the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Hackensack NJ, 5th District Republican candidate Steve Lonegan said he was stunned today to learn of allegations of possible illegal actions at the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.
As reported in northjersey.com, the Sheriff’s Office is now the target of a lawsuit brought by former finance director, Omid Bayati, who says he was retaliated against after blowing the whistle on alleged unlawful activities, including “inappropriate vendor deals” and a plan to use $7.5 million in federal money “to keep the budget flat during County Executive James Tedesco’s reelection campaign.”
In a lawsuit, filed on April 20, 2018, in Bergen County Superior Court, it is alleged that in violation of State Law, that a meeting was held in “late 2017” in which “ a meeting was called by the County for all Department heads in relation to the budget. At that meeting, the County CFO noted that it was an election year for the County Executive and therefore there needed to be a zero percent increase in the budget. In order to accomplish this, they decided to rely upon funding from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to partially fund the Sheriff’s Office
Bergenfield Mayor, and Bergen County Executive candidate Norman Schmelz has asked the United States Department of Justice to investigate the Bergen County Executive’s Office, including the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of Bergen County, for conspiring to use Federal Funds to aid in the reelection of Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco.
Lonegan noted ,“John McCann was the right hand man of Sheriff Michael Saudino, a Democrat, while these alleged activities were going on. He was his chief counsel and he is implicated in all of this,” Lonegan stated. “If Mr. Bayati is telling the truth, it means John McCann disregarded the evidence presented to him and failed to investigate his claims. His job was to protect taxpayers, not the Democrat he worked for and not the Democratic County Executive.”
“A disturbing pattern seems to be emerging here regarding John McCann. Is it incompetence or is it corruption? The people in District 5 deserve answers. What did John McCann know and when did he know it?”
Mayor Schmelz, wrote, “If these allegations are true, then the public needs to know, who was involved, what was agreed upon, and how much taxpayer dollars are being used for political purposes.”
Schmelz continued, “The allegations are clear that Federal Tax dollars (and possibly state and local tax dollars as well) are being used for political purposes, instead of providing essential services in a proper manner.”
The Schmelz letter continued, “It is inconceivable and outrageous that such illegal activities are taking place in the offices of the Bergen County Executive. Each person who had knowledge of such activities should immediately come forward, divulge what they know, and resign forthwith. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”
Schmelz concluded, “I ask that the Department of Justice investigate these allegations presented in a court of law, that if true contain a clear and compelling picture of illegality at the highest levels of government. This breach of trust, is devastating to hard working taxpayers who demand their tax dollar be spent on essential government services, not for political agendas as is alleged.”