NJ Public Works Corruption Probe Widens, 2 More Indicted
A New Jersey public works corruption probe has widened to include two supervisors in the North Bergen Township Dept. of Public Works who are accused of assigning on-the clock municipal workers to go to a supervisor's home to do household chores or other personal projects using municipal property and resources.
Eight-count indictments were handed up today for Troy Bunero, 46 of North Bergen and for Francis "Frank" Longo, 47 of Rigefield Park in connection with the public works probe.
Both men face charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, theft and falsifying records, among others.
The men are accused of assigning municipal employees to work on election campaigns and giving them personal chores or projects for their boss, Superintendent James Wiley or for their own benefit, according to the NJ Office of the Attorney General.
Wiley pleaded guilty on Sept. 11, admitting that he used the township's on-the-clock municipal employees for his own personal home cleaning, yard work and other household chores. Under his plea bargain, Wiley must repay the township.
“We allege that these defendants, like Wiley, were part of a corrupt operation in which public works employees were regularly deployed for political work or to serve as personal handymen for their bosses, all while being paid by the township,” said Attorney General Chiesa. “We’re working to root out this type of abuse of power and taxpayer funds in North Bergen and throughout New Jersey.”
Bunero has been an employee of North Bergen since 1998 with an average salary of about $69,000. Longo has been employed by the township since 1993 and earns a salary of $79,000.
The employees who were assigned to work on election campaign projects or projects at personal residences usually went to the site in publicly-owned DPW vehicles and used tools belonging to the department, according to the charges.
Bunero and Longo are charged with theft counts and misapplication of government property for allegedly using tools, equipment, vehicles and employee services for election campaigns and for personal work for Wiley and themselves.
In the counts related to document tampering, Bunero is accused of submitting fraudulent timesheets related to his own hours and for the hours of subordinate employees to cover up the unlawful work done on campaigns and on personal chores or projects, the Office of the NJ Attorney General reports.