Clark Mayor Salvatore Bonaccorso was accused of using township property and employees to run his landscaping business and filing false permit applications in about two dozen towns to remove tanks underground oil storage facilities, Attorney General Matt Platkin said today.
Bonaccorso also faces charges of professional misconduct for running a tank removal business out of the mayor’s office. If convicted, he would face a mandatory sentence of five years in state prison.
“Any elected leader who abuses his or her power and position and abuses public property and public employees for his or her own benefit, at taxpayer expense, is betraying the public trust,” Platkin said. “In this case, the complaint accuses the defendant of also abusing the trust of officials in other cities, by allegedly submitting fraudulent documents with false signatures to enrich his company while circumventing Department of Public Protection regulations. New Jersey’s environment.”
Platkin also released a scathing report alleging misconduct by Clark officials, recommending two police department officials, Police Chief Pedro Matos and Sgt. Josep Teston, the head of internal affairs, was fired. The investigation revealed that the officers made racist, sexist and anti-Semitic statements and that Matos lied to investigators.
He said a study showed 44 percent of people arrested in Clark were black, even though 93 percent of the township’s residents are white.
But no criminal charges have been filed, Platkin said. The report will be forwarded to the state Division of Civil Rights.
The attorney general’s office found that Bonnorcorso, Matos and Teston used “racist, sexist and anti-Semitic slurs when discussing hiring practices and police actions.”
Platkin also referred township attorney Mark Dugan to the state Office of Lawyer Ethics.
In July 2020, the Attorney General’s Office and the Union County Prosecutor took over the local police department.
“There is a social contract that imposes the expectation that government officials and law enforcement do the right thing, act not in their own self-interest but in service of the common good, and treat all people with respect and dignity on an equal footing. “, said Platkin. “These are not naive ideals or lofty ambitions, but rather the bare minimum expectations that communities should have of their leaders. Leaders of the Clark Police Department, and the township in general, have failed to hold up their end of this bargain.
The Republican mayor is accused of falsifying public documents and tampering with witnesses.
“Our complaint alleges that the mayor committed criminal acts over many years to allow his company to offer services that it was not licensed or authorized to provide,” said Thomas Eicher, director of the Office of the Attorney General. public integrity and accountability. “People’s trust in government is eroded when public officials act inappropriately, and my office will continue its diligent work to root out corruption. »
Updated at 7:45 p.m. — statement from Bonaccorso’s attorney, Robert Stahl: Mayor Bonaccorso denies each of the allegations contained in the criminal complaint. The attorney general’s office has been investigating Clark Township and its various officials for years. What they are now presenting are criminal charges that the evidence will show are false and incorrect, and a report that led to no criminal charges but only smeared Mayor Bonaccorso, the city and the police forces. Mayor Bonaccorso will vigorously defend this case and will ultimately clear his name and reputation. Mayor Bonaccorso has dedicated himself to the well-being of all the citizens of Clark over many, many years of public service. We are disappointed that the Attorney General’s Office brought this case and look forward to vigorously defending our client in court.
Clark Report November 20, 2023
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