Emails from Fulop, PANYNJ raise questions about ‘Garbage for Greenville’ deal

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Emails and documents related to the building of a waste transfer facility in Greenville raises unanswered questions from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Mayor Steven Fulop

New emails and documents related to the building of a waste transfer facility in Greenville, a project that Mayor Fulop later halted, raise fresh questions about the process behind the scenes of a resolution approving the “execution of a memorandum of understanding [MOU] with IESI NY Corporation as the basis for a future host community agreement.”

The most serious question centers around the difference between a letter to the NYC Dept. of Sanitation attached to the City Council agenda, and the actual letter sent.

In the official letter dated October 6, 2014 – which was obtained through a public records request – Fulop writes about “expected council support” which was not in the letter attached to the council agenda.

Additionally, there is a difference in language regarding the MOU. In the actual letter sent it says, “reached an agreement” and in the council agenda it says “executed a letter agreement.”

NYC DOS Letter OPRA

NYC DOS Letter Agenda

The letter, addressed to NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, was sent two days prior to the council vote.

According to other documents, Fulop was involved in meetings going back to June 2014 regarding the proposed facility, which is still a possibility given that the MOU can be signed at any time.

In a June 25, 2014 meeting regarding IESI, Fulop and Corporation Counsel Jeremy Farrell met with two lawyers from the firm Scarinci Hollenbeck, including attorney Ramon Rivera.

IESI Meeting

Rivera, who serves as a special counsel to the Jersey City Board of Education, was identified in a 2012 Hudson Reporter article as a possible campaign fundraiser for Fulop. Neither city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill, nor Rivera, responded to requests for comment regarding if the allegation in the article was correct or not.

In addition to the meeting regarding IESI, Fulop held a meeting with lawyers from Weiner Lesniak and officials from the Port Authority on August 19, 2014. One of those officials was Deborah Gramiccioni, Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority.

Port Authority Meeting

In a series of emails discovered through OPRA, Fulop told Gramiccioni the day before halting the plan that the “waste transfer station is not something we are in support of” and that there wasn’t “an agreement about containers, time tables… Nothing.”

Fulop wrote that the purpose of the MOU was to “keep a place holder on the subsidy that the Bloomberg admin had in NYC.”

Fulop to Gramiccioni - Greenville Yards

Gramiccioni to Fulop RE: Greenville Yards

In an email Grammiccioni says the PANYNJ recommends “significant input from you, your constituents and other potentially affected communities” before making a final decision on the project.

Additionally, The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the purchase and redevelopment of Greenville Yards, including a barge-to-rail facility to take trucks off roads, back in May.

Furthermore, the resolution on the Jersey City council agenda states the MOU, which includes financial details regarding tonnage and payments, is an agreement of material terms for the basis of a waste transfer facility at Greenville Yards for a term of 30 years.

On the night of the vote, Council President Rolando Lavarro said “I’m not going to lie, once an MOU is established it’s generally the intention of the governing body to move forward with it.”

An email seeking comment from Morrill regarding the contents of the Greenville Yards emails was not returned.