Disgrace:FRHS Board rep steps down because of opposition to do what’s right

 

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HEY BOARD MEMBERS – IF YOURE AFRAID TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT, IT’S YOU THAT SHOULD STEP DOWN, NOT GOOD PEOPLE LIKE KATIE WHO WAS ALL ALONE TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING FOR US TAXPAYERS.

By Joshua Riley • EDUCATION WRITER • January 14, 2009                     

MANALAPAN — Marlboro’s representative on the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education has resigned after serving for less than a year, saying the politics of some members and a too-powerful team of administrators were getting in the way of good decision-making.

Katie Goon, who was elected to a three-year term in April, read a prepared statement Monday night at the board meeting at Manalapan High School. Her resignation was immediate.

“In the past six months, I have been extremely perturbed by the issues and events that have transpired,” Goon said, referring to the controversy that began in July over five district employees’ receiving district money for obtaining bogus doctoral degrees.

Goon said she holds “sincere hope” that her successor will rise above the politics of the district.

Board President Patricia Horvath did not return calls requesting comment. (Gee I wonder why)

“I’m disappointed,” board member Joan Leimbach said in a telephone interview. “I thought she made a great contribution to the board. It will be a loss.”

Goon’s former seat holds the most voting power of any on the board. The Marlboro representative’s vote counts as 1.6 votes out of nine in the district’s system. In the seat’s vacancy, the board can cast only 7.4 total votes because it uses a weighted voting system.

After previous resignations, the board has announced a vacancy and accepted applications for the seat before appointing a temporary representative. The unexpired two-year term will be filled after the April election.

In August, Goon had asked for the resignation or removal of Superintendent H. James Wasser should he retain the title of “Dr.” or refuse to repay the district tuition and salary paid for his doctorate from a so-called diploma mill, Breyer State University.Wasser was ordered by state officials to relinquish his title. He cooperated. He stopped receiving higher pay when he dropped his title in September, yet he did not repay tuition payments or salary increases that the district had already paid. Wasser remains superintendent.

 

During a telephone interview Tuesday, Goon said other board members have feared for themselves and their family members in making decisions for the district. She declined to elaborate.
During a telephone interview, Goon said her voice was not enough to overcome the will of the administration.

As further disservice to district taxpayers, Goon said, two board members for whom a family member works in the district are excluded from representing their municipality on issues of employee contracts.

“There is a lot of power in the administration, and I don’t think the board members stand up to it,” she said.

At Monday’s meeting, Marlboro residents continued to criticize Wasser over the degree and chide the board for inaction.

Goon read her statement at the end of a 2‚1/2-hour meeting. She signed the statement, and the board accepted her resignation.

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Marlboro corruption suit tossed

Marlboro will not be compensated for damages it claimed it sustained because of corrupt developers and local public officials, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Joel Pisano dismissed a lawsuit in which township attorneys alleged Marlboro was hurt by bribery and other foul play between past officials and developers.

Pisano said the township’s complaint, filed in October, failed to name a specific “injury to its business or property” under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

“Marlboro has not pled any financial loss arising from defendants’ conduct,” Pisano ruled.

“Rather, Marlboro emphasizes that defendants’ conduct defrauded the township and its citizens, deprived it of its “intangible right to honest services’ of its employees, and caused a diminution of public confidence.

“These types of injuries do not affect any of Marl-boro’s financial interests in business or property,” Pisano said.

The defendants named in the lawsuit included former Mayor Matthew Scannapieco, Planning Board member Stanley Young, Municipal Utilities Chairman Richard Vuola and Western Monmouth Utilities Authority Executive Director Frank Abate.

Developers Anthony and Joseph Spalliero, who are father and son, Bernard and Steven Meiterman, who are brothers, and Edward Kay, a business partner, also were named.

“I think that it’s the right outcome,” said Vincent Manning, the attorney representing Kay, the Meitermans and several of their companies. “I don’t think that Marlboro Township’s attorney could have ever proven any damages or injury to Marlboro based on what they had alleged in the complaint.

“I think once they serve their time . . . they paid their debt, so to speak, and that should be the end of it,” Manning said of the Meitermans and Kay, adding that his clients are awaiting sentencing and are likely to serve jail time. “They look forward to having a peaceful relationship with Marlboro Township, especially the new mayor and the new administration.”

All of the public officials have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of accepting or passing bribes. All of the developers except Joseph Spalliero have pleaded guilty to bribing officials; he has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.

The former officials allegedly accepted more than $300,000 in bribes from real estate developers between 1997 and 2004. The township asked to recoup at least the bribes, and also asked for the opportunity to recoup the officials’ salaries, according to court papers.

The impacts of the corruption included increased development, which, in turn, led to increased expenses for public services including roads, schools and police, argued former Mayor Robert Kleinberg, who led the charge to pursue the suit.

Scannapieco’s lawyer, Douglas J. Katich, who filed a motion to dismiss the case in February, said he was pleased with the decision. He added he hoped the ruling marked the end of litigation with the township.

“(The judgment) doesn’t prevent (Marlboro) from attempting to bring similar claims in state court to get a proverbial second bite at the apple,” Katich said. “I caution them to think hard about it because this time we will seek sanctions for prosecuting frivolous claims.”

Mayor Jonathan Hornik said he has been working with other litigants to dismiss lawsuits in the township as a cost-saving measure, but this was a case the township had been pursuing. He would not comment on his thoughts about the ruling or the merits of the complaint, which was filed before he took office in January.

The mayor also would not comment on whether the township will pursue the case further. He added the township’s counsel would only be paid if monies were awarded.

“I wasn’t looking to have (the lawsuit) dismissed,” Hornik said. “We’re going to take a careful look at the decision, and we will decide how to proceed accordingly.”

Marlboro: Sentencing for two Marlboro developers postponed

From our friends at APP.com

The sentencing for two Marlboro developers was postponed this morning without a new date

Edward Kay, 39, along with Steven Meiterman, 44, pleaded guilty in October in federal court to bribing former Western Monmouth Utilities Authority director Frank Abate for their developments’ sewer approvals. They were due to be sentenced in federal court today, but the sentencing was indefinitely postponed.

Kay, along with Meiterman and his brother Bernard Meiterman, 43, built more than a half-dozen housing developments in Marlboro.

Both brothers and their business partner Kay, admitted before U.S. District Court Judge Susan D. Wigenton that they paid $1,800 to an architect to draw up plans for an addition to Abate’s Marlboro home.

All three pleaded guilty to using the mail to promote and facilitate a corrupt payment.
Under such company names as Meiterman Custom Built Homes, Meiterman Development group LLC, Meiterman Holdings, Meiterman Properties, Meiterman Commercial Properties, Southpoint Property Management and Triangle Ridge at Marlboro LLC, the brothers have built more than a half-dozen housing developments in Marlboro including Sunny Acres and Triangle Valley.

Kay was a partner and bookkeeper for many of these projects and business
ventures, and was a signatory on the bank accounts of several projects.

In May, Abate, 61, was convicted by a jury of illegally receiving $4,800 worth of architectural plans from the Meitermans.

In August, Abate was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

The Meitermans and Kay each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

RSVP Corzine – Let him know you’re attending a Townhall meeting

TOWN HALL MEETINGS

Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced six more “town hall” meetings at which he will present his toll road plan and take questions from the public. The governor’s office asks people wishing to attend to RSVP by calling, e-mailing or filling out an online form at www.state.nj.us/townhallmeetings/listing.

The next six meetings are scheduled as follow: