Disgraced former Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco has dropped a lawsuit that sought his unused benefits, which the school district agreed to not pay after Ritacco retired the same day as a federal indictment for corruption charges.
Ritacco was suing for $15,000 in unused sick days, $23,750 for 25 unused vacation days from the 2008-09 school year, and $24,062.50 for 25 unused vacation days from the 2009-10 school year.
He also was suing for an undisclosed amount of money in a deferred compensation fund, in place since 2010. Ritacco had asked for the money as a lump sum.
Ritacco lawyer Bill Hughes in a letter to the court April 18 said he discussed the matter with his client and agreed to drop the lawsuit.
Each of the current members of the Toms River Regional School Board, as well as three members whose terms expired in 2011 and board attorney Thomas Monahan, were being sued in the federal lawsuit filed Oct. 25.
In February, Toms River Regional was discussing the final contract to defend the lawsuit, possibly using multiple lawyers to defend the multiple current and former board members and board attorney against the suit. In Jan. 2011, Ritacco's attorneys attended a Toms River Regional School Board meeting to publically demand the payout of the unused benefits on grounds that Ritacco had deferred the compensation for years and was due it under his contract.
In recent meetings of the school board, Monahan said the lawsuit would likely be decided after the criminal charges were resolved, and offered no further comment.
Ritacco pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to impede the IRS, officials said. He could face 11 to 14 years jail time, according to sentencing guidelines.
Ritacco pleaded to two of the 27 charges he was facing, and admitted his role in years of corruption at the school district, where as much as $2.5 million in bribes were allegedly passed between Ritacco, insurance brokers and intermediaries.
Ritacco surrendered to federal officials Oct. 2010, the same day he submitted his retirement to the school board. The board approved his retirement in an emergency meeting that evening.