Andrew Lucas resigned his position on the Manalapan Committee today. His term was due to expire at the end of this year. He was not seeking reelection.
His two line resignation letter simply said he was resigning effective immediately and appreciated the opportunity to serve.
Mayor Susan Cohen and Committeeman Ryan Green both said they had no idea why Lucas resigned. Lucas has not returned a call for comment.
Once a rising star in the Monmouth GOP, Lucas was a nominee for Freeholder in 2006, losing to Barbara McMarrow of Freehold Township, then a Democrat. McMarrow has since become a Republican and is a member of the Freehold Township Committee.
Lucas competed for a 2011 Freeholder nomination, losing to Gary Rich. Following his defeat for a freeholder nomination, Lucas announced his intention to seek an Assembly seat from the newly drawn 12th legislative district before bowing out in favor of Rob Clifton, then the Freeholder Director.
Lucas’ final term on the Manalapan Committee was dominated by the controversy over his sale of the development rights of a 97 acre farm in the Township to the government for open space. Lucas received $1, 152,000 for the rights and kept the farm, which is how these open space deals work. This deal was controversial because Lucas participated in Township Committee discussions about the purchase without disclosing his ownership. He recused himself from all votes on the transaction which was approved by the State Ethics Committe.
Monmouth County Democratic Freeholder Candidate Lawrence Luttrell has made an issue of Freeholder Lillian Burry’s vote to approve the Lucas farm purchase, going so far as filing a law suit against the County to invalidate the sale due to Burry’s alleged conflict of interest. Luttrell says Burry had a conflict because Lucas held a political fundraiser for her at the farm in October of 2011.
Luttrell told MMM that Lucas paid off a $700,000 mortgage on the farm out of the $1.152 million proceeds from Manalapan, Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey.
Cohen told MMM that the Manalapan Republican Committee with meet within 15 days to nominate three people to fill the remainder of Lucas’s term. Maryann Musich, the GOP nominee for the seat is likely to be one of the three names submitted for the all Republican Township Committee to chose from, “But you never know what the Committee will do,” Cohen said.
Lucas is the second member of the five member committee to resign this year. Don Holland resigned in March. Holland was replace by Jack McNaboe.