be found this past Christmas).

Those are the individuals that we all depend on. Showing strong support for them on 9/11 even though Hoboken wasn’t directly attacked is an essential sign of unity and respect.

Sadly, the first responders didn’t get as much respect as they deserved, even at ground zero. Zimmer had no business being in NYC, when Hoboken has its own memorial. Honestly, former Mayor Roberts had more of a reason to attend since he was the one in office in 2001.

It’s clear how our current Mayor feels about those who we rely on the most in Hoboken.”

Maybe the feud between Zimmer & Father Fortunato continues?

Zimmer tirade news spreads; meeting planned with Priest

9/22/2010 Update:

With every day that goes by, it gets harder and harder for Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s internet attack dogs to claim she did nothing wrong at last Sunday’s Blue Mass.

Every day more news outlets pick up on the story broken by Hoboken411, and every day it gets harder for Zimmer to deny she was out of line publicly berating Father Vinny Fortunato.

Story changing; apology still not issued

The “defend-Dawn-at-all-costs” squad better listen up, because the Mayor is beginning to change her story. Zimmer’s original “I’m not going to comment on 411 accusations” line is evolving as more and more reporters demand answers, and smell guilt wafting from the Mayor’s office. The not-quite-daily newspaper out of Jersey City updates the story with this quote:

“Since the (Hoboken411) post was put up, Zimmer has not outright denied the allegations, but acknowledged that she did speak to the priest following the service and plans to meet with him again on Thursday. “I thought Father Vinny gave an excellent sermon,” said Zimmer in a brief phone interview… “It was extremely thought-provoking.” Fortunato has declined to comment.”

– Jersey Journal

PolitickerNJ reporter Tim Carroll – who wrote the excellent follow-up to Hoboken411’s Deconstructing Michael Lenz expose – picks up on the buzz surrounding Zimmer’s bad behavior. In a story originally titled “Zimmer simmering after sermon,” Tim wrote:

“Zimmer took it personally and told Father Vinnie after the mass that she was offended at his tying city affairs into a homily. But he was giving a template sermon used by the Catholic Church, in part, to address their sex scandals.“I thought it was an excellent sermon,” Zimmer said. “It had a profound effect on me.” But, “I did speak to (Father Vinnie) emotionally after the (mass) and I regret that,” Zimmer said.

– PolitickerNJ

Eyewitnesses say “speaking emotionally” is only the tip of the iceberg of what Zimmer did to cause her husband to physically drag her away from Father Vinny before things could get even worse. More telling is how Lenz himself is no longer able to hide from the storm, admitting he saw more than his internet response team would like him to admit:

“Fourth Ward Councilman Michael Lenz, a public Zimmer supporter, said he was also nearby when the mayor spoke to Fortunato. “There were some people expressing their opinion. Words may have been exchanged,” he said.

– JJ

Even as Zimmer and Lenz come closer to admitting that no, reporting this news was NOT some “anti-Semitic conspiracy against the Mayor” as one Zimmer zealot claimed, don’t expect a Mayoral mea culpa any time soon. In fact, the latest spin from City Hall attempts to place an equal amount of blame for the incident on Father Vinny, hence the “words may have been exchanged” line from Lenz, as well as this attempt by Zimmer to share any blame with the priest on PolitickerNJ:

“On Thursday, the two are meeting to “heal” the wounds, Zimmer said, the “destructive divisions” in Hoboken.”

Apparently, Zimmer still thinks Father Vinny wounded her in some way through his homily. As for the destructive divisions, many agree there has been no more divisive administration in Hoboken’s history than this one.

There’s still no apology, so the clock in the left hand margin counts on…

Zimmer: not denying eyewitness accounts

Mayor won’t publicly apologize to Father Vinny for her tirade, or offer her own version.
9/21/2010 Update:

No apologies.

