A political action committee that backed a ballot initiative to loosen Hoboken’s rent control laws paid the woman charged with vote-by-mail fraud last week, according to filings with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Lizaida Camis was paid $800 by Let the People Decide on September 12th, 2013, followed by another $800 payment on October 2nd, 2013, according to an October 21st, 2013 PAC filing with ELEC.
The filing indicates that Camis was one of nine people paid during that quarter, ahead of a November election where voters decided whether or not they wanted to eliminate city rent control guidelines for condos and residential buildings with up to four units.
She was the second highest paid campaign worker on the filing, with seven of the nine workers getting paid just $50 each (one woman was also paid $3,000).
On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Camis, 55, of Hoboken, was charged with committing vote-by-mail fraud for promising voters $50 if they voted by mail for the candidates she was backing.
Federal authorities did not identify which candidate(s) Camis was working for and only identified the entity that paid Camis as a “political action committee.”
Furthermore, the criminal complaint, Camis’ alleged crimes were committed “between in or about October 2013 and in or about November 2013.”
In that election cycle, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her running mates bested Assemblyman Ruben Ramos and 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti.
Additionally, the same aforementioned ELEC filing shows that the Mile Square Taxpayers Association gave $17,500 to Let the People Decide between September 4th and October 11th, 2013.
MSTA spokesman Ron Simonici told The Hudson Reporter back in 2014 that his organization had donated around $70,000 to Let the People Decide since 2011, noting that the PAC was effective in getting out the vote for the rent control question in the 4th and 5th Wards.
“Nothing in my mind ever made me think that it’s anything more than a ‘get out the vote’ organization,” he is quoted as saying at the time.
He could not be reached for further comment on Monday.
Cheryl Fallick, of the Hoboken Fair Housing Association, who opposed the MSTA’s ballot efforts, said last week that the organization believed some of their efforts impacted the vote-by-mail investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The court challenge to the 2013 election victory for tenant protections provided the opportunity, with the help of NJ Appleseed who represented the HFHA, to bring this long-standing problem to light,” she told Hudson County View on Thursday.
“After the challenge was withdrawn, it is my understanding that Renee Steinhagen of NJ Appleseed brought our files and information to the U.S. District attorney who, we understand, has been investigating since that time.”
Steinhagen did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Monday.