Former state Sen. Joseph Coniglio has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the state elections commission over his allegedly illegal use of campaign funds to pay his legal bills in 2009, according to a report by the Election Law Enforcement Commission today.
The settlement, dated Feb. 19, notes that Coniglio admitted no wrongdoing but agreed pay the state $100,000. $30,000 of the settlement will go to ELEC, while a part of the remaining $70,000 will go to paying state attorneys’ fees and half of the bill of retired Superior Court Judge Thomas Olivieri, who mediated the case. Anything left over will go to the United Way of Bergen County, according to a court order released along with the settlement.
A Democrat from Bergen County and retired union plumber elected to the senate in 2001, Coniglio was convicted of five counts of mail fraud and one count of extortion in 2009 after using his position as a state senator to steer over $1 million in public money to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was employed as a $5,000-per-month consultant. The mail fraud conviction was later thrown out of court, but the extortion cost Coniglio 20 months of confinement in a federal prison for corruption.
The ELEC lawsuit — which also named his campaign treasurers, Theresa and Louis Romano, and was filed in 2013 — sought the return of $140,000 in campaign funds Coniglio had used for his defense.