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Big payday for Lenz Former CFO settles defamation, whistleblower suit for $183K

City officials were reacting last week to a $183,000 settlement reached in a lawsuit filed by the city's former acting chief financial officer.

Michael Lenz, who was only on the job for around eight months, will be awarded the money in return for dropping his "whistleblower" and defamation suit against the city.

"A lot of statements were made implying that I misled the council or my advice was in some way biased or political, none of which was ever true," said Lenz Thursday. "If others are willing to make me whole financially and put this behind us, then so am I."

Even though the city did not admit wrongdoing, it has agreed to pay a lump sum payment of $150,000 and around $8,000 in lost pension to Lenz. His attorney, David B. Rubin of Metuchen, will collect $25,000 in legal fees.

Lenz has agreed to drop his suit against the City of Hoboken, Mayor David Roberts, Business Administrator Robert Drasheff, and the Roberts-aligned City Council members who first voted for Lenz's termination. Lenz is currently working as the CFO of Mansfield Township, a small town in central New Jersey.

Fighting words. Parking Utility head sues for defamation

COREAN CONFLICT - Hoboken Parking Utility Monitor John Corea said in a lawsuit that he was damaged by comments on an Internet message board and in a letter.  
With the growing popularity of Internet message boards, this new venue has become one of the favored outlets for anonymous mudslinging - especially in politically heated Hudson County.

Davila-Colon is now Prisoner 25094-050 Connecticut prison to be ex-freeholder's home for next 3 years

Former Hudson County Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon is now prisoner 25094-050.

The former seven-term freeholder from Jersey City, who was convicted on corruption charges in June, has begun her 37-month prison term at a federal minimum security facility in Connecticut.

In one of Hudson County's highest profile political corruption trials in years, Davila-Colon was convicted of passing bribes in 1999 to then-Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski, now one of the most notorious government witnesses in North Jersey, who made his debut on the stand during her trial.

Davila-Colon, a county freeholder for 20 years, was committed to the Danbury Federal Correction Institution's "camp," on Friday, said Carla Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prison in Washington.

Hoboken Mayor announces plans to dig up Sybil's Cave. A hidden part of Hoboken's history will soon be uncovered, says mayor

Edger Allen Poe based a detective story on events that happened there, wealthy Manhattanites used to enjoy their recreation outside of it, health seekers drank its spring water for the supposed medicinal effects, and now Hoboken Mayor David Roberts wants to uncover this lost and nearly forgotten Hoboken treasure.

Sybil's Cave, at the foot of Castle Point, which is now hidden behind tangled bushes, layers of dirt and serpentine boulders might be given a new life. Roberts announced his plans Tuesday to dig up the cave, restore it, and open it to the public. While Roberts says he will pay for the renovation out of his own pocket, he plans on partnering with Stevens Institute of Technology, which owns the property, and the Board of Education, which can use the unearthing as a history and literary lesson. "This is going to be a really fun project to undertake," said the almost giddy Roberts Tuesday. He is particularly excited about the fact that Hoboken students will be able to watch as the excavation takes place and can study about Hoboken's history, the geology of caves and natural freshwater springs and read the literature of Edgar Allen Poe.

Ex-Hudson freeholder gets 37 months for graft

A federal judge yesterday sentenced former Hudson County Freeholder Nidia Dávila Colón to 37 months in prison for passing bribes to the county executive for her boyfriend, a psychiatrist with county contracts.

U.S. District Judge William Bassler said Colón was a kind and compassionate person who had been "heartbroken" and "humiliated" by Oscar Sandoval, the boyfriend who secretly recorded her for the FBI.

But the judge also said Colón, a freeholder for 19 years and the state's longest serving female in elective office, had become a victim of her own ambition.

Bost goes to prison in W. Virginia Former Irvington mayor appealing graft sentence

Former Irvington Mayor Sara Bost reported to a federal prison camp in West Virginia yesterday after losing a bid to remain free while she appeals her sentence on corruption charges.

Bost arrived for a year-long stay at the women's minimum-security camp in Alderson, a prison official confirmed.

The town is a mountainside hamlet of barely 1,000 people in the southern part of the state, near the Virginia border. It's also 480 miles from the New Jersey township where Bost served two terms as mayor, before her once-rising political star crashed.

A chatty Byrne zings Bobby J and wife Beth

NEWARK - As one of Hudson County's best-known back-room political operators and once the bosom buddy of former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski, Paul Byrne can usually be counted on for an outrageous quip, an off-color joke or a thundering accusation.

Yesterday, as he left the federal courthouse shortly after his initial appearance on fraud and extortion charges, the 57-year-old Jersey City resident dished out a little bit of all three, with most of his comments directed squarely at Janiszewski and his wife, Beth.

"O.K., I'm guilty," he declared. "Guilty of being Bob Janiszewski's friend for 50 years."

Tell the council what you think. Budget and bond restructuring hearing to be held Wednesday

This Wednesday's Hoboken City Council meeting should be one of the more interesting and contentious meetings of the year.

The city's governing body is scheduled to hold a public hearing for the city's proposed $53.7 million budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year. Also, the nine-member board will hold a public hearing and a final vote on a controversial proposal by Mayor David Roberts' administration to restructure the city's debt.

Ten minutes, or four hours? Hudson County council meetings vary greatly, could learn from each other

Why is it that residents walk in and out of a Town Council meeting in West New York within 10 minutes; yet, in Hoboken, residents may wind up in the middle of three hours of heated debate?

The Reporter spent the past month sitting in on public meetings in Hoboken, Jersey City, North Bergen, Secaucus, Union City, and West New York. At some meetings, politicians did a good job of explaining the proposed town ordinances and fostering open discussion, while other meetings were quick and saw speedy votes.

JUDGMENT DAY Former Irvington mayor gets jail Bost receives one-year term and stern words following corruption trial

Compared with other New Jersey officials snared in the recent wave of federal corruption cases, former Irvington Mayor Sara Bost seemed lucky.

Her bribery trial ended abruptly in April after the first two government witnesses crumbled under cross-examination. Prosecutors offered to drop the most serious charges if Bost pleaded to a single count of witness tampering. They even pledged not to push for jail time.

By the time Bost arrived for sentencing yesterday, about 50 of her supporters had written to the judge. Renowned defense attorney Raymond A. Brown was there to argue that Bost's 16 years in public office and spotless record made her a good candidate for probation.