Former North Bergen Department of Public Works Supervisors Francis Longo and Troy Bunero were sentenced to five years in state prison for charges related to performing personal chores and working political campaigns while on township time.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Troy Bunero, 49, of North Bergen, and Francis Longo, 50, of Ridgefield Park, were sentenced to five years in state prison, with no possibility of parole during that term, by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul M. DePascale earlier today.
The defendants did not begin serving their prison sentences today since the judge agreed to release them without bail while they appeal their trial convictions.
The two men were convicted by a Hudson County jury on June 30 of second-degree charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and pattern of official misconduct, as well as third-degree charges of theft by unlawful taking and misapplication of government property.
Additionally, Bunero was convicted of third-degree tampering with public records and fourth-degree falsifying records for submitting false timesheets.
The verdict followed a seven-week trial. Bunero and Longo forfeited their jobs as a result of the verdict and are permanently barred from public employment.
Deputy Attorneys General Victor Salgado and Julia Zukina tried the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and represented the state at the sentencing hearing today.
James Wiley, 70, the ex-superintendent of the North Bergen DPW, pleaded guilty on Sept. 11, 2012 to conspiracy to commit official misconduct, admitting he directed municipal employees to perform hundreds of hours of work at his home, doing housecleaning, yard work and special projects, all while being paid by the township.
He also admitted assigning township employees to work on election campaigns. Wiley is awaiting sentencing, facing up to five to 10 years in state prison and must repay the township, and testified as a cooperating witness in Longo and Bunero’s trial.
“Bunero and Longo shamelessly abused their power and the public resources entrusted to them,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said in a statement.
“We’re putting government employees on notice that if they engage in this type of self-serving and corrupt conduct, they will be going to prison like these defendants and their boss, James Wiley.”
As supervisors for the North Bergen DPW, Bunero and Longo served under Wiley and were responsible for assigning workers for their shifts.
Bunero was responsible for timekeeping and supervising street sweepers and trash pickup. Longo was responsible for supervising crews that did road repair and construction work. The criminal conduct occurred between January 2006 and February 2012.
At the end of last month, Joseph Lorenzo, North Bergen DPW Commissioner Frank Gargiulo’s brother-in-law, was indicted for allegedly have DPW workers do construction at his business while on township time.
Michael Bunero, Troy Bunero’s brother, testified that laborers from the department filled potholes on private property of a deli owned a relative of Gargiulo.
Bunero had worked for North Bergen since 1998 and earned an annual salary of approximately $69,000. Longo had worked for North Bergen since 1993 and earned an annual salary of approximately $79,000.
Both men were suspended without pay after they were indicted in September 2012.