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2 North Bergen DPW scandal figures enter pleas, offered plea deals from state

By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
on October 23, 2012 at  9:20 AM

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Long time North Bergen Department of Public Works Supervisor Troy Bunero, left, confers with his attorney Brian Neary in Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale's courtroom yesterday. Bunero, and fellow DPW supervisor Frank Longo, right, appeared on charges that they used DPW employees for their personal benefit and other misuses of taxpayer money.

 

Two longtime North Bergen Department of Works supervisors pleaded not guilty yesterday morning to charges they used DPW employees for their personal benefit and other misuses of taxpayer money.

Troy Bunero, 46, and Frank Longo, 47, who have worked for the township for a combined 33 years, were charged with conspiracy, official misconduct, and theft by unlawful taking in the state attorney general’s ongoing investigation.

The probe has already ensnared the former Public Works superintendent, James Wiley, who pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Yesterday morning before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale, Bunero and Longo were offered plea deals by the Attorney General’s Office.

Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Vazquez said in court yesterday the state would recommend a prison term of five years if Bunero pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct, and would recommend four years in prison for Longo in return for a guilty plea to official misconduct.

Both plea offers are contingent upon the defendants cooperating in the ongoing investigation in the North Bergen DPW.

If convicted at trial, Longo and Bunero would each face five to 10 years in prison.

Longo and Bunero are both suspended without pay. According to public records, Longo has been with the township for 19 years and earned $63,632 in 2011 while Bunero has been with North Bergen 14 years and earned $55,748 last year.

Bunero, 46, and Longo, 47, are accused of accepting payments for political work for the local Democratic party. Bunero is also charged with falsifying time sheets to make it appear his crews were on the job rather than performing outside work or electioneering.

Authorities say Bunero used workers for renovations at his home and Longo had his pickup truck repainted in the DPW garage. Both men joined other DPW workers for electioneering in three campaigns in Bayonne and Jersey City between 2008 and 2010, passing the bill on to the township, the charges say.

Roughly 65 people have been subpoenaed in connection with the case, including Frank Gargiulo, the DPW commissioner, and Timothy Grossi, the deputy commissioner, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the probe.

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