School board member admits to driveby of opponent’s home.
TOMS RIVER-After a story was published Tuesday by Ocean County Politics, a political news website covering Ocean County political matters regarding the Toms River School Board, it was learned today that Toms River School Board member Dan Leonard may be facing ethics and criminal charges as a result of an incident this past weekend where he was accused of stalking and harassing a fellow board member.
A long running political feud between Leonard, who is also an Ocean County public employee, and former Toms River Board President Robert Onofrietti escalated with the report of Leonard parking his vehicle outside of Onofrietti’s home and observing his wife and children.
“I apologize but I was in the neighborhood Saturday and was truly curious what living above your means looks like,” Leonard posted today on his Facebook page.
After being noticed, according to the report, by Onofrietti’s wife, who was walking her dog, Leonard sped off. Shortly after, Leonard texted Onofrietti, “:)” and “nice dog!”, an apparent attempt to intimidate his fellow board member.
This follow up text was confirmed by the Toms River Police Department, according to public information officer Ralph Stocco.
Today, Onofrietti spoke about the ordeal and what he said has been months of harassment by Leonard against his family, including his children at the hands of Leonard, a U.S. Army veteran.
“This past weekend I had to file a police report, along with harassment charges against a fellow board of education member of our Toms River school district. This board member decided to come to my house, sit in the front of my house for about 30 minutes that I knew of vs. the video footage, and stare with his buddy at my daughter while she was getting the dinner table set,” Onofrietti said. “Then he thought it was the time to take his truck speeding down our street towards my wife and dog, and come back around the cul-de-sac with his vehicle pointed in my direction at my mailbox.”
“In addition to this, I had to file ethics charges against the same board member for his breech of confidential information about my child over social media,” he added. “This board member is an adult and thought it was right to convey the details of a confidential learning plan and then accuse me of abusing my Board of Education ‘powers’.”
Onofrietti called on Leonard to resign his position as a board member.
“Over the last 12 months the bullying, abuse, and harassment that my family and I have suffered at the hands of this gentleman will no longer be tolerated. Any person that has the wherewithal to do and say the appalling, and vulgar things that this gentleman does for his entire time on the BOE, and then have the audacity to then go after a minor on his personal Facebook page, to then harrass and try to intimidate me by coming to my home- while holding a seat on our TR BOE- is not fit to be a board member,” he continued.
Leonard responded to Onofrietti on his social media page by listing a 2013 foreclosure auction notice against Onofrietti’s home, furthering the online harassment.
Students of the school district today vowed to support Onofrietti, who is a well-respected community volunteer and the top vote getter in the 2014 school board election.
Leonard has also been critical of Shore News Network’s political corruption investigations into his attempt to hire a political campaign donor and his involvement in a for profit entity which he did not disclose in his 2017 public financial disclosure, which is required by New Jersey state law upon taking public office.
On Leonard’s “Team Leonard” facebook page, which is cluttered with political vitriol and scenes of Nazis “sieg heiling”, Leonard hinted that his frustration with Onofrietti stems from a 2017 board vote in which the politically connected law firm of Holman Frenia was not selected to a lucrative board auditor contract.
In that vote, Leonard, lashed out at those who refused to hire the firm. It later turned out the firm made a substantial financial contribution to Leonard’s political campaign, cited by Board President Ben Giovine as his reason for not choosing the firm, which had a bid which was $20,000 cheaper than the firm chosen.
Giovine said he and fellow board members noted recent history with political corruption on the school board and former Superintendent Michael Ritacco as the rationale behind their voting decision that night.
News of Leonard’s impending harassment charges follow a story released earlier today in which an employee of the district launched sexual harassment charges against Superintendent David Healy.
Leonard is expected to face the public tonight at the Toms River Regional School Board meeting to be held at 7:30pm at Toms River High School North.
Below is the breaking news story on this matter, published by Politics OC.
TOMS RIVER – A dispute between two elected officials who are members of the Toms River Board of Education has culminated in the filing of a police report in which Beachwood school board representative Daniel Leonard has been named a “person of interest,” public records revealed. Dan Leonard Robert Onofrietti There’s drama on the Toms River…