Two of the three speakers during the public portion of the Special Wayne Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Tuesday night used their time to target Wayne School District attorney John Geppert. The public meeting was held after an executive session where the BOE and the Administration discussed negotiations regarding the Full-Time Release matter which has been the center of attention at every BOE meeting since the end of August. See Story
Donna Reaver the First Vice President of the Wayne Education Association spoke briefly, urging the BOE to “Question the motives of those giving you advice.”
“We question the legal opinions being given,” said Reaver. “Maybe for billable hours?”
Reaver used the Grinch Who Stole Christmas as an analogy: “The Grinch had no heart, he played dirty and he was only out to benefit himself. Who could the Grinch be in this scenario?” Reaver asked rhetorically, tapping the podium and glancing around the room.
“Why do we read the Grinch to our kids?” she asked. “We do it to teach them that being selfish, whether its keeping all of the Christmas presents to yourself or trying to make a name for yourself among the school board attorneys. Whatever the case may be, being selfish gets you nowhere.”
Reaver finished with an appeal to the Board: “Don’t be like the Grinch. Have a heart; do what’s right and good will prevail.”
Bill Brennan, a Wayne resident, former candidate for Governor and political activist spoke against Geppert’s law firm Scarinci and Hollenbeck, saying: “I want to talk about some of the facts surrounding that law firm and the type of behavior that’s come from that law firm over the years.”
He then brought up three cases that he said were connected to the firm where Geppert works:
- Regarding convicted murderer Angelo Prisco who had been denied parole, but the denial was reversed, Brennan said: “Donald Scarinci used political influence and committed fraud to have that murderer released from jail.”
- Brennan then spoke about Joe Ferriero, a partner in Geppert’s firm who, according to Brennan committed extortion in dealings with representatives of other law firms who were connected with the Xanadu project at the Meadowlands which is now the American Dram Mall. “It was extortion and Mr. Ferriero went to jail for that.”
- Lastly, he spoke about the case of Dr. Gangaram Ragi, a dermatologist who had been charged with multiple counts of groping his patients. Brennan stated that Joe Ferriero, who was at the time a partner at Scarinci and Hollenbeck took $500,000 in exchange for influencing the Bergen County Prosecutor during the matter.
“So, I want to caution you,” finished Brennan. “If you’re getting your ethics advice; if you’re being told to foment litigation with [the WEA] who had an agreement with you, remember where it’s coming from and what the source is.”
The third speaker in the public session was Eileen Domico who is running as a write-in candidate for the Board of Education in next week’s election. She spoke strongly about the process the BOE took in restoring Eda Ferrante to her full-time release status as President of the WEA and berated the Board for several minutes.
Her one reference to Geppert was not an attack on the attorney but an attack on the Board: “If you’re not going to, at least, give Mr. Geppert’s advice the consideration and respect that it deserves, why have him here? Why are you paying him? Why are we paying him?”
Geppert answered “I have no comments,” to any questions after the meeting.