The Hoboken Housing Authority unanimously passed a resolution rejecting all proposals for legal counsel at Thursday’s meeting – partially because Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia’s Chief of Staff communicated with one law firm that went to bid. Chris Campos denied any wrongdoing and fired back at Chairwoman Dana Wefer on the matter.
Garcia was the HHA executive director until last Monday, when his contract was terminated by a 5-2 vote. Wefer listed three reasons why the proposals were rejected, noting that the Hackensack law firm Nowell Ambroso Klein Bierman had direct communication with Campos.
When reached by Hudson County View, Campos, also an attorney, said he was “flabbergasted” over the fact that Wefer accused him of any sort of impropriety.
“An RFQ is a request for competent counsel to respond. Rejecting a response based on the fact that an attorney looked at it and sent it to another law firm that may be qualified? That makes no sense,” Campos said over the phone.
“These aren’t confidential documents, these are public documents for anyone to view or respond. I find it shocking…there must be a more sinister plan here. What’s the real issue? Wouldn’t you want greater participation in an RFP or RFQ process?”
Campos added that Wefer recently sent a personal email to a law firm asking them to do work for the HHA, which he believes is far more controversial than anything he has ever done.
Wefer responded by saying it’s “extremely improper” for him to get involved with HHA matters since he works with Garcia in the assembly, also noting that there is nothing improper about her reaching out to potential lawyers as a member of the HHA board.
Charles Daglian currently serves as the Hoboken Housing Authority attorney but does not currently have a contract. Several previous votes by the board last year were controversial and failed to re-appoint Daglian, though no one else has been appointed in his place as of yet.
As Hudson County View reported last week, the HHA can now utilize the West New York Housing Authorities legal counsel after passing an interlocal services agreement with the entity at the same meeting.