TRENTON – The Superintendent of Public Works for North Bergen Township pleaded guilty today to routinely using municipal employees for household chores and personal projects at his home while they were on the clock being paid by the municipality, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced. James Wiley frequently directed the employees to work at his home on Saturdays, when they received time-and-a-half overtime pay for their hours, and the tasks ranged from cleaning his house and swimming pool to helping build an addition.
Wiley, 67, of North Bergen, also admitted that on three occasions, he had groups of public works employees assigned to perform work for a political campaign while on duty or while being paid overtime by the township, and signed and submitted fraudulent paperwork that indicated they were doing legitimate work for the Department of Public Works.
“Wiley’s abuse of power in exploiting municipal employees for his personal chores and home improvement projects is an affront to every honest taxpayer and worker,” said Chiesa. “It takes hard work and hard-earned money for the average person to maintain a home, but Wiley, in his greed, decided to do it on the taxpayers’ dime. Beyond that, he participated in the unlawful assignment of public workers to political activities. We won’t stand for such corruption.”
Wiley pleaded guilty to an accusation charging him with second-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct before Superior Court Judge Joseph V. Isabella in Hudson County. The plea agreement calls for Wiley to be sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison, the standard range for second-degree crimes.
Wiley was charged as a result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Wiley must forfeit his job and will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. He must pay restitution to the township in an amount to be determined for any wages paid to municipal employees for time spent working at his home.
Deputy Attorneys General David M. Fritch and Cynthia M. Vazquez took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice. Judge Isabella scheduled Wiley to be sentenced on Oct. 26.
Wiley has been Superintendent of Public Works in North Bergen since 1995. His current annual salary is approximately $122,000.
“Prosecuting public corruption is a top priority of the Division of Criminal Justice, and guilty pleas such as this one send a powerful deterrent message to those who might otherwise unlawfully use their public office for personal gain,” said Stephen J. Taylor, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We expect to file additional charges in our ongoing investigation. We urge anyone with information about official misconduct to contact our office confidentially.”
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