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Attorney Known to Probe School Boards to Meet BOE

Former state Supreme Court justice was hired by the board for 'unspecified litigation.'

Thursday night's Parsippany meeting will get a later than usual start—8 p.m.—thanks to a special closed session beginning at the usual 7 p.m. start time, and to a special guest.

Board President Frank Calabria said the private members-only portion of the meeting will feature a visit from Gary Stein, the attorney and former state Supreme Court justice hired by most of the board Aug. 1 for up to $5,000 for "unspecified litigation."

School board member Michael Strumolo was not included in the decision. He reportedly stormed out of that closed session and was not present for the vote.

A short time later,  asking him to come to Parsippany to deal with unnamed board members' allegedly improper acts. Strumolo also claimed that Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz was attempting to harass him by threatening him with ethics charges.

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The retired justice has experience with investigating school district matters: In 2011, he was hired by the Elizabeth school system for a reported $500,000 to conduct an independent investigation of its school lunch program after a Star-Ledger series by reporter Ted Sherman found alleged corruption there.

Stein's report found no wrongdoing and asserted that The Star-Ledger's account was “misleading," "inaccurate, unfair and unsubstantiated.” 

The Star-Ledger's management stood by its reports.

Much was made in the media of a possible conflict of interest Stein had: He works for his son's law firm, Pashman Stein. And one of Michael Stein's clients was the Elizabeth school district, which paid him just this year more than a half million dollars.

Calabria would not comment on what job Stein was hired to do for the Parsippany school board.

He also said it had not yet been determined whether Stein will appear during the portion of Thursday's meeting that includes the public.

The BOE meeting—the first of the 2012-13 school year—will be held at 292 Parsippany Road.

Par4theCourse September 13, 2012 at 04:36 AM
This town is a circus.
clyde donovan September 13, 2012 at 05:14 PM
This has the appearance of something underhanded and sneaky that involves our tax money.
Roman Hoshowsky September 13, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Send in the clowns!
Par4theCourse September 14, 2012 at 12:45 AM
While the BOE is bickering and hiring attorneys to one up their infighting, can one of them do their job and be mote informative about the mercury found in Lake Par Elementary's gym floor? The report posted on the website is insulting and I'd like to know how it got there, why it is being kept quiet and for gods sake, the impact it had on the kids. They ate lunch in there, had gym, and afternoon SKIP.
Par4theCourse September 14, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Not to mention the school is currently without a gym for now and the unforeseen future. That means gym and lunch in the classrooms for the kids. But keep hiring attorneys for your petty nonsense, you selfish, small minded egomaniacs.
VietNam Vet September 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Frank Calabria hires Stein to investigate here, when someone should be investigating him for the crooked stuff going on in Elizabeth.
VietNam Vet September 14, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I think Par4 the course said it right, this town is getting to be one hell of a circus, from the mayor's office right on down and no one is doing anything about it, and its getting worse by the day and the mayor does nothing and we got a Stupid money hungry Supt. who is harrassing another board member and he himself is working without a legal contract, and as always no body seems to think that is wrong. This town as the country is getting way out of control and spiraling downward real fast. God help us and save this country and this crooked town.

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