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Brick BOE Members Not The Focus of Prosecutor’s Investigation Into Brick Schools

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Investigators looking into activities in the Brick school district are not targeting members of the Board of Education, Shorebeat has learned.

Jack Sahradnik, the attorney for the board, said Thursday that he spoke with Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato on Wednesday and confirmed that neither the board nor any of its members are the target of an investigation. Coronato, Sahradnik said, authorized him to speak with Shorebeat on the matter, but provided no other details of the scope of the investigation.

“As of this date, neither the board nor any individual board member was a target of the investigation,” said Sahradnik.

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Sahradnik could not say whether the investigation was still ongoing or whether it had ended, nor could he say whether investigators were probing only the activities of former Superintendent Walter Uszenski and former Interim Director of Special Service Andrew Morgan – who were arrested in May – or if it went beyond those two individuals.

The fact that no board members are under investigation effectively puts to rest allegations made by Joseph Sangiovanni, the district’s former transportation manager, that the prosecutor was looking into claims he made against Board President Sharon Cantillo. Sangiovanni claimed that his contract was not renewed by the school district because he was cooperating with the prosecutor’s office against Cantillo.

Sangiovanni’s name never actually appeared on a board meeting agenda, and no board members actively voted against renewing his contract, Cantillo said. Interim Superintendent Richard Caldes said actions impacting jobs in the transportation department were part of a larger effort to reorganize the department over the summer. The district’s school bus drivers have recently come to board meetings blasting their department’s management as part of discussions over driver layoffs.

“Mr. Sagiovanni, in my opinion, acted maliciously against me because he was not being renewed,” Cantillo said. “Unfortunately, I did not have a vote in that. For him to publicly attack me and accuse me of things I did not do is absolutely the definition of malice.”

Sangiovanni had accused Cantillo of “improper dealings with vendors.” Cantillo said no board committee on which she sits so much as deals with vendors to the district.

Sangiovanni said last week he was considering filing complaints with the state School Ethics Commission against Cantillo and former board member John Talty. To date, no complaints have been filed in the matter, sources said.