PATERSON, NJ — Sentenced on July 26 to terms of incarceration by Superior Court Judge Marilyn Clark in Paterson, Kevin Keogh of Roseland, previously a resident and township councilman of West Orange, is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey and will serve five years in state prison, according to Acting Attorney General Christopher Porrino.
Porrino announced this week that three former supervisors at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC), including Keogh, were sentenced to state prison or jail for having subordinate employees at the agency complete renovations and tasks at private homes while on duty.
Keogh, 50, pleaded guilty on June 21, 2012 to second-degree conspiracy and two counts of second-degree official misconduct for the aforementioned motive of having junior employees complete renovations at his private resident and also run numerous personal errands for him while on duty.
Paul Bazela of Northvale and Anthony Ardis of Paterson were each sentenced to three years in prison and 90 days in the county jail, respectively, and are also permanently banned from public employment in New Jersey, according to Porrino.
Bazela, according to Porrino, pleaded guilty in March to third-degree theft by unlawful taking or using his authority as foreman to have on-duty PVSC employees perform work at Keogh’s home. He was also convicted of conspiracy, official misconduct and pattern of official misconduct for having PVSC employees perform personal jobs for Ardis.
Ardis, according to Porrino, was sentenced to 90 days in prison and on-year probation for conspiracy to commit official misconduct. A fourth supervisor, Chester Mazza of Totowa, the former assistant superintendent for special services for PVSC, was also sentenced to one-year of probation by Judge Clark.
“These men arrogantly abused their positions and exploited public workers, vehicles and equipment for their selfish purposes, all at the expense of the taxpayers who fund this state agency,” said Porrino. “The sentences imposed today demonstrate our resolve to hold public officials accountable if they abuse their power.”
Keogh, Ardis, Mazza and Bazela were all terminated from their positions at PVSC in 2011.
Keogh admitted nearly 10 years ago to conspiring to have employees perform work at his private residents during their shifts at PVSX. Bazela, in connection with his plea according to Porrino, admitted to having skilled employees perform a list of labor at Keogh’s home, all using PVSC vehicles, tools and equipment.
Porrino said that Keogh admitted to having these employees also perform personal errands, including putting up holiday decorations, picking up landscaping items, and replacing the motor in the pump for his swimming pool while on agency time.
Keogh's Defense Attorney in this case was Jame Pomaco of the Law Offices of James V. Pomaco, Esq.
Acting Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a confidential, toll-free tip line at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities. Additionally, the public can log on to the Division of Criminal Justice webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.