Public works employee Gasper Cintron collected overtime pay while doing work at the liquor business owned by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ brother on East 15th Street, according to a NBC New York investigative report which aired on Thursday evening.
Cintron, a masonry helper at the Paterson Public Works Department, is shown working at the soon-to-be beer distribution site at 11:47 a.m. on December 6th, 2014. He billed taxpayers 7 hours of overtime for working from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. removing two sewer pumps at the board of health, according to the report.
So far five public works employees – Jorge Makdissi, Joseph Mania, Timothy Hanlon, Jeffrey Williams, and now Cintron – have been accused of billing taxpayers while working on private projects for the mayor.
Hanlon was also working at the location on December 6, 2014. He clocked in from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day. He was recorded at the site at 11:54 a.m. He billed taxpayers 7 hours of overtime, according to the report.
Torres, who is on vacation in the Dominican Republic this week, initially denied public works employees did work at his Arlington Avenue home. He later admitted some public works employees worked at his home, but that he paid them from his own pocket.
Neither Cintron nor Hanlon responded to the news network’s calls for comments on the new findings. Torres hired Cintron on November 23rd, 2009. He earns $25,000 per year, according to city records.
“Out! Out!” Torres says to a NBC New York reporter as she seeks an explanation from the mayor on workers billing taxpayers for private work done at his house and his brother’s liquor establishment.
Torres grew agitated when the reporter asked him about the overtime public works employees earned working on his private projects. He touted overtime spending has been down city wide at his State of the City speech.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has opened a criminal investigation after the allegations first emerged in March. Authorities have subpoenaed witnesses and records. Attorney general’s office has not disclosed the status of that investigation five months in.
Community activists have called for a no confidence vote on the mayor. Some have called on him to resign.
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