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RITACCO PLEA: What Do You Think?

Former Toms River superintendent pleads guilty to federal charges

The prosecution of former Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco appears to nearing its conclusion, as he , officials said.

, Ritacco allegedly admitted his role in years of corruption where millions in bribes were said to be passed between the superintendent, insurance brokers and other intermediaries.

Now that he faces sentencing, we want to know: What do you think? Are you pleased Ritacco has admitted wrongdoing? Do you think he should have pushed for his day in court? Does the guilty plea close a sad chapter in the history of the Toms River School District? 

Vote in our poll and leave your comments below.

Jay Sorensen April 05, 2012 at 07:45 PM
You may recall on my former Sunday morning talk-show over 5 years ago called "Down The Shore" on what used to be called WJRZ, that I smelled something icky...and this now confirms the stink. The amazing thing is that just 2 days ago when even the OTHER guy pleaded guilty, Mr. Rit-EGO, his lawyer claimed was not going to plead guilty to show his innocence. To me, that simply speaks of arrogance beyond words. And to think that SOOOOO may teachers, and other administrators just LOVED this guy...and likely still do!! I stand by my thoughts expressed years ago. Thank you for indulging me in this "win" if you will. The only question I have is has EVERY dime been accounted for? Or...is this just a "Hey...I'll give you a million back?" The kids, parents, teachers, other administrators and taxayers deserve to have it ALL replaced, regardless of the hardship on Mr. Rit-EGO. Wonder if he'll spend time in a "country-club" jail, or will he be housed with the regular guys...Bubba, Bubba, Jr. and Bubba III. I hope the judge who will do the sentencing throws the book at this liar, theif and egomaniac... His loyal followers should also be ashamed for allowing this to occur in the first place. Don't tell me NOBODY knew on the inside about this mess! I am glad the citizens of the TR Regional School District can NOW put this behind us. Until the next egomaniac tries to think he or she is above the law and mishandles the public trust. BE BIG!
Robert Bressman April 05, 2012 at 07:46 PM
This town got what they deserved for turning a blind eye to all the stuff that was allowed to go on, even when they knew about it, Ritacco only had to pay 1 million back, I guess crime does pay. He'll get out in 5 and still be able to enjoy our money and his retirement. In the end we lost, and we still have his flunkies in the school system.
Seriously? April 05, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I wish I had a dollar for all of those people, over the last 10 years, who rose to Mike's defense, either through speeches at BOE meetings, letters to the editor at various newspapers, or in message posts on sites such as NJ.com, APP.com, etc. If I did, I'd be able to buy Mike's Mercedes at retail.
Chief Wahoo April 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I DO RECALL THAT TOO BOB LEVY STICKING UP FOR RITACCO....WHAT SAY LEVY ?
Seriously? April 05, 2012 at 08:00 PM
All the teachers, union reps, and board members, sang Ritacco's praises to the skies. Of particular mention should be the those parents, who thought that building an indoor track and an entertainment venue posing as a high school gym would be great for their kids AND raise revenue for the district. Yes, we have a track and an all-purpose concert venue (that can't be used by big-name stars due to 50 mile no-compete clauses in most of their contracts). But, our kids' test scores hover around the middle or lower middle of the rankings each year, which should be disturbing to every parent of a child in this district. Your kids' school district should be about their EDUCATION, not their ENTERTAINMENT. Sadly, in Toms River, it's not. Instead of jumping on the Ritacco bandwagon every year, parroting the mantra of "no new tax increase" (which was nothing more than smoke and mirrors--my school taxes went up every year), they should have been packing the BOE meetings and the ballot boxes each April demanding better educational standards rather than better sports and entertainment facillities to create more "revenue". You saw where the "revenue" went - in Ritacco's pocket. But complacency in Toms River is the norm, rather than the exception. And unless we all get wise, it will stay that way.
Robert Bressman April 05, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I can't tell you how many times I got hammered for my letters to the editor at the asbury park press or at the school board meetings, they even had the nerve to ask me to run with their next school board ticket after I lost AGAIN. I valued my integrity more than winning, but at least I had my say, nobody listened, but I tried.
Jerzieboy89 April 05, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Did any of you actually read what happened? Or are all of you making comments on the title of the article? He was told if he does not plead guilty to at least 2 charges he will go to jail for 30 years and have his kids houses seized. What would all of you do? Oh and by the way, the Feds stated that he did not take one penny from the school system. Mabye you should all know the whole story before you make comments.
Mike L April 05, 2012 at 10:36 PM
He should be considered like a drug dealer; high on himself....and they should take everything, or has he had enough time to funnel it away. I hope the BOE doesn't give him his pension or the the sick/vacation pay that he was sueing for.
Cory Hieme April 05, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Um Ah hah hahahahahahahah. Jersie give it up he a is felon now and a soon to be convict. A flow class crook and thief. End of story.
Cory Hieme April 05, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Bressman the problem is you got involved with the likes of the OC politics gang, Bad news , but compared to this criminal Rat-taco not as bad.
Mike L April 05, 2012 at 10:40 PM
it's not over till ALL who knew are gotten rid of.
1stcav April 06, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Fruits of the Poison tree...so be it..Loose everything , he's a thief and a cockroach, hope he gets the MAX..and loose everything !!! MJR my butt !
1stcav April 06, 2012 at 12:38 AM
And those rubber stamp BOE members should also be sued for malfeasance while holding office as elected officials.They allowed him to do what he did....
