Judge Lawson: Freeholder Lillian Burry had no conflict of interest regarding Lucas farm vote

Judge Lawrence M. Lawson

Judge Lawrence M. Lawson

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.

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Posted: January 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Winners and Losers of 2013, Part 3

Monmouth County’s Biggest Losers

Vin SmugVin Gopal. When you’re twenty-eight years old and the most popular governor in the nation singles you out as a practitioner of the “politics of yesterday,” twice in four months, you’re having a bad year.

Worse for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairman, he doesn’t have the juice to enforce the retribution he promised to Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long and Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, two Monmouth County Democrats who endorsed Governor Chris Christie’s reelection.

When you’re a twenty-eight year old County Chairman and the elite statewide power players of your party convene for dinner in your county, twice, and you’re not invited, you’re having a bad year.

When, after a devastating county-wide electoral loss, a member of your party leaks your declaration of victory taking credit for wins in races you lost and for a victory in a non-partisan election you weren’t involved in, you’re having a bad year.

But none of those things are what landed Vin Gopal on MMM’s biggest loser list.

Gopal in on this list because of his reckless, mean-spirited and false attempted character assassination of a Republican candidate for Red Bank Borough Council.

Gopal launched his inaccurate attack against Sean DiSomma in a press release late on a Friday afternoon in October.   He encouraged reporters to print his allegations on over the weekend and do their fact checking on Monday, after the story had legs.  Some did, to their own detriment.

In his desperate zeal to win in a Democratic town where he was losing, Gopal ruined his credibility with members of the media who had come to rely upon him as a reliable source.

The Bayshore Tea Party GroupOnce respected as a powerful and principled political force, Barbara Gonzalez , Bob Gordon and their shrunken band of zealots traded their welcome at Republican power tables where they could have made a difference for the road less taken of self-righteous irrelevancy.

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Posted: December 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Walsh To Challenge Freeholder Incumbents

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination.  Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race.

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh, second from left, and Freeholder Gary Rich, right, are set to compete for a 2014 GOP nomination. Andrew Lucas, left, then a Manalapan Committeeman and Wall Township Committeeman George Newberry, between Walsh and Rich. Photo from 2011 Freeholder nomination race. Photo credit Rhoda Chodosh

Freeholder Lillian Burry: “They (her opponents) should say what they would do better. Their negative attacks make them look like asses.  They are asses!”

The By-Laws instituted by Monmouth Republican Chairman John Bennett as the fulfillment of one of his major campaign promises in 2012 will likely result in one of his most ardent supporters, Freeholder Lillian Burry, being challenged at the 2014 Monmouth Republican Nominating Convention in March.

Howell Councilman Bob Walsh said he will seek a nomination for freeholder when the Republican County Committee convenes next spring.  Incumbents Burry and Freeholder Gary Rich both said they will seek the nominations for new terms…Burry’s 4th, Rich’s 2nd…and that they are prepared to fight back Walsh’s challenge.

“Tell him to wait his turn,” Burry said of Walsh’s challenge.  “I’m running and I support Gary Rich for another term.”

“I’ve heard the name mentioned as a candidate,” Rich said of Walsh, “but I haven’t heard from him. It is interesting that he would challenge an incumbent like Lillian Burry who has such an exemplary record serving the taxpayers of Monmouth County.  Lillian and I both work very hard to improve the county.”

“Freeholders are not elected for life,” Walsh, a former Howell mayor elected as an Independent, said, “my record speaks for itself.  Lillian and Gary are both vulnerable. The Democrats are looking to take them out are excited about running against them.  I am more electable than either of them and I would be a better freeholder than either of them.”

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Posted: December 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments »

Democratic Freeholder Candidate Sues Monmouth County Over Lucas Farm Deal

Lawrence Luttrell, a Holmdel attorney, has filed suit against Monmouth County on behalf of a new non-profit corporation, Residents Against Government Exploitation (RAGE), over the government purchase of the development rights to Manalapan Township Committee Member Andrew Lucas’ farm for $1.152 million.

The plaintiff non-profit could be called LAGE, Luttrells Against Government Exploitation.  The trustees of the entity are Luttrell, his wife and his mother.

