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Judge Says Toms River BOE Gave Ritacco Complete Control

District re-releases statement from guilty plea.

As he outlined his sentence for the former schools superintendent who admitted to 12 years of corruption at Toms River Regional, Judge Joel Pisano decried the level of trust school board members gave Michael, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"ritacco-pleads-guilty-to-mail-fraud-tax-evasion"} -->

clamdigger September 18, 2012 at 06:35 PM
it's up to you Tom to do the research, that's what reporters do (or so I've heard), they hear something and follow up on it by actually doing some investigation, that's where the term Investagative Reporting came from. What proof would you like? Signed documents,video? You signed up to be a reporter,it's time to dig in and get the bottom of stuff people are talking about. If you want stuff spoon fed to you get a high chair and move back home w/ momma.
Mac September 18, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Oh, I understand the obstacles that encumber law enforcement. When the SCI was neutered by Whitman and Gluck, state investigations into political corruption came to an abrupt end in NJ, except for the occasional political vendetta. Imagine investigating a corrupt action and then having to ask your boss if it was okay to use the information obtained against him to indict and prosecute him. My thinking was more in line with a special federal prosecutor. I would think someone in the Department of Justice would be concerned how a sloppy investigation leading up to the Bid Rig II busts resulted in an outgoing and former federal prosecutor, and a large part of his inner-circle staff, ending up in possession of the executive branch of the state they had been successfully investigating for political corruption at top dollar.
chtulu2000 September 18, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Oh please Greg...many years ago people were turning fire hoses on people in the streets, people lived in Hooverville, women couldn't get a divorce even if their husbands beat them, the list goes on...this has nothing to do with God or prayer.
JD September 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
No grievances... no arbs... he is proud of that!!! But look at those test scores go down, down, down the last 10 years.. TRRS use to be ranked in the 60th percentile of NJ... now it is in the 35th percentile.
teatleytea September 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I am going to try this one more time. The post that I had made earlier was in reference to "exit 82's" post that anyone who was hired while Ritacco was stealing money or was on the BOE while the same was going on the should resign. This person also stated that even if they have family an friends who were hired during that time frame they should also resign. And, the comment that I made was that I agreed with him/her and I also stated that if that were to happen there would be an awful lot of teachers missing from the classroom,bus drivers,board office workers,janitors, (I think you get my point) throughout the ENTIRE school system today. If you take a look at Data Universe on the APP you would see just what we are talking about with the names that you could play connect the dots with. From the Super on down. Then there was a comment made that if you looked into the school board you would see that there are only four members on the board that have NO connections to anyone in the district. But, then again one of the people would have to resign because he was on the board while this was going on so that would only leave the three members who were voted onto the board after Ritacco was arrested. Where is there any misinformation in this post Tom? If there is please enlighten me? Do you attend BOE meetings? If you do why did you not listen to what Galante, Lazaro,Kenett,Benson and Luthman had to say. Because from what I have read it seems to me that the judge proved them CORRECT!!
Leave it on the Field September 18, 2012 at 11:13 PM
I challenge everyone to Google "United States of America v Michael J. Riacco & Francis X. Gartland" to see the actual indictment & all the counts against them. When you do that, you'll realize that there are very few NJ BOE members 'qualified' to notice or root out the kind of criminal behavior that played out in Tom's River. Mr. Ritacco & his pals counted on that FACT. Now Google "Ritacco, Michael - Department of Justice - Honorable Garrett E. Brown v. : Crim No. 10-713 (GEB) Michael J. Ritacco" & read the 50 pgs in one sitting. Try to imagine all those fraudulant transactions existing while the BOE smiled or slept as millions of taxpayer dollars changed hands. After we're done being sick, all school districts should consider employing & paying a Big-4 Accounting Audit Team (KPMG, E&Y) rather than giant salaries and separation payouts to superintendents who can harm your entire district if they choose to. Ban them all from participating in vendor selection if you don't have a "legitimate process" that will root out whether or not they or BOE members & their family members are partners, stakeholders or silent benefactors in such firms. Do biz cautiously with firms that give you only a P.O. Box & go to the address tied to the PO. Execute random audits of vendor books, ops & bank accounts. Allow no subcontractors to support primary vendors unless all Fed IDs, corp backgrounds, D&B & credit histories have been thoroughly vetted & approved by qualified finance professionals.
Leave it on the Field September 18, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Also - Are you telling us the Tom's River Board of Ed actually released a statement that read in part, "What happened here was not a failure of the system, it was a failure of an individual and a violation of the trust imparted to him, both statutorily and in practice, by the very nature of his position?" You're kidding, right?! What Michael Ritacco did to your community and what your BOE failed to prevent represents a OBSCENE SYSTEMIC FAILURE inside your entire school system that was bolstered by the BOE's incompetence & lack of skills! No checks & balances, no vendor management, procurement, contracting, accounting, or audit processes to honor your fiduciary responsibilities to taxpayers & Tom's River's students. No transparency, lots of nepotism and outrageous failure by all of you who did not recommend & employ methods, tools, technologies and actions to prevent what happened. If I lived in your town, I'd ask you all to resign over the statements in today's Patch article alone. Employ an educated BOE spokesperson & stop embarrassing your community, our county & NJ.
clamdigger September 19, 2012 at 01:33 AM
it's another reason why people like to post using a nom de plume, they fear the possibility of retribution or just one of these people could possibly pointing in the right direction. It just might take someone w/ a knife (or a pen) to peel back the layers and see what there is to be found.
TR Independent Thinker September 19, 2012 at 02:19 AM
