Last Thursday, the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund unanimously voted to strip former Superintendent of the Toms River Regional Schools System, Michael J. Ritacco, of his annual pension, which was to be $155,040 per year.
Although stripped of his pension, the Teacher’s Pension and Annuity Fund did agree to return the $185,619 that Ritacco had contributed to the pension during his tenure in the school system; Assistant U.S. Attorney Bynon plans to pursue the $185,619 that Ritacco was refunded by the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund. Ritacco is currently serving an 11-year federal sentence, and he is not projected to be released until 2022.
When asked about the decision, Stephan R. Leone, Esq., partner of the firm Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks, LLC, and attorney for the Toms River School Board, stated that “the Pension Fund made the appropriate decision, even though funds may have been available for restitution. The U.S. Attorney and the District are confident other assets are available to satisfy restitution order.”
Following the Ritacco scandal, the Toms River Regional Schools Board was determined to eliminate any trace of disparagement and corruption. Beginning in 2011, voters in the district elected three new board members running together as the Clean Slate Team, followed by three more Clean Slate candidates in 2012. In January of 2013, the majority new board members began the process of appointing new professionals after a Fair and Open process. In recognition of the firm’s reputation for excellence and integrity, the Board retained Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks as its attorney – Stephan R. Leone, Esq., joined by Annemarie Schreiber and Valter Must head up the team.
In November 2013, the remaining three former board members were replaced by three more Clean Slate candidates, completing the process that started three years before. CLDDS continues to serve as Board Attorney zealously and with integrity.