Just as he did last October when he falsely accused a Republican candidate for Red Bank Council of being a fugitive, Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal is lying today in his attempt to make political hay over the arrest of former Manalapan Mayor Andew Lucas.
Lucas was indicted for alleged actions in connection with his purchase of Burke Farm.
The ever deceptive young chairman issued a statement to PoltickerNJ and other outlets that alleges a scandal regarding the sale of the development rights to the farm to the state/county and municipally funded Open Space program. Gopal say blatantly accuses the Republican members of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders of being involved in the scandal. The U.S. Attorney thoroughly investigated the sale of the farm, with the cooperation of Monmouth County officials. No charges have been filed regarding the sale of the development rights. No one other than Lucas has been charged with any wrong doing.
Municipal Chairman likens Township Committeeman to fugitive Edward Snowden
Invoking the recently deceased radio personality, Bob Grant, Manalapan Republican Chairman Steve McEnery referred to Township Committeeman Ryan Green as a “petulant pipsqueak” and likened Green to Edward Snowden at last night’s reorganization meeting.
Here are McEnery’s remarks are prepared for delivery:
A famous radio personality died recently; he was a former resident of Manalapan and worked in radio for 50 years or so. His name was Bob Grant many of you may remember him. He was a strong conservative voice, but also provided a little amusement along with his views on all things.
He had a few memorable lines that he used regularly. “Get off my radio” was one that comes to mind. Another was when he addressed someone as a “petulant pipsqueak”.
By a 4-1 vote the Manalapan Township Committee elected Jordan Maskowitz to serve as mayor for the year 2014.
Ryan Green, the sole vote against Maskowitz, nominated Susan Cohen to serve a third year as mayor. Cohen declined Green’s nomination and nominated Maskowitz.
Green said Maskowitz lacks the integrity to be mayor. Green accused Maskowitz of violating the Open Public Records Act and announced he provide evidence of OPRA violations, 50 emails, to the Monmouth County Prosecutor tomorrow.
Maskowitz said that the emails Green was referring to were contract related and not subject to OPRA.
Cohen broke from her prepared remarks to rebuke Green. She said that Green was grandstanding and that if he believed the law had been violated he should have immediately gone to the prosecutor. Cohen said she would have gone with Green to the prosecutor if she believed there were OPRA violations on the committee.
Green said he had the unanimous support of the Township Committee members to be mayor in 2014, prior to his writing the State Department of Community Affairs and the State Department of Health with concerns over the committee’s negotiations with the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad.
During the public portion of the reorganization meeting, Manalapan Republican Chairman Steven McEnery said that he make a mistake in ever recommending Green for public office. McEnery said that Green had proven not to be a team player, rather he is only out for himself. McEnery apologized to the the entire Monmouth County Republican Commitee for recommending Green be elected a freeholder in 2012.
Jack McNaboe was elected Deputy Mayor by a 5-0 vote.
Andrew Lucas resigned his position on the Manalapan Committee today. His term was due to expire at the end of this year. He was not seeking reelection.
His two line resignation letter simply said he was resigning effective immediately and appreciated the opportunity to serve.
Mayor Susan Cohen and Committeeman Ryan Green both said they had no idea why Lucas resigned. Lucas has not returned a call for comment.
Once a rising star in the Monmouth GOP, Lucas was a nominee for Freeholder in 2006, losing to Barbara McMarrow of Freehold Township, then a Democrat. McMarrow has since become a Republican and is a member of the Freehold Township Committee.
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.
Manalapan Township Committeeman Andrew Lucas’ $1.152 million sale of the development rights to a farm in owns in the Township was not approved by his colleagues on the committee this evening. The motion to approve the Township’s $187,000 contribution to the the purchased failed on a 2-2 vote.
Committeeman Ryan Green first moved to table the purchase due to incomplete documentation. Committeeman Jordan Maskowitz voted with Green to table the purchase. Mayor Susan Cohen and Committeeman Donald Holland voted against tabling. Cohen and Holland then voted to approve the purchase. Green and Maskowitz voted no. Lucas the fifth member of the committee recused himself from voting on the purchase of his own property.
Green told MMM that Lucas left the dais when the matter came up and left the building. Lucas did not return for the remainder of the Township Committee meeting.
Green said he has not decided how he would vote when and if the documentation for the sale is completed.
Monmouth County’s portion of the purchase is on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. The Freeholders will not proceed without Manalapan’s portion of the purchase being approved, according to Freeholder Director Tom Arnone.
Lucas, Manalapan’s former mayor and a former GOP candidate for freeholder, purchased the farm which had been slated for development in March of 2010 for an undisclosed amount. Soon thereafter he started the process of selling the development rights, for $1.152 million, through funding through the State, County and Township. Lucas participated on Township Committee discussions of his application.
The purchase approved by the Freeholder Board in May of 2011 was held up by an ethics complaint filed by former Manalapan Mayor George Spodak. The State Agriculture Development Committee conditioned its funding on an satisfactory ethics review of the transaction. Local Finance Board Chairman Thomas Neff wrote Lucas in September of last year to inform him that his application had been approved because he consulted with the Manalapan Township Attorney about his application. Neff’s letter also said that the Board would use Lucas’s case to provide clear guidance to future office holders to recuse themselves from applications that they have an interest in.
Arnone and Freeholder John Curley have announced that they oppose the purchase of the Lucas farm. Freeholder Lillian Burry supports the purchase. Deputy Director Serena DiMaso and Freeholder Gary Rich have not announced how they would vote on the purchase should it make it out of Manalapan.