With 11 special counsel, Union City only gave raises to Hoboken mayor’s firm, ex-judge

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After approving 11 firms of special counsel in the summer, Union City officials okayed raises for just two firms at the end of last year: one where Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla serves as of counsel and another for a former Hudson County Superior Court judge.

State Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack (left) and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla at a meeting of the Hoboken Democratic Committee on March 19th, 2018.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Back on August 8th, 2018, the Union City Board of Commissioners unanimously approved (5-0) a resolution awarding 11 special counsel contracts to be paid at a rate of $150 per hour, not to exceed $20,000 during the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the resolution says.

Those approved special counsel contracts, which were selected through a request for proposals process, were Gregory T. Farmer; Barry P. Sarkisian; Florio Kenny Raval, LLP; Chasan Lamparello Mallon & Capuzzo, PC; Dario, Albert, Metz & Eyerman, LLC; O’Toole Scrivio Fernandez Weiner Van Lieu; Genova Burns, Marotta & Garvey; Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, P.C.; Decoitiis Fitzpatrick & Cole, LLP; and Whipple Azzarello LLC.

Barry Sarkisian, whose law office is in Jersey City, is a former Hudson County Superior Court judge who went back into private practice last year.

Furthermore, Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, D.C. is the firm where Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, a political ally of state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack, serves as of counsel.

The $20,000 contracts given to the aforementioned law firms/attorneys are small by municipal government standards, just slightly over the $17,500 threshold that necessitates a public bidding process.

However, on November 27th, the Union City Board of Commissioners approved a $60,000 increase for Sarkisian to compensate “additional work to be provided for Special Counsel services” between July 1st, 2018 and June 30th, 2019, according to a copy of the contract.

In a similar vein, Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, D.C. received a $50,000 raise for annual special counsel services at the same meeting, their contract says.

Both contracts were obtained through an Open Public Records Act request with the Union City Clerk’s Office.

“If the length or complexity of an assignment warrants an increase, we have to increase the contract to accommodate the work load,” a Union City spokeswoman said, also indicating that LSAC was working on “tenant advocacy and receivership matters.”

Back in February when Bhalla revealed that he would be serving as of counsel for LSAC, he released a copy of his contract, which said, in part, that he would receive “20 percent of all gross revenue paid by clients in excess of $60,000 up to $750,000.”

Then in June, Bhalla released a memo indicating that he had not earned any money in commissions since joining the new firm. He has not released a public update since then and his critics on the city council haven’t pressed him much on the subject, either.

According to Hoboken spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri, the mayor did not play any role in negotiating the contract with LSAC, so therefore he will not be receiving a commission, nor will he be providing any legal services for Union City.

Several Union City and Hoboken officials declined to comment, but Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher questioned if politics were in play here.

“A coincidence? Or maybe something as ‘apolitical’ as the Mayor needing to generate revenues by year end to justify his $60K base salary at his second job and Union City helped him out. It’s why we ask questions,” she said in an email.

“It’s pathetic that Tiffanie Fisher has nothing better to do than criticize the mayor and sabotage his office. She should find better things to do with her time, like working for residents,” Chaudhuri responded.

Additionally, Bhalla supported Stack to be chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization back in June, though the North Hudson power broker came up short against Amy DeGise, the daughter of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.

39 COMMENTS

  1. Oh look, there’s Ravi in pay-to-play to his Republican law firm for $70,000!
    Does anyone know if Brian Stack ever paid a remote Republican law firm $70,000 before Ravi Bhalla had a no-show job in one?

    Call the FBI!

      • Please click on my site I have monetized it out the wazoo. I need the money. Every click puts money in my pocket. I am doing my best to post crazy conspiracy theories and make as many unsupported claims every where I can. I really need the money.

        Now read all my replys I make under so many different names to drive you to my web site (it makes me look like some people agree with me) and remember it just a way for me to make money. I really need the money.

    • Story just got hotter. Hobokenhorse.com put out a related story showing Ravi gave Brian Stack a kick of $$$ back last year. Whoa.

      • Mayor Stack refuted the horse manure extrapilation being shoveled by a sad old man on his ultra right wing lunatic blog.

        This post will probably set off all those voices screaming inside his head to make many posts trying to defend his outrageously wrong conspiracy theory fiction.

        • No Nancy, Boss Stack just said that’s he’s the power over Hoboken and Ravi is his little b****. That’s the truth everyone in Hudson County knows.

          Stack isn’t refuting anything. He’s laughing he was able to buy Hoboken so easily so cheap. Never would have happened under former Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Never.

          You on the other hand. You’re a corrupt sellout. Go take your little bag of coins from Ravi. You suck.

  2. “According to Hoboken spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri, the mayor did not play any role in negotiating the contract with LSAC, so therefore he will not be receiving a commission, nor will he be providing any legal services for Union City.”

    Now can someone please ask Vijay if he thinks that a law firm that did not and does not include Hudson County in their service area is suddenly doing business in Hudson County might have anything to do with Mayor Bhalla using his position as Mayor of Hoboken to secure clients for his 2nd job at the law firm?

