Former North Bergen Department of Public Works Deputy Director Timothy Grossi pleaded guilty to ordering subordinate employees to do political campaign work while on township time, but is unlikely to face jail time due to his declining health.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Timothy Grossi, 77, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of third-degree misapplication of entrusted property and property of government before Bergen County Superior Court Judge Margaret M. Foti, Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Grossi be sentenced to five years in state prison. However, the judge indicated on the record in court that she intends to suspend the sentence because of the condition of Grossi’s health.
Additionally, Grossi will be permanently barred from public office or employment in New Jersey. He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 8.
In pleading guilty, Grossi admitted that he directed on-duty DPW workers using township vehicles to go to the county clerk’s office to perform errands related to his personal political activity in the township – and unrelated to township business – including picking up and dropping off challenger badges.
Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Vazquez and Charles Wright prosecuted Grossi and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice.
Grossi is the fourth supervisor from the North Bergen DPW to plead guilty or be found guilty at trial in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau into abuses involving DPW employees being paid by North Bergen Township for work unrelated to DPW functions.
On Sept. 11, 2012, former DPW Superintendent James Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct, admitting he directed DPW employees to perform hundreds of hours of chores at his home and to work on campaigns while being paid by the township.
He is awaiting sentencing.
In 2015, former DPW supervisors Troy Bunero and Francis Longo were convicted at trial of second-degree charges of conspiracy and official misconduct for assigning municipal employees to work on election campaigns and complete personal chores or projects for them or their boss, Wiley.
Bunero and Longo were each sentenced to five years in state prison.
“Grossi was one of the top officials in the North Bergen Department of Public Works, but this guilty plea will make him a convicted felon, just like the three supervisors under him who previously pled guilty or were convicted at trial,” Porrino said in a statement.
“By arrogantly abusing the power entrusted to him and exploiting public workers for political purposes, Grossi promoted a culture of corruption within his department, a culture we exposed through our investigation.”