Former mayor surrenders on multiple misconduct charges

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:40

Could face decades in prison for official misconduct SPARTA - Brian Brady, former mayor of Sparta, was charged Tuesday by the New Jersey State Attorney General with submitting fraudulent time sheets, fudging firearms qualifications, and misusing police databases for personal purposes. The charges stem from Brady’s tenure as a police captain with the New Jersey Human Services Police. He faces three counts of second-degree official misconduct and one count of second-degree pattern of official misconduct. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in state prison on each charge, including five years without possibility of parole. Brady has been out of town for about six weeks, according to Township Manager David Troast. Brady was still on the town planning board as of Tuesday, according to Troast, but he hasn’t been to recent meetings. “I just notified the mayor of that, and he will probably be giving Brian a call,” Troast said. “I just heard about it,” said Mayor Scott Seelagy on Tuesday afternoon. “I really don’t know the basis for it at this time.” After catching wind of the investigation, The Sparta Independent reached Brady in January. Brady, who was embroiled in two civil lawsuits, said he had yet to see a subpoena from the attorney general. “Right now I am a private citizen,” he said. “My employment, retirement, anything else is my personal business.” He said he was “puzzled” by The Independent’s questions, which included a query about whether he still worked for the Human Services Police, after The Independent tried and failed three times to reach Brady at work. Brady said his adversaries were going through “the back door to the press to try to satisfy some personal vendetta.” Brady turned himself in to detectives Tuesday, and was released without posting bail, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office. He did not return a call to The Sparta Independent by press time. Brady is charged with submitting false documentation indicating he worked on days he was actually on vacation. On some of these personal trips, which included travel outside the state, Brady allegedly used a state vehicle and state-issued E-Z Pass. Brady, 49, earned $101,089 last year as a police captain, according to state records. The Human Services Police patrols state institutions and accompanies child welfare workers to potentially dangerous homes. Since 2007, Brady was in charge of submitting required annual certifications on force members’ firearms qualifications. He is charged with forging four annual certifications stating he had completed firing range requirements that qualified him to use his service firearm. Brady is charged with running background checks on every member of a minor league baseball team using a police database, and passing the results along to the team’s manager. He also allegedly used a police database to run a background check on a vehicle he wanted to buy. The police database is to be used strictly for criminal justice purposes. The charges are the result of an ongoing joint investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and New Jersey Department of Human Services. The Department of Human Services immediately suspended Brady, an employee since 1981, pending a disciplinary hearing. Formerly a Sparta councilman and mayor, Brady was the third highest ranking officer in the Human Services Police, reporting to the chief and the director. “This police captain allegedly abused his office by falsifying and misusing official records to serve his own purposes,” said Attorney General Paula Dow. “There is no room for dishonest conduct on the part of a sworn law enforcement officer.” “Police officers are properly held to a higher standard,” said Director Stephen Taylor, of the attorney general’s office. “The public needs to be able to rely on the fact that officers will act with integrity at all times when performing their duties.” The investigation was conducted and coordinated by Detective Lee Bailey of the Division of Criminal Justice, Deputy Attorney General Nicole Rizzolo and Deputy Attorney General Christine Hoffman, chief of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, with the full cooperation and participation of Human Services officials. Under state law, second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000. Each of the charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison without parole under New Jersey’s statutory sentencing enhancements for public corruption. The mandatory minimum sentence applies to certain listed offenses occurring on or after April 14, 2007 that involve or touch upon the defendant’s public office. Because the charges are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.