Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Jeffrey Jablonski dismissed a lawsuit that called for another vote to selected to Hoboken Republican Party chair earlier this month.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In a complaint filed in Hudson County Superior Court on September 15th, Joshua Sotomayor-Einstein and Roman Brice argued that the Hoboken GOP violated the county bylaws by not recognizing his nomination as chairman.
Joe Branco, who defeated Einstein for a his committee seat in last year’s primary, was the only nomination that was recognized and received 24 affirmative votes on June 28th after some infighting over procedural rules, as HCV first reported.
“Here, as persuasively articulated by the defendants, there is nothing in the state law preventing the Hoboken Republican Committee from addressing a governance principle in the absence of any bylaws, in an ad hoc capacity,” Jablonski said in his February 4th decision.
“Therefore, under the interpretation of Title 19 bylaws … the plaintiff has failed to set forth a claim upon which relief can be granted. The complaint therefore is dismissed.”
Jablonski also explained that given that Branco had provided the certification of 22 committee members indicating they would vote for him in the event of another election, “there is no factual or legal basis” to change the outcome.
“My former opponent could not get enough support for the State Committee post he already held and had been censured by the state Republican Party. He declined to run for re-election. Then I defeated him and several of his key allies for county committee,” Branco said in a statement.
“He lost by a decisive margin to me for Chair, and then went to lose to our evergreen County Chairman (and state Chair of Chairs) Jose Arango by a pathetic 118-2 margin. You would think at that point maybe Josh would have taken the summer off or tried to reconcile for the better of the Party. Instead, we get sued.”
Branco continued that the lawsuit was essentially nothing more than a distraction, with the Hoboken GOP raising $25,000 for Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli in October and “led a coalition that beat back a bloated tax increase,” referring to the Hoboken school referendum being defeated by a 2-1 margin last month.
In a joint statement, Einstein and Brice decried the ruling and vowed to appeal.
“Judge Jablonski’s ruling undermines the ability of NJ political committees to meet standards for action because it allows bylaws to be ignored and changed on the fly,” they began, noting that Chair Pro-Tem Kimberly Glatt ran the meeting under county bylaws which require nominees for chair to be registered members of the party for five years, which Branco was not.
“The court’s ruling opened the door for hostile takeovers of political parties by opposing groups without even requiring they formally change the rules before their takeover … Judge Jablonski has given de facto carte blanche to political malefactors to claim no bylaws exist and to make up their own. Undoubtedly, this ruling will further entrench political power as those engaged in hostile takeovers or seeking to preserve their power may now point to this to justify changing bylaws by decree.”