Luttrell is a Democratic candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder.

The all Republican Monmouth County Board of Freeholders passed a resolution by a 3-2 vote on February 28 to join the Township of Manalapan and the State of New Jersey in purchasing the development rights to the Lucas property for farmland preservation.  The county contributed $277,920, Manalapan paid $186,969 and the State picked up $687,111 of the purchase.  Freeholders Lillian Burry, Gary Rich and Serena DiMaso voted in favor of funding the purchase.  John Curley and Freeholder Director Tom Arnone voted no.

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Posted: June 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Manalapan Governing Body To Appoint Planning Board Chairman To Township Committe Vacancy

John “Jack” McNaboe will be appointed tonight to fill the vacancy on the Manalapan Township Committee created by Don Holland’s resignation, according to the township’s GOP Chairman Steve McEnery.

McNaboe currently serves as chair of the township Planning Board and as a member of the Emergency Management Subcommittee.

The new committeeman will defend the seat in the November general election.  If victorious, he is expected to run for a full term in 2014.

McNaboe will be joined by Deputy Mayor Jordan Maskowitz and Mary Ann Musich as Republicans seeking to maintain 5-0 controll of the governing body in November.  Maskowitz is seeking his second term.  Musich was nominated last Saturday to run for Andrew Lucas’ seat. Lucas chose not to run again, giving up a grandfathered pension eligibility and health benefits, after selling the development rights to his farm to the State Farmland Preservation Program for $1.152 million.

Musich currently serves as a Commissioner on the Western Monmouth Utilities Authority (WMUA), a post she has held since 2012.  Prior to serving on the WMUA, Mrs. Musich spent more than 15 years on the Manalapan Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, where she also served as Chairperson.  Outside of her experience in Manalapan, Mrs. Musich is retired from a 20 year career in municipal government, having worked for the East Brunswick Sewage Authority.

Posted: March 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Manalapan Governing Body To Appoint Planning Board Chairman To Township Committe Vacancy

Lucas takes the money and doesn’t run

andrew lucasManalapan GOP Chairman Steve McEnery told MoreMonmouthMusings that Andrew Lucas has chosen not to seek reelection to the Manalapan Township Committee, citing the demands of raising two young children and of building a new house on the farmland to which he just sold the development rights to the taxpayers for $1.152 million.

Lucas is completing his third three year term on the committee.  He was a GOP nominee for freeholder in 2006.

The Manalapan GOP Committee is meeting Saturday morning March 9 to choose the replacement for Committeeman Don Holland who resigned on Monday and an additional candidate to run for Lucas’ seat in the fall.  Committeeman Jordan Maskowitz is seeking reelection.

With three seats now open in November, the 5-0 Republican control of the Manalapan Commitee is now at stake in November.

Posted: March 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Manalapan Committeeman Don Holland Resigns

Don HollandManalaplan Committeeman Don Holland resigned effective yesterday, according to a report in the Manalapan Patch.

Patch cites a press release from Manalpan GOP Chairman Steve McEnery which stated Holland resigned for health reasons.  Holland could not be reached this evening.

On December 6, 2012 Holland submitted and later retracted his resignation, according to documentation obtained by MMM and an interview with Holland.

Holland and Mayor Susan Cohen, the Monmouth GOP Vice Chair, are the two Manalapan Committee members who voted to approve the funds to purchase Andrew Lucas’ farm development rights last week.

Holland was first elected to the Township Committee as a Democrat.  He switched parties and was reelected as a Republican in 2011.  His term is scheduled to expire in December of 2014.

The Manalapan Republican Committee will submit 3 candidates to fill the vacancy within 30 days.  The four remaining Committee members will chose one of those three candidates to serve until the November election.  The voters will elect a candidate to complete the term.

The Manalpan Township Committee was 5-0 Republican prior to Holland’s resignation.  With this vacancy, partisan control of the committee is at play, as the new Committee Member will have to defend the seat and run with incumbents Andrew Lucas and Jordan Maskowitz in November, assuming the incumbents both seek reelection.

Posted: March 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »