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 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 »

Lillian Burry Opposes Beach Replenishment in Upper Freehold and Millstone

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry Photo by Vinnie Amessé © www.amessephoto.com

Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry
Photo by Vinnie Amessé © www.amessephoto.com

In a column in the current issue of the triCityNews, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry said that one of her opponents in the coming election was right when he accused Burry of not supporting “agricultural and farmland preservation in “coastal” towns.  “It’s for the same reason I don’t support beach replenishment in Upper Freehold and Millstone. There aren’t any beaches there, just as there aren’t a lot of farms in Red Bank or Long Branch or Asbury Park.”

Burry points out that there in only one parcel in the region qualified for the farmland preservation program, in Long Branch, and that the owner of the property has not applied to sell the development rights to the program which is funded by municipal, county and state dollars.

At issue is beachfront property at the north end of Asbury Park that is slated for residential development.   There is some vocal opposition to the proposed development and Democratic Freeholder candidate Joe Grillo is trying to jump on that band wagon to get traction in his fledgling campaign against Burry and Deputy Freeholder Director Gary Rich.

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Posted: June 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Park System | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Lucas Posts Two Properties To Cover His Bail

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 put up liens on two properties this afternoon to cover the $500,000 bond which was a condition of his release from federal custody. Lucas was arrested Friday on 11 federal charges last week, including wire fraud, identity theft and providing false information to the IRS and FBI.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Arpert gave Lucas the weekend to come up with $500,000 in assets to secure is release.

The properties are Lucas’s home at 24 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan and 351 Asbury Road in Howell.  The Howell property is own by Timothy Murphy, according to APP.com’s Data Universe.

In addition to the $500,000 bail, Lucas is subject to home confinement and electronic monitoring. He surrendered his weapons and firearms ID card.  He is prohibited from leaving the state of New Jersey.

A copy of the federal order setting the conditions of Lucas’s release can be viewed here.

Posted: February 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Andrew Lucas, Manalapan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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

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 »