Within one week of my questioning the council about Ammirato's conflicting employment obligations, Hackensack, North Arlington, and the County of Bergen were served with subpoenas stemming from an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. The story became a public interest piece and was picked up by several media outlets, and even sparked an editorial by The Record.
As the investigation continued, it became clear that Ammirato not only served the County of Bergen in a full time role and Hackensack and North Arlington as a contractor, but he served as a paid consultant to an array of political campaigns throughout Northern New Jersey, and even did part time work in East Rutherford. What started as an investigation seeking a better understanding as to whether or not Ammirato's County of Bergen and Hackensack employments presented conflicts of interest, quickly evolved into a curiosity as to whether or not Ammirato had discovered the ability to clone himself. Was Thom Ammirato the real life version of the 1996 movie Multiplicity?
As much media attention and public outcry this investigation generated, the story died down when Ammirato was fired from Hackensack and eventually quietly resigned from the County of Bergen.
But had Ammirato done anything wrong?
Documents obtained by the Hackensack Scoop confirm that Ammirato very well may have been breaking the law by collecting a paycheck and benefits from the County of Bergen.
An "Agreement Not to Prosecute" signed by both Thom Ammirato and Prosecutor John Molinelli confirms that the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office was investigating criminal conduct in their belief that Thom Ammirato was "falsifying time sheets and committing theft from the County of Bergen by working substantially less hours than required by his employment..."
The document goes on to state that it is believed to be in the best interests of justice and the citizens of Bergen County to resolve the matter while avoiding "criminal responsibility" for Ammirato. In exchange for Molinelli stopping his office's investigation, and agreeing not to prosecute Ammirato, Ammirato tendered his resignation from the County of Bergen on August 1, 2014.
A request for comment from Ammirato was initially met with "how did you get that?" Later Ammirato changed his tone and in an apparent attempt to insinuate there is no such document he asked "are you sure you aren't being played?" I asked Ammirato if he was not represented by Darren Del Sardo, Esq. and did not sign an agreement (pictured below), Ammirato would not directly answer the question.
But is the public interest really best served?
Thom Ammirato "performed work" for County Executive Kathleen Donovan and reported directly to Donovan's Chief of Staff, Jeanne Baratta. Why was Ammirato given this job with such carte blanche to come and go and do work as he pleased when all other employees with the same title had set hours and a desk assignment? Who either authorized his "work whenever from where ever" working arrangement or failed to supervise him? Why is the County Executive's office not being called to task? It is not like Kathleen Donovan can say she was not aware one of her full time employees was working in Hackensack--she served on the Hackensack City Council's transition team! Why are Ammirato's 27 months of pay and benefits not being reimbursed to the County of Bergen? Where is the restitution for the taxpayer? It looks to me like the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office let Ammirato and the County Executive's office off easy as neither is being forced to reimburse the tax payer or answer for how this alleged theft was allowed to happen under the Donovan and Baratta watch.