– Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa
announced that an engineer who oversaw construction
projects for three school districts was sentenced
to state prison today for taking thousands
of dollars in kickbacks on contracts he recommended
that involved rigged bids and fraudulently
Disko, 48, of Mountainside, was sentenced
to three years in state prison by Superior
Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue in Union County.
Disko pleaded guilty on Oct. 12, 2011 to
an accusation charging him with second-degree
false representations for a government contract.
He was ordered to pay $44,000 in restitution
to the Westfield Board of Education and
a penalty of $25,000 into the State’s
Anti-Trust Revolving Fund for anti-trust
enforcement efforts. He is barred from public
contracts in New Jersey for 10 years.
pleading guilty, Disko admitted that he
orchestrated a series of bid-rigging and
kickback schemes from 2001 to 2010 as the
contracted engineer or engineer/architect
on record for the Westfield, Tinton Falls
and Scotch Plains-Fanwood school districts.
The investigation by the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau revealed that
Disko knowingly prepared fraudulent quotes
and estimates in connection with school
district contracts, and directed contractors
to inflate quotes and estimates. Disko admitted
that he submitted those quotes and estimates
to the three school districts and recommended
approval of the fraudulently bid contracts
in exchange for thousands of dollars in
kickbacks from contractors.
districts and their taxpayers cannot afford
to pay for crooked consultants and contractors
who inflate the cost of projects, forcing
districts to spend thousands of additional
dollars on fraud that otherwise could be
spent to benefit students in the classroom,”
said Attorney General Chiesa. “This
prison sentence should deter other dishonest
working to safeguard the integrity of government
contracts by aggressively prosecuting any
form of bid rigging or fraud that impacts
them,” said Stephen J. Taylor, Director
of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We
urge anyone with information about suspected
corruption involving school contracts to
Attorney General Vincent J. Militello prosecuted
the case and represented the State at the
sentencing. The investigation was led by
Deputy Attorney General Militello, Sgt.
Lisa Shea and Detective Michael Behar of
the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Dec. 1, 2011, two contractors pleaded guilty
to rigging bids and inflating school contracts
at the direction of Disko. Martin W. Starr,
45, of Cliffwood Beach, owner of Starr Contracting,
and Stephen M. Gallagher, 51, of Cliffwood
Beach, owner of East Commercial Construction,
pleaded guilty to accusations charging them
with third-degree false representations
for a government contract before Superior
Court Judge John S. Triarsi in Union County.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on April
13. Under their plea agreements, the state
will recommend that each man be sentenced
to up to 364 days in the county jail and
a term of probation. The companies owned
by Starr and Gallagher also pleaded guilty
to the same charge. The individual and corporate
defendants will be disqualified from public
contracts for five years, and are jointly
and severally liable for paying a $50,000
penalty to the Anti-Trust Revolving Fund.
pleading guilty, Starr admitted that in
2009 and 2010, he prepared fictitious quotes
from legitimate contractors without their
permission and submitted them to Disko in
order to appear to be the lowest bidder
for contracts worth nearly $25,000 that
were awarded to Starr Contracting by the
Westfield and Scotch Plains-Fanwood districts.
admitted that he helped Starr to obtain
those contracts by preparing fraudulent
and fictitious quotes and estimates for
his own company and submitting them to Disko
as higher bids than those submitted by Starr.
Also, in connection with other contracts
that were awarded to Gallagher’s company
in the Westfield and Scotch Plains-Fanwood
districts, Gallagher inflated quotes and
the cost of work performed. The state’s
investigation revealed that in return for
the inflated contracts, Gallagher gave cash
kickbacks to Disko.
are pending against a third contractor,
John Sangiuliano, 57, of Scotch Plains,
co-owner of Metropolitan Metal Window Company.
It is alleged that Sangiuliano, in bidding
on contracts for the Westfield and Tinton
Falls school districts, knowingly prepared
fraudulent quotes at Disko’s direction
bearing the names of other legitimate contractors,
making the quotes higher than his own. It
is also alleged that, at the direction of
Disko, Sangiuliano knowingly inflated Metropolitan’s
quotes and the cost of repairs for the contracts.
In exchange for the inflated contracts,
Sangiuliano allegedly gave kickbacks to
Disko in excess of $36,000 in 2009 and 2010.
The charges against Sangiuliano are merely
accusations and he is presumed innocent
until proven guilty. The investigation revealed
that Disko also received over $44,000 in
kickbacks from a prior owner of Metropolitan,
now deceased, for contracts awarded from
2001 to 2004.
a related matter stemming from the investigation,
the former business administrator for the
Westfield School District, Robert A. Berman,
56, of South Plainfield, pleaded guilty
before Judge Donohue on Oct. 24, 2011 to
third-degree conspiracy to make false representations
for a government contract. He admitted that
he accepted $13,000 in windows and doors
from Sangiuliano, who he recommended be
hired by the school district. Berman was
sentenced on Jan. 27 to one year of probation
and was ordered to pay a $6,000 penalty.
He forfeited his school district job and
will be permanently barred from public employment
in New Jersey.
General Chiesa and Director Taylor noted
that the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau has established a toll-free tipline
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. All information
received through the tipline or webpage
will remain confidential.