Michael J. Ritacco, the longtime superintendent of one of New Jersey’s largest school districts, has surrendered to FBI headquarters in Newark to face political corruption charges.He makes $234,000? Great work if you can get it.
Ritacco arrived in Newark shortly before 11:30 a.m. in a black Nissan Ultima and was quickly escorted inside.
His surrender comes more than five hours after agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service arrived with an arrest warrant at Ritacco's house In Seaside Park. But the head of New Jersey’s fourth largest school district was gone — already en route to his lawyer’s office in an effort to turn himself in, Ballarotto said.
The lawyer, however, was in Florida.
The development comes three days after an insurance broker and a former school official told a federal judge they padded contracts by hundreds of thousands of dollars and used part of the money to pay bribes to a district executive. Authorities did not publicly name the executive, but two people with knowledge of the investigation identified him as Ritacco.
Ballarotto said the allegations made in court by Frank D’Alonzo, a former school district supervisor, and Frank Cotroneo, an insurance broker, were baseless.
“It’s clear, just from what these guys admitted to in court, that they are colossal con artists,” Ballarotto said. “Whatever they did, they did it on their own, without Michael Ritacco.”
Ritacco, who makes $234,000 a year as superintendent, oversees a district with roughly 2,000 employees and a budget of about $200 million.
Here's the guy's house. Living pretty well for a school superintendent. I've seen it up close. The photo doesn't do it justice.
here's some background from last spring.
For the record, while the story doesn't note party affiliation, he's contributed money to George W. Bush in the past. Whatever the case, he's part of a cesspool of corruption in a state notorious for it and let's hope the feds and governor keep cleaning it up.