That’s the word from Mayor Dawn Zimmer to reporters who’ve been asking about the post-mass tirade she unleashed on Father Vinny Fortunato Sunday. A local reporter cornered Zimmer at one of her photo-ops and asked her about the story everyone is talking about. This was her response:

“I’m not going to respond to any accusations 411 is making about me.”

Rather than be caught in a lie by denying the incident occurred exactly as reported, Zimmer is allowing her online spin team to call the story a lie and refusing to respond directly to questions about it. For the record, no “accusations” have been made by “411,” but by several eyewitnesses who heard and saw what went down outside the Church of St. Ann.

This website reported the facts, and Zimmer has a chance to deny them, but hasn’t and won’t.

Father Vinny hesitant to speak about the incident

When pressed (very softly, apparently) by former newsroom intern Claire Moses on the incident, Zimmer said, “I attended the service on Sunday to show appreciation for all the hard work,” of the police officers she is laying off and demoting. For his part – Father Vinny is downplaying the incident, which would be typical of a man more concerned about forgiveness and compassion than yet another Hoboken political drama.

Since the facts were first reported, additional eyewitnesses have come forward to corroborate and expand on the original report, adding that Zimmer was visibly upset in the church throughout the service.

Parents: Conduct of Zimmer in front of children a no-no

In addition to the special Blue Mass for Police and Firefighters, special blessings were offered for the people who are beginning the new year of CCD classes, including teachers and students. It was the first day of instruction and many children were there to see Zimmer’s erratic behavior.

Some parents had to explain to their kids why the Mayor would yell at a priest outside of church.

Zimmer takes out frustrations on a man of the cloth

9/20/2010:

Hoboken is abuzz with accounts of Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s disrespectful attack on Father Vinny Fortunato following the annual Blue Mass for Police and Firefighters.

The special mass has been held at one of Hoboken’s churches to bless those who place themselves in harm’s way for public safety for decades. It was held Sunday morning at the Church of St. Ann, and as always was followed by a breakfast. Witnesses say this year’s event was marred by a stunning display of rudeness by Hoboken’s top elected official.

Eyewitnesses describe difficult and stunning scene

Over 120 members of service attended the mass along with family members, parishioners who normally make the 9am and others attending because mass was said for their loved ones. Father Vinny is a Capuchin Friar who made many friends and admirers during his relatively short time in Hoboken. Originally from Long Island, Father Vinny is a diehard Jets fan who occasional serves as Team Chaplain for the Giants. He’s known as non-political (unlike the occasionally controversial Father Alex Santora at Our Lady of Grace) and approachable.

A homily about Integrity, and an introduction missed

Catholics know a homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. Father Vinny is known for sharing homilies that are relatable and understandable to anyone attending mass, no matter their faith. Yesterday’s homily focused on the importance of integrity.

Father Vinny spoke first of how priests must maintain integrity, and how one priest’s actions can reflect on the entire group (such as in sex abuse cases). In line with the theme, he also spoke of police and firefighters maintaining integrity, and noted politicians should do so as well. No one politician was singled out for this message, and several were in attendance to hear it (including Russo, Lenz, Zimmer).

Zimmer confronts Father Vinny in front of shocked onlookers

After the mass ended, Father Vinny made his way to the steps of St. Ann’s to speak with people who attended the service. According to witnesses, Mayor Zimmer angrily confronted him, saying she was offended by his sermon, making it loud and clear she was not happy with his choice of subject in her presence. She also complained of not being immediately recognized and announced to the congregation earlier in the mass. (Zimmer was noted toward the end, but it was apparently not soon enough for her liking). Witnesses say Father Vinny appeared stunned by Zimmer’s anger, and had no idea why she was so enraged with him.

Hubby pulls Mayor away; others call her disrespectful

Before she could be pulled away, Zimmer was heard telling Father Vinny that “Maybe you should just go and campaign for the police!”

