Australia’s Rabbi’s Gone Astray – This time Child Sexual Abuse Aside – Financial Crimes and Greed

Feldman takes Triguboff to court

 

Harry Triguboff and Rabbi Pinchus Feldman in happier times.

RABBI Pinchus Feldman, whose organisations have received millions of dollars from Harry Triguboff over the last few decades, took him to court last week.

Triguboff’s company Meriton, which owns Yeshiva’s Flood Street property, contacted Rabbi Feldman and several members of his family to say that their peppercorn leases for offices and the shul within Yeshiva would end and they needed to leave by April 20.

But on April 19 lawyers representing the shul and the Sydney Talmudical College Association (STCA), of which Rabbi Feldman is a director, filed a motion to prevent the eviction.

Last Thursday, the day of the proposed eviction, the court adjourned the matter which meant that Rabbi Feldman would stay past the April 20 deadline.

Rabbi Feldman’s son Yossi, who was at court for the case, told The AJN, “This is our first victory of many over Harry” only seconds after his father was given a one-week reprieve to stay in Flood Street.

The delay that  Yossi claimed was a victory, however, was actually an offer made by Triguboff.

David Austin, who acted on behalf of the Yeshiva Synagogue and STCA, said that Triguboff offered to let Rabbi Feldman and the shul remain until April 28, when the matter is back in court.

“On 28 April if the Court has time, or soon after, the court will decide whether to grant interim injunctions on the merits of our case.

“All we have to show is an arguable case and a balance of convenience.”

Following the hearing, the Yeshiva Synagogue then sent a letter to its community saying it received legal advice that eviction notices “are invalid” and that they are “entitled to remain in the premises”.

“We have requested from Mr Triguboff both formally and informally to rescind the harsh decree however those efforts have unfortunately been unsuccessful,” the letter said.

“We have weighed very carefully all of our options and sought independent rabbinic advice both locally and overseas.

“The conclusion was reached that we have no choice but to defend ourselves in court, as the eviction was slated for today.

“Baruch HaShem due to the court intervention the eviction was avoided today and we are hopeful that will continue.”

https://www.jewishnews.net.au/feldman-takes-triguboff-court/62905

To read the article in its original format click here.

A ‘Diamond in the Rough’ – Diamond JoeGutnick’s Wife

http://www.smh.com.au/business/joseph-gutnick-slams-press-reports-says-wife-is-diamond-20170426-gvtcj8.html

Joseph Gutnick slams press reports, says wife is ‘diamond’

Bankrupt former rich lister ‘Diamond’ Joe Gutnick has taken a swipe at the media after reports regarding his wife’s involvement in his companies following his bankruptcy, saying she is worth “millions” and is a “diamond”.

Mr Gutnick took the stand in the Federal Court on Thursday as public examinations of his bankrupt estate continue. His wife and son were examined earlier in the week.

 

"She is herself a very special gem, a diamond," Joe Gutnick says of his wife.

“She is herself a very special gem, a diamond,” Joe Gutnick says of his wife.

“There were disgusting reports in the newspaper,” he said.

Earlier this week, the court heard that a company linked to the bankrupt mining magnate is paying his wife, Stera Gutnick, $285,000 a year to work “a few hours a day” as a trainee jewellery designer, while her husband earns just $45,000 a year to work full time.

“She’s worth a lot more than some $200,000, possibly millions,” he said.

“She is herself a very special gem, a diamond,” he added.

“The press projected her as if she does nothing and we’re paying her an exorbitant wage. My wage is a separate issue. My concern is how this was presented in the papers,” he said.

Mr Gutnick said after his bankruptcy last year his wife worked three to four hours in the office, attended high level meetings and had research the jewellery industry extensively.

 

Stera Gutnik at the Federal Court this week.

Stera Gutnik at the Federal Court this week. Photo: Jason South

When asked what qualifications Mrs Gutnick had to be running the businesses while Mr Gutnick was bankrupt Mr Gutnick told the court: “She wears a diamond”.

Mr Gutnick also raised his plans to take defamation action over the stories.

He denied ever discussing with his wife any plans to put assets out of reach of creditors in the event he went bankrupt.

On Monday, lawyers for the bankruptcy trustees challenged Mrs Gutnick, and suggested the shuffling of directorships and her taking on the debt was part of a “broader plan to protect Joseph against bankruptcy”‘.

Philip Crutchfield QC, who was  asking questions of Mr Gutnick on behalf of two major creditors to the former magnate’s bankrupt estates, the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) and Kisan International Trading, told the court that on Monday Mrs Gutnick said her husband had discussed structuring his affairs to protect assets “in some fashion”.

