PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J.– A former Passaic Valley Sewerage commissioner on Wednesday admitted using agency labor for work on his mother’s and girlfriend's homes.
Anthony Ardis, 62, of Paterson pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct, Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy said.
Ardis admitted that he conspired with Paul Bazela, 49, of Northvale, the former foreman of the PVSC carpenter’s shop, to complete repairs and improvements while on-duty for the PVSC, Lougy said.
Bazela and the workers used agency vehicles, tools and equipment to tear down sheet rock in Ardis' mother's garage, install a microwave and small wood panels in her kitchen, and install air conditioning units at Ardis’ girlfriend's house, Lougy said.
Bazela was previously found guilty of conspiracy and theft in 2014 for having PVSC employees perform personal work on behalf of Ardis, according to the acting attorney general.
In 2011, Bazela admitted he had carpenters and other skilled employees perform work at former PVSC Superintendent for Special Services Kevin Keogh’s home while on duty, including installing windows in bedrooms and replacing kitchen cabinet doors, Lougy said.
Bazela, a former Northvale mayor, worked as PVSC's shop foreman and operations supervisor from April 2006 to May 2010
Ardis was also tried then but his convictions were overturned, Lougy said.
Under Adris' plea agreement, he will be sentenced up to 364 days in Passaic County jail, Lougy said. The former commissioner must repay the PVSC in a yet to be determined amount and will be barred from public employment.
Sentencing is scheduling for July 15 for Ardis and Bazela – and another administrator, Chester Mazza, 74, of Totowa – the acting attorney general said.
Mazda pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking in May 2012, Lougy said.
Ardis was also the board of commissioners clerk, director of management services and the chief ethics officer for the PVSC, a state agency responsible for managing and regulating the collection and disposal of wastewater along the Passaic Valley River Basin, Lougy said.
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