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Sheriff Resignation Shines Spotlight on Allegations of Misuse of Federal Funds for Bergen Sheriffs Department

Bergen County Sheriff's Office

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, the sudden resignation of Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino  has opened a can of worms for Bergen County Democrats .

In the suit, which was filed in April in state Superior Court in Hackensack, Omid Bayati, the former director, claimed Sheriff Michael Saudino fired him earlier this year after Bayati uncovered inappropriate vendor deals made by Phil Lisk, a former IT director.

The suit also said Bayati objected in December to the county’s plan to fund the Sheriff’s Office with $7.5 million in federal money it expected for housing detainees for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The move, which Bayati believed broke state law, was intended to keep the budget flat during County Executive James Tedesco’s reelection campaign, the suit said.

Bayati’s suit claims Saudino and the county breached his contract and violated both his civil rights and New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which shields whistleblowers. He is suing for compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, interest, emotional distress and punitive damages, the suit said