October 23, 2019

Third Person Charged in Illegal Dumping Case

By Anne Levin

On October 18, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced that a third person has been indicted in the investigation into illegal dumping at the River Road facility. Frank Casole, employed by Princeton as an equipment operator, was charged with bribery. His position has been terminated as a result of his own admissions, according to Princeton Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield.

This past June, Princeton municipal sewer department employee Thomas Hughes was charged with bribery for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for allowing the dumping of waste materials at the facility. Last month, Pantelis Kounelias, who owns an Edison construction firm, was also charged. Casole is accused of having knowledge of Hughes’ bribe, and also allegedly helping to record and conceal the crime by accounting and co-mingling construction waste with other waste so it would not be discovered.

Allegedly, Kounelias paid Hughes approximately $3,000 to allow him to dump soil excavated from the Mary Moss Playground site in Princeton. The cases against both men are pending. Kounelias is scheduled to appear in court on October 30, while Hughes’ next court appearance is November 20. Casole is scheduled to appear in Mercer County Superior Court October 31.

According to Dashield, “Princeton has been and remains committed to a full and thorough investigation of improper dumping at River Road to ensure all individuals involved in inappropriate or illegal activities are held to account.”

Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said that the charges are the result of an investigation by the Economic Crime Unit (ECU). The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the ECU at (609) 989-6365.