TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that Timothy Grossi, former deputy director of the North Bergen Department of Public Works (DPW), was sentenced today in Bergen County for ordering subordinate employees to run political errands while they were on duty and being paid by the township.
Grossi, 77, of Jersey City, N.J., was sentenced today to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Margaret M. Foti, but the judge suspended the sentence because of the condition of Grossi’s health. Grossi pleaded guilty on Oct. 20 to a charge of third-degree misapplication of entrusted property and property of government. He is permanently barred from public office and employment in New Jersey as a result of the guilty plea. In pleading guilty, Grossi admitted that he directed on-duty DPW workers using township vehicles to go to the county clerk’s office to perform errands related to his personal political activity in the township – and unrelated to township business – including picking up and dropping off challenger badges.
Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Vazquez and Charles Wright prosecuted Grossi and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice. Grossi was the fourth supervisor from the North Bergen DPW to plead guilty or be found guilty at trial in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau into abuses involving DPW employees being paid by North Bergen Township for work unrelated to DPW functions. On Sept. 11, 2012, former DPW Superintendent James Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit official misconduct, admitting he directed DPW employees to perform hundreds of hours of chores at his home and to work on campaigns while being paid by the township. He is awaiting sentencing. In 2015, former DPW supervisors Troy Bunero and Francis Longo were convicted at trial of second-degree charges of conspiracy and official misconduct for assigning municipal employees to work on election campaigns and complete personal chores or projects for them or their boss, Wiley. Bunero and Longo were each sentenced to five years in state prison.
“Grossi was one of the top officials in the North Bergen Department of Public Works, but now he is a convicted felon, just like the three supervisors under him who previously pled guilty or were convicted at trial,” said Attorney General Porrino. “By arrogantly abusing the power entrusted to him and exploiting public workers for political purposes, Grossi promoted a culture of corruption within his department, a culture we exposed through our investigation.”
“North Bergen residents pay taxes to fund essential government services, not to fund officials who misuse public resources for personal gain or political advantage,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to protect public assets by aggressively investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials like Grossi.”
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free Corruption Tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities confidentially. The public can also log on to the Division webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.
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