One of two principals in an engineering firm hired by the township of Montclair to do the engineering consulting services for the improvements to Edgemont Pond pleaded guilty in court yesterday to charges of taking thousands of dollars of kickbacks and arranging fraudulent contracts. Kenneth Disko faces $50,000 of fines and between three and five years in jail.
The charges related to business he did for Westfield, Tinton Falls and Scotch Plains-Fanwood school districts.
Councilor Cary Africk said he had concerns about M. Disko Associates when their bid came in, not because of any ethical concerns, but because he thought there were bigger firms that might handle the job better. He says he was assured by town staff that the town had experience with Disko and thought the firm would do a good job.The construction part of the project is being rebid now because of a problem in the way the RFP was worded.
“I had red flags,” Africk said. “Do I think there was wrongdoing? No. But we don’t really have a stellar record of picking vendors.”
At its last meeting, the Montclair Council had to reject all the bids submitted for the South Park Street improvement project when they all came in above the budget — calling into question the consulting work for that project as well.