And so, the Vape Van saga continues…
On May 6, 2017, Joseph Ruggiero was caught on tape hurling anti-immigrant racial epithets and random “Trump” rhetoric at a couple in a dispute over a parking space.
The Hoboken City Council last night debated revoking Ruggiero’s vending license, as he was operating his “Vape Van” at the time of the incident.
In a 7-2 vote, the Council opted for an agreement that would allow the Vape Van to return to the streets of Hoboken after May 31st, provided he attend a minimum of 10 anger management and diversity training courses—a deal that was put forth by his attorney.
Ruggiero’s tirade sparked an immediate outcry on social media—including condemnation by local politicians, the City Council passed a resolution on December 7, 2016 (pages 53-55) which states that “the City of Hoboken is committed to creating a community that is free of bias and prejudice.”
However, concerns over subjective enforcement and protracted legal battles saw many in the community speaking out against an arbitrary Council revocation.
Meanwhile, Vape Van has an extensive history of infractions—including parking violations—which would also put his vendor’s license in jeopardy. Ruggiero himself once worked for the Hoboken Parking Utility, until he was dismissed from his position.
“After reviewing the Vape Van incident, the City is now implementing a system to ensure that background checks are completed on all mobile vendors going forward,” said Hoboken spokesman Juan Melli. “A background check was not completed on the Vape Van or any other mobile vendor, but his employment record would not have appeared on a criminal background check and would not have been considered as a factor in the license approval process.”
So for now, the Vape Van will roll on the streets of Hoboken once again—after May 31st.