    Here are the service areas listed on the Lavery website (direct text)

    “Our law firm services clients in Central and Northern New Jersey, including Warren County, Sussex County, Morris County, Essex County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, and Passaic County out of our two offices in Hackettstown and Morristown, New Jersey.”

    Wonder how many other clients Lavery has picked up in Hudson County since Bhalla accepted his 2nd job with them. And how many of those new Hudson County clients will have political ties.

    I also wonder if there are any political contributions from Bhalla to Stack around the same time that Lavery got the contract.

    God, this Mayor is really getting over on the people of Hoboken.

    • You tell ’em, councilwoman! Maybe you could say all this at the next council meeting instead of on this blog and your other one.

      • Not the councilwoman, but thanks for the compliment.

        Listen, I get that you’re touchy when anyone exposes the corruption going on at City Hall, but like it or not, you are going to have to accept that there are voters in the community that are glad that Ms. Fisher is calling this mayor and his dishonest administration out.

        • Fishy.

          Doesn’t that councilwoman beg for money to have a website that does the dirty work for her ?
          Doesn’t that councilwoman look the other way when it comes to her allies ?
          Isn’t that councilwoman looking at losing her job and medical benefits if the voters who are not gald when she pulls these stunts ?

          • Nice try Nancy as in enjoy the suck. The Stinkus sewer mouth of lies and desperate stupidity is back but can’t defend Ravi Bhalla’s corrupt wheeling. She thinks attacking a good government representative will suffice.

            Ravi is the most corrupt threat to Hoboken. There’s nothing else that even matters. Well, Ravi’s bud Russo has some trouble with major voter fraud but that’s the Fed’s job.

          • Exactly! Pay to play is good government when Defusco and Ramos do it. That’s why Fischer and her lap dog never say anything about it.

          • Shut up Nancy. You have zero credibility. Zero, you lying fraud! That goes double for John Allen and Ravi’s taxpayer paid operatives in the mayor’s office. The whole lot of you are a disgrace and need to be run out town on a rail.

            Hudson County View exposed your boss and this is a news story meriting much well-deserved accolades.

            John Heinis should receive a journalist award for investigating and revealing this corruption. Hope he does as it’s well deserved.

          • Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher works with everyone from what I can tell but she’s hard on voter fraud and corruption. That makes her a target for Ravi Bhalla his ally Michael Russo and of course Nancy.

  3. I find all the mud-slinging in hoboken nauseating, but I wish Mayor Bhalla would go to much greater lengths to be scrupulous in his dealings. He should never have taken that other position. He does a great disservice to the people who supported him, not to mention to his reputation and future career prospects.

    • You can’t have mudslinging without Ravi and his mudslingers. Ravi takes care of the portion where he enriches himself using Hoboken’s seat of mayor and his highly enriched staff with their fattest raises in City Hall take care of dishing the mud and censoring the truth from getting out.

      Ravi isn’t doing any disservice to himself; he’s enriching himself using the office of Hoboken mayor.
      What would be the point of breaking the promise to leave a law firm as part of his promise to Hoboken residents and then take another ‘no show’ law firm job without wheeling money?

      It’s called corruption.

        • Ravi’s paid political operative Nancy is desperate. There’s no way out. Ravi routed tens of thousands of dollars to his Republican law firm. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          I hear another shoe is about to drop. No one deserves this more than Nancy!

          Great job breaking another big story Hudson County View!

  4. Time to get rid of all of the City Council. They have devolved into little more then a hyper partisan, self serving hate group.

    This sort rumor mongering and mudslinging has left Cunningham, DeFusco, Fisher, Giattino, Ramos and Russo has left them looking dirtier then the ones the are trying to smear.

    Not too long ago they were screaming for other people’s term limits. Hoboken should give it to them in November by cleaning out the City Council.

    • Rumor mongering? You mean a copy of the Union City resolution showing that our mayor’s 2nd job law firm got a contract in Hudson County where they’ve never ever done business before? Looks to me like our mayor is brokering contracts for his 2nd job law firm by using his position (paid public servant) to broker a deal and ultimately collecting a commission to line his own personal pockets? You call that a rumor? Walks like a duck.

      You’re gonna have to try a little harder, maybe a different tactic; try this, repeat after me: “It’s been cleared up?”

      • “It’s been cleared up. Uh huh, it’s been cleared up.
        LEAVE RAVI’S MONEY ALONE! It’s been cleared up.”

      • Rumor mongering it is indeed. Cherry picking one fact and building an entire conspiracy theory around it to defiance someone is borderline criminal.

      • I know you’re a doofus and as the leader of the Real Dufuses of Hoboken you have an obligation to promote doofusness at all times – but even you must know the difference between the worst sounding story you could spin this into (which would be legal hudson county normal)and conspiring with the mob to steal Hoboken’s parking meter quarters or taking a bribe from a developer (real or fake).

        The public sure knows the difference which is why you’ve become a doofus laughing stock.

        Your doofiness is sort of like a political vaccine so keep the innoculation going. Ravi is probably too busy to appreciate your efforts on his behalf, but you certainly are the political gift that keeps giving. Ravi is truly blessed to be opposed by doofuses rather than worthy opponents.

