Is fourth person indicted in alleged scheme
Grossi, 72, of Jersey City, is the fourth man to be charged in an ongoing investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice into alleged abuses involving employees of the North Bergen Department of Public Works (DPW) being paid by the township for work unrelated to DPW functions.
On Sept. 11, 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.
On Sept. 21, two DPW supervisors were indicted for allegedly directing employees to do personal chores for Wiley and work on campaigns.
As Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works, Grossi was Wiley’s boss. It is alleged that Grossi ordered Wiley to send DPW employees to engage in campaign work on behalf of candidates.
“Four defendants have now been charged in our ongoing corruption investigation, reflecting our steady pursuit of evidence and justice in this troubling case,” said Stephen Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge any residents or workers with additional information about abuses to contact us confidentially. We are diligently investigating all leads."
Installing windows, photographing campaign signs
Among other things, the indictment says that Grossi directly ordered or had another person order one or more DPW employees to install windows and window air conditioning units at his home, perform gardening work or other personal tasks at the homes of others, pick up or deliver political literature, and take photographs of political signs.
Grossi is charged with one count of official misconduct for allegedly directing subordinate employees to work on campaigns on three occasions, while being paid by the township: (1) Nov. 4, 2008, in connection with a mayoral campaign in Bayonne; (2) May 12, 2009, in connection with a mayoral campaign in Jersey City; and (3) Nov. 2, 2010, in Jersey City, in connection with a campaign for sheriff.
Grossi is charged with the counts of theft and misapplication of government property for his alleged role in the unlawful use of employee services, vehicles, tools and equipment for the election campaigns and personal tasks. In two counts related to tampering with or falsifying records, Grossi is charged in connection with his alleged involvement in the submission of fraudulent timesheets related to his own hours and the hours of subordinate employees, which allegedly covered up the unlawful work done on campaigns and on personal tasks.
“We allege that Grossi, who was one of the top officials in the Department of Public Works, ordered that employees be unlawfully used for personal and political purposes, all at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Attorney General Chiesa. “Local taxpayers should never be asked to foot the bill for this type of corruption, and we are working hard to eliminate it, in North Bergen and throughout New Jersey.”
Grossi currently receives an annual salary of approximately $133,000 from the township.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned it to Bergen County, where Grossi will be ordered to appear for arraignment at a later date.
North Bergen will hold a town commissioners' meeting this Wednesday, where the public is likely to comment on this matter. Watch this weekend's paper for more coverage of the issue.