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.

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

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.

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.

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

Niemann Endorses Bennett, Says “You cannot be a Party Leader and an Elected Official”

Fred Niemann. Photo via ElderAbuseInNJ.com

Fred Niemann. Photo via ElderAbuseInNJ.com

Citing his personal experience on how difficult the job of Party Chairman is, former Monmouth Republican Chairman Fred Niemann issued an endorsement letter for John Bennett today.

Niemann served one term as Monmouth GOP Chair from 2004 -2006, a tumultuous time in the Party’s history that included the Operation Bid Rig arrests, raucous nominating conventions and the emergence of blogs and other new media.

While praising both Bennett and his opponent for Chairman, Sheriff Shaun Golden, Niemann argued that an elected official can not manage the conflicts or make the tough decisions a Chairman must make.

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Posted: June 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, John Bennett, Monmouth County Republican Committee, Monmouth GOP, Shaun Golden | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Vin Gopal Threatens Legal Action Against MoreMonmouthMusings

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal has threatened the owner of this website, Gallco Media, LLC, with “all legal remedies under law” unless the post, Feds Charge Indian National With Abusive Sexual Contact, is removed from the site.  Gopal’s attorney, D. Sam Han, Esq. of Sobel Han, LLP of Englewood Cliffs, further demands that an apology and retraction be posted that clearly denotes the improper usage of Gopal’s picture on this site.  The photo in question is posted to the left.  Han’s letter can be viewed here.

On behalf of Gallco Media, I consulted with two attorneys to find out what these “legal remedies under law” might be. Both said there aren’t any and that Gopal does not have an actionable claim.  Bring it on, Han. Play it again, Sam. You’re not gonna win, Vin.

We really must have gotten under Gopal’s skin.  He didn’t threaten legal action against the campaign of Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini in the the 2011 legislative race when they sent the now infamous Joe Vas mailer out against Gopal who was running against them at the time.  The mailer was widely criticized in the media and even by many Republicans at the time.  MMM didn’t write about the mailer in 2011 because I was in jail on ginned up charges when the controversy broke. I’m particularly sensitive to the consequences of exaggerated allegations made in the media.

Gopal’s gotten a small taste of his own medicine.  We hope he’ll alter his conduct, and lead members of party to do the same.  It’s not looking too good, so far, but that is what we’re after in our “Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett did not issue a statement…” posts and our posts calling Gopal on his duplicity.

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Posted: March 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth Democrats, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Monmouth Democrats Are Off And Running

Monmouth GOP has its pants on the ground

Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo. Photo via facebook

Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo. Photo via facebook

Their nominating convention is not until March 22 at the IBEW Local 400 union hall in Wall Township, but Monmouth County Democratic freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo are off and running full speed ahead.

Luttrell, the Holmdel attorney who came in last against Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso, as well as his running mate Brian Froelich, after being endorsed by the Asbury Park Press last year, announced he was running again almost immediately after his sad showing.

Grillo is the former Executive Director of the Monmouth Democrats and the municipal chairman of the Asbury Park Democrats. Like Luttrell, he has never held elected office. Grillo was briefly a candidate for the Asbury Park City Council last year, withdrawing from the race prior to the filing deadline. Since leaving his position as ED of the Monmouth Dems, Grillo has worked for his family’s tile company in Howell.

Grillo stepped up his game over the weekend with a fundraising email blast that announced his candidacy.  He raised $6,200 online through Sunday. A Democrat who does not want to be known for talking to a Republican leaning site told MMM that Grillo has raised over $20,000 for his campaign including checks collected offline. His stated goal is to raise $50,000 by the June 3rd primary.

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Posted: March 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Monmouth County, Monmouth Democrats, Monmouth GOP | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Feds Charge Indian National With Abusive Sexual Contact

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh

Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal, not Devender Singh

Devender Singh, 61, an Indian national who resides in Baton Rouge, LA was arrested by federal authorities at Newark-Liberty airport yesterday as he departed his United Airlines flight from Houston, TX.

Singh is alleged to have kissed and fondled the female passenger sitting next to him while she was sleeping.  The woman told the FBI that when she awoke, Singh’s hand was in her shirt, he was kissing her face and cheek, and that he was stroking his exposed penis with his other hand.

The married jeweler appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo this afternoon.  He remains detained in federal custody with the option to request a bail hearing. Should he be convicted of abusive sexual contact, Singh faces a possible two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Monmouth County GOP Chairman John Bennett did not issue a statement accusing his Democratic counterpart, Vin Gopal, of being a sexual predator because he is of Indian descent.

Last month Gopal accused Monmouth County Republicans of being corrupt because former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas was indicted on fraud charges for actions connected to the acquisition of a farm that he later sold the development rights to for farmland preservation.  Last October, Gopal falsely accused a Red Bank Republican candidate of being a fugitive.

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sex Crimes, U.S. Attorney, Vin Gopal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »