Home Police, Fire & Courts Prosecutors: Brick Schools Super Arranged For Grandchild’s Daycare At Taxpayers’ Expense

Prosecutors: Brick Schools Super Arranged For Grandchild’s Daycare At Taxpayers’ Expense

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Brick schools superintendent Walter Uszenski and Director of Special Services Andrew Morgan. (Photo: Ocean County Jail)
Brick schools superintendent Walter Uszenski and former Director of Special Services Andrew Morgan. (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

Brick schools superintendent Walter Uszenski engineered a plan along with his daughter and the district’s former Interim Director of Special Services to provide his grandchild with full-time daycare and transportation at the district’s expense, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced Thursday.

Uszenski was taken Thursday into custody along with his daughter, Jacqueline Halsey and the former Special Services Director, Andrew Morgan. All face charges of theft by deception; Uszenski and Morgan face charges of official misconduct.

According to prosecutors, Morgan, who became the Interim Director of Special Services for the Brick public school district in July of 2013, engineered a plan to provide Halsey’s preschool-aged child with full time day care and transportation at the school district’s expense by falsely claiming that the program and services were “educationally appropriate and necessary.”

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The investigation, a statement from the prosecutor’s office said, revealed that Halsey initiated and approved the improper request and that both Morgan and Uszenski, the superintendent, executed the necessary approvals required for the Brick Board of Education to fund the program and related services.

The amount of fraudulent benefits conferred is believed to be nearly $40,000.

Morgan initially was hired by the Board of Education, at the request and recommendation of Uszenski, to conduct an “audit” of the Brick schools special services section in March 2013. Uszenski and Morgan knew each other and had worked together before that time, the statement said.

The $17,499 “audit,” which is approximately seven pages in length, was critical of the job performance of the director of special services. Morgan was paid more than $83 per hour for 209 hours to prepare and write the audit, which also advocated saving the district money by providing services to special needs students in-district rather than sending those students out of district and paying private tuition.  As a result of the audit, Uszenski recommended Morgan to the Board of Education to become the Interim Director of Special Services.

The school board hired Morgan for that position, but it is alleged that the audit was a pretense to position Morgan as the director of the special services section. He began serving on July 1, 2013, and one of his first official acts was to engineer a fraudulent plan for Halsey’s child, who is also Uszenski’s grandchild, to receive unnecessary services and transportation at taxpayer’s expense, prosecutors allege.

The investigation also revealed that Morgan submitted false information in his application for employment with the Brick Board of Education.

Morgan resigned from his position on December 31, 2013.  He received in excess of $60,000 in compensation from the Brick Board of Education between March 1 and December 31, 2013.

Uszenski was taken into custody shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday at the Brick Board of Education Administrative Office. Morgan, accompanied by his attorney, William Strazza, turned himself into Ocean County Prosecutor Investigators at noon. Halsey was served her complaint summons at her home this morning.

Uszenski, Morgan and Halsey have been charged with the second degree crime of official misconduct and third degree theft by deception.  Uszenski’s bail has been set at $100,000 cash by the Honorable Francis R. Hodgson, Jr. Uszenski was also required to surrender his passport as a condition of bail.  Morgan’s bail was also set at $100,000 cash by Hodgson. Morgan was also required to surrender his passport as a condition of bail.

Halsey was released on her own recognizance.

Uszenski was hired as superintendent in 2012, replacing Walter Hrycenko. His contract runs through the 2015-16 school year at a salary of $177,500 plus performance bonuses. A message was left with Board of Education President Sharon Cantillo seeking comment on whether the board will take any action on Uszenski’s employment, or who – if anyone – will be appointed acting superintendent while the charges pend.


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  • ThereRnoFiscalConservatives

    I’ll bet they are both democrats too.

    • Spock’s Brain

      You’re obviously not from Brick. Uszenski has had close ties to Acropolis and the Brick Republicans for years. The Republican Mayor’s candidate in 2013 (Joe Sangiovanni) has a job in the Brick Schools – he makes over $100,000 as their Director of TRANSPORTATION. Given that the Super’s granddaughter was bused into Brick, I am pretty sure Mr. Sangiovanni was well aware of what was going on.