Mr Gutnick said his discussions with Mrs Gutnick regarding his assets related to her desire that the couple invest in safer assets like real estate rather than speculative mining stocks.

He denied ever hiding assets from creditors.

“Over the years I ‘ve just followed the advice of my accountants and my lawyers about how my affairs have been put into place,” Mr Gutnick said.

Mr Gutnick entered bankruptcy last year after losing a court battle with his former business partner IFFCO and Kisan over a $54 million personal debt. His company Legend International Holdings owes IFFCO a further $15 million. With interest, IFFCO is owed a total of $73 million. Legend is now in liquidation.

As revealed by Fairfax Media last year, Mr Gutnick’s statement shows he owes his creditors $275 million and has only has assets of $16,087 in savings and a host of shareholdings that are valued at zero.

Some of Mr Gutnick’s debts are to relatives, including a $30.7 million debt to his wife Stera and more than $116 million in debts to three companies run by family members.

The examination continues.

Trade – Securities Fraud, Prison Sentence

jesse

NYPOST – http://nypost.com/2017/04/26/ex-jefferies-trader-jesse-litvak-gets-2-years-in-prison-again/

Ex-Jefferies trader Jesse Litvak gets 2 years in prison – again

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — There will be no stay in “Broker Raton” for this bond trader.

After four years and two trials, Jesse Litvak, a former Jefferies bond trader, was sentenced to two years in prison for lying about the price of bonds and ripping off clients — the same punishment he received nearly three years earlier for the same crimes.

In addition to the time behind bars, Connecticut federal judge Janet C. Hall imposed three years of probation and a $2 million fine, which was heftier than the $1.75 million fine he got when originally convicted.

The sentence came at the end of a four-and-a-half-hour court hearing that was hotly contested by Litvak’s team of lawyers. This time around, Litvak wanted 8 months of house arrest at his home in Boca Raton, Fla. — a town so chock full of traders it’s gotten the nickname “Broker Raton.”

Prosecutors, however, wanted to put Litvak in federal prison until 2028. In the end, it was Litvak’s own actions that did him in, Judge Hall said.

“Your victims would not have paid you what they paid you had they known the truth,” she said near the end of the marathon sentencing. “You did this to make more money.”

Litvak, 42, was at the center of a closely-watched Wall Street drama over lying to customers about the price of mortgage-backed securities — and one of the few traders to ever get caught.

His conviction and sentence is likely to have a ripple effect and lead to charges against other traders, and even whole banks, who were involved in the same practice.

The investment bank bigwig was once a rising star at Jefferies, generating major profits for an investment bank that has a notoriously rough-and-tumble culture.

But the boost came at too high a price: In 2013, Litvak was arrested on charges of making $2.25 million in illegal profit between 2009 and 2011 by puffing up the price of bonds he was selling — and ripping off investors in the process.

One of the most damning pieces of evidence against the trader to have come out during the January trial was a chat transcript that Litvak edited to make it look like one customer had paid more for bonds.

He then sent that faked conversation to a second trader at Invesco—in order to get that person to pay the higher price.

Litvak’s lawyer Dane Butswinkas, claimed during in January that the tactics were unsavory — he compared his client to a “used car salesman” — but that they weren’t illegal. Litvak’s clients included large, sophisticated investors like AllianceBernstein, which has nearly $500 billion in assets under management.

That argument ultimately failed to persuade a jury, and he was found guilty of a single count of securities fraud.

In deciding the guidelines to sentence Litvak, Judge Hall considered about $6.3 million worth of fraud over 76 transactions, all but one of which he wasn’t convicted on.

This isn’t the first time that Litvak has faced a prison sentence.

In 2014, the trader was originally found guilty of ten counts of securities fraud in the same 100-year old courthouse, and was sentenced to two years behind bars.

A Manhattan appeals court later tossed the jury’s verdict tossed when it came to light that evidence favorable to his defense shouldn’t have been excluded.

His behavior between trials ended up hurting his chance for leniency. Not only had he been caught sending text messages decrying “dumb juries” and declaring “victory,” but in 2015 he filed a suit against AllianceBernstein trader Michael Canter, who testified against him.

