Ramos’ Hoboken mayoral slate says it is ‘troubled’ over Zimmer’s legal expenditures

HOBOKEN – Hoboken mayoral candidate Assemblyman Ruben Ramos took a shot at Mayor Dawn Zimmer on Monday when he issued a press release condemning legal fees that the city has accrued due to several lawsuits, the latest of which was decided last Friday. Ramos faces Zimmer for mayor in November.
A panel of judges ruled that Zimmer’s attempts to fill a vacant City Council seat via a tiebreaking vote last fall were invalid. The four council members who oppose Zimmer sued to overturn that vote, and emerged victorious late last week.
That was not the only recent legal loss the city has had.
In the press release, which was signed by the assemblyman as well as the candidates running for City Council on Ramos’ Vision for Hoboken slate, Ramos claims that the city’s legal expenses have risen over 200 percent during Zimmer’s administration, from around $644,000 to over $2 million in 2012. The figures could not be verified by press time. However, records provided by the Vision for Hoboken slate showed at least $1.07 million in legal spending last year.
Ramos focused his criticism specifically on lawsuits which have not ended in Zimmer’s favor, including Friday’s decision and a ruling last month regarding the uptown Monarch development. The developers originally promised to build tennis courts for the city but later reneged on the offer and proposed building two luxury condominiums. A judge ruled that the city’s suit to force them to stick to their original plan.
Several employees dismissed after Zimmer took office have filed lawsuits, at least one of which was settled for a few thousand dollars.
Ramos said that it’s not so much the battles Zimmer chooses to fight, but the manner in which she fights them.
“The problem here isn’t just how bad it looks for the city to keep losing lawsuits, the problem is that the administration is using millions of taxpayer dollars to pick these fights,” said the statement. “For all these millions of dollars, the taxpayers of Hoboken still do not have a field for their children to play soccer on, there is still no south west park, still no pedestrian mall next to the PATH station, and no municipal funds in the budget dedicated to infrastructure improvements.”
Zimmer responded on Monday by saying that she had not yet seen Vision for Hoboken’s press release and said that it would be inappropriate to comment on it until she had.
Ramos’ statement failed to mention at least one recent legal victory for the city, a decision handed down last month that sided with the city against a class action lawsuit by a group of local landlords who argued that the city’s rent control ordinances were unconstitutionally unfair.
At the time, Zimmer called the ruling a major victory for the city and its residents and used it to justify her legal spending.
“This latest court victory demonstrates once again the importance of making the necessary investment to vigorously defend the city’s interests,” she said. – Dean DeChiaro

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