Former parking head Corea indicted in theft of meter coins
Critics had protested his hiring from the beginning
Dec 11, 2009 | 4784 views | 6 6 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print

HOBOKEN -- The New Jersey attorney general’s office announced Friday afternoon the indictment of the former head of the Hoboken Parking Utility, John Corea.

State Attorney General Anne Milgram's office said Corea was indicted on charges that he conspired to allegedly split $600,000 with a Toms River contractor who collected coins from city parking meters.

Corea, 45, faces charges of conspiracy, money laundering, official misconduct, theft by unlawful taking, and misapplication of government property.

Corea was hired for the position five years ago by former Mayor David Roberts, even though Corea had a questionable record. When Corea was a member of the New York Stock Exchange in the 1990s, he was censured and permanently barred from trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Critics of Roberts’ protested the hiring of Corea, a former City Council candidate who had supported one of Roberts’ candidates.

Additionally, at the time, the city had a hiring freeze on jobs that pay more than $25,000, so the Roberts administration hired him for $24,500 and then gave him raises later.

Corea was also hired in place of the Parking Authority’s longtime director, who was demoted. She eventually sued the city and won a $400,000 settlement. Thus, the hiring was even more costly.

Corea worked for the city until this past September, when he resigned after the new administration of Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer slashed his salary and demoted him. He was earning $114,000 when he left.

The contractor with whom the city’s Parking Utility did business, Brian A. Petaccio, 49, of Toms River, is the owner and president of United Textile Fabricators LLC of Toms River. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 30 to an accusation charging him with allegedly stealing more than $1.1 million in coins from Hoboken’s parking meters, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Apparently, that's when Petaccio told the investigators more about what was going on.

The state alleges that Corea steered three separate no-bid contracts to United Textile Fabricators in November 2005 to collect and count the coins.

The first clue about the missing money was when the city’s 2007 audit uncovered approximately $575,000 missing. Petaccio’s company returned the money, but – according to the state – he and a Hoboken official allegedly had split an additional $600,000 sum that was never reported to the city.

When Petaccio pleaded guilty in September, he apparently told the investigators that he had “conspired with an official of the City of Hoboken, whom he did not name in court but had previously identified to investigators.”

Investigators believe the man is Corea.

The release states, “The two men allegedly worked out a scheme in which Petaccio reported to Corea the amount of coins collected each day, and Corea would tell him how much to put aside as the ‘take’ to be split between them.”

Brian Petaccio had already been indicted on state Grand Jury racketeering charges on March 7, 1991, long before the city contracted with UTF in 2005.

For more on this story and several other high-profile Hoboken legal cases, see this weekend's Hoboken Reporter.

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December 12, 2009
I never doubted Dave Roberts' personal honesty. At the same time how can one mayor be in the driver's seat for so many screw-ups. We haven't even started to hear about misdeeds at the hospital yet.
December 12, 2009
I hope that the recent events are just the beginning of a serious wave of discoveries by the authorities.

It really wasn't a surprise at all to me that putting a guy who had a well documented history of financial improprieties during his time at the NYSE in charge of undocumented, unknown amounts of hard cash was not a wise move by the city. But then, he had helped Roberts in an election, so he was "due" for a favor. Hoboken wheelin' and dealin' at its best!
December 12, 2009
So Roberts hires a tainted man knowingly. Then the tainted man hires another tainted man. They both steal money. Russo is on record asking about the million dollar missing; then he claims he made a mistake, since he did not understand that the 'missing' quarters were only budgeted for (aka Russo defends Correa). Hmmm... Then the two tainted men are both caught. Russo's still on the council; Theresa Castellano defended Correa too; she is still on the council. I hope that the attorney general office investigate Roberts, Russo & Castellano too one day. We are 'proud' of our elected officials!
December 11, 2009
It was only a matter of time before the source got named. Great.

We have more on this too. Mile Square View.
December 11, 2009
I knew it all along.
December 11, 2009
Glad I was part of that vocal minority who voted again the hiring of this guy.