Brick schools chief, two others charged with theft, misconduct
Brick Township Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Uszenski, his daughter and a former school official are under arrest for allegedly using school funds illegally to furnish Uszenski's grandchild with full-time day care and transportation.
Uszenski, Jacqueline Halsey and former Interim Special Services Director Andrew Morgan are charged with official misconduct and theft, according to information from the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.
The arrests took place earlier today after investigators converged on the district offices. They estimate that about $40,000 of school money was spent. Uszenski was apprehended at his district office at 9 AM. Morgan surrendered to investigators at 12 Noon. Halsey was arrested at her home.
Morgan is accused of hatching the plan for the benefit of Halsey and her preschooler, by claiming that the services were educationally appropriate and necessary, authorities said.
Halsey developed and approved the request, which Uszenski and Morgan subsequently approved to enable the Brick Board of Education to set aside funds and coordinate services, investigators said.
Morgan and Uszenski had worked together prior to his hiring by Board of Ed on Uzsenski's advice and request, authorities said. He was commissioned to conduct an audit of special services, which undermined the then-director's performance, investigators said.
The seven-page document recommended in-house special needs services rather than paying tuition for out-of-district services, leading to Morgan's hiring as Interim Director, investigators said.
They allege that the audit was a pretense to hand the director's post to Morgan, which he undertook on July 1, 2013. One of his first missions was to expedite the plan for Uszenski's grandchild, investigators said. They also accuse Morgan of lying on his application to work for the school board.
The audit cost $17,499 and was recorded as requiring 209 hours to complete, translating to a fee of more than $83 per hour, authorities said.
Morgan was paid more than $60,000 between March 1, 2013 and his resignation the following December 31, investigators said.
The official misconduct charges against all three are second-degree counts, which would equate to prison terms of five to 10 years if convicted at trial. The theft counts are third-degree, with possible prison terms of three to five years on conviction.
Bail for Uszenski and Morgan in Ocean County Superior Court was set at $100,000 full, and they were ordered to surrender their passports. Halsey was released on her own recognizance.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information that can augment the probe is advised to call the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, 732-929-2027.