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Passaic County Sewerage Commission offices in Newark. (Photo: Heritage Architecture.)

Official wears wire after sewerage commissioners report bribery attempt

Ex-DiGaetano aide charged with bribing public official

By David Wildstein, January 14 2021 3:00 am

Two commissioners of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission acted exactly as they should have when they immediately reporting a bribery attempt to law enforcement.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal charged Omid Bayati, a onetime aide to former Assembly Minority Leader Paul DiGaetano, with attempting to bribe a public official in a bid to obtain a promotion.

The official mentioned in Grewal’s statement was John Cosgrove, a former Fair Lawn mayor who was named to the sewerage commission in 2019.

“I can confirm that,” Cosgrove told the New Jersey Globe.

Initially, Bayati sought to give Cosgrove a check from a political action committee he set up in 2020, the PVSC PAC.   The PAC is registered to Bayati’s Hillsdale residence.

“I reported it right away,” Cosgrove said. “They gave me instructions on what to do.  It worked.”

The attorney general’s office had Cosgrove wear a wire and accept a $1,200 cash payment in exchange for a promise of a better position at the agency.

The NJ Globe has also learned Bayati attempted to influence another commissioner, Passaic Mayor Hector Lora.

Lora never touched a PAC check that Bayati left for him at a local bar and instantly reported the incident.

Bayati was suspended from his position late last year and is expected to be terminated at a commission meeting today, the NJ Globe has also learned.

In an unrelated matter, four Bergen county sources confirmed that Bayati, was the individual who recorded then-Sheriff Michael Saudino making racist and homophobic comments.  Saudino was forced to resign in September 2018.

Bayati was hired as the Director of Finance and Technology at the Bergen County Sheriff’s office at a salary of $140,000-per-year.  Saudino fired him just before the tape recording was leaked.

The controversial former DiGaetano advisor filed lawsuits against Bergen County alleging political retaliation.

Bayati’s attorney later withdrew and he represented himself before the lawsuit was dismissed.

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