Show me the money
Jarrett Renshaw follows up with the disclosure statement story, indicating our City Tax Collector is the only one who refuses to comply. From NJ.com.
Hoboken tax collector flouts disclosure law
Hoboken’s tax collector has thumbed his nose at the City Council and the mayor, refusing to file a financial disclosure form as required under an ordinance unanimously adopted in March.
Louis Picardo, who makes about $112,000 a year, had previously refused to file a disclosure statement, which requires officials to list sources of income and interests in property.
A city code enacted in the 1980s specifically required a tax collector to file, but Picardo and others said they received an opinion that the state’s local government ethics law, enacted in the 1990s, invalidated the local code.
The March ordinance, listing 25 job titles, was meant to close that apparent loophole.
The deadline to file the disclosure statements was Monday, and everyone else has complied.
Picardo did not returned repeated phone calls over the past week seeking comment.
The ordinance lays out penalties for not filing the statements, which range from a fine of $100 to termination. But first, the issue must be brought before the state’s local finance board.
“If people want to flout the law, or thumb their noses at City Council and the people of Hoboken, they must know there is consequences,” said City Councilman Peter Cammarano, the sponsor of the ordinace.
Mayor David Roberts was angered when he heard city employees were “exploiting” the loophole to avoid filing financial statements and publicly supported the ordinance.
However, he has not responded to numerous calls seeking comment on Picardo.
SEE ORIGINAL STORY FROM MARCH 9TH BELOW.
From today’s Jersey Journal. Jarrett doing great work as always!
Hoboken is moving on disclosure statements
By JARRETT RENSHAW
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
HOBOKEN – The City Council introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would greatly expand the number of city positions required to file an annual disclosure statement in the wake of a controversy over the city’s top construction code official.
The ordinance, which lists 25 titles, would require disclosure statements from construction code official Al Arezzo as well as the city’s tax collector, tax assessor, deputy attorneys and a number of others who have not filed the annual statements in the past.
These officials have claimed they were advised by the city’s Law Department not to file the disclosure statements – despite a city code enacted in the 1980s that specifically included their job titles in a list of positions required to hand them in to the city’s clerk.
Corporation Counsel Joe Sherman said the city’s code was invalidated when the state enacted the local government ethics law in the 1990s. The ordinance mirrors the city’s code in a number of ways.
Financial disclosure statements are aimed at bringing transparency and scrutiny of public officials, who must reveal sources of income and where they own property in the state.
The ordinance also lays out penalties for not filing the statements, which range from a fine of $100 to termination.
The state’s Division of Community Affairs is investigating Arezzo, who, city records show, owns or has an interest in a number of properties in Hoboken – including the stables for Hoboken’s mounted police.
According to real estate and business records, 611-619 Newark St. is owned by a limited liability company whose partners include Arezzo, part-time city attorney Vincent Lapaglia and Pino Morin.
The city has been paying the company roughly $3,000 a month to rent the space as a temporary stable for the Police Department’s horses after the department had to vacate the previous site at the old Maxwell Coffee factory so luxury condos could be built there.
The state Division of Community Affairs recently requested documents from the city’s construction office related to the property as part of an ongoing investigation.
Arezzo has refused to file a disclosure statement, and his critics say that bringing transparency to the issue would remove speculation about any potential conflicts of interest.