Mitch April 06, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Oh yeh ! Mikey finally fessed up to all the lieing , cheating , back door deals ! All the things that a lot of people said you whould never do to Toms River .The abuse of power is sickening . To have the balls to put your name on a building in a distict that your are robbing blind ! Oh wait ? He didn't take any money from the BOE ! KEEP THINKING IT !!! Lol jerseyboy89 , get a clue ! Bottom line , the Feds don't raid your house , seize your belongings and your bank accounts because your a law abiding citizen . POLAND SPRING ARENA , how refreshing !!
Ed Claus April 06, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Jerzieboy, if they are padding the contract that is paid for with tax dollars to kick it back, how is that not taking school money?
1stcav April 06, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Jerzieboy 89, your Hero just got a SMACKDOWN, now does your mind understand ???
Da Poppa April 06, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Unfortunately, they're probably not embarrassed ... To read the comments on the many stories about this on other news websites, people that knew him saw nothing wrong with what he did, and it seems that those that are happy he is gone are happy because now their time to feed at the "corruption trough" has come. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because the Feds are known for (1) getting their man, as they have over 95% conviction rate, and (2) getting states evidence from convicted felons in order to charge higher ups. So, the insurance agent turns on Rat-tacco, and his sentence will probably be lessen due to cooperation. Now it Ratty's turn ... Does he talk about the Ocean County Superintendent's office in order to lessen his sentence? Time will tell ...
Joseph Bilotti April 06, 2012 at 12:29 PM
The schools in the Patch area have some wise guy, egomaniacal school superintendants also. They too make big money in the $200,000 range with benefits. Someone should check if they are taking graft also.
J King April 06, 2012 at 12:33 PM
What other Arrogant person would name a venue after himself? This just goes to show just how high he held himself, it wasn't your money that built this place it was ours Mr. Ritacco!! I remember walking up to you when the venue opened as I was a sponsor for the project but when I meet you and you blew off my wife and myself I knew you were dirty right off the bat. I remember reassuring my wife that you would be gone before too long. Hats off to the system for finally catching up with you and you should not get any deals here. The public also sponsors the jails through our taxes weather. This time I think you should enjoy the amenities where I hope your headed. If there was a vote on this instead of a deal I know were I stand as well as many others.
J King April 06, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Hello Jay!! Good to see your comment I know this isn't the forum for this but thanks for voicing the same.
knarfie April 06, 2012 at 01:19 PM
So he pleaded guilty to between $1,000,000 to $2,000,000. I'm not a math major, but he admitted to taking between $500,000 to $600,000 for ten years. To me that is between $5,000,000 to $6,000,000 total. A return of $1,000,000 to the district is a disgrace. But, then again, so is he.
knarfie April 06, 2012 at 06:33 PM
You did not actually read the article. If the bribes were part of a padded payment, which they were, who do you think ended up paying for it, the tooth fairy?
jerseykris April 06, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Every member of the BOE is responsible for what has happened. It was, for lack of a better phrase, an ongoing conspiracy through either direct knowledge (at worst) or simply turning a blind eye. All of the nepotism has been known for years, there have been rumors for years that something was going on (i.e. land deals, contract issues, etc.) and not a one of them stood up and did anything about it. Actually, any 'public' person who did stand up and ask questions was beaten & shouted down by the BOE and their cronies. Toms River's "Elite" have a lot to be ashamed of. In days of old, they'd have to leave town in disgrace!!
Joseph Woolston Brick April 06, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Brick Twp is currently looking for a new Superintendent for the BOE, they held a public meeting the other night for input and out of the thousands of parents that could have attended that meeting, only eight, EIGHT showed up. Now you know how these BOE's get away with what they do.
george schrader April 07, 2012 at 01:19 AM
the guy who multiplied the 500,000. a year is for 10 years is 5 million. what about the riverfest money, frank dalonzo and donna mansfield. they got a way with no charges? what a shame! clean house is in order. do you know that donna mansfeld still works in the bubble. how is that?
10% Tax Cut NOW April 07, 2012 at 01:44 AM
You mean the buddle that was built with out going out to bid and again this Board of Education did nothing, these Board Members should be held accountable
charlotte April 07, 2012 at 01:17 PM
It is difficult to believe that he operated in a vacuum. Are any others under investigation? Bet he does less that 2 years and the investigation ends with him. Discouraging as we pay rent to the state in the form of property taxes.
patg April 08, 2012 at 02:26 AM
i cant beleve how arragent you people are i dont hear anything from you idiots talking about all the great things are schools are i hate people that live for others peoples down fall, the guy did a incredable jop running are school it has been in disaray since he left no one can make a dicision with confedence , its like we have a interim head coach ,but you guys are so perfect hideing behind these blogs if the fbi dug into your lives im sure thay could dig up dirt,esp when you have a rat like dalanzo selling out for his benefit its just the new american way sometimes good people make bad decisions who are we to judge pat toms river
Seriously? April 08, 2012 at 02:40 AM
I hope to God you didn't graduate from this school district -- your post is another reason Ritacco should be locked up -- for stealing money that should have been used to teach people like you punctuation, spelling and grammar!
Carol Aller April 15, 2012 at 02:52 AM
It was known for years what was going on but people were shouted down at the BOE meetings. The BOE members were loyal followers of their "messiah" and didn't want to hear anything..."See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". If you believe the BOE had no knowledge of what was going on I've got some swamp land in Alaska I can sell you! He copped a plea to get out of serving MORE time! That's why he plead guilty...finally! He had no choice once his partner in crime 'rolled over' and plead guilty. If it had gone to trial, it would have been worse for him. He will probably get just a few years max, if any at all.. He's been walking around free since the beginning....so much for justice.

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