by Al Frank/The Star-Ledger
Parsippany’s planning board attorney pleaded guilty today in a federal corruption case to accepting $26,000 to smooth the way for a prominent developer.
John Montefusco Sr. entered the plea in federal court in Trenton, saying he gave “official assistance” to builder Edward Mosberg in obtaining expedited review of his development applications and other favors.
In exchange, Mosberg provided “significant personal benefits” to Montefusco’s family which included discounts on new homes that enabled them to resell the properties with little or no money down, according to the charges.
Mosberg’s attorney, Peter Till, denied that there was any improper conduct between the 87-year-old developer and Montefusco Sr.
“He has no involvement with any of the matters set forth in court,” Till said. “He has fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and responded to all requests.”
Last summer The Star-Ledger reported that Montefusco’s son, board of education member John Montefusco Jr., and his wife, Linda, were paid $1.02 million for three townhouses they “flipped” in Mosberg’s Glenmount Commons development in Parsippany. The sales occurred in 2002 and 2003.
Through “concealed transactions” Montefusco Sr. told U.S. Judge Anne Thompson that he pocketed the $26,000 from family members “as his share.”
The admissions were part of a guilty plea to charges of mail fraud, because Montefusco Sr. had not reported the income on a document required of local government officials by the state Department of Community Affairs.
While he could be fined a maximum $250,000 and sentenced to 20 years in jail, Thompson said Montefusco Sr., 68, may be eligible for a nominal one-year sentence and three years of supervised probation because he has no criminal record.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 21.
Montefusco Sr. referred comment to his attorney, Edward Bilinkas, who said the charges were an abberation in the longtime attorney’s career.
Bilinkas said he expected his client would soon be giving up his township planning board job, which paid $15,000 last year.
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