One witness says Zimmer referenced the PBA rallies at City Hall. Enough people saw this display continue long enough for some to take issue with the way Zimmer was treating their priest. This is apparently when Zimmer’s husband Stan Grossbard stepped in to get her away from the church before the cell phone cameras started breaking out. Un-elected councilman Michael Lenz was left to do damage control with those left behind. Zimmer never showed up to the breakfast that followed the mass, though Lenz did and received much less than a hero’s welcome.

A truly bizarre story, to be sure

The buzz on this story started almost immediately after it occurred, and as you can imagine Hoboken411 spent a lot of time on the phone and online yesterday trying to nail it down. The witnesses in this story are not yet prepared to go public, but if Zimmer’s supporters continue to claim that she did nothing wrong and has nothing to apologize to Father Vinny for, don’t be surprised to see them get angry enough to call out the Mayor under their own names. This is how offended they were about how the erratic Mayor disrespected their church.

For the record, Zimmer was raised Unitarian Christian. She later told friends she converted to Judaism for family reasons after the death of her Father-in-Law and as her sons were growing old enough to begin religious instruction. Unable to defend their Mayor on the merits, some of Zimmer’s die-hard minions are claiming what happened is part of some sort of “anti-Semitic conspiracy.” That alone should tell you how bankrupt their argument is.

What do you think? Should Mayor Zimmer issue an immediate apology to Father Vinny for confronting him and criticizing his homily, or is it OK for politicians to tell religious leaders what they can and cannot say in their presence? Comment below!

Leave a Reply

129 Comments on "Mayor berates Priest, stuns witnesses!"

4th Ward Guardian
Member
4th Ward Guardian

Hoboken people have long memories. This is only one of the reasons why Zimmer was booed at the High School Graduation this week. Never forget Zimmer never publicly apologized or admitted what she did was wrong. Shame on her.

whineanddineinhob
Member
whineanddineinhob

Very true. I really don’t think our police and firemen expected anything less than another slap in the face from this woman. Our men are just biding time till this crazed administration is removed from office in a little less than 2 years. It was more important for her to suck up to Chris Christie who was also at the WTC .[quote comment=”208110″]Hoboken people have long memories. This is only one of the reasons why Zimmer was booed at the High School Graduation this week. Never forget Zimmer never publicly apologized or admitted what she did was wrong. Shame on her.[/quote]

whineanddineinhob
Member
whineanddineinhob

My apology. Should have read our men AND women.[quote comment=”210662″]Very true. I really don’t think our police and firemen expected anything less than another slap in the face from this woman. Our men are just biding time till this crazed administration is removed from office in a little less than 2 years. It was more important for her to suck up to Chris Christie who was also at the WTC .[/quote]

wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

Whine dine/ A dedacated Dawn Sniffer posted on his site that mrs,russo is getting a job on the boa..with bennies and salary unknown with taxpayers $$$. In your heart of hearts does this equal the hiring of two people to the tune of 200k per year with bennies..on the tax payers money.?? chittttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt. 😥 [quote comment=”210665″]My apology. Should have read our men AND women.[/quote]

wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

whine..you recall that STEVIE WONDER SONG(ISN’T SHE LOVEY) It’s not a yuppie thing more than an inept thing and wrong quarterbacking…Two hires at 200k per year plus bennies and That can bring back some workers and reinstate some PD personal..A tip of the hat to Sac a Rou on winning his court case..NNACP where the helll are you? How can she go to NYC and not honor the police fireman and ems? Sad state of affairs..Bloomberg earns a dollar per year..With two diamond centers on each coast why can’t she follow the example? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ BTW did the property tax decrease in two years? wisen up reformers ..revolters. 🙄 [quote comment=”210662″]Very true. I really don’t think our police and firemen expected anything less than another slap in the face from this woman. Our men are just biding time till this crazed administration is removed from office in a little less than 2 years. It was more important for her to suck up to Chris Christie who was also at the WTC .[/quote]

layercakes
Member
layercakes

Dawn Zimmer and Michael Lenz are trash. I can’t wait for that dog faced indecent excuse for a woman to be out of office. She’s a disgrace to Hoboken and to human beings. If someone were to blast her Rabbi like that they’d have no job. What a piece of shit you are Dawn.

