Monmouth County Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson has ruled that “no rational fact-finder could find a conflict of interest” in Freeholder Lillian Burry’s March 2013 vote to fund the purchase of the development rights to former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas’s Burke Farm.
In an opinion dated January 8, Lawson said that Burry did not have a conflict of interest, “real or apparent,” “potential” or “actual” in the controversial farmland preservation purchase that has been a political football in Monmouth County and Manalapan since 2010.
In a Summary Judgment, Lawson dismissed the suit with prejudice, brought by Holmdel attorney Lawrence Luttrell, a Democratic freeholder candidate at the time that he, his wife and mother-in-law formed R.A.G.E (Residents Against Government Exploitation), a non-profit corporation, for the sole purpose of bringing suit against Monmouth County over Burry’s vote on the Lucas farm deal.
Lawson noted that the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders voted to purchase the development rights to Lucas’s farm in May of 2011, five months prior to the fundraiser that was the basis for Luttrell’s
suit political stunt, and that Burry’s March 2013 vote to fund the purchase was “wholly consistent” with her vote to approve the transaction.
Luttrell and the Monmouth County Democrats made this suit the centerpiece of their 2013 campaign against Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso. Burry is up for reelection this November and Luttrell announced he is running again. Hopefully he will come up with a campaign theme this year that does not cost the taxpayers of Monmouth County legal fees, court cost and clog up the already overburdened Court calendar.
Luttrell and the Monmouth County Democrats should reimburse that tax payers for the cost of their farce of a suit.
Lawson’s opinion can be found here. See page 11.