The State Attorney General’s Office says North Bergen Department of Public Works supervisors Troy Bunero and Frank Longo stole from taxpayers by working political campaigns on township time, while the defendants criminal defense attorneys retaliated that they’re clients did nothing besides follow orders from their boss.
“This case, at its core, is about a theft,” said Julia Zukina, the New Jersey Deputy Attorney General. “It’s about a theft of public services and taxpayer money. It’s about a theft of public services because it involves the misuse of public employees.”
Zukina went onto to say that both Bunero and Longo knew that DPW employees were performing household chores at private homes, including the one of former Superintendent James Wiley, on township time – in addition to campaigning in nearby municipalities such as Jersey City and Bayonne.
Brian Neary, the attorney representing Bunero, said he “is basically a laborer” since he routinely performed street jobs alongside other DPW employees. He added that the only DPW employee that should’ve been charged with crimes is Wiley.
“A central figure who will manipulate, who will try not only to get himself out of trouble, to try to get other people in trouble – despite the fact that he was the tyrant of the DPW, a bully to the guys who worked for him and a man so aptly named: Wiley.”
Paul Faugno, Longo’s lawyer in the case, said these two employees are too low on the totem pole to have made an impact on day-to-day business.
“The reason he was working on those elections was very simple ladies and gentleman: because his job depended upon it,” Faugno explained, after characterizing Longo as “an apolitical guy” who wasn’t even aware of who was running in the elections he helped campaign in.
“Because him, like many others, had orders that came up from top, we don’t know how far up top, but we certainly know as far as Jim Wiley, who was his boss,” he stated moments after holding up a “hierarchy” sign for the jury which had Mayor Nick Sacco up top, right above DPW Commissioner Frank Gargiulo.
Faugno further argued that anyone who disagreed and tried to stand up with Wiley would “be out of a job.”