What to Know
- After the I-Team reported possible voter fraud in North Bergen, officials from 2 offices declined to say if their offices were investigating
- “We are not here to talk about the North Bergen matters,” said New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito; the state AG also declined comment
- The former head of the New Jersey FBI office says the voter fraud allegations are serious
After NBC New York's I-Team reported on questions of voter fraud in North Bergen, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito declined to say if his office is investigating the allegation — as well as previous questions of corruption at North Bergen's Town Hall, Housing Authority and Board of Education.
“We are not here to talk about the North Bergen matters,” Carpenito said late last week at an unrelated news conference. “We’re obviously are aware of the news articles that have been written but we don’t comment on whether or not we have any open investigations or what the progress of those investigations are.”
A spokesman for New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also had no comment. However, the former head of the New Jersey FBI office says the voter fraud allegations are serious.
“The problem here is that these individuals are public servants,” Tim Gallagher said. “Their job is to educate our students and protect our streets. And they are being used to wield power and sway elections and that is just wrong.”
The I-Team obtained a list of North Bergen Board of Education workers; at least 649 were registered voters. Records for each could not be checked, so the I-Team analyzed 61 staffers who listed an out-of-town address. Out of those, nearly a dozen questionable cases were found where it appears those workers actually voted in North Bergen.
One education worker who asked not to be identified said the problem is well-known in North Bergen and is due to pressure from the town’s Democratic machine.
“Everyone kind of gets intimidated to play the political game,” the anonymous worker said.
For example, records show Board of Education employee George Haviland voted in North Bergen, which is Hudson County. But records show Gaviland owns a home in Bergen County where his son even posted in social media having gone to school there.
We also checked numerous other town workers and found another questionable case involving North Bergen Detective Mark Francin. He has been seen working security for Mayor Nicholas Sacco, who also is a state senator. Records show the officer voted using a past family address in North Bergen, even though records show he owns a home in the town of Saddle Brook in Bergen County.
Another possible case involves Housing Authority employee Drew Micucci. He listed a North Bergen address on his Hudson County voter registration. The building is owned by the family of his boss, the director of the North Bergen Housing Authority. Tenants at the building told the I-team Micucci never lived there, while multiple sources and one relative said Micucci actually lived 18 miles away in the Bergen County township of Washington.
A spokesman for the mayor and town workers say that in each case there was no wrong-doing. The spokesman said that either the individual was living part-time at a relative’s home in North Bergen or had actually lived full time in North Bergen, adding that the workers actions were “appropriate." (link to other story here)
The former New Jersey FBI director says if anyone used an address and voted improperly in North Bergen, they could also be opening themselves up to other potential charges, like tax or insurance fraud.
“What’s your primary residence? When your bank asks what’s your primary residence and you write down X and you don’t live there, that could be potential bank fraud,” Gallagher said.
Considering the relatively limited records the I-Team was able to check, there were nearly two dozen instances of possible voter fraud. The former FBI head said law enforcement officials with subpeona power could find even greater numbers.
“The numbers you came up in your reporting is significant,” Gallagher said. “To utilize law enforcement tools to further develop those numbers, it could lead to a greater problem.”
After the I-Team began looking into this issue months ago, more than a dozen town workers workers who voted regularly in past elections did not vote in this may’s mayoral election. And after our inquiries, more than half a dozen workers have changed their voting addresses in North Bergen to an out of town address already listed in other public records.