Law & Justice

Bullying Complaints Spark Nearly $100,000 in South Orange - Maplewood School District Legal Bills 

c60f3d54b19184b263dd_fischetti.JPG
Joe Fischetti
c60f3d54b19184b263dd_fischetti.JPG

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Orange Maplewood School District has spent nearly $100,000 on legal fees related to cases of alleged bullying in the district during just the past two years, according to district records.

Legal invoices for lawyers hired to handle cases of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) reveal that the district has been billed for $96,995.69 for those legal services in 2016 and 2017.

TAPinto SOMA received the information in response to a public records request for all such invoices dating back to 2011. But only the 2016 and 2017 records were provided, indicating none existed for the previous five years.

Sign Up for E-News

Most of the invoices are from Schenck, Price, Smith and King of Florham Park, which was retained last year to handle cases related to HIB complaints against former Columbia High School (CHS) head baseball coach Joe Fischetti.

The district revealed last summer that that firm had racked up nearly $20,000 in legal fees related to the baseball issues. 

The latest invoices indicate the same firm has amassed a total of $90,657.22 in fees, but does not indicate which HIB cases are involved.

The remaining $6,338.47 is for the firm of Nirenberg & Varano of Hackensack, but with no indication of which cases are involved. The invoices indicate that firm is billing for just two cases. 

South Orange - Maplewood School District officials did not respond to a request for comment on the legal fees. But South Orange - Maplewood School District Superintendent John Ramos pointed out via email that the Nirenberg & Varano fees are covered by insurance, although he did not elaborate on why or what the policy included.

The larger remaining fees appear to require district budget expenditures to the tune of more than $90,000.

It is unclear how much of the legal cost is related to a lawsuit filed by former CHS baseball player David DeFranco, who sued the district in early 2016 claiming abuse.

Interestingly, the higher legal costs come at a time when HIB complaints are down district-wide.

Data supplied by the district several months ago found that while there were 95 HIB complaints filed in 2013-14, that dropped to 70 in 2014-2015, and to 37 in 2015-2016. As of May 3, 2017, there had been only 29 filed for this past school year.

The costs do not include further legal charges likely to come from defense of a lawsuit filed recently by former CHS baseball coaches Joe Fischetti and Matthew Becht that claims wrongful termination.

Related article

Former Columbia H.S. Coach Fischetti Sues District, Claims 'Sham Investigation' Forced Him Out

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Women's March Wear at Sadie's

Many are gathering this weekend and heading into New York City or over to Morristown to show their support for the Women's March 2018.

Sadie's is offering a few tee shirt options to show your support while marching as well as with your purchase.

The "Nasty Woman" shirt donates to Planned Parenthood and the "I Believe in Science" donates to the Sierra Club." ...

School Freeze Is Not New, And Not Acceptable

Another cold snap and apparently another string of cold classrooms.

Last week, many classes at Columbia High School -- and other schools -- saw frigid temperatures when the cold outside dropped to single digits on several days.

The snow helped a bit by closing schools last Thursday and Friday, although the Friday closing was originally a delayed opening and later switched ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrests Reported

January 13, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 13

Adult Arrest CDS - Benjamin Orgera, an 18 year old South Orange resident was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 7, at approximately 10:20 p.m. for possession of CDS (marijuana). Officers stopped an auto for a motor vehicle violation near the intersection of Ridgewood Rd & Redmond Rd. During the traffic stop, officers determined that the driver ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Auto Thefts Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 8

Auto Theft - A West End Rd resident reported that sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 28, actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2013 Honda), which was parked in his driveway at the time.

Auto Theft - A Montclair resident and South Orange business owner reported that on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at approximately 6:20 ...

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance in SOMA; Luminary Photos

January 17, 2018

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race held their 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance, with an interfaith service at 2 p.m., followed by a volunteer fair at 3:30 p.m. at Columbia High School, and an evening MLK Luminary Lighting Ceremony at Maplewood Town Hall and in Spiotta Park in South Orange.

In addition, ...

Harlem Wizards Play Maplewood Teachers and Town Officials at 'Family Night' on Jan. 29

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Recreation Department is hosting a night of trick hoops and alley oops on Monday, Jan. 29, at Maplewood Middle School.

Two members of the Harlem Wizards will be playing with Maplewood teachers and other town officials at Maplewood “Family Night,"according to an email from Maplewood Recreation.

You may go ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, January 19, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, January 19, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sat, January 20, 12:30 AM

Clark Public Library, Clark

North Jersey Aquarium Society Monthly Saturday ...

Home & Garden

Sun, January 21, 11:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Amy Blake and Moki Kokoris: Family Ethical ...

Education

Newark Makes the Short List for Amazon's next HQ2

January 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ--Newark has been named as one of 20 finalists to host Amazon’s next headquarters in North America.

Amazon announced the short-listed cities on Thursday.

Other cities that made the cut include Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County, ...

Millburn Teen Gives Laptops New Life for Charity

MILLBURN, NJ — A junior at Millburn High School is using his skills with computers to help young women half a world away have a chance at higher education. Alexander McBride, the founder of Laptops4Africa.org, has already sent 21 laptops to deserving female students by teaming with a family friend who hand delivers donations to a girls leadership training school in Tanzania ...

Director of Gallery U Boutique Says They Will Leave Westfield Over Parking Issues

January 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Gallery U Boutique, an art space and boutique on South Avenue in Downtown Westfield, will relocate at the end of the summer due to ongoing parking issues, Executive Director Robert Greco said.

Gallery U is an extension of Universal Institute, a rehabilitation facility that services adults with traumatic brain injuries. Clients from UI work in the gallery and live in the ...

Crowds Pack Sussex County YMCA's Open House

HARDYSTON, NJ – The Sussex County YMCA was packed on Saturday afternoon.  People from all over Sussex County came by to try out the new facilities and see the expansion and renovations.  Special guests spoke at the opening ceremony in the new gymnasium.

Jennifer Gardner, Executive Director announced special guests U. S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey Senator Steve ...

Public Notice: Maplewood Township Committee Regular Session on Sat., Jan. 27 and Sat., Feb. 3

January 19, 2018

P U B L I C   N O T I C E -  January 19, 2018

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Maplewood Township Committee will meet in Regular Session on Saturday, January 27, 2018 and Saturday, February 3, 2018, beginning at 9:00 A.M., for both dates, at the Maplewood Municipal Building, 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey, for the purpose of 2018 Municipal Budget discussions. 

These ...

Business Administrator – Full Time – Maplewood Township (Essex)

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR – FULL TIME – MAPLEWOOD TOWNSHIP (ESSEX)

Position available prior to June 1, 2018.

The Township is seeking an experienced and qualified, high profile, proactive, facilitating leader, who is committed to working in partnership with the Township Committee to deliver excellent and cost effective public services to an engaged, culturally and racially diverse ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace & Cafe Jan. 19 to Jan. 25

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Potato Salad $3.99lb (Prep Food)
Monkfish  $9.99lb (Ashley Fish Market)
Siggi’s Yogurt  4/$5
Ground Turkey Thigh Dark Meat $4.19lb (Meat)
Ham Wraps $5.99(Deli)
Breyer’s Ice Cream $4.99lb
Blueberries 1 Pint $4.99
Beemster Graskaas Gouda $7.99lb ...