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JV Editorial

Letters to the Editor: Lawsuit Against Lakewood Activists

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Dear Editor:

An unusual lawsuit has been filed in the NJ Superior Court by Mr. Charles (Chatz) Schwab against local Lakewood activists. Charles claims that the defendants have contributed to the ‘Hefkervelt’ and ‘Jleaks’ blogs, which make various uncomplimentary statements about…

The defendants, Messrs. Klein, Sharaby and Hershkowitz include some of the foremost Lakewood leaders fighting local corruption and immorality (especially same gender marriage) for years. Apparently, this law suit was filed immediately after the election, so as not to disturb the incumbents from winning their seats. Once the seats were secured, it was time to get rid of the critics.

Up until a few years ago, a few individuals enjoyed running the political agenda in town. They controlled the local press, thereby keeping the masses uninformed. Three years ago, things started changing. A blogger, who goes by the name ‘First Amendment Activist’, began videoing all township meetings. The township tried to have him arrested, but then backed off.

Since then, the Lakewood Township has a public online live stream of all township functions. Then the ‘Take Back Lakewood’ movement started. People started speaking up. Requests for public information were becoming more common. Information was passed around on WhatsApp. People, en masse, were showing up to the township meetings to protest political corruption, traffic, overbuilding, and misuse of the taxpayers’ money.

The situation escalated when the Lakewood’s cash-strapped Board of Education rehired its former board attorney on a contract worth at least $600,000 per year.

The Lakewood Board of Education agreed to a contract with attorney Michael Inzelbuch that would pay him an annual $600,000 retainer, plus $29,000 in health insurance reimbursement and $350 per each hour of additional litigation.

“I’ve never seen a contract of this size in 30 years for something like this,” said David Sciarra, executive director of the Newark-based Education Law Center, the group that filed the complaint. He said that Department of Education regulations prohibit school districts from agreeing to advance-payment contracts with outside contractors.

The board’s decision to offer Inzelbuch a $600,000 retainer comes as the school district continues to deal with a budget crisis. The district has a $40 million budget shortfall and faced the prospect of laying off nearly a quarter of its teachers. The state eventually gave the district a million loan, while Lakewood Township gave an additional $1 million to get the district through the upcoming school year. School officials have said that the funding issue will get worse next year.

‘This is an outrage’ says Mr. Harold Hershowitz. ‘How in the world are we going to repay this? This is not a solution, it’s just kicking the can down the road. People are really upset about this. This waste and mismanagement need to stop.’

Apparently, this lawsuit seeks to suppress this movement.

Defendants’ response: This frivolous lawsuit was orchestrated by Menashe Miller, Meir Lichtenstein, Shlomo Chaim Kanarek and the self-appointed ‘Lakewood V*a’ad’, in order to stop us from our עבודת הקודש. These greedy individuals should not be allowed to pillage the Lakewood taxpayers any further. We will continue to expose local corruption and fight against the decline of immorality in American society.

Sincerely

Moshe Cohen
Lakewood

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