The Toms River School Board plans to pay a $150,000 settlement to Donna Mansfield, the former Toms River Schools food service manager that at one time dated former superintendent Michael Ritacco, the school system’s infamous former leader who was jailed for concocting an illegal insurance kickback scheme with district contractors.
After she was terminated from her position at the Toms River school system in 2014, the former girlfriend of corrupt former superintendent Michael Ritacco, Donna Mansfield, filed a lawsuit against the school district in federal court. The fired school employee alleged in her lawsuit that her association with the former superintendent – who is currently lodged in federal prison on corruption charges – was the ultimate reason for her 2014 termination. Mansfield also alleged in court filings that she continued to face sexual harassment and additional retaliation, solely for her past association with Ritacco.
Ritacco’s Ex Alleges Sexual Harassment & Retaliation From TR School Officials
In the wake of the scandal, the Ritacco name became toxic in Toms River. The disgraced former school official’s name was stripped from the “Ritacco Center” auditorium at Toms River High School North after he was convicted of charges alleging that he received more than $1 million in bribes from insurance companies that did business with the school district during his tenure as superintendent.
Before a federal corruption conviction ended his career, Ritacco was also a rising star in the influential Ocean County Republican organization. Public land records showed that Ritacco was involved in land deals with several of the county’s influential politicos, with Ritacco even selling Freeholder Virginia “Ginny” Haines her current Batchelor Avenue home in Toms River, according to county deed records.
Ms. Mansfield claimed that in the wake of the Ritacco corruption scandal, interim superintendent Frank Roselli pressured her to resign due to her past relationship with the jailed former leader of Toms River’s public schools, and then when she refused to resign, Roselli and others retaliated against her.
According to Mansfield’s lawsuit, when she refused to resign, Roselli retaliated against her by punitively reassigning her and orchestrating a $20,000 cut to her paycheck. Mansfield alleges that the treatment of her by school district employees continued to worsen, with her complaint stating that a newly appointed supervisor at one point allegedly stated “I am going to bust your balls every day until you leave.”
With the lawsuit expected to settle, the allegations contained in her suit have not been brought to trial, so they have neither been proven nor disproven in a court of law.
School Board To Settle For $150K, Documents Show
Draft documents obtained by government transparency activist John Paff this week revealed that the former school employee is set to be paid $150,000 to settle her suit against the district, which was filed shortly after her 2014 termination.
The draft agreement was produced on August 29th, according to Paff, and is expected to be executed in the near future after approval from the Toms River Board of Education.
The settlement agreement contains confidentiality clauses that prevent either side from speaking publicly about the case.
Courtesy of Mr. Paff, the full court documents are below.