The Hoboken City Council approved an emergency $20,000 contract with the law firm of the first New Jersey Comptroller Matthew Boxer at last night’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The emergency resolution was introduced after a closed session hearing with Special Counsel Mark Tabakin, who typically deals with employment matters for the city, to discuss a personnel matter.
“It is asserted that this is an urgent item because the legal services were of an urgent nature and the City must confirm urgent items by way of Resolution at the first available opportunity,” the resolution authorizing the addition of an urgent item to the agenda says.
The subsequent resolution is a $20,000 non-fair and open contract with Lowenstein Sandler LLP set to expire no later than April 25th, 2024.
The measures were voted on simultaneously in public session and were approved by tallies of 7-0(1), with 6th Ward Councilman Jen Giattino abstaining since she missed the closed session. 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco was absent.
Sources with knowledge of the situation, who spoke under the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak on the matter, said the contract was awarded with the understanding that Boxer would be investigating the circumstances of former Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini’s departure.
He resigned suddenly yesterday after 14 years on the job and neither he or the administration providing any comment, though former Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who hired Pellegrini, called him “an extraordinary public servant,” as HCV first reported.
Boxer was appointed as the state’s first comptroller under Gov. Jon Corzine (D) in January 2008 after serving as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office that oversaw a number of high-profile investigations including Operation Bid Rig and Monmouth 11.
“As a federal prosecutor, he led the successful prosecution of numerous public officials on corruption charges, including the ‘Monmouth 11’ – a group that included three sitting mayors, four sitting councilmen, and a police commissioner, making it one of the largest single-day corruption takedowns in state history,” his bio says.
Since joining the private sector in January 2014, Boxer has still handled a number of prominent cases in New Jersey.
For example, he was commissioned by the state to investigate a use-of-force incident at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women and also probed a Sussex County solar energy initiative that caused the county millions of dollars in losses.
He currently serves as a partner at Lowenstein Sandler, where he is also the chair of the corporate investigations and integrity practice.