Paterson councilwoman Davila voted for controversial Hinchliffe Stadium project. Now, on live TV, claims she didn’t. | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Paterson councilwoman Davila voted for controversial Hinchliffe Stadium project. Now, on live TV, claims she didn’t.

By Jayed Rahman
Published: August 1, 2020

Maritza-Davila

Councilwoman Maritza Davila has claimed she voted against the controversial Hinchliffe Stadium redevelopment agreement.

“I just want the viewers to know out there that I did not support the redeveloper’s agreement on second reading,” said Davila in a televised meeting on Tuesday night.

Except, records show she voted in favor of the redevelopment agreement on October 1, 2019. She even gave the greenlight to a special meeting so mayor Andre Sayegh and his allies on the City Council could push through the controversial redevelopment agreement.

Davila corrected herself on Thursday.

“This clearly was a confusion,” said Davila. She said she was referring to voting against the Hinchliffe Stadium lease agreement. “I voted yes on the Redevelopment agreement. I’ve never been against the redevelopment of Hinchliffe Stadium I don’t know who would be against that.”

Davila was one of seven members of the governing body to vote in favor of the redevelopment agreement. Only councilman Michael Jackson and former councilman Shahin Khalique voted against the agreement in that October meeting.

Davila was one of four council members to vote against ratifying a lease agreement that gave the developer site control of the stadium and some adjoining land for a low-income senior housing project.

At the time, Davila justified her vote by stating the Sayegh administration was not transparent in striking the deal. Sayegh’s dealings with developers has been described as shady by his critics. Jackson on Tuesday night alleged the deal is an example of Sayegh administration’s “habitual mismanagement and habitual corruption.”

Sayegh did not conduct a request for proposal before picking a developer. His hand-picked developer Baye Adofo-Wilson had previously defaulted on a $2.6 million loan.

The $76 million Hinchliffe Stadium project is mostly funded by state and federal tax credits. Adofo-Wilson and his partners in the project are contributing a paltry $3.3 million towards the project.

“There’s truly no hard money being invested by the developers. They will be making $8.4 million but investing pennies of their own. It’s a risk for our city but no risk to them,” said the councilwoman on Thursday.

Members of the City Council gave preliminary approval to the 30-year tax abatement deal on Tuesday night. A public hearing and final vote is scheduled for August 11.

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