Authorities Raid Former Wall School Chief’s Home [POLL/AUDIO]
Another raid of a school superintendent's home at the Jersey shore. Still no word on why Monmouth County authorities were at the former Wall Township school chief's home Thursday for more than six hours - or what they were looking for.
Less than a month after prosecutors subpoenaed the wall school district for records relating to James Habel, authorities combed through his Point Pleasant Boro home.
"We are investigating a potential criminal matter" said Chris Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor.
Habel spent the last six months on medical leave, then took retirement in June when his contract expired. He's due more than $400,000 in unused sick and vacation time, which was recently questioned by the Board of Education.
Investigators were recently looking through records at the Board of Education office, according to current Wall Township Superintendent Daniel Simon.
"At this point we have done what we've been asked to do and we really have no further action with the process" said Simon.
He became principal at Wall High School in the 1996-1997 school year, and was promoted to superintendent in 2003. In June 2011, he announced he would not seek a new contract. He was on medical leave from January of this year until June.
In 2008, Habel applied for the superintendent's job at the Pinellas County school system in Florida. He said in an application that he had been a part-time resident of Pinellas County since 1987 and had recently built a new home in Dunedin, Florida.
"I am confident that I offer a diverse background and a unique combination of experience and skills as a public school administrator, teacher and coach," he wrote in a cover letter. He said one of his greatest strengths was his ability "to think outside the box."
"It's shocking, I've lived here for close to thirty years and I've seen Habel around, he was a quiet guy that kept to himself" said a neighbor.
"If its true that he took money from the taxpayers, I'm outraged" he added.