Judge Hall said that that suit in particular may have affected Canter’s demeanor on the stand, since during the second trial he was less enthusiastic and animated.

https://wordpress.com/post/lostmessiahdotcom.wordpress.com/31462

Gun Licenses in Brooklyn in Exchange for Political Favors – More of Shaya Lichtenstein Investigation

LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM: CRIMES COMMITTED REPRESENT AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT – LM:

A police officer trades gun licenses for money and favors thereby committing one or several crimes. He defiles the very institution of criminal justice. A Brooklyn prosecutor involved in this scheme is not only committing a crime but violating the very tenets of the legal system and his oath as an attorney.

All of this is in the name of personal gain.

Is the law enforcement officer not also rigging the job market for other police officers? Is he not manipulating the tax system used to pay the salaries of those officers?  Is the prosecutor not also potentially creating more work for himself, thereby increasing dependence upon him and the office in which he sits?

We posit that corruption within the ranks of law enforcement, the justice system, the legal profession and the supporting political system represents an existential threat to our survival and should be viewed under that lens.

LM 

The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/nyregion/3-former-police-officers-and-a-former-prosecutor-are-charged-in-widening-corruption-investigation.html?_r=0

3 Retired Officers and Ex-Prosecutor Charged in Graft Inquiry

Three retired police officers and a former Brooklyn prosecutor were charged on Tuesday in a widening federal corruption investigation into the New York City Police Department and its gun-licensing division.

The charges revolve around a scheme in which so-called gun-licensing expediters bribed police officers in exchange for approvals of hard-to-obtain gun permits, according to two criminal complaints unsealed on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The complaints also show that a former New York police sergeant, David Villanueva, and a gun-license expediter who interacted frequently with the department’s license division have pleaded guilty to bribery and other charges and are cooperating with the authorities.

The charges are the most significant development in the long-running police corruption inquiry since June, when two police commanders were arrested and accused of accepting expensive gifts from two politically connected businessmen in return for illicit favors. Sergeant Villanueva and an officer were also charged at the time in relation to the gun-licensing scheme.

The former officers charged on Tuesday were Paul Dean, who had been a lieutenant, and Robert Espinel; both had been assigned to the license division. A third defendant, Gaetano Valastro, who retired as a detective in 1999, owned and operated a store in Queens that sold firearms and related equipment and also provided firearms training courses, the complaint says.

All three men were charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery; Mr. Dean and Mr. Espinel were also charged with one count of extortion and Mr. Valastro with one count of making false statements.

The former prosecutor who was charged is John Chambers, a lawyer who specialized in helping clients navigate the gun application process in both New York City and Nassau County. He was charged with bribery and conspiracy.

Mr. Chambers gave then-Sergeant Villanueva of the gun-licensing division tickets to Broadway shows, a Paul Picot watch valued at $8,000, tickets to sporting events, sports memorabilia and cash, according to a criminal complaint sworn by an F.B.I. agent. In return, Sergeant Villanueva “ensured that renewals of N.Y.P.D. gun licenses for Chambers’ clients were approved significantly faster,” the complaint charges.

Mr. Chambers was an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

The charges were announced at a news conference on Tuesday by Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan; William F. Sweeney, the head of the F.B.I.’s New York field office; and James P. O’Neill, the police commissioner. The F.B.I. has been conducting the investigation with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau since 2013.

The charges come weeks after a Brooklyn man, Alex Lichtenstein, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on charges that he paid police officials thousands of dollars in bribes to obtain expedited handgun licenses for his clients.

A New List – ‘the Rabbis Who Steal From Special Needs Children’ – This one: For Diamonds and Supermarkets

 

NY Post: https://nypost.com/2017/04/21/rabbi-admits-to-stealing-millions-from-special-needs-school/

Rabbi admits to stealing millions from special-needs school

A Queens rabbi has pleaded guilty to embezzling $5 million from his taxpayer-funded Queens preschool — money intended for Orthodox Jewish special-needs students ages 3 to 5.

Rabbi Samuel Hiller, the former assistant director of Island Child Development Center in Far Rockaway, is expected to be sentenced to one to three years prison after Thursday’s guilty plea to first-degree grand larceny, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Under the terms of his plea, Hiller, 59, will forfeit $1 million in seized assets and must pay $1 million more by the time he is sentenced June 15, Brown said. If he fails to make the deadline, he’ll be sentenced instead to two to six years. Hiller will also agree to pay an additional $3 million at a later date, Brown said.

Hiller used the embezzled funds — stolen between 2005 and 2012 — to prop up several for-profit summer camps he ran. He also used $30,000 to revamp the plumbing in his Elvira Avenue home in Far Rockaway, prosecutors said.

