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Freeholder Race Heats Up: Vicari Says Opponent Was 'Indicted'

Democrat Michele Rosen claims charge was dismissed two decades ago "after a review showed no evidence that any wrongdoing occurred."

Four days into their campaign for a three-year term on Ocean County’s Board of Freeholders, Republican Joseph H. Vicari claims his opponent once faced a criminal charge for her financial dealings, while she is charging him with quadruple dipping at public expense.

Vicari told Patch.com that Democrat Michele Rosen had been “indicted, admitted to pre-trial intervention, and expunged’’ on an unspecified charge.

Rosen conceded Vicari was partly right. She was indicted in November 1989 on a charge of theft by deception, accused of taking more than $500 from Joseph Yoffee on Nov. 15, 1988.

On April 9, 1990, the charge was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Barbara Ann Villano, with the consent of then Assistant Prosecutor Robert W. Scott. Villano gave the prosecutor the option of representing the case to a grand jury, but that never happened.

Rosen last night accused Vicari of releasing “false information about a bogus charge brought by then-prosecutor James Holzapfel (currently Republican candidate for 10th District Senate) against me more than 20 years ago. The charge was dismissed after a review showed no evidence that any wrongdoing occurred.’’

Vicari made the charge after Rosen accused him of “legal theft’’ for collecting pensions from his freeholder post and as Berkeley Township Superintendent of Schools while still working in those positions.

She said Gov. Chris Christie has been critical of the identical practice involving Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who is working at that job while also collecting a pension from it.

Rosen had urged Christie to express his views on Tuesday night at a Republican fundraiser in Toms River.

Vicari said the topic never came up.

Rosen claims Vicari is collecting nearly $200,000 as a result of the pensions and health benefits. She added that he cashed in $40,000 worth of sick time in Berkeley Township shortly before Christie slapped a $15,000 cap on those windfalls.

Vicari said he volunteered to return as Berkeley’s superintendent for free because of a “shortage of certified people.’’ That offer is saving teacher jobs, programs, and reduced taxes, he said.

He said he is being paid $48 a day and gets no benefits. His work in the Berkeley schools is on a “short term basis,’’ he said. He’s entitled to the pension from the school job because he paid into that pension fund for 40 years, Vicari said.

He said he opted to take both pensions to protect his wife. That is different from what DiVincenzo is doing in Essex County because “it’s not the same salary,’’ Vicari said.

Rosen’s “finances should be a public record also,’’ he insisted.

Rosen said she agrees with Christie that collecting a pension and salary for the same job is wrong.

“If it’s wrong for Joe 'D' in Essex; it’s wrong for Joe 'V' in Ocean,’’ Rosen said.

Jose Deer April 15, 2011 at 05:02 PM
why is mentioning that Holzapfel is a double dipping hypocrite censored ???.....
Mare April 15, 2011 at 09:44 PM
I've got no use for the cad. My mothers 60th birthday was to be held at Citta's Old Time Tavern. We reserved the porch for the occasion more than six months ahead of time. No calls, no nothing, but that night when the whole family showed up, guess who had taken over the porch with his band of political hooligans for a fund raiser. Now, even after learning it was for the 60th birthday party of a woman, the pig wouldn't even, but my mother a lousy drink! Low class.
Ken Bank April 15, 2011 at 10:54 PM
And let's not forget this is the same parasite who said a few months ago that people out of work and collecting unemployment were over-compensated and had no incentive to look for jobs.
Mac April 16, 2011 at 02:16 AM
Wow! Only four days and the mud starts flying. Rosen must be a true threat to the Republican machine again. The last time was when she was honored by them with false charges of a political action non-event, an old and useful tactic readily practiced in this area. Vicara should man-up and admit he took all the political perks simply because he could, and that he had to cash them in so he could beat the deadline for either cashing them in or losing them, not just to protect his wife. Furthermore, he enjoys his freeloader health benefits and perks, so forfeiting benefits at the high school that he can't use by law isn't much of a sacrifice. And the more time he is employed at the high school, regardless of pay, the higher his state pension payments increase. What a sport. It certainly gets around that pesky loss of COLA all the other retirees don’t get. If you keep voting for Vicara, you're going to get back more of what he does best: milking the taxpayers for a third of a century. This election is strictly Vicara vs. Rosen. To me the choice is clear. It’s also time to put a window of opportunity for the taxpayer into this fully closed government that controls our tax money from beginning to end with no accountability outside the Republican inner circle. Rosen offers us a breath of fresh air. Even as a Republican, I’m willing to give Rosen a chance. I already know what I’ll get with Vicara, and I’m tired of bending over for the Republican cause.
George April 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Shocked they did not ask for a donation to their cause.

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