Suit to stop Assembly candidate Carmelo Garcia to be heard Friday

HUDSON COUNTY — A hearing scheduled before Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso on five Hoboken residents’ lawsuit challenging the eligibility of Carmelo Garcia to run for General Assembly, originally scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, has been moved to Friday at 2 p.m., according to Flavio Komuves, the attorney for the plaintiffs.
The five residents say that Garcia is ineligible to run for the state legislature because he simultaneously serves as the executive director of the Hoboken Housing Authority, an agency that receives over $10 million annually in federal grants.
Garcia is running on a slate with State Sen. Brian Stack.
According to Komuves, “The change in time follows an unsuccessful attempt by Mr. Garcia to have a federal, rather than a state judge, decide the issues in the case. Late this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi issued a 6-page opinion remanding the case back to Judge Bariso. In granting the remand, Judge Cecchi wrote that ‘It would be more efficient for Judge Bariso to continue with the resolution of this matter’ since Judge Bariso has already begun considering the issues involved and had previously issued an order stopping the printing of ballots.”
Local election officials have held off on printing the ballots for the Democratic Primary in June because of the suit.
Garcia may face, among others, Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla, who has registered to run for Assembly, but has not said whether he will run for a Democrat. The lawsuit, if successful, would obviously give a boost to Bhalla.
Bhalla is an ally of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, as are a majority of Housing Authority board members who have been criticial of Garcia recently.
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