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State v. Farinella

Decided: May 4, 1977.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DONALD A. FARINELLA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Bischoff, Morgan and King.

Per Curiam

Defendant-appellant Donald A. Farinella and codefendant Edward Gola were charged in a six-count indictment as follows:

Count 1 -- Both defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and bribery, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2A:85-1, N.J.S.A. 2A:93-6, N.J.S.A. 2A:98-1, N.J.S.A. 2A:98-2;

Count 2 -- Both defendants were charged with misconduct in office, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2A:85-1;

Count 3 -- Farinella was charged with bribery, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2A:93-6; and

In the remaining counts, Gola was charged with bribery, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2A:93-6.

At trial the State elected not to prosecute count 2 and at the conclusion of the trial both defendants were found guilty of counts 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Defendant Farinella appeals.

A detailed factual recitation is necessary to an understanding of the issues raised here.

Farinella and Gola were Passaic County freeholders. This case concerns their alleged participation in a bribery scheme in connection with the county's purchase of a garage owned by Albert Scaletti.

Scaletti, a former mayor of Riverdale, was the State's chief witness and testified, pursuant to an "agreement" with the State, that he had owned property in Pompton Lakes, Passaic County, New Jersey, upon which there was

a large garage with offices attached, containing approximately 14,200 square feet. In October 1973 Gola, whom Scaletti had previously met, contacted him and inquired as to whether he would be interested in selling the garage to the county. Scaletti expressed interest and Gola indicated that further action would await the outcome of the November elections. No improper suggestions, demands or requests were made at this time.

Following the elections, which defendants won, Gola informed Scaletti that "he was going to get things in motion to buy the building" and that "they would buy it after the first of the year." Again no mention of any bribes or payments was made.

On January 8, 9 or 10, 1974 Scaletti led a number of the freeholders, including Farinella and Gola, on an inspection tour through the building. In the course of this tour Gola called Scaletti aside and stated, "Don wants three thousand dollars." Scaletti understood that Gola was referring to Farinella and replied, "I guess I'll have to give it to him." Sometime later during the tour Farinella approached Scaletti and asked him, "Did you have an understanding with Ed?" Scaletti answered, "Yes, you're to get three thousand dollars." Farinella responded, "That's right," and Scaletti then asked, "Who should I give this to, Ed?" Farinella replied, "No, give it to me." Scaletti had no further conversation ...


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