Fulop Admin. produced fraudulent timesheets for JCPSOA officials, raising questions of tampering, corruption
Since the start of 2016, Real Jersey City has filed multiple Open Public Records Act requests with the Fulop Administration centered around regular, overtime, and off-duty timesheets for officials from the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association – which have received responses that raise more questions than answers.
If documents received by Real Jersey City via the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) were to be trusted at first, at least two Jersey City superior officers – Capt. Leonidas “Lou” Karras and Lt. Scott Schnee – should’ve both been facing criminal charges for working off-duty jobs concurrent with their regular shift.
Fortunately for them, sources confirmed to Real Jersey City that the information obtained through OPRA from the Fulop Administration was definitely fraudulent and no such article was published.
On January 4th, 2016, OPRA request (OP2015-2223) was filed asking for the regular timesheets and off-duty pay vouchers – which show the exact time and detail officers worked – from 10-1-15 to 12-31-15 for the following Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JCPSOA) officials: Sgt. Vincent Corso (1st Vice President), Lt. Nicola “Nick” Flora (Trustee), Karras (Trustee), and Schnee (Alternate State Delegate).
It took Public Safety Director James Shea’s office – which administers the JCPD off-duty jobs program – nearly a month to produce “Officer Off Duty Jobs and Totals” reports for all officers. As well, while some pay vouchers were received, each officer had days which they supposedly worked off-duty jobs but lacked an accompanying voucher.
Despite numerous requests, no additional pay vouchers have been received in regards to OP2015-2223.
As for the regular timesheets, the first response – which raised legitimate red flags – was received from the city clerk’s office, via the Jersey City Police Department (JCPD), on February 24, 2016.
In the response were two different types of timesheets.
For Corso, Karras, and Schnee, calendars were returned that were clearly produced on February 18, 2016 (45 days after they received the OPRA). Each calendar had clearly been edited by hand after being printed, but in the case of Karras and Schnee the shift provided was factually incorrect.
According to sources, both Karras and Schnee work nights, but the calendars appeared to show that they work days based off the start times. Below are the calendars for the two officers from November 2015:
After questioning the OPRA response, and explaining the issue to Corporation Counsel Jeremy Farrell, on March 4, 2016, the Fulop Administration provided accurate timesheets which clearly show Karras and Schnee assigned to the midnight tour – which begins at 10 P.M. the previous night.
As for Flora, the city provided what appeared to be a Microsoft Excel printout, which also was clearly edited by hand after being printed. The document states that he works a day tour from 7 A.M. to 3 P.M., but one source heavily disputes that, claiming Flora is supposed to work until 3:30 P.M. because he’s on a “staff schedule” due to his position.
Below is the December 2015 regular timesheet for Flora, which states “Staff Dayof”:
Upon request from Real Jersey City, the city clerk’s office provided the JCPSOA contract with the City of Jersey City (which happened to initially be missing the section which defines the work day and work week). According to the contract, all those working a staff schedule have an 8 and 1/2 hour shift, and work a 14-day cycle of 5 days on, then 2 days off, then 4 days on, and finally 3 days off.
Given the hand editing performed on the document, it’s not exactly clearly the cycle he worked on, but it’s clear he had Christmas Day off – which is part of the union contract for staff personnel.
If it’s true that Flora was supposed to work until 3:30 P.M., he would have started multiple off-duty jobs while still on the clock for his regular shift.
Unlike Corso, Karras, and Schnee, no regular timesheet update has been provided by the Fulop Administration for Flora.
One source said that “it was clear [the Fulop Administration] was providing fraudulent information because they feel that there is no repercussions for public misconduct.”
The source added that the “corrupt” response was due in part to Mayor Fulop’s strong political relationship with the JCPSOA, which is helping Fulop build police union support from around New Jersey for his likely gubernatorial campaign.
Since the filing of OP2015-2223, Real Jersey City filed more timesheet OPRA requests on February 19, 2016 for Corso, Flora, Karras, and Schnee, as well as ten additional officers, from 1-1-16 to 2-4-16. Those requests have been partially fulfilled, but are also missing regular timesheets for all, and pay vouchers for many.
This is not the first time the Fulop Administration has provided fraudulent OPRA responses to Real Jersey City, which was previously reported on through inquiries into the JCPD’s E-Z Pass accounts.
Jersey City spokesperson Jennifer Morrill did not respond to an email asking why the Fulop Administration produced two different sets of regular timesheets for Karras and Schnee, instead of the correct documents from the beginning. As well, Morrill did not answer whether Flora works a “staff schedule,” and didn’t comment as to whether the city would update timesheets for Flora.
In addition, Morrill didn’t answer as to why there wasn’t an accompanying pay voucher for every off-duty job worked.