“Stealing from the public is bad enough, but exploiting small children to pay your plumber and support your for-profit camps, is reprehensible,” noted state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a statement Friday.

It was DiNapoli’s office that uncovered the embezzlement scheme, in which three of the rabbi’s colleagues were also charged.

The comptroller’s office had notified Hiller’s child development center in 2012 that it would be conducting a routine audit. But when auditors arrived that July, they were told that the then-executive director, Ira Kurman, had left his position — and taken all of his books and records with him.

After an initial investigation, the comptroller’s office referred the case the the Queens DA’s Detective and Economic Crimes bureaus.

Kurman has already pleaded guilty to first-degree grand larceny, as has co-defendant Roy Hoffman, who had been hired by the pre-school to serve as its state-mandated independent auditor.

The case against the third co-defendant, Daniel Laniado, 44, of Brooklyn, a self-described “investor” in the school, is still pending.

Prosecutors say Laniado used some of the more than $1 million he pocketed to stock the shelves of his kosher supermarket in Borough Park, and to buy 7.5 carats in uncut diamonds.

https://nypost.com/2017/04/21/rabbi-admits-to-stealing-millions-from-special-needs-school/

Wealth Recovery and Binary Options Scams – Fighting Fraud and Obtaining Recovery

THE FORWARD : http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/369906/american-immigrants-win-back-millions-for-victims-of-massive-fraud-in-israe/

American Immigrants Win Back Millions For Victims Of Massive Fraud In Israel

TEL AVIV (JTA) — They were part of the problem. Now they are spearheading a solution.

A Tel Aviv-based startup run by young American Jewish immigrants to Israel, or olim, has taken on the largely fraudulent binary options industry centered in this country that has been estimated to generate as much as $10 billion a year. Owned and staffed in part by former binary options employees, Wealth Recovery International has used its insider knowledge to its advantage.

“Because I worked in the industry, I understand how these companies operate,” Wealth Recovery’s co-founder Austin Smith, 33, who calls himself a one-time fraudster, said in an interview at the company’s office. “I feel a responsibility to go ahead and help people.”

In the absence of serious action against binary options fraud by Israel authorities, Wealth Recovery has helped a couple dozen alleged victims of the industry reclaim a total of more than $4 million. The company has grown rapidly since it was founded in early 2016, in some cases by helping victims of its own employees.

The binary options industry has emerged in Israel over the past decade. According to The Times of Israel, which has been investigating the industry for nearly a year, more than 100 Israel-based companies have defrauded hundreds of thousands of people worldwide of billions of dollars – and been blamed for at least one suicide.

Binary options websites have allowed clients to place short-term bets on whether a commodity will increase or decrease in value. In most cases, though, the companies behind the websites have been suspected of rigging the game to take all or nearly all of their clients’ money. Posing as investment houses based in financial capitals like London, they have used aggressive sales tactics to maximize deposits and various ploys to avoid withdrawals. Their identities have been obscured by complex corporate structures that span multiple international jurisdictions, including tax havens.

Thousands of olim from the United States and around the world have played a role in helping the binary options companies target foreigners in their native languages. Former employees of several of the companies said more than half their co-workers were olim, and most of them were Americans. Money has been a major draw, with the olim often earning several times what they could otherwise hope to in Tel Aviv, one of the most expensive cities in the world.

“David Roth,” a 24-year-old from Southern California, asked to go by the pseudonym he has used as a Wealth Recovery salesman to protect himself from retaliation by binary options companies. After making aliyah several years ago and serving as a combat soldier in the Israeli army, he worked briefly at a fast food restaurant in Tel Aviv, making about $1,000 a month before finding work in binary options. In a good month as a salesman, Roth brought in more than $30,000, mostly on commission.

“It’s a hard country, and I’m here alone. I was trying to build myself something to fall back on,” he said. “Working my ass off at a burger place for 4-5,000 shekels a month max wasn’t getting me anywhere. The problem is that working in binary made me a terrible person, and it eventually broke me.”

Former binary options employees have described the industry’s culture as depraved. Trained to lie and apply maximum pressure, salespeople have worked late into the night to hard-sell clients in foreign time zones. Managers have encouraged them to have no mercy, whether the target was a pensioner or a cancer patient.

At the central Tel Aviv office of Numaris Communication, a one-time provider of sales and other services for the BinaryBook brand, Smith and another former employee described a vulgar and hard-partying culture straight out of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” After winning a big deposit, salespeople played the video of a song adapted from an episode of the animated TV comedy “South Park.” Together the office would sing the chorus: “And, it’s gone,” referring to the client’s deposit.

