Two members of the Hoboken Democratic Committee are suing the city clerk, the county clerk and two prospective opposition candidates after their petitions of nomination were accepted after the filing deadline had past.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In an April 13 letter sent to Hoboken City Clerk James Farina, Peter Biancamano, who also sits on the board of education, and Ines Garcia-Keim, the HDC vice chair, said it was “blatantly illegal” that two candidates had petitions accepted after the April 3 filing deadline passed.
” … Follow your statutory responsibilities and reconsider this blatantly illegal action before we are forced to pursue this matter further in court and/or with the appropriate law enforcement authorities,” the letter says.
Accusing Farina of being “ordered to accept these petitions by someone else,” the letter urges the clerk to “adhere to your obligations under the law.”
On April 5, two days after the filing deadline had passed, Sheillah Dallara, who was part of a BOE ticket endorsed by Mayor Dawn Zimmer that pulled off a clean sweep in November, and her husband Aaron filed for committee in the 1st District of the 2nd Ward, documents show.
Biancamano and Sheillah Dallara are political adversaries who typically oppose one another on BOE matters.
According to 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, who submitted the 67 petitions for nomination for the candidates running on the HCDO line, she accidentally forgot the Dallaras petitions – which were notarized on Sunday – at home which is why they were filed late.
Previously, in an April 10 letter from Farina to Keim, he explained that the petitions were being accepted since correspondence from Zimmer and Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman Vincent Prieto, also the Assembly Speaker (D-32), indicated that the Dallaras would be running on the party line.
“Significantly, the Clerk was timely provided correspondence dated April 3, 2017 and April 6, 2017 from Assemblyman Vincent Prieto and Mayor Dawn Zimmer advising that both individuals were running as part of the Hudson County Democratic Organization,” he wrote.
“Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:23-20, candidates properly amended the documentation provided to the Clerk’s office so as to remedy any defect by timely submitting the appropriate forms within the deadline to amend,” he wrote.
Garcia-Keim and Biancamano called this explanation “gibberish” and that it did not excuse or refute the fact that the Dallaras filed petitions 48 hours after the deadline expired.
As a result, the pair filed a 63-page lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court today, and through their attorney Steve Kleinman, are asking for a temporary injunction.
“Defendant Farina’s actions in this matter to date are clearly illegal, and must be nullified,” Kleinman wrote in the suit.
He goes on to say that Farina’s communications with Zimmer and/or Prieto “had no legal relevancy” and that Biancamano and Garcia-Keim “have been deprived of fundamental due process based upon Defendant Farina’s clear abuse of discretion.”
Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert and the Dallaras and also named in the suit.
“It is our understanding that Corporation Counsel received a complaint late this afternoon challenging the validity of a petition for the Hudson County Democratic Committee, as they are within their legal rights to do,” said city spokesman Juan Melli.
“It will be up to the Court to determine the validity of this complaint.”
Sheillah Dallara did not return a call seeking comment.