TRENTON – The former Superintendent for Special Services at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to have subordinate employees complete repairs or improvements at his private residence while the subordinates were on duty for the PVSC, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced.
Kevin Keogh, 46, of Roseland, pleaded guilty Thursday before Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert in Passaic County to one count of second-degree conspiracy and two counts of second-degree official misconduct. Keogh was indicted on June 29, 2011.
Volkert scheduled sentencing for Sept. 27. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Keogh be sentenced to five years in state prison. Volkert ordered Keogh to forfeit any public positions or employment that he may hold and permanently banned Keogh from holding any future public employment in New Jersey.
“This defendant clearly exploited his subordinates – public employees who were being paid by taxpayers – as free labor for personal projects,” said Chiesa. “My office will not tolerate this type of abuse of public office.”
In pleading guilty, Keogh admitted that between March 2006 and April 10, 2007 he conspired to have PVSC employees perform work at his residence during their regular shifts for the agency. An investigation determined that Keogh conspired to have two agency employees install two cabinet doors in Keogh’s kitchen.
Keogh further admitted that he had PVSC employees carry out numerous other personal errands for him while on agency time. The investigation determined that these errands included putting up holiday decorations at his home and picking up landscaping items and other personal supplies from Home Depot and Lowe’s, including plants, fertilizer, a propane tank, decorative stone and pool supplies, and delivering them to his home.
Keogh also admitted that in 2005, he had mechanics from the PVSC’s vehicle maintenance department remove an old pool pump motor from his swimming pool and installed a new pool pump motor in its place.
Last month, Chester Mazza, 71, of Totowa, former Assistant Superintendent for Special Services, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree theft by unlawful taking or disposition. In pleading guilty, Mazza admitted that he had subordinate PVSC employees perform work at his private residence in Totowa on PVSC time. This work included the installation of a roof vent or fan on the roof of his private home and repairs to an exterior stone wall in the front yard of his home. Mazza was charged in a June 29, 2011 indictment.
Also indicted that day were Anthony Ardis, 58, of Paterson, a former PVSC Commissioner who later served as Clerk to the Board of Commissioners, Director of Management Services and Chief Ethics Liaison Officer for the PVSC, and Paul Bazela, 45, of Northvale, the former foreman of the PVSC carpenter’s shop. The charges against both of these defendants are pending and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The PVSC is a state agency responsible for managing and regulating collection and disposal of wastewater generated in a four-county area along the Passaic Valley River Basin, encompassing parts of Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties. The investigation was conducted and coordinated by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey J. Manis and Sgt. Lisa Shea. DAG Manis represented the state at the guilty plea hearings.
Ardis, Keogh and Mazza were immediately terminated from their positions at PVSC following their arrests in February 2011. Bazela’s employment at the PVSC was terminated in 2011. If convicted, Bazela would be required to forfeit his job as mayor of Northvale.
Chiesa and Director Stephen J. Taylor noted that the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau has established a toll-free Corruption Tipline for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities. The statewide Corruption Tipline is 1-866-TIPS-4CJ. Additionally, the public can log on to the Division of Criminal Justice Web page at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing. All information received through the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Tipline or web page will remain confidential.
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