A trial was scheduled to begin today for two North Bergen Department of Public Works supervisors charged with performing personal chores and working for political campaigns while on township time, but sources have revealed to Hudson County View that the court proceeding has been postponed.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Troy Bunero, of North Bergen, and Francis Longo, of Ridgefield Park, were charged with an eight-count grand jury indictment on Sept. 21, 2012.
According to the indictment, both Bunero and Longo worked under then-Assistant DPW Superintendent James Wiley – who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct on Sept. 11, 2012.
Wiley named Bunero and Longo as accomplices during his court proceeding.
Bunero, who has worked in North Bergen since 1998 and earned an annual salary of $69,000, was responsible for timekeeping and supervising street sweepers and trash pickup, authorities said.
Meanwhile, Longo who has been employed by North Bergen since 1993 with a yearly salary of $79,000, directed road repair and construction crews, officials said.
Additionally, the indictment says that Longo and Bunero worked on election campaigns personally while being paid by the township, also assigning subordinate workers to do the same.
Longo and Bunero pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2012, per The Record.
With Wiley’s guilty plea, he admitted to signing and submitting fraudulent paper work to have DPW workers paid overtime by the township while they were working the 2008 mayoral race in Bayonne, the 2009 mayoral campaign in Jersey City, and again Jersey City in 2010 to work the Hudson County Sheriff’s election.
Furthermore, Bunero and Longo are charged with performing personal chores at Wiley’s North Bergen home while on township time between January 2006 and January 2012.
Timothy Grossi, the deputy director of the department, made his first appearance in Bergen County Superior Court – where the Bunero and Longo trial is set to convene – in April 2013.
Grossi has worked for the township since 1985 and made an annual salary of $133,000 a year, according to public records. Like Bunero and Longo, he has also pleaded not guilty to the charges (h/t The Record).
The township of North Bergen suspended all four DPW employees without pay shortly after they were indicted by the state Attorney General’s Office.
A source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the trial for Bunero and Longo will likely be rescheduled for May, with a different source telling Hudson County View that the trial may be pushed until May 12 – Election Day in North Bergen.
An employee at the Bergen County Justice Center (Superior Courthouse) told Hudson County View over the phone that neither Longo or Bunero currently had a court date scheduled in the system.
Both Brian Neary, Bunero’s attorney, and Paul Faugno, Longo’s attorney, did not immediately return calls from Hudson County View seeking comment on Tuesday.
Last Monday, the state Attorney General’s Office raided the North Bergen Department of Parks and Recreation, though details of the situation remain scarce at this time.