bornandrazedinhobo
Member
bornandrazedinhobo

Russo, Robert, and Cammarano (although short in term) tactfully laundered city money into their own interests and investments in the city in the millions over years…..Russo got caught for chump change considering what he stole and the same can be said for Cammarano…..god only knows how Roberts dodged that bullet…..Zimmer is just giving the cash away with large salaries and consistent legal fvck-ups.

Litteredboken
Member
Litteredboken

I would have attacked them, too, had I lived there then. I came late to the Roberts gang, never supported Cammarano, and well– he took care of his own mayoralship failing on his own. I fully support non-politicians for political jobs. ESP. at the local level! [quote comment=”197868″]Russo, Robert, and Cammarano (although short in term) tactfully laundered city money into their own interests and investments in the city in the millions over years…..Russo got caught for chump change considering what he stole and the same can be said for Cammarano…..god only knows how Roberts dodged that bullet…..Zimmer is just giving the cash away with large salaries and consistent legal fvck-ups.[/quote]

Litteredboken
Member
Litteredboken
Also interesting. Jersey City mayor responds to recall committee, highlights accomplishments Friday, July 30, 2010 Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has responded to a committee of residents attempting to recall him. A committee attempting to recall Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy is crafting a petition, which will include a note from the mayor asking people not to sign. Under state law, public officials facing a recall have the ability to submit a statement for the official petitions. When West New York Mayor Sal Vega faced a recall attempt last year, he chose not submit a statement. But Healy has submitted a lengthy statement outlining reasons why he believes he should be allowed to remain in office. Healy’s letter states that he instituted furloughs, hiring freezes and layoffs of city workers to offset property tax increases. He said he utilized grants to put more police on the street and instituted crime fighting tools to bring crime to a 30-year low. Healy also notes his efforts to attract development and force developers to use Jersey City workers. He said he has forced corporate polluters to clean up toxic sites and that he has taken on the largest street resurfacing in city history, paving 70 miles of city roads. Healy said he has also instituted a process to renovate one park, per ward, per year for the next 10 years and is working to acquire additional park land. The recall committee — comprised of residents John Lynch, Riaz Wahid and Martha… Read more »
Litteredboken
Member
Litteredboken

http://www.ehow.com/how_2093099_recall-city-mayor.html

A quick search of Hoboken’s municapl code doesn’t show any laws concerning this. I assume we are going to need a lawyer. But a good place to start might be calling the city and asking about how many signatures we’d need. Or we should work with our city council people. I’ll send an email to Teresa Castellano and see what she has to say.

whineanddineinhob
Member
whineanddineinhob

I think we’re jumping the gun here Litterdboken. I know Ms Castellano well, and I think she would rather see this fool bite off more of her feet before taking measures as drastic as a recall. If you start a half-assed campaign, you will see many supporters and most importantly, those not sure, crying she is being persecuted. She’s doing a good job of caving in on herself. Let some things play out. She is already being accused of fraud on this public works garage, and there is litigation with Mike Stigliano. There are some serious issues being unfolded, let’s not complicate things.[quote comment=”197853″]A quick search of Hoboken’s municapl code doesn’t show any laws concerning this. I assume we are going to need a lawyer. But a good place to start might be calling the city and asking about how many signatures we’d need. Or we should work with our city council people. I’ll send an email to Teresa Castellano and see what she has to say.[/quote]

Litteredboken
Member
Litteredboken

It is costing the city millions to keep this woman around. This city is bleeding money! People may be pissed off, but what are they going to do about this? And when? I may be an impatient person, but I know you have change things in order to CHANGE things, you know? I see WAY too many people in society sitting around watching things happen, complaining about them from the sidelines, and how many even bother to vote– or vote, but for the SAME thing, over and over?

