Embattled former Mayor resigns after $1.2 million land deal
While serving as mayor, Lucas applied for an Open Space grant shortly after buying 96 acres of land in Manalapan for an undisclosed amount. Manalapan Republican Committeemembers approved $1.2 million in taxpayer money for “farmland preservation” to Mayor Lucas.
The Manalapan Township Committee approved Lucas’ application in a 3-1 vote in 2011. Incumbent Republican for Township Committee Jordan Maskowitz was one of the three committeemen that voted Yes, going so far as to call the deal “a bold move by the Lucas family.”
“The Township Committee allowed this land deal to go through, then it denied several similar requests for preservation from other residents,” said Democratic candidate for Township Committee David Goldstein. “Open Space grants should be fairly distributed and not based on political favoritism.”
Earlier this year, the all-Republican Township Committee approved funding for Lucas’ land deal in a 2 to 1 vote. Jordan Maskowitz abstained from voting on the funding, which led to the approval.
“Mr. Maskowitz’s approval on the first vote and his abstention in the second vote allowed Mr. Lucas to ‘take the money and run’.” said Dr. Ayesha Chaudhary, Goldstein’s running mate along with Ryan Urgo. “If Maskowitz had the courage to oppose this deal, Mr. Lucas wouldn’t have received a $1.2 million windfall from his friends on the committee.”
“It is a sad day for Manalapan residents when one of our elected officials quits with a $1.2 million golden parachute to soften the fall - thanks to Jordan Maskowitz.” said Ryan Urgo. “Manalapