Paul Faugno, a Hackensack attorney representing North Bergen Department of Public Works Supervisor Francis Longo, told Hudson County View that this scandal “goes right up the ladder to James Wiley and above.”
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Faugno returned a call from Hudson County View one day after a story had sources say that the trial of Longo and fellow North Bergen DPW Supervisor Troy Bunero had their trial pushed to May 12 – Election Day for the township.
After confirming the May 12 date was accurate, Faugno explained his frustration with the ongoing delays in this trial, given that Longo and Bunero were indicted on Sept. 21, 2012 on charges of performing personal chores and working for political campaigns while on township time.
“They’ve [the state Attorney General] switched attorneys mid-stream up until October 2014 and now a new [representative] from AG is trying the case,” Faugno explained.
“The case has been delayed several times because of scheduling issues pertaining to the original AG [counsel]. Why didn’t they make the switch in the beginning? It’s been very frustrating.”
Furthermore, Faugno told Hudson County View that Longo has maintained his innocence from day one (he and Bunero pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2012) since he was authorized “to do anything he did by higher-ups in the administration.”
“My client, Mr. Longo, from his perspective, was authorized to do anything that he did by higher-ups in the administration. He was authorized to do so by people in supervisory positions.”
“In North Bergen, if you don’t do what your told, you’re out, and I think that will be a common theme you hear from witnesses throughout the trial. This goes right up the ladder, to James Wiley and above, and that’s all I’m going to say about that at this time.”
Wiley was the North Bergen DPW Assistant Superintendent before he was indicted on similar charges on Sept. 11, 2012, naming Longo and Bunero as accomplices when he pleaded guilty.
Wiley, Bunero, Longo and North Bergen DPW Deputy Director Timothy Grossi, who also faces similar charges to his aforementioned colleagues, were all suspended by the township without pay shortly after they were indicted.
Faugno was also asked if he thinks the trial will finally commence on May 12, as well as what his take is on the Bergen County Superior Court proceeding being scheduled for Election Day.
“My client is very frustrated because he wants his day in court. The judge perceives that this case is getting so old it’s getting problematic from a speedy trial set of circumstances, so I think May 12 will be the day,” he said.
“It’s an Interesting coincidence [that] the date is Election Day: what it means? I don’t know.”
Brian Neary, the Jersey City attorney representing Bunero, was far more succinct when telling his side of the story to Hudson County View.
“This is really all about Wiley and his attempt to deflect his responsibility in the North Bergen Department of Public Works,” Neary said.
When asked what he thought about the trial being scheduled for the same day as Election Day in North Bergen, Neary was clear in stating that he felt there was no correlation between the two events.
“This isn’t politics. This is a criminal case … Criminal cases are complicated and sometimes take longer than they should, but ultimately they get tried to juries and that’s what we’re getting ready to do on May 12.”