HPU allegedly harassing Hoboken businesses

HPU Hoboken Parking Utility double parkingThe Hoboken Parking Utility is hardly in the spotlight for good reasons. Even the former head of the HPU was arrested.

Now, various Hoboken businesses have noticed a uptick in “harassing” actions,

Several sources said that the HPU is “on a rampage” and ticketing everyone under the sun, especially places that rely on food delivery.

Sometimes, businesses said, that the HPU even “waits by the bus stop” and every time a car pulls up to pick up the package to deliver – they issue tickets. Even if for just 10 seconds.

Additionally, some restaurants said that near-altercations with PEO’s occur regularly, and that the HPU even issues tickets when cars are simply WAITING FOR ANOTHER CAR TO PULL OUT OF A SPACE so they can park.

On a rampage to pickpocket businesses, all in the name of “following orders.”

How to effectively handle Hoboken food delivery?

However, this brings up more compelling points, and a dilemma I believe needs solving.

On the surface, let’s take a look at some observations. Cars that double-park in areas are technically breaking the law. City Hall receives millions of dollars a year from draconian parking regulations. All to stuff city coffers, crony pay raises, or fund relatively useless jobs or functions. Businesses rely on delivery. Most restaurants receive 70-80% of their revenue that way. Delivery double parking is MUCH different than ordinary double parkers, as they’re in-tune with the spots they block, and move quickly.

What are some possible solutions?

1. Continue blitzing businesses. Rake in the dough for city hall.
This will hurt local businesses, possibly even resulting in higher prices, or longer delivery times for customers, making them angry.
Winner: City Hall. Losers: Everyone else.

2. Use discretion. Understand businesses are the backbone of Hoboken, not the administration.
Look the other way, unless a driver complains they cannot get out of their spot. Allow businesses to operate freely.
Winners: Businesses, residents. Loser: bloated government.

3. Force businesses to get rid of cars for delivery. Bike or on foot.
More bike accidents, congested sidewalks, slower delivery time. Not in the spirit of a free republic.
Winners: Delivery people (stronger glutes). Losers: Everyone else.

4. Get rid of the HPU entirely.
Find ways to cut $3-4 million out of the budget. More money remains in the local economy. Let police officers issue the blatant parking violations. Do we need all these regulations? Has parking gotten easier with them around anyway?
Winners: Hoboken’s reputation, businesses, residents, visitors. Losers: None.

How would YOU solve this situation?

(Note: Charges were dropped against Vera in 2012, and he was re-instated with back pay. He is currently employed by the HPU as of June 2013).

Theft alleged at Zimmer Parking Utility

11/4/2010:

CH. 2 News Video on Hoboken Parking Shakedown

Ian Sacs hire charged in shakedown scheme

During the 4th ward campaign, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and ex-Councilman Mike Lenz claimed they had “cleaned up” the Hoboken Parking Utility.

Really?

Today we learn one of Zimmer’s hires at the HPU has been arrested and charged with Theft by Extortion and Official Misconduct, and had an arrest and conviction record that HPU Director (Transportation Czar) Ian Sacs apparently ignored when he hired him in February.

Now Hoboken P.D. want to hear from you if you’ve also been allegedly shaken down by the man pictured to the right.

If you have, call the Hoboken Police Department at (201)420-2110 or (201)420-2100 and ask to speak with a detective. It is believed that there may be other extortion victims.

HPU employee Kleber Vera charged

Hoboken Police report the arrest yesterday of Parking Enforcement Officer Kleber Vera, Jr., who was hired on February 8th of this year. According to employment records obtained by Hoboken411, Vera was the very first new hire of Transportation Director Ian Sacs, who has since hired 6 other PEOs. HPD says Vera would allegedly seek out a vehicle used by a local food delivery person and issue the car for parking infractions if the driver didn’t provide him with free food on demand.

According to the sworn statement of a Luca Brasi’s deliveryman, who received over 30 summons from Vera because he wouldn’t give him free food. The man says back in July he received several summons from Vera, who approached him and said, “You’re getting a lot of summons, maybe we could work things out. If you don’t charge me for any sandwiches from Luca Brasi’s I won’t give you any tickets!” This arrangement went on until August when the deliveryman said he could no longer do it.

`I will give you a ticket every chance I get!`

The police report says Vera responded by threatening, “I will give you a ticket every chance I get!” Between August and October Vera issued 30 summons. The deliveryman brought the issue up to the Municipal Court, as well as “Jackie,” a supervisor in Sacs’ HPU office at City Hall. After that conversation, Vera appeared again at Luca Brasi’s and gave the deliveryman a ticket even though there were two minutes left on his meter. The police report says Vera said “I heard you’re talking to Jackie! It’s going to keep happening. There’s nothing you can do! Every chance I get!”

On October 30th, Vera gave the deliveryman another ticket while he was still in his car, an argument ensued and police were called. Officers instructed the man not to speak with any other HPU employees and tell his story to Detectives, who arrested Vera.

Vera’s prior arrests and incarceration, and the questions people are asking today about Zimmer and Sacs’ management of the HPU, below.

Vera had a troubled history

Hoboken Police say Vera has two prior arrests before working for the HPU.

According to court records, he was arrested in February 2009 in Elizabeth, N.J. for Obstructing the Administration of Law and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia which resulted in Vera pleading guilty to violating a local ordinance, the drug charge was dismissed. As a result, he was confined to the Union County Jail for a total of 50 days. He was arrested this year on January 31 in Jersey City for Aggravated Assault and Assault on a Police Officer. Eight days later he was by hired by Ian Sacs! Both charges were downgraded to Simple Assault.

Vera was processed on the Hoboken charge and transported to Central Judicial Processing (C.J.P.) Court where bail was set at $35,000.

The questions being asked now: Why did Sacs and Zimmer hire an HPU PEO with this kind of record? Does anyone see the irony of their claims to clean up the HPU after the missing quarters scandal?

Vera is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but Hoboken Detectives are now asking local deliverymen to come forward to let them know if they, too have been (allegedly) shaken down by Zimmer’s HPU workers.