BinaryBook, which has faced legal action in Britain, did not respond to multiple interview requests. Wealth Recovery and the St. Louis-based Hamm Law Firm have begun preparing a class action lawsuit against another service provider for the brand, Ukom, on behalf of 120 American clients.

In February, weeks after law enforcement officials from North American and Europe held an emergency meeting on binary options fraud in the Hague, the FBI said it was investigating the industry around the world. The United States in 2013 had outlawed the marketing of binary options to its citizens, except on a handful of regulated exchanges.

Last spring, Israel allowed binary options companies to operate in the country as long as they refrained from targeting its citizens. In August, Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky urged the government to shutter the “repugnant, immoral” industry. And in October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called for a worldwide ban on its “unscrupulous” practices.

Earlier this year, the Knesset’s State Control Committee held two hearings on the government’s failure to deal with binary options fraud. Despite arguments by binary options advocates that entirely shutting down the industry could hurt Israel’s economy and encourage terrorism, the hearings resulted in draft legislation that would do just that.

Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and current deputy minister, called binary options a threat to the Jewish state’s international standing and urged olim to steer clear of the industry for their own sake and that of their adopted country. He said the Knesset should launch an investigation into the industry.

“The binary options scheme could be ruinous for Israel’s foreign relations,” he told JTA. “I would tell olim: Your moral standards and Israel’s interests should deter you from engaging in this type of activity. There’s enough work in other fields.”

Wealth Recovery has provided alternative employment for a small but growing number of American olim, most of them in their 20s and 30s. Smith and his two co-owners made aliyah, or immigrated to Israel, from the United States, as did most of the people who work for them. Nearly half the staff, including Smith and another co-founder, came from binary options companies. Others chose to work at Wealth Recovery rather than enter the industry.

Former binary options employees have been essential to Wealth Recovery’s success. Their fluency in English and familiarity with the scams have prepared them to pitch the company’s services. They have used some of the same marketing and sales tactics for Wealth Recovery as they did at their previous jobs, including going by pseudonyms. But they said the motive for that has changed from deceiving the client to hiding from the binary options industry, which has threatened those who cross it.

“I have nothing to hide from clients anymore. I’m helping them here,” Roth said. “But it’s really easy for people from binary to call us, and a lot of the managers of these companies are serious criminals. You don’t want to mess with them.”

Smith, whom clients have known as Mitch Williams, for the first time opened up about his company under his real name for this article as part of an effort to position himself as a public opponent of the binary options industry, which he said he hopes will offer him another kind of protection.

“I want to distinguish myself from all the fraud around me. I want people to know what they should look for in a legitimate recovery company,” he said. “Hopefully binary companies will think twice about coming after me once my name is in the newspaper.”

Smith has also begun investing more heavily in advertising and public outreach. He will speak at an anti-fraud conference in Miami later this month, and will sponsor minor league NASCAR driver Stephen Young during a series of races in August. Young gave Wealth Recovery a discounted rate because he was scammed by binary options companies in the past.

Former binary options employees, whom Smith said often require some “deprogramming” when he hires them, have also been an asset to Wealth Recovery when it comes to gathering information — the company’s stock in trade. Wealth Recovery has gathered intelligence by developing sources within the binary options industry and searching public records. Yet to have one of its cases tried in court, the company has relied on what Smith called a “shock and awe” approach to pressure more than $4 million in settlements.

“The key is to go after little people – the ones who are working the phones and actually taking the money,” he said, “They’ll freak out and pressure their bosses to settle, or they’ll turn against the company they work for.”

Israeli attorney Nimrod Assif, who has represented alleged victims of binary options fraud and advocated for immediate government action against the suspected perpetrators, said the recovery industry has fraudulent elements, though he could not comment on specific companies. Assif recommended victims come to experienced lawyers like him, who know how to build a court case using admissible and legally obtained information, but said that what is most important are results.

“This recovery industry is a bit problematic,” he said. “First, this is legal work and people need to be licensed lawyers in order to represent victims in this country. Second, I know for a fact that there are fraudsters also in this industry.

“I will say if you put aside ethical issues, the No. 1 priority is to get recovery for victims. So if companies are able to do that, it’s good.”

Last month, the U.S.-based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry’s own watchdog group, issued a warning about what it called binary options follow-up schemes and “recovery scams.”

