Year in review: May 2015

Christine Giordano Hanlon dropped the “Acting” from her title and became Monmouth County Clerk when the NJ Senate unanimously confirmed her nomination to replace M.Claire French.  Hanlon was elected to her own five year term on November 3.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman cleared Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno in the allegations lodged at her by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Zimmer alleged that Guadagno delivered a message from Governor Chris Christie threatening to withhold Sandy relief funds if Hoboken did not approve a development application by the Rockefeller Group.

andrew lucasFormer Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas was sentenced to five years in federal prison for his convictions related to his acquisition of Burke Farm.

David Wildstein pleaded guilty in the Bridgegate scandal, claiming that the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September of 2013 were political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for failing to endorse Governor Chris Christie’s reelection. Bridget Ann Kelly and Bill Baroni were indicted in the matter. Wildstein’s attorney claimed that Christie knew about the lane closures while they were occurring. Christie claimed that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s indictment announcement cleared the governor of any wrong doing in the matter.

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Posted: December 28th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Year in review: May 2015

Vin Gopal’s Losing Formula

Gopal’s only political play is to attack the integrity of the candidates he’s running against, regardless of the veracity of the attack.

Vin Gopal trampoline

Vin Gopal is setting himself up for another fall. photo via facebook

By Art Gallagher

In the aftermath of Red Bank Council President Art Murphy announcing on MoreMonmouthMusings that he would resign his seat on the borough council and withdraw as a candidate for another term, Monmouth Demcoratic Chairman Vin Gopal complained to the Asbury Park Press and The Two River Times that he has a hard time recruiting candidates to run for office because of the toxic political environment.

From APP:

“I think it (Murphy’s resignation) is part of a larger problem, and he’s been thinking about it for a while,” Gopal said. “It’s about how negative and nasty local campaigns have been getting.”

From Two River Times:

Gopal however, said Murphy’s decision was not solely in response to the video. “It’s part of a larger problem with contemporary politics,” Gopal said, alleging that political opponents had on the sly recorded Murphy, unbeknownst to the councilman and released it for political gain.

“It’s sad it’s come to this,” Gopal said, noting that these tactics increasingly have been making it difficult to get qualified candidates.”

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Posted: August 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County News, Opinion, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lucas gets five years in federal prision

 

andrew lucasFormer Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas was sentenced to five years in federal prison this afternoon for his convictions related to his acquisition of the Burke Farm in the township.

Lucas will have to forfeit the farm he acquired with funds obtained via loans granted based on fraudulent documents, but will not have to forfeit the $417,000 profit he made by selling the development rights to the property to New Jersey’s Farmland Preservation program.

Lucas, 37, was convicted on September 18, 2014 by a federal jury on all 11 counts of an indictment charging him with wire fraud, an illegal monetary transaction, loan application fraud, false statements to the IRS, aggravated identity theft, obstruction of a grand jury investigation and falsification of records in a federal investigation. Lucas was convicted following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

Following the completion of his time in prison, Lucas will be on probation for three years.

Jeremy Baratta contributed to this report

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Posted: May 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

Exclusive: Andrew Lucas’s Sentencing Postponed Till March

By Jeremy Baratta

andrew lucas

Andrew Lucas

Former Manalapan Township Mayor Andrew Lucas told More Monmouth Musings that his sentencing in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 20, has been postponed until March.

Matthew Reilly, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s Office, told MMM that Lucas’s sentencing is scheduled for March 25th.

During a telephone interview today, Lucas stated that the reason for the rescheduling is that the United States Probation Office has not prepared his Pre-sentence Investigation Report – which is a detailed account of the defendant’s history and convictions and is used by judges during sentencing.

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Posted: January 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Crime, Crime and Punishment, Manalapan, Monmouth County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Lucas Farm Deal Explained

By Steve McEnery, Manalapan

Steve McEnery

Steve McEnery

We have been hearing about the Lucas Farm deal for about 4 years now, especially around election time. I wonder why that is? With this letter, I will try and explain what has transpired.

First, let me explain why I believe I know how this unfolded. I was friendly with Mr. Lucas, when the Farm became available. He thought about buying it; placing the property into the States Farmland Preservation Program. One of the first actions he took was to question the State’s Ethics Board to see if it was ok.  They wrote back (he read me their response) that there was nothing illegal or unethical about what he was doing, However, it might be better, politically, if he waited until he was out of office. He chose not to.

He acted then, because the property was zoned for residential use, and homes could be built on the property, adding to the congestion on Route 522A, not far from his home and farm.

This property was also viewed by the County as a prize because of its size and location since 2008. (“Target Farm List update” Sept 17, 2008).

Another Myth was that Andrew voted for this property. The Township vote took place on May 11th, 2011. The vote was Green, Maskowitz, Holland yes, Roth no and Lucas recused himself (from the Manalapan Township meeting notes). Jack McNaboe and Susan Cohen did not vote on the Farmland acquisition, they were not elected at this time.

