The Director of the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development (DEHD) is out and the Chief Real Estate Officer and Executive Vice President of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC) is in.
Jersey Digs has confirmed that Carmelo Garcia has replaced Baye Adofo-Wilson in this position, which is also branded as ‘Deputy Mayor for Economic and Housing Development’ in New Jersey’s largest city. The City of Newark already referred to Garcia, a Hoboken resident, as “Deputy Mayor Garcia” in a statement issued today about a new 7-Eleven location that is coming to the South Ward.
Julian Diaz of the NCEDC confirmed the news but referred all questions to the Newark Press Information Office, as did a representative of the DEHD when reached by Jersey Digs. A source who asked not to be identified stated that Adofo-Wilson has submitted his letter of resignation, and that he is leaving to pursue employment in the private sector. Garcia has been serving in an acting position for the last two weeks, and will continue to be the Acting Director during the transition period, according to the source.
Adofo-Wilson, a Montclair resident, is still listed as the Director on the City website. He was appointed by Mayor Ras Baraka in July 2014 at the beginning of his administration after teaching at Harvard University and serving as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) in Newark. Earlier this month, Jersey Digs reported that the DEHD executed an agreement with the LPCCD to provide $250,000 in City funding for the long awaited South Park Calvary United Presbyterian Church performing arts project. The Star-Ledger reported in 2014 that Adofo-Wilson “said he would not handle any Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District matters while serving as head of economic development.”
Although thousands of residential units have been proposed for Newark and new businesses have come to the city under his time in office, Adofo-Wilson has faced criticism from groups like NJ Communities United and individuals such as former NCEDC Chief Executive Officer Victor Emenuga.
Garcia joined the NCEDC in 2015, and was previously a New Jersey State Assemblyman before stepping down, as well as the Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA) and Hoboken’s Director of Health and Human Services. He was sued by the HHA for “breach of an employment contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of fiduciary duty” over allegedly accepting bribes during his time as Executive Director, according to Law360. Under his term at the NCEDC, dozens of development plans have advanced, including the proposals for West Side Heights and Peddlers Square.
David Lippman of the Press Information Office stated that he did not know about the change in Deputy Mayors and referred questions to other staff members in the office. Jersey Digs will keep you updated as additional information is released.