You have to ask where was the teacher's union with not a single grievance or arbitration. Maybe that is because in exchange their family members or friends got jobs just like the BOE. When was the last time management and union never had grievances or disagreements. Only when they are on the same page. You figure it out. Teachers were told by their union who to vote for BOE, vote for the budget, and work Toms River Fest, etc.
ikidunot September 19, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I've got news for you, Ms. Millar. The school board completely abdicated its responsiblity. In the end, as the long time mouth piece for this corrupt corporation, you're unbelievable.
Cardinal September 19, 2012 at 09:41 PM
The board is all elected correct? So it's easy fix next election right?
Dev Durer September 20, 2012 at 02:48 AM
These sheep love being robbed. How do you think this socialist education model got started. No one votes, no one that has half a brain or isn't in some way connected to the scam. And that's exactly how they want it. It's happening as I type this and always will. Well until the coffers empty which is only a matter of time. Call me a pessimist but I've learned to never underestimate the stupidity or greed of others.
Billy Squire September 20, 2012 at 09:20 AM
This is what most BOE do in the schools. They give and hand their rights and public elected job directly over to the superintendents. The superintendents, Financial Advisors and Lawyers run the show. Just more BS excuses of the claims they don't or didn't know what was going on. They just look the other way more like it. The superintendent and BOE intentions start out good and quickly goes down hill with greed, special treatment and favors. You soon realize what is going on when you start finding out how or who these individuals no by either receiving their jobs, positions and or placement of jobs.
skizma September 20, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Billy, unfortunately you are mostly right. I was a board member at our very small school and watched the click approve 4 grand to someone AFTER they wrote themselves out a check first. I caught it, pulled it out and said this is not approved. We can't give this money, it was never approved and the work should NEVER have been done without prior approval, especially by a contracted business administrator who KNEW the laws. The idiotic other board members put it to a vote and three said yes....viola, she/he got the check. Go find out what to do, no one helped. years later I find I should have go to the prosecutor. This business administrator finally retires and TAKES all proof of her/his actions home, out of the school. Damn crook. And laughs all the way. Now, the idiot board member who was the most "qualified" lol at that, is our town financial officer!!! We are all being taken by the louses and let me tell you - you are SUPPOSED to turn your head. These people think they are ENTITLED. the board members who said yes to the illegal taking of money from our school were then treated to lavish dinners and events from the money. BS at the highest level. From kids and OUR taxes. Not theirs. NOT ALL board members will do this, but you are out numbered. It sucks.
skizma September 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM
would love to know if there is a statute of limitations on this type of lousy behavior.....anyone know?
PPB1901 September 22, 2012 at 10:42 AM
skizma, If you read Billy's post again, he did not say All, He said Most... All the BOE members who allow this abuse to go on should end up in jail.. They are no better. I am sick of all these BOE that pretend they are for the students and tax payers. They are not, if they were they would never allow all this nonsense to go on. They are not even fair with the students with in the schools. They put themselves and their own a head of other students when they really don't deserve it.
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Judge Pisano, this corruption is rampant throughout the State of New Jersey! Hiring practices alone are an issue that people have been outraged by for decades now. The governor won't touch this issue - the Commissioners of Education are always "Interim" The Superintendents as well. Who is in Charge? Someone needs to do a thorough and complete investigation of these cesspool Boards.
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Agree!
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:46 AM
And fumigate when they are gone!
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Barbara You are absolutely correct! It is pretty much common knowledge. Toms River is not the only district either. How can a union not keep an active out of work list for teachers? They have to be the only workplace allowed to hire in such an arbitrary, capricious and nepotistic fashion.
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Okay, Dis how are you related? It is apparent from your posts that you work for the school. Aren't you embarrassed by this? Who was your rabbi?
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Our fair governor only throws it at Interim Commissioners of Education!
KC October 04, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Thank you chtulu. You said it for us.
KC October 04, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Nobody is trying to take away from the students or teachers. People are trying to piece together the depth of this corruption. If you want feel-good stories I suggest you read the kill trees for coupons paper in your driveway.
KC October 04, 2012 at 06:05 AM
You are right on that clamdigger!
KC October 04, 2012 at 06:10 AM
JD and TR - Right, and Right! Test scores go down in part because the district does not hire experienced teachers. They will only hire out of college newbies who are in the friends and family network. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with hiring out of college newbies, but they should not be the only pool from which you draw if you are to have experienced people who know what they are doing. It takes a good decade to learn the craft of pedagogy. What I am saying can easily be confirmed by examining the hiring records over the last three and a half decades of which I personally am aware. It would not take an act of Congress for someone to expedite.
KC October 04, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Auditors, Oh my God what a concept! You are so right. That is an excellent idea - you need a forensic audit to clean this mess up. The corruption is rampant not only in TR but throughout the state. You have actually hit on a great idea. These sons o guns have been acting with impunity and dare I say arrogance. They need a little PWC in their life. Excellent point. Excellent.
KC October 04, 2012 at 06:22 AM
And go into a classroom with nothing more than a piece of chalk. It is all abysmal. I think the town should take Leave It On the Field's advice and DEMAND an audit.
KC October 04, 2012 at 06:31 AM
It is not hard to imagine the evironment of fear and intimidation. That is how most of these bullies and their lackies reign supreme.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 05, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Corruption is always easy to find, folks - FOLLOW THE MONEY.

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