Read more: http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/369906/american-immigrants-win-back-millions-for-victims-of-massive-fraud-in-israe/

Lakewood Schools – Religion Trumping Public Education – Where is the Outrage?

education_sign_resized

EDITORIAL: Where’s outrage over Lakewood?

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/04/07/lakewood-orthodox-school-funding/100185464/
When are the officials who are elected to represent all their constituents going to address the funding inequities and unequal treatment of the taxpayers and public schoolchildren in Lakewood? Where have state Sen. Bob Singer, Rep. Chris Smith, Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez been on this issue?

Absolutely nowhere. Thanks to the money and power of the Orthodox community, they have done nothing to address problems that could be easily resolved if they had the courage to speak up and the integrity to represent all of their constituencies equally.

Over the past couple of weeks, readers have been exposed to two more disturbing stories about Lakewood schools. The district faces a $15 million budget deficit, the possible layoffs of more than 100 teachers and deep program cuts. And the director of the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI), Rabbi Osher Eisemann, was indicted on theft and money laundering charges involving more than $630,000 in public school funds.

It’s a disgrace — two more in the steady drip, drip of outrages that characterize a school district that has had to squeeze resources and programs to accommodate the ever-expanding needs of the Orthodox community’s private schools.

The sad part is that there is virtually nothing in the works in Trenton to correct any of it. Without vocal, organized pressure from the nonOrthodox community inside Lakewood and in the communities surrounding it, there is no reason to believe things won’t get progressively worse.

MORE: Jackson dorm ban: What the residents are saying

MORE: Letter: Lakewood’s problem isn’t anti-Semitism, it’s growth

Why should anyone who lives outside of Lakewood care? First, everyone should be outraged by the injustice that it is taking place in Lakewood’s predominantly minority public schools. Second, the population pressures in Lakewood could, over time, eventually spill over into neighboring towns — something public officials and growing numbers of residents in those town are becoming increasingly conscious of.

If Singer, Christie and other legislators with the ability to influence what goes on in Lakewood had an interest in righting the wrongs there, here are five things they could do that would help:

•The state school funding formula is a mess. But changes proposed by Christie’s “Fair Funding formula” would likely make matters worse. Those suggested by Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli would be an improvement, but would not fundamentally address the unique circumstances confronting Lakewood — specifically, the fact that the busing costs to transport 30,000 Orthodox children to private schools and the extraordinary $97,000 per-pupil cost to educate special education students at SCHI in Lakewood absorb about 40 percent of the school district’s $90 million budget.

No other towns in New Jersey have similar public school budget stresses attributable to the prevalence of private schools within their boundaries. Lakewood is a special circumstance. It requires an aid formula that takes the special circumstances into account.

MORE: Lakewood yeshiva enrollment up 20 percent

MORE: Lakewood committee stands from on free trash pickup 

•Offset the undue influence of the Orthodox community on the school board by requiring that a majority of its members have children in the public school system. Right now, the Orthodox members — all of whom send their children to private Orthodox schools — are in the majority, and decisions they make often are at odds with what is best for non-Orthodox public school students.

•Draft courtesy busing legislation that ends the practice in Lakewood of having separate bus runs to private schools for girls and boys, which dramatically increases the courtesy busing tab. Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for segregated busing. The Legislature also should reconsider the cost benefit of any courtesy busing.

•Require that private schools be certified by the state in order to be eligible for state funding. Unless basic educational, facilities, health and safety standards are being met, the state should not be providing funding assistance.

•Establish specific criteria and spending caps for private special education schools such as SCHI, where the $97,000 per-student cost is far higher than similar private schools. What is the justification? The short answer: There is none. What SCHI says it needs to implement its program, SCHI gets, on the taxpayers’ dime. The indictment of the school’s director should provide extra incentive to make sure money is being spent wisely and for the stated purpose.

At the same time, the state must ensure that the students who are enrolled at SCHI are representative of the community as a whole. Historically, they have been almost exclusively Orthodox. The state needs to ensure that placements there by Lakewood’s child study teams are based entirely on need.

Some of the valid criticisms about the inequities in the school district have been wrongly directed toward state monitor Michael Azzara. There is only so much he can do. He is bound by existing rules and hamstrung by public officials who have shown no inclination to address the problems.

Editorials, letters to the editors and complaints at public meetings aren’t likely to change the trajectory in Lakewood. Putting direct pressure on lawmakers who can change the rules of the game and challenging in court some of the rules that allow the situation to persist offer the only hope for relief — and justice.

Write, email and phone Singer, Smith, Christie, Booker and Menendez, and demand action. Otherwise, expect more of the same — and worse.