        • Thou protests too much Stanislaw. “It’s been cleared up.”
          Try sitting this one out and keep your head down. Things will go easier for you that way and no one will bring up the $750,000 doofus mistake you made on the HHA. Now that was one really bonehead or rather I should say very expensive doofus play. It costs those poor folks a lot of cash and heartache. Sad!

          Do we have corruption in the mayor’s office? “It’s been cleared up.”

        • Now, now, LL – I get it, it’s hard to defend Russo-light, but try to do better than your “na-na na-na na’s” & “same to you’s” or other kindergarten tantrums. You gonna stick your tongue out at me next?

          What the public knows is that the mayor is enriching himself and his cronies by using his position as mayor to secure commissions through his 2nd job and handing over private sector raises to his henchmen.

          What goodies will be buried in the the next payroll that comes through the city council? More mystery money that, once the council digs in a bit, will reveal that the multiple CoS’s in the p/t mayor’s office also got fat year-end bonuses on top of 7% raises on top of 6-figure public service positions in the government sector? My, my.

          Look I get it, it was hard to justify and spin the 2nd job in the 1st place, now the mayor’s ‘gal in the cave’ has taken to practically begging people to come and support our politically wounded mayor. We’ve got no show jobs, pay-to-play violations, self-enrichment and quid-pro-quo. That’s a lot and we haven’t really even pulled back the curtain yet, have we?

    • Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

      Talk about tone deaf political operatives? That’s what Ravi pays you guys all this big PHAT raises for? That’s your answer, to start blathering about someone else?

      Holy cow, if I were Ravi I’d fire all of you on Monday. You really suck at your political operative duties.

      • Being closely associated with MSV which has devolved into an online partisan attack blog and it’s handful of extremeist will certainly hurt Councilwomen Fisher and Giattino in November.

        • The two biggest dangers to Ravi Bhalla getting away with his corrupt money scheme are Hudson County View and Mile Square View. Let’s see if the Jersey Journal joins in reporting and puts Ravi where he belongs with another picture of shame: the cover.

          All three are breaking the news to the public. They are doing great damage exposing the corruption underway in the mayor’s office.

          Godspeed to them all.

          • must suck to be the only person who still takes your website seriously.

            ok, now shriek at the blog that still has readers. good boy.

          • Yeah, the one who is taken seriously breaks story after story on corruption in Hoboken. Ravi Bhalla’s paid political operative is in the toilet and has zero credibility except among Bhalla operatives. So sad, and that’s too damn bad. Suck it down.

          • writing like an angry 4th grader probably explains why you’re the only one who still hypes your site.

  5. Linda when did you change the spelling of your name? You dropped the “O” and changed it to “A”
    A cool, hip, popular, cutting edge hipster, know it all, jack of all trades, brilliant strategist like yourself never makes mistakes!
    You’d never make a move like this:
    “Unless and until you move to terminate, Carmelo has all the leverage, and he will never believe you actually are willing to terminate unless and until you actually do it,” wrote Grossbard.”
    Or this:
    “A follow-up email on March 7 talks about the city’s labor attorney and hiring another attorney. A third email dated March 11 offers a suggested resolution that might be passed to accomplish this”

    Despite all your hip and edgy brilliance even “Doofuses” know that meeting HUD agency directors and time square bars and then emailing HHA commissioners advising how to fire a public employee could lead to a costly settlement on the backs of the taxpayers.
    Take it from activist Dana Wefer :https://hudsonreporter.com/2018/01/07/ex-housing-chair-public-would-be-shocked-2/

    • The self described “Real Men of Hoboken” are more accurately depicted as the Real Doofuses of Hoboken because they behave like emotionally troubled children, not like real men of Hoboken or anywhere else.

      Perhaps you should take a moment to reflect on that.

      • Wow in this age we have Linda Lou “Mansplaining” … Maybe he should take some sensitivity courses and wake up to the #metoo movement.
        He sounds like a typical controlling man who thinks women need to be controlled and have their decisions made for them

        • ??? I’m having trouble following your train of thought. Perhaps my problem is that I can’t think like a doofus. If “thinking” is even a term that can appropriately be used to explain doofiness.

          • You’re still here? You fouled up and and the people in the HHA, well, you made sure to stick them with the bill. Then you stuck Hoboken with Ravi the Crook! Wow, you’re terrible. Almost as awful as your cave girl you feed and support with the kookiest pathology of false narratives to prop up the crap you’re covering up. You and Ravi’s face punchers make her look like an utter moron. Bad, very very bad Lindastan.

            Now leave quietly before Ravi makes you look like a bigger doofus!

  6. Nancy lied to her reader(s) –(If you include the Mayor’s overpaid goons ) Told her Audience of 5 that Reddit doesn’t like politics, but now she’s there spewing her foul mouth at anyone who isn’t obsessed with Bhalla like she is. Is she single and in love with him? Such a strange infatuation.
    Someone needs to intervene and help her, obsessions like hers can be a danger IMHO.
    The bloggers who have their own sites should stay on their own forums. Keep your respective filth in your own backyard, cave or barn.

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