Justice has been served, more than half a million dollars has been returned to the public coffers, and a former public servant is headed to prison for stealing from parking meters.
That would be most welcome news to taxpayers in Port Chester, but the story is out of Hoboken.
In a case with an alarming number of similarities to Port Chester's own parking meter drama, Hoboken's former Parking Utility Director was convicted of stealing $600,000 from that city's parking meters.
The disgraced former public official, 47-year-old John Corea, admitted he conspired with a private company to steal millions from Hoboken's parking meters.
Corea steered contracts to his confederates and lied about their qualifications, according to New Jersey's Star-Ledger -- he presented a Toms River-based company as municipal parking specialists, when in reality the company dealt with coin-operated arcade games.
In Port Chester, two public officials have resigned in the fall-out from an investigation into wide-scale theft from the village's parking meters, including a DPW employee and the former DPW foreman.
Three months later, former fire chief and DPW employee William Oxer was suspended. Oxer took a cue from Racaniello's playbook and took advantage of the same state law to lock his own employee file when he resigned.
Officially, reports say hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing from Port Chester's parking meters. But no one has any idea how long the scam was going on, and some trustees say there's evidence to suggest millions were stolen.
An internal investigation began two years ago, and a criminal investigation was launched soon afterward.
Port Chester taxpayers hoping for accountability have been disappointed and frustrated. After two years, the Westchester County District Attorney won't comment on the case and has not offered any indication that it's going anywhere.
More than a dozen Port Chester Patch inquiries dating back to 2010 have been met with the same reply: "No comment."
Port Chester's trustees haven't received updates either.
"The DA has not communicated with the board," said Trustee Bart Didden.
Didden said the accountability issue comes up frequently when the board conducts employee reviews and taxpayers are reminded of the two-year-long investigation.
Mayor Dennis Pilla has said he checks in with the district attorney every few weeks for updates, and police officials have said the case was active as late as last year.
"People in the village say to us, 'Well, is anything ever going to happen with the investigation on the parking meters?'" Didden said.
On the flip side, both Racaniello and Oxer have been the focus of conversations and media coverage, but neither man has faced criminal charges.
"We have rights in this country and everyone is innocent until proven guilty," Didden said. "While the allegations are startling, it's incumbent on the DA to file the charges or say the investigation has come to a dead end."
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