Voters Answer Resounding ‘Yes’ to New Jersey’s Two Ballot Questions

1939Voters approved two ballot questions — one to replenish a virtually bankrupt open-space preservation program and the other to make fundamental changes to who is eligible for bail and who is not in New Jersey. Both questions, which would amend the state’s constitution, proved controversial. Unlike previous open-space ballot questions this one proved contentious, even…

Posted: November 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, News | Tags: , , , | 2 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 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 »

Christie rails against open space ballot measure

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Posted: August 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey, News, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

NJ lawmakers open debate on newest open space proposal

NJ lawmakers open debate on newest open space proposal (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — Seeking to end a legislative stalemate over open space preservation, state lawmakers today began to debate a new proposal that would divert about $150 million a year in business taxes to protect land and historic sites in New Jersey. With…

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Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: New Jersey, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , | Comments Off on NJ lawmakers open debate on newest open space proposal

Lucas Farm Purchase Approved By Manalapan, Freeholders

Andrew Lucas will finally get his $1,152,000.

After almost three years since the Manalapan Township Committee Member purchased a 97 acre farm in Iron Ore Road, the Manalapan Township Committe and the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders approved the funding of their respective portion of the purchase of the development rights to the property.  Manalapan is paying $186,969.10 of the purchase price. Monmouth County is paying $277,920. The balance is coming from State coffers for the purpose of Open Space preservation.

Manalapan’s all Republican Committee approved their funds, 2-1, on Wednesday evening, according to ManalapanPatch.  Committeeman Ryan Green voted no. Deputy Mayor Jordan Maskowitz abstained.  Mayor Susan Cohen, the Monmouth GOP Vice Chair, and Committeeman Donald Holland voted to approve the purchase.  Lucas recused himself from the proceedings.  Maskowitz and Lucas are both up for reelection this November.

The isssue was heated at the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders meeting last night, with John Curley accusing his fellow freeholder, Lillian Burry, of colluding with Lucas. Lucas hosted a fundraiser for Burry at the farm in 2011, according to the Asbuy Park Press.   The APP said the exchanges between Curley and Burry were so intense that Freeholder Director Tom Arnone called multiple recesses.  Arnone voted with Curely against the purchased.  Gary Rich and Serena DiMaso joined Burry in voting for the purchase.

Democratic Freeholder candidate Lawrence Luttrell asked Burry to recuse herself.  County Counsel Andrea Bazer advised Burry that she had no conflict that would prevent her from voting.

Former Middletown Democratic Township Commitee candidate Linda Baum also spoke against the purchase on ethical grounds.

The issue has been controversial for years because, while he recused himself from voting as a committee member on the purchase, Lucas participated in deliberations about the transaction.  The State Local Finance Board approved the ethics of Lucas’ participation due to the fact that he sought the advice of the Township’s attorney.  In their opinion, the Finance Board indicated that they would be issuing new rules to cover future similar circumstances.

Posted: March 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Lucas Farm Purchase Stalled in Manalapan

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.

Posted: February 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Exodus of Perretti Farms Stallions Creates Challenge for New Jersey’s Horse Racing Future

 NEWS  from the STANDARDBRED BREEDERS & OWNERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW  JERSEY

MANALAPAN,  NJ – November 30, 2012 — The loss of New Jersey stallions to slots-enriched  programs in other states is now a reality.

Perretti  Farms in Cream Ridge, NJ has announced that it has moved two of the harness  racing industry’s premier stallions to Pennsylvania for the 2013 breeding  season.

Muscles  Yankee and Rocknroll Hanover will be relocated from Perretti’s 1,000 acres of  prime farmland in Upper Freehold Township across the state line to Newtown, PA  to take advantage of the casino-enriched purses in Pennsylvania, especially the  Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program.

The  New Jersey Sire Stakes program, which for three decades was the model for other  states and provinces, is now one of the weakest because of the paucity of purse  money.

New  Jersey is no longer competitive, putting more than 170,000 acres of equine  farmland in jeopardy,” said Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association  President Tom Luchento.  “Without a healthy breeding program, the stallions  and broodmares will move – have moved — to adjoining states where they are  flushed with the cash from casinos and racinos [racetracks with casino-style  wagering].

“Not  only is the preservation of farmland at stake, but also more than 10,000 jobs  currently filled by tax-paying residents who are ill-equipped to change careers  and will end up on welfare rolls,” Luchento added.

Trenton  continues to focus on ways to improve Atlantic City and other businesses which  provide fewer jobs, while the horseracing industry gets pushed aside,” Luchento  said.  “They have tried to Band-Aid the problem with a few short term  solutions.  Meanwhile, the wound continues to grow, and the decision by  Perretti Farms is a pure product of that injury.

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Posted: November 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Atlantic City, Casinos, Horse Racing Industry, Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Racinos | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »