11/12/07

Background checks superfluous in NJ

Paramus Borough Council members say that even if they had known their new borough administrator had possible mob ties, they would have hired him anyway. Are they kidding?

Two questions: Why didn't they know about the mob links? And why didn't they know that the administrator, Anthony Iacono, was removed from his job as a union president by a federal monitor who asserted Iacono maintained mob connections and embezzled funds?

There's a reason that using New Jersey as the locale for the HBO series "The Sopranos" worked so well. There was nothing fictional about it. Appointments such as Iacono's — to a job that was unfilled for 10 years — reaffirm the reputation of the state as a haven for corruption and organized crime.

At least one official in Paramus was aware of Iacono's background. Mayor James Tedesco said Iacono "made me comfortable that this was in the past." Would Tedesco hire someone on Megan's List as a baby-sitter if they professed their transgressions were "in the past"?

"Nobody has anything on me," said Iacono. "There's no law that says who you can or can't be friends with." Sounds like a line from a script Tony Soprano himself, or any of the show's corrupt politicians, could have uttered.

Iacono's friends include a reputed Genovese crime family associate, a connection that led to part-time jobs as maitre d' for two restaurants — jobs he still holds despite being out of the union and despite making $135,000 in his administrator job.

Iacono's job history, which includes a previous stint as administrator in Secaucus, is disturbing. Someone permanently barred from a union because of mob ties should not be in charge of running a town. Even in New Jersey.

(app.com)

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