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Posted: October 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Manalapan, Monmouth County | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Lucas Found Guilty

andrew lucas

Andrew Lucas

Former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas has been convicted of all the charges against him by a federal jury in Trenton, according to a report in The Asbury Park Press.

The jury deliberated for three hours after a two week trial before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson.

Lucas, 37, is scheduled to be sentenced to federal prison on January 20, 2015.  He remains released on $500,000 bail, subject to home confinement and electronic monitoring, according to Matthew Reilly, Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Lucas could face over 60 years in prison for his wire fraud, making an illegal monetary transaction, loan application fraud, making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service, aggravated identity theft, obstruction of a grand jury investigation and falsification of records in a federal investigation convictions.

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Posted: September 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Manalapan, Monmouth County, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Lucas admits more mistakes

Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D'Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.

Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D’Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.

Former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas is not disputing the facts that the federal government is presenting against him before a jury in Trenton.

Rather, Lucas is claiming the he made mistakes and lacked the training and expertise to accurately prepare the documents he submitted to obtain his financing for the purchase of the 97 acre Burke Farm in Manalapan, according to the Asbury Park Press’s coverage of his trial.

Lucas is defending against 11 felony charges including wire fraud, loan application fraud, illegal monetary transaction, false statements to the IRS,  aggravated identity theft, obstruction of a grand jury investigation and falsification of records in a federal investigation.

If convicted on all 11 counts against him, Lucas, 37, could be sentenced to more than 60 years in federal prison.

Closing arguments are expected to be made today.

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Posted: September 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Crime, Crime and Punishment, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Lucas takes the stand

Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D'Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.

Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D’Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.

Former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas took the stand in his federal trial on fraud charges yesterday, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.

Lucas acknowledged that he had made “egregious errors” in his loan application for financing to purchase Burke Farm, a 97 acre parcel of which he later sold the development rights to the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program for $1.16 million.  The funding for the farmland preservation deal came from the taxpayers of Manalapan, Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey.

During his full day of testimony, Lucas explained that he made his errors in haste to get the loan funded before the lender, Central Jersey Bank, was acquired by Kearny Federal Saving Bank, not part of a complicated criminal scheme to defraud the lender who did not lose any money on the transaction.

Lucas explained that the discrepancies in his income tax returns for 2007 and 2008 he submitted to the bank were the result of adjustments made to the returns after an IRS audit which was completed two days after he was approved for the loan and to glitches in his tax preparation software.  He said he did not disclose the changes in his tax returns to the bank, as required, because he “did not read the fine print.”

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Posted: September 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Manalapan, Monmouth County, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Lucas takes the stand

Lucas proceedings start this week

Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D'Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.

Andrew Lucas, center, then the Republican mayor of Manalapan, with then Freeholder John D’Amico and Amy Mallet, both Democrats, in September of 2010, seven months after Lucas purchased Burke Farm.

Jury selection is scheduled to start tomorrow in the case of the United States of America vs Andrew Lucas, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.  The trial is scheduled to start on Monday, September 8.

The former Manalapan mayor was indicted in February on fraud charges for allegedly falsifying documents to obtain financing for the purchase of a 97 acre farm in the township. He later sold the development rights to that farm to New Jersey’s farmland preservation program for $1,158 million. After an exhaustive investigation, no charges were filed concerning the farmland preservation transaction, but the investigation led to alleged irregularities in Lucas’s financial records and documents provided to a lender and an investor in his acquisition of the land.

Lucas is looking forward to his trail.  His attorney, Mario F. Gallucci, told the app, “Andrew Lucas has been looking forward to this day. He finds it unfortunate that he has to defend what he believes were legal actions that he took, and he can’t wait for his day in court.”

If convicted on all 11 counts against him, Lucas, 37, could be sentenced to more than 60 years in federal prison.

Lucas has been subject to home detention and electronic monitoring since posting $500,000 bail in February.

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Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, News | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Monmouth Dems mimick Pallone’s squinting

Devoid of ideas of how to improve Monmouth County’s government and running on so called “issues” that have failed in the last few campaigns, the Monmouth County Democratic Freeholder candidates, Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo are apparently hoping they can win in November by mimicking Congressman Frank Pallone’s odd facial expressions.  Even their campaign volunteers are doing it.

Pallone Monmouth Dems

Luttrell and Grillo have been handing out literature that blame Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Deputy Director Gary Rich for the misdeeds of Peter Burnham at Brookdale Community College and Andrew Lucas’s alleged misdeeds in the the sale of development rights to a farm that he owns to the farmland preservation program.

That’s like blaming Derek Jeter for A-Rod using steroids. Monmouth County voters didn’t fall for it last year and won’t likely fall for it this year, leaving Luttrell and Grillo to do the Pallone squint.

Pallone is kicking off his campaign with a BB-Q on Sunday afternoon.  It won’t be on Greg’s List, but click here if you want to RSVP to eat Frank’s free food.

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Posted: July 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Frank Pallone, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »