A Bergen County Prosecutor’s officer said UNDER OATH that he believed Giangeruso, or his club, was involved in a political setup and criminal bribe in Lyndhurst in 1996…

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…In 2019, the same Bobby Giangeruso is both Lyndhurst’s Mayor and Police Commissioner, and only he appoints the next Lyndhurst Police Chief.


What follows is taken word-for-word from a Lyndhurst political corruption case before The Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey…

In the Matter of James A. Breslin, Jr., An Attorney at Law.

Argued September 24, 2001 — Reargued February 25, 2002 — Decided March 28, 2002


“The ACJC’s findings and the Panel’s findings had been based on respondent’s treatment of a bribe attempt. Although different factual versions of the attempt were offered by various witnesses, the record indicated essentially that sometime in mid to late October 1996, respondent’s former client, Joseph Ciardella of Toms River, visited respondent at his Lyndhurst office and delivered to him a manila envelope. According to respondent, Ciardella told him that the envelope contained his son’s resume and/or application to the [Lyndhurst] Police Department, which he asked respondent to give to the Lyndhurst Police Commissioner, Paul Haggerty. On ultimate inspection of the envelope, which according to respondent occurred several days later, respondent discovered not only the resume but also two bank envelopes together containing $10,000. The timing and nature of respondent’s actions thereafter also formed the basis of the various charges filed against him.

“Specifically, on discovery of the envelopes, which respondent believed contained money, respondent did not immediately communicate with any law enforcement authorities. Rather, when he next met Haggerty, whom he saw on a regular and frequent basis, he posed to him a hypothetical question, essentially asking what he would do if someone gave him money and asked for a favor. Respondent did not at that time become any more specific and did not identify Ciardella as the person seeking the favor. According to respondent, Haggerty reacted angrily to the suggestion and told respondent that he did not wish to discuss it any further. Respondent dropped the subject, not wishing to involve Haggerty any further.

“Shortly thereafter, when respondent next spoke or met with Haggerty, the conversation was resumed, this time respondent disclosing some details to Haggerty about the identity of the client and the contents of the envelope. During the course of the conversation, it was decided that the bribe attempt should be communicated to the acting police chief, James Tobin, who had been temporarily assigned to that position by the Attorney General, there having been a dispute between Haggerty and the outgoing police chief as to whom should be appointed to the position on a permanent basis. Although the timing is in dispute, the matter ultimately was reported by Haggerty to Tobin, who in turn informed the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. Ultimately, the matter was investigated by the Prosecutor’s office with respondent’s cooperation and Ciardella was convicted of the third-degree offense of gift to a public official, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:27-6b.

“The third critical witness before the panel was James Tobin, who had been designated as Acting Chief of the Lyndhurst Police Department from July 1996 to August 1997. In addition to his testimony before the three-judge panel, James Tobin was interviewed by John Tonelli of the ACJC on February 13, 1998. A report of that interview was admitted into evidence as Exhibit R-1.

“Mr. Tonelli’s report of his interview of James Tobin reads as follows:

“Mr. Tobin was assigned by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office as acting Police Chief in Lyndhurst in July 1996 in response to a conflict that occurred between the Police Commissioner, Paul Haggerty and the Chief of Police, John Scalese. Lyndhurst is governed under the Walsh Act, so Mr. Haggerty had the power to hire, fire and promote in the police department and the municipal court. Approximately 2 days before Chief Scalese left the department on terminal leave, Mr. Haggerty promoted Captain James O’Connor as the new police chief. The last thing that Scalese did before he left was to promote Deputy Chief Robert Giangeruso as chief. Mr. Haggerty alerted the ATTORNEY GENERAL’s office of the conflict, and they directed Mr. Tobin, a captain in the prosecutor’s office, to serve as acting police chief on an interim basis…

“Mr. Tobin believes that this incident [the bribe] was an attempted set-up by a group of people because of political reasons. Tobin pointed out a few coincidences that are difficult to explain. The group of people belong to the local Italian/American Club that is located in The Hook section of Lyndhurst. According to Tobin, membership in that club includes Former Police Chief Scalese, Deputy Giangeruso, Mayor Stellato and other high ranking police officers and municipal officials. As you read in the first paragraph of this report, Former Chief Scalese and Deputy Giangeruso were not Haggerty’s biggest fans. After the arrest of Ciardella, Deputy Giangeruso stormed in the detectives bureau and demanded a copy of the file in the Ciardella case. The detectives told him that they did not have a file and did not participate in the investigation of the matter. Giangeruso then stormed into Tobin’s office and made the same demand. Tobin told him that the matter was handled by the prosecutor’s office and that Giangeruso should go to their office and demand a copy of the file. Giangeruso quickly calmed down and kept his mouth shut. Tobin can think of no other reason why Giangeruso would be so interested in that case if he or his club were not involved.”

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