Remember (EBOE Hunt)

While doing research for this blog I was watching Remember and the plot twist there turned out to eerily mirror this piece which was based on a story that came out today on the Elizabeth Board of Education’s (EBOE) hunting for wasteful spending by a prior political faction.  As reported by nj.com:

An ongoing audit of the city school board’s past spending revealed this week that a law firm allegedly overbilled the district by more than $1,000,000.

The district hired Hackensack-based Pashman Stein Walder Hayden in June 2011 to work on six matters, auditor Dieter Lerch said Thursday. The board created contracts with the three lead attorneys for hourly rates of $500, $400 and $425.

Several other members of the firm who represented the district, however, had no contract and charged hourly rates ranging from $175 to $450, Lerch said. The board usually pays lawyers $165 per hour.

“Had the district been billed for all the attorneys at $165 an hour, except for those three lead attorneys that were approved specifically [at higher rates], the district would have been billed $1,069,218 less than what it actually paid,” Lerch said.

The district ceased working with Pashman Stein in January, when mayor-backed members gained the majority on the politically divided school board.

As it turns out lawyers for Pashman Stein (which incidentally no longer exists as that entity) donate sporadically and primarily to gubernatorial campaigns but their accuser, Dieter Lerch, works for Lerch Vinci & Higgins which has a substantial list of campaign donations (both by the company and its employees) to candidates at the local level including:

Union County Democratic Committee

  • 9/27/04: $1,000

Rahway Democrats

  • 6/3/14: $5,000
  • 4/18/12: $2,500
  • 4/16/12: $2,600
  • 9/17/10: $2,500
  • 4/19/10: $1,000
  • 2010: $1,500

Samson Steinman – Rahway Mayor

  • 4/10/14: $2,600
Richard Proctor – Rahway Mayor
  • 4/19/10: $2,600

Adrian Mapp- Plainfield Mayor

  • 2013: $500

Rutherford Jeffers & Bellamy – Plainfield

  • 11/1/14: $300

Derek Armstead – Linden Mayor

  • 2014 – $300

Gerald (Jerry) Green – Assembly

  • 3/20/15: $500
  • 3/11/14: $1,000
  • 10/21/13: $500
  • 5/22/13: $300
  • 1/19/12: $500
  • 9/15/10: $1,000
  • 10/13/09: $500
  • 5/19/09: $500
  • 1/21/09: $200
  • 9/24/07: $500
  • 2/14/07: $800
  • 9/21/05: $500
  • 6/14/05: $500
  • 3/1/04: $500
  • 10/3/02: $500
  • 10/3/01: $500
  • 4/13/01: $1,000
  • 3/11/98: $500

Pashman Stein will argue that their hourly rates were approved, regardless of what was ‘usual’, and they acquired EBOE business honestly.  Can Lerch Vinci & Higgins say the same?

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