Anyway, it looks like Carol Marsh would be the one to answer the question of how many signatures we’d need. You know they are trying to impeach Jeremiah Healy, right? I applaud those gutsy people on trying to make a difference in their city.

Are people really interested in reform, or do they just like to complain?[quote comment=”197855″]I think we’re jumping the gun here Litterdboken. I know Ms Castellano well, and I think she would rather see this fool bite off more of her feet before taking measures as drastic as a recall. If you start a half-assed campaign, you will see many supporters and most importantly, those not sure, crying she is being persecuted. She’s doing a good job of caving in on herself. Let some things play out. She is already being accused of fraud on this public works garage, and there is litigation with Mike Stigliano. There are some serious issues being unfolded, let’s not complicate things.[/quote]

whineanddineinhob
Member
whineanddineinhob
I understand completely, and my response wasn’t directed to stop any sort of action to remove zimmer or attack you personally. There is damage that has already been done by this administration and it’s going to cost the city much more in the months to come regarding law suits, and this is whether she is IN office or NOT at this point. And there is no way you can stop her from making future decisions while we talk recall. I’m impatient myself and wish she were gone yesterday, but it’s a system that will take time. We may have to wait to see what damage has been done with this garage situation and bonding in order to convince many more of her inability to run this city. At this point, I’ve noticed here a lot of knee-jerk decisions and yelling because her latest escapade involved a priest. Not very many really complained about the bigger cost issues like the garage or the puppy suit and the police issue was pretty much even on both sides (except for the police themselves). I was upset myself about the incident at St.Ann’s, but that issue isn’t what recall is about and it didn’t cost the city a dime because of her big mouth. Her admin is self-destruciing, and I think in the near future, more details of the current situations will give us a bigger battle cry. Patience isn’t one of my biggest virture either, but if we’re going to do it, there… Read more »
Litteredboken
Member
Litteredboken
I suppose it is just the system itself I despise. I would like to think that the bomb of a recall election would shake people up enough to inspire us tp reconfigure things in a better way. However, I will presently defer to your advice.But keep in mind that if Healy goes, if they succeed in getting to a recall vote stage, and things haven’t changed re: Zimmer et al., that might be a good time to pull the trigger here in Hoboken and ride the coattails along the start of the Hudson County reform movement![quote comment=”197874″]I understand completely, and my response wasn’t directed to stop any sort of action to remove zimmer or attack you personally. There is damage that has already been done by this administration and it’s going to cost the city much more in the months to come regarding law suits, and this is whether she is IN office or NOT at this point. And there is no way you can stop her from making future decisions while we talk recall. I’m impatient myself and wish she were gone yesterday, but it’s a system that will take time. We may have to wait to see what damage has been done with this garage situation and bonding in order to convince many more of her inability to run this city. At this point, I’ve noticed here a lot of knee-jerk decisions and yelling because her latest escapade involved a priest. Not very many really complained about the… Read more »
wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

litter /They are no better in Hudson County and all for them selves…You can bet if our leader Margret Thacther continues on this road ,she knows dam well she is toast election time.From day one knew this person did not have the logistical know how to run a city..One good thing is she can hire ma barker as her body guard and driver ..if she has a license.All other mayors had a driver and bodyguard…Just give her a weapon to complete her fantisy.If you hire out of towners and farmers from hayseed towns why not give this person a chance to forfull her dreams..lmaorotf..minimum pay of course 100k ❓ [quote comment=”197878″]I suppose it is just the system itself I despise. I would like to think that the bomb of a recall election would shake people up enough to inspire us tp reconfigure things in a better way. However, I will presently defer to your advice.But keep in mind that if Healy goes, if they succeed in getting to a recall vote stage, and things haven’t changed re: Zimmer et al., that might be a good time to pull the trigger here in Hoboken and ride the coattails along the start of the Hudson County reform movement![/quote]

wpDiscuz