What did you expect, Forrest?

What did you expect, Forrest?

July 10, 2008 NJVoices: Thurman Hart

"Stupid is as stupid does, that's what my mama always said."

I just don't know of anything that characterizes John Corea's "relationship" with the City of Hoboken better than that. At this point, he is a "figure in the investigation" of more than a half million dollars that just can't be found. Because, you know, that kind of money is usually left laying about in discarded Shop-Rite bags.

All other things being what they are, the best predictor of future behavior is past performance. And Corea's past performance has been less than stellar. It seems that when Corea worked at the NY Stock Exchange, he developed a habit of buying stocks with other people's money and then leaving them holding the bag - and the bill - when the stocks went sour.

In 2004, he was hired to head the HPA, and "briefly mentioned . issues arising from his employment as a stockbroker," Hoboken Mayor David Roberts said in a written statement.
Well, that's the kind of thing an employer would want to dig into during an interview, isn't it? "It says here that you left your last employer under threat of legal action - do you want to explain that a bit?"
But it isn't as if Corea's hiring was vetted well - or maybe at all:

Critics of the administration criticized Corea's hiring at the time. They noted that 11 months before the hiring, a professional independent parking consultant had been hired to conduct a national search to hire a head of the HPU. Around 25 resumes were collected, and four finalists were selected. After many months, the administration, without council approval, hired Corea for the job. Many of the critics of the administration said the hiring was political, but the Roberts administration said Corea was the best man for the job.

One wonders exactly what made him "the best man for the job". Especially as allegations of mob connections came out:

The administration hired United Textile Fabricators in December of 2005 on the recommendation of Corea, and the company was vetted by Roberts' then-city attorney Joseph Sherman. The City Council also approved the company in a no-bid process, using a resolution that Kleinman later called "odd" in its design.

United Textile Fabricators is primarily a crane machine sales company, but they also handle Hoboken's parking meter collection, making the over-70 mile trip to Toms River.

In November of 1990, the state Attorney General's office "filed a major civil forfeiture action seeking to take title to Grayhound Electronics, Inc. of Toms River, a manufacturer of amusement games," according to a report on illegal gambling machines made available on the New Jersey state website.

"The complaint alleges that the firm was 'created by and is controlled by associates of' the LaCosa Nostra family of Nicodemo Scarfo and their designees," the report states.

Or maybe the money flew to Israel:

Corea said he, city Information Technology Officer Patrick Ricciardi, and one other person will go on a five-day trip to Israel, whrere Unitronics is based, next week to get certified training in how to operate and maintain the machines.

This will keep operating costs to below $10,000 a month, he said. In December last year the city awarded a $2 million contract to Unitronics to permanently fix the troublesome garage and it was supposed to be completed by the end of March this year.

All that's missing is someone name Golan Cipel.

But then Corea never seems to have been firing on all cylinders - as evidenced by his desire to redirect vehicular traffic onto a paved walkway. Though he did manage to scare off a hired security guard when "flanked by several Hoboken police officers" (you have to wonder if they belonged to the "elite" SWAT unit).

If this was the best man for the job, then Hoboken should thank David Roberts from sparing them from the degradation of having one of those four finalists the headhunters found. Imagine how much worse things could have been!

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