Personal Home Repairs Lead To Convictions For Ex-New Jersey Sewer Authority Employees
By: Christopher A. Iacono
Two employees of Passaic Valley Sewer Commission were found guilty on criminal charges stemming from allegations that they directed employees to perform personal home repairs for friends and relatives while on-duty, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Anthony Ardis and Paul Bazela, formerly the commissioner and carpentry shop foreman for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, were convicted of counts of conspiracy, official misconduct, pattern of official misconduct and theft by unlawful taking or disposition in connection with repairs and improvements made on the homes of Ardis’ mother and girlfriend and a former PVSC supervisor by PVSC workers while they were on the clock.
According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Bazela was directed by Ardis and former supervisor Kevin Keogh to dispatch the carpenters he supervised to the homes of Ardis’ mother and girlfriend and to Keogh’s home. Bazela ordered two PVSC carpenters to tear down sheet rock, install wood panels and hook up a microwave at Ardis’ mother’s home, and another employee was sent to Ardis’ girlfriend’s home during a work shift to replace air conditioning units. In 2012, Kevin Keogh and Chester Mazza, a former PVSC superintendent, was also convicted of ordering PVSC employees to complete personal home repairs.
Ardis and Bazela are scheduled for sentencing on May 9, and they will face maximum sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 for each count. Both men face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, based on stricter penalties for official misconduct that took effect in April 2007, and both will be ordered to forfeit their pensions and will be permanently barred from public employment.