      • DennyD

        Uszenski has a background in Special Education. I’m sure he knows all the nuances in getting certain things for a student, whether the student actually qualifies or not.

    • JW

      As far as I know, the only Democrat ever on the Brick School Board in my lifetime was John Talty, and I knew him to be about as far right-wing as you get. Democrats in this town are generally the exception, not the norm. I’ve never known these two to have any dealings with the county or town Democratic organizations and I’ve been fairly active with both in the past.

      • Frank Rizzo

        Hillary Clinton is far right to you.

  • Chief Wahoo

    So Just Keep paying those property tax bills……especially with the new average of $25 higher one on the 2015 schools tax bill
    ANARCHO-CAPITALISM

  • Joseph Woolston Brick

    What is it with school board members? They are always up to something shady. Do we actually need school boards?

    • lazereye15

      no we don’t they all knew and should all be thrown out!

      • DennyD

        Before anyone else calls for anymore heads here are some hard FACTS. The ONLY current BOE member that was on the BOE when Uszenski was hired is Sharon Kight/Cantillo. Here are the rest of the sitting BOE members of July 2012. John Talty, Walt Campbell, Len Cuppari, Lawrence Reid, Kim Terebush. NONE of the current BOE members, except for Kight/Cantillo, had anything to do with the hiring of Uszenski and HIS subsequent appointing(the se jobs were never posted) of Andrew Morgan and his wife. I am sure that the current BOE members, except for Kight/Cantillo, were never really clued in on the details of the Uszenski/Morgan/Morgan hirings. If ANYONE wants answers the person to go to is Kight/Cantillo. If anyone does manage to corner her for a few answers remind her that she owes Walter Hrycenko a public apology for all the nasty, derogatory things she berated him with, at public BOE meetings, while he was Superintendent.

    • JW

      The Brick BoE is rotten, apparently. I think it is still needed even if 99% of citizens and parents have no dealings with it at all. If you want to see what evil BoEs are capable of, look at Lakewood. This is one sector of government of we have some trouble figuring out, but has repercussions for everyone.

  • SB

    Wow, how disappointing. Couldn’t afford child care for his grandkid on that HUGE salary? I’m appalled at the size of the salaries these people are pulling in. Maybe the town should do an independent study and find out what these people are actually doing and adjust the salary accordingly. *smh*

    • JW

      Throw out the school board at the next election. Maybe that will help. And whatever you do, don’t put anyone with ties to the corrupt school board on the town council!!!!

      • JJones

        both side have ties to council…has been for years ..

  • Frank Rizzo

    Pretty flimsy plan. The special ed teachers would know the grand daughter is functioning normal and not a special needs case. They would have to evaluate her periodically and too many people would have known that the director of special ed ordered this and not a tested and classified case by the child study team of a student with special needs. It would be cheaper in the end to just fire them like business would, but they need to be prosecuted to prevent them from getting hired elsewhere.

  • Jack Zawacki

    this is not the 1st scandal 4 some of them, yet they continue 2 keep their jobs…keep drinking the kool aid Brick!!

  • JJones

    Wow the 180k salary wasnt enough to pay for a daycare school..had to scam the town ..what a creep …

  • Janet

    Has anyone actually seen a copy of Mr. Morgan’s audit report?

  • #@#.com
  • Peggy Walsh Miskiel

    Wrongful doing.! Shame on you.both.Our Special children need back what was taken from them. We need it back now!!!!! Give us back everything as fast as YOU Took It away.whick was a blink of an eye. Shame on you !!

  • Mark Story Jenks

    Maybe we need to enact a law whereby con jobs like this are forced to pay back every taxpayer dollar they stole, going back to when this BS started. If there is enough evidence to charge them, they certainly should NOT be suspended with pay. Rather, if they are found innocent, give them back pay, maybe. It should burn every ones ass if these smucks are still on the payroll. .