PARSIPPANY, NJ -- According to Township Council candidate Dr. Louis Valori, Mayor James Barberio and members of his administration attempted to give him a township job in order to entice him not to run for political office this year.
Valori told Patch that he believes the mayor, who is running for a second term, did not want to face a challenge in the June 4 primary.
In addition, mayoral challenger Paul Carifi Jr. , who now sits on the Town Council, told Patch that he was asked for his resume prior to announcing his candidacy in January, but was not given a reason for the request.
Valori, who is running with Robert J. Peluso as part of the Carifi ticket, said the story began in late November when he said he was approached by Town Council President Brian Stanton at a Parsippany Police retirement party.
"I was at the Blackthorn [Irish Restaurant and Pub] sitting with Paul Carifi and other folks," he told Patch. "He comes up to me says, 'Jamie [Barberio] and I don't want to see the Republican Party split. If Paul runs and you run with a slate, the party will be split and there's a good chance for a Democrat to get in. Jamie wants you to have a job with the town, you and Paul."
Valori said Stanton told him the job would pay about $50,000 annually, and that he would get back to him with details.
"'I want you to send me your resume and have Paul send his as soon as possible,'" Valori quoted Stanton as saying. "I'm thinking to myself... is he asking me what I think he is asking me?
"He was the voice of Jamie Barberio telling me not to run because he didn't want a competitive election," he continued. "He called me the next day and asked for the resume."
Carifi, recently retired from the Morris County Sheriff's Office, told Patch that Stanton asked him for his resume too.
"I asked him why he wanted it, and he wouldn't give me a reason," he said. "So I told him no."
Stanton has not responded to Patch's questions regarding Valori's and Carifi's allegations. Mayor Barberio has remained silent as well, despite multiple attempts to reach him.
New Jersey statute N.J.S. 2C:27-2 defines bribery in political matters. Political bribery concerns itself with the person offering a benefit in exchange for some consideration and with the person receiving the benefit. Bribery involving a benefit worth more than $200 is a second-degree offense under state law.
Valori said he never had any intention of taking a job under those circumstances.
"They think I'm that stupid," he said. "They're trying to set me up."
He brought up his October 2012 retirement from the Parsippany Police Department and the situation that took him to the brink of being sworn in for the Town Council in June of last year only to find out at the last minute that he was deemed ineligible to serve. Valori said that as November and December went by, he was contacted again by Stanton and also by Milin Shah, who is running for council on the Barberio ticket.
Shah has not responded to Patch's questions regarding his alleged participation in the supposed scheme.
"They said they were still working on a position for me but wouldn't say what it was, only that it paid $50,000," Valori said. "I knew Jamie had met with Paul concerning whether he was going to run [for mayor] or not. Paul said he wasn't sure yet. So I think Jamie was in a relaxed mode."
On Jan. 10, Carifi did announce plans to run against Barberio in the mayoral primary.
"Jamie found out that Paul was going to run [several days before his announcement] at a Republican Club meeting," Valori recalled. "I was going to show up [at the meeting] because Jamie was going to tell me about this position, but I didn't go because I wasn't feeling well."
Valori said he received a phone call from Brian Stanton.
"Brian called and told me that Jamie was very upset that Paul was announcing," he said. "He said Jamie still wanted to get together with me."
Valori said he received a text message from Stanton telling him to meet him and Barberio at Town Hall at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13., after Carifi's announcement.
"About 7:30 [Sunday] night, Brian calls back and asks if it's okay that [Township Attorney John] Inglesino's present. So I show up at 8... [Barberio], John Inglesino and Brian Stanton were there," he recounted. "They talked about a new position they would create that would pay $50,000 a year and said that it was at-will employment at the mayor's pleasure and that 'You have to be loyal to the mayor.' "
He added that he was told that the position was a public affairs liaison job in the police department.
"They were thinking of giving me [PPD spokesperson Ptlm.] Earl Kinsey's job so they can get him on the road," said Valori. "Inglesino explained everything. Brian was told to solicit votes from the council because the money would have to come out of the police budget."
Two council members, Carifi and Jonathan Nelson, confirmed to Patch that they were contacted by Stanton regarding a proposal to create a "civilian media relations position" [the phrase both men used] in the police department and they were asked their opinion of the idea in a sort of "straw poll."
Carifi said he told Stanton that he was opposed to the idea. Nelson said he needed to think about the proposal before he could render judgment.The other council members have not responded to Patch's request for comment.
According to Valori, the job idea did not find favor with a majority of the council, and the subject was not brought up again. He reiterated his insistence that he never had any intention of taking any job from the mayor.
"I would never put myself in a position to do something illegal," he asserted. "How can I trust these people after what they've done to me? I said I was not interested, absolutely no."
Patch asked Valori why, then, he sent his resume to Stanton and agreed to attend the Sunday meeting at Town Hall.
His response was that he didn't know what Barberio and Stanton wanted from him or what the town job would be. Valori said he thought that perhaps they wanted him to be part of the mayor's ticket.
"I wasn't sure if they wanted me to run with them or were playing games or trying to delay me from running," he said via text message.
He also pointed to news stories from 2009 that he said bolster his belief that offering someone a job in exchange for staying out of an election—political bribery—is "business as usual" for some in the Barberio administration.
Nearly four years ago, on May 5, 2009, the Star-Ledger reported that Inglesino, then a former freeholder serving as a Chris Christie gubernatorial campaign adviser, allegedly offered then-announced candidate Asm. Richard Merkt a position in a “Christie Administration”—if Merkt (who is now mayor of Mendham Township) got out of the governor's race.
A May 11, 2009, Daily Record blog continued the story, adding Inglesino's comment that the story was false and the lawyer's accusation that Merkt was trying to defame him.
On July 29, 2009, after Christie won the Republican gubernatorial primary, NewJerseyNewsroom.com reported that some Democratic leaders sought an investigation to determine whether Merkt's allegations against Inglesino were true. The state did not pursue an investigation of the allegation, which was never officially proven or disproven.
Inglesino did not respond to Patch's request for comment.