HOBOKEN -- The city’s former information technology specialist, Patrick Ricciardi, was arrested last November after the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged that he allegedly kept a file of City Hall e-mails and leaked them to other officials in town, possibly giving out sensitive information that could affect politics or union negotiations.
On Friday, a local news website, Patch, reported that former Hoboken Business Administrator Arch Liston testified as part of a civil service hearing that the two officials who allegedly received the emails were a former high-ranking fire official and a former high-ranking public safety official.
The report appeared to confirm rumors that have spread around the city for almost a year as to who the two unnamed officials were.
Last November, the FBI said that Ricciardi had forwarded the mayor’s e-mails to at least one current city official and one former city official.
According to the complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Ricciardi admitted to the FBI that he created an archive file containing e-mails that had been sent among the mayor and two high-ranking mayoral aides. He then allegedly slipped some of those e-mails to two other officials.
Ricciardi was charged with accessing a computer without authorization, interception of wire and electronic communication, and disclosure of intercepted wire and electronic communications. In November, he appeared in federal court in Newark to hear his charges. He faces a potential maximum jail sentence of five years for each count if convicted, and did not enter a plea.
Matthew Reilly, deputy public affairs officer for the United States Attorney’s office, district of New Jersey, told the Reporter for a followup story in July that the case was ongoing. “We’re still investigating,” he said.
The FBI became aware of the situation after Zimmer’s administration became suspicious of information that was apparently leaked to others. City Hall then conducted an internal security audit in early 2011, which revealed the suspicious files in Riccardi’s computer, according to the FBI complaint.
City Hall notified the Bureau of the situation, which led to their 2011 investigation and arrest of Ricciardi.
Friday morning, Liston was testifying in the termination hearing of former City Hall employee Jonathan Cummins, Ricciardi’s assistant, who was terminated in 2011 and is appealing, acording to the Patch story. It was as part of Liston's testimony that he mentioned the two names of the officials who allegedly received leaked emails, according to Patch.
The federal government’s complaint described the two officials who received the e-mails as “a City municipal official” and “a former City municipal official.” The complaint alleges that the e-mails were forwarded to those officials’ e-mail accounts at those officials’ request.
Third person probably not investigated
The documents also refer to a third unnamed “City municipal employee” who saw the leaked e-mails and brought hard copies to the attention of certain Mayor’s Office employees around Feb. 1 of last year. Sources believe that this official still works in City Hall and is not being investigated because he was the one who brought the matter to light.
The FBI complaint said, “Defendant Ricciardi created the Archive File, and then directed the Intercepted E-Mails to the Archive File, so that he could ‘spy’ on the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office Employees, and determine whether his job was secure. Defendant Ricciardi forwarded certain Intercepted E-Mails to Individual 1 and Individual 2 [allegedly] at the request of Individual 1 and Individual 2.”
Watch hudsonreporter.com for more when the details of the testimony are confirmed.