On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling and Jacobs. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court, Law Division, Bergen County, convicting the three defendants of conspiracy to pervert and obstruct the due administration of the bidding laws of this State. The defendant Kollarik was convicted additionally of misfeasance in office as a councilman of the City of Garfield. The cause was certified here on our own motion while pending in the Appellate Division.
The defendants John Dabal and Edward Dabal, with Joseph Kollarik, were indicted on three charges of conspiracy. As already indicated, there was also an individual indictment against the defendant Kollarik for misfeasance in office. The indictment charging a conspiracy among the three defendants to pervert and obstruct the due course of justice by destroying certain bids on file with the purchasing agent of the City of Garfield was disposed of by a direction for a judgment of acquittal and is not here involved. Likewise, the indictment charging a conspiracy among the three defendants to cheat and defraud the City by means of false and fraudulent vouchers fell by the wayside by reason of a direction of the court.
The indictment on which all of the defendants were convicted charged a conspiracy to illegally interfere with the administration of the bidding laws of the State of New
Jersey by causing contracts in excess of $1,000 to be let without public bids.
Kollarik was a councilman of the City of Garfield. The Dabals were members of a partnership engaged in the tree servicing business and did considerable work for the City of Garfield. Prior to the period in question, April 1, 1954 to February 1, 1955, the city had instituted a requisition and purchase order system. Under this procedure, requisitions were issued by the department heads and committee chairmen of the various committees and departments of the city to the purchasing agent, who was the secretary to the mayor. The purchasing agent would then make out a purchase order for the particular work involved, and after the work was done the voucher would be submitted, approved by the city controller and authorized for payment by the council.
One Joseph Russinko was the secretary to the mayor and the purchasing agent for the city. He testified that during the course of his work as purchasing agent he had received requests from several of the councilmen, including Kollarik, for the cutting of trees in the city. All of these requests for cutting trees were referred by him to Kollarik because he was the chairman of the Public Works Department. The requisition for each purchase order issued by Russinko for the cutting of trees came from Kollarik and in each instance it was signed by him and contained the vendor's name already typed in. There were three bids submitted with each requisition, but Russinko was always advised to make out the purchase order to the same firm, Dabal & Sons.
On one occasion, July 12, 1954, Kollarik brought in three requisitions for tree work which were dated July 12, July 30 and August 12, 1954. When Kollarik discovered that Russinko was busy, he asked Russinko for purchase orders and arranged for the preparation of them himself. The orders were all made out on July 12, but only one bore that date while the other two were postdated July 30 and August 12, 1954.
When these three requisitions were submitted on July 12, 1954, three bids for tree cutting were received from Kollarik
for each requisition. In each instance one bid was from Dabal & Sons, appropriately dated according to the requisition, and two were undated bids, from Burek and Matorrese, respectively. Burek's bids were admitted not to be genuine. As to the bids of Matorrese, the proof indicates they were prepared by Russinko after a telephone conversation with the defendant Kollarik during which Russinko was urged to destroy the original bid and substitute identical copies. Apparently, even the original Matorrese bids were fraudulent, and the inference is they were prepared by someone other than Matorrese.
The falsity of these bids can hardly be questioned. The proof came from two witnesses employed by the city who testified they typed the bids for Kollarik.
During the year 1954 the Dabals received from the City of Garfield the sum of $16,038 for cutting trees, and it was shown that no resolution was ever passed by the council for receipt of bids for cutting trees nor was ...