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Dual-job Englewood code official from tony Old Tappan admits taking bribes

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Vincent “The Chin” Gigante and Curtis James “50 Cent” Jackson head a list of felons from Old Tappan that now includes Piero “Peter” Abballe, who also remained listed online Tuesday as Englewood’s construction code official, although he admitted in federal court that he took bribes to fast-track projects for a developer-turned-informant.

Abballe, 46, of Old Tappan, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano’s Trenton courtroom Tuesday after being caught in the FBI sting.

From July 2009 to April 2010, Abballe confirmed, he received three separate cash payments of $1,000, $1,500, and from “a cooperating witness who was acting at the direction of the FBI,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Fishman said Abballe “accepted the bribes to exercise official action to assist the cooperating witness with construction code matters and inspections as specific opportunities arose, such as performing and expediting inspections and issuing and expediting Certificates of Occupancy on residences and commercial buildings in Englewood.”

Abballe, who also worked as Old Tappan’s construction code official, is scheduled to be sentenced by Pisano on March 23, 2011.

Fishman credited FBI special agents with making the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley A. Harsch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark secured the plea.

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