Toms River Regional Schools is finalizing a contract to defend a lawsuit filed by former Superintendent Michael Ritacco, who is suing for unpaid benefits. Ritacco retired amid federal charges of bribery, kickbacks and tax evasion, and is awaiting trial April 3.
Each of the current members of the Toms River Regional School Board, as well as three members whose terms expired in 2011 and board attorney Thomas Monohan, are being sued in the federal lawsuit filed Oct. 25.
Monohan said that several attorneys are being consulted.
"Yes more than one will likely be retained," Monohan said. "At times you can’t always have the same lawyer for all parties. That’s an unfortunate part of the lawsuit filed."
The vote to not pay Ritacco benefits was voted by the 2010-2011 board, but three new members of 2011-2012 are also grouped in the lawsuit. Board member Alex Pavliv said he, Ben Giovine and Loreen Torrone — the three new members — chose to be represented with board members Gus Kakavas, Ed Gearity, Michael A. Jedziniak, John Reuther and Tom Baxter. The firm of Marshall, Denney, Warner et al is representing them, Pavliv said, as well as former board members Linda Garvey and Deena Malik.
Former board member Betty Vasil and current board member Jamie Ann Jubert were seeking representation separately, as they cast the two votes to award Ritacco his benefits, Pavliv said. Monohan is being represented by his law firm's malpractice carrier.
The lawsuit contends Ritacco is due:
- $15,000 in unused sick days.
- $23,750 for 25 unused vacation days from the 2008-09 school year.
- $24,062.50 for 25 unused vacation days from the 2009-10 school year.
- An undisclosed amount of money in a deferred compensation fund, in place since 2010. Ritacco is asking for the money as a lump sum, although his contract would also allow for regular payments.
Toms River Regional Business Administrator Bill Doering on Friday said the contract was being finalized. The next school board meeting is Feb. 20.