Frum residents from Lakewood, NJ and beyond packed a courtroom in New Brunswick on Erev Shabbos in a show of support for the heroic and selfless founder of the SCHI special education school in Lakewood in a case of trumped up charges relating to school funds, according to an APP report by Stacey Barchenger.
The 90-minute hearing took place just a few hours before Shabbos in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Benjamin Bucca.
Bucca will ultimately decide whether the case should be dismissed or sent before a jury. Bucca did not issue any rulings Friday.
Among those in attendance was the revered rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, Rav Yeruchem Olshin.
The crowd spilled out of the courtroom, with some having to stand outside because of the fire code limitations on the permitted number of occupants.
The school, for years, has spent more money on its students than the school has received in taxpayer dollars, thanks to the unending work of its founder, who has given his life and soul to the institution, whose work has been described by parents as “miraculous,” “life-saving” and groundbreaking.”
The school was founded in 1994, growing from a handful of students to more than 280 this year.
“There is no school like it on the continent,” one parent who went to the hearing told Matzav.com. “You have to see it to believe it. It’s hard to visit the school and not be moved to tears by the holy work that takes place between its walls. This unparalleled institution is credit to a man of unparalleled integrity, the school’s founder.”
The defense asked the judge to dismiss the five-count indictment.
The state has defended its biased and trumped-up investigation.
The judge is expected to issue a decision after Thanksgiving.
Barchenger reports that defense attorney Lee Vartan pointed out quite compellingly that SCHI spent more on students than it received in public funding, such as one year when $14.1 million in taxpayer dollars went to SCHI yet the school spent $14.8 million to operate.
Vartan, as per Barchenger’s report, argued that the state’s lead investigator misled the grand jury by saying the school was funded by public money and just a fraction of donated funds. In fact, in the course of seven years, including the time during which the alleged crimes occurred, Vartan’s court filings say the foundation and donors raised $33.1 million for the school.