PARSIPPANY — Parsippany Focus has learned Parsippany-Troy Hills Township will be doling out another $220,000 to township attorney John Inglesino for costs associated with his law firm’s retention of Aurora Information Security & Risk. The information was obtained from documents Parsippany Focus received through OPRA (the state’s Open Public Records Act), court records, and interviews with current township officials and employees and former township officials.
As previously reported in the article, Barberio and Inglesino accused of Bribery and Official Misconduct. AGAIN!, Ingelsino hired Aurora services, without Council approval, at a rate of $200 per hour to assist the township attorney in the defense of a civil lawsuit filed by former Parsippany Police Captain James Carifi. In that lawsuit, Captain Carifi alleged widespread workplace misconduct within in the police department, including that 13 out of 43 police laptops purchased by the department went missing in 2011.
What once began as a simple whistle-blower suit has evolved into claims of political retaliation, criminal investigations, attempted bribery, wrongful withholding of gun permits and pensions, mounting tensions among township employees at Town Hall and within the Parsippany Police Department, and the illegitimate hiring of a company not licensed by the New Jersey State Police to conduct private investigations.
On December 3, 2014, Mayor Barberio, through a prepared statement, told reporters “the public has a right to know the status of the Township cases with James Carifi.” Several people agreed to speak on the record to Parsippany Focus while others — fearful of retaliation — spoke on condition of anonymity. Inglesino, Barberio, and Township Business Administrator Ellen Sandman all refused to comment.
The first $50,000 of MOUNTING Aurora Bills
Aurora was hired as a township contractor in February 2013. The price tag for Aurora’s first two bills was nearly $50,000. *Editors Note: Parsippany Focus had previously posted these bills in an earlier article (see Aurora Invoice 1 and Aurora Invoice 2).
The hiring of Aurora has been controversial insofar as the Township Council never knew of nor approved the hiring of Aurora at the time. The Barberio administration delayed the disclosure of Aurora’s hiring until a few days after Mayor Barberio won a hotly-contested Republican mayoral primary race against Councilman Paul Carifi, Jr. In order to keep the Council and the public unaware of Aurora’s employment, two sources state that Inglesino told at least two people in June 2013 that his law firm would directly pay Aurora so “people like [citizen activist] Roy Messmer would never see a check written to Aurora by the Township and that my [Inglesino’s] IRS 1099 form would be artificially inflated because of Aurora”
As a result of Aurora’s investigative findings, Inglesino requested that several criminal investigations commence against Captain James Carifi. In total, five criminal investigations were conducted by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Investigations.
Additionally, Parsippany Police Chief Paul Philipps denied Captain Carifi his pension and gun permit while these investigations were pending. Captain Carifi has since been exonerated of all criminal charges.
“From the day the Council and public were made aware these investigations, we have all been told nothing but lies,” said former Councilman Jonathan Nelson. “We were told that Captain Carifi had committed terrible crimes. That wasn’t true. We were told that he [Carifi] had deleted sensitive files off police servers. That wasn’t true either,” Nelson said. “If sensitive files were indeed stolen and the server was breeched, what safeguards or procedures have since been put in place? Absolutely none.”
Barberio Administration conceals purpose of $220,000 budget transfer to connive favorable Council vote
On December 16, 2014, the Township Council approved Resolution 2014-200 entitled a “RESOLUTION OF THE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS AUTHORIZING 2014 BUDGET APPROPRIATION TRANSFERS.” In this resolution, the Township Council authorized $250,000 to be transferred from the Police Department’s salaries and wages to the department’s operating expenses. Unbeknownst to Council members, this transfer was made in order to inconspicuously reimburse John Inglesino $220,000 for expenses owed to Aurora Information Security & Risk for work performed in the James Carifi matter.
“This is yet just another one of the Barberio administration’s underhanded, unethical tactics, employed solely to advance the mayor’s personal vendetta while the taxpayers are on the hook for this ballooning expense,” Councilman Louis Valori said. “This mayor, significantly aided and led by John Inglesino, is so blinded by his self-serving pursuit that he keeps snubbing the people he was sworn to protect, and he ignores all ethical boundaries to salvage his deteriorating self-serving, sinister pursuits.”
Valori continued, “this administration’s abuse of power prevents this wasted money from going towards initiatives that really matter to, and positively impact, our community — like more police officers on our streets to keep our township safe. The latest $220,000 could be putting at least three more officers on the force.”
Parsippany Focus was able to obtain the recent township purchase order documenting the $220,000 money transfer from the Police department budget to John Inglesino’s law firm for a forensic investigation rendered by Aurora to support the Carifi investigations. (Click here for a copy of the voucher)
Township money paid out in Carifi case: $600,000….. and counting!
The investigations into work-place misconduct by Captain Carifi has come with a hefty price tag. To date, Inglesino’s law firm has billed Parsippany $600,000 for services rendered in investigating and prosecuting Captain Carifi. This amount is only for bills through November 2014 and do not include bills from former labor attorney Stephen Trimboli (Trimboli was ousted at the annual Council re-org meeting on January 6, 2015).
“The December 16, 2014 council vote is an illegal one as Council President Paul Carifi Jr. is completely conflicted from having anything to do with cases regarding his [Carfi’s] brother, but he voted on the measure,” Valori said. Valori indicated that he will push for the December vote to be revisited and amended at the next regular Council meeting and request the Township Auditor investigate all bills and transactions between Inglesino’s law firm and Aurora.
Resident Pat Pettacia, a regular attendee at Council meetings said, “I want to know who authorized the payment of this bill? Using our taxpayer money to fund a political witch-hunt is shameful.”
“There are families in Parsippany who are still flooded out of their homes because of Hurricane Irene,” former Councilman Jonathan Nelson said. “It can take 10 years for many of these hard-working families to earn $600,000. The role of government is to help our residents, not personally finance John Inglesino. For the mayor to allow this to continue is the real crime in this case.”
In the past month, a judge has since ordered Chief Philipps to approve Captain Carifi’s gun permit. In December 2014, the pension board approved and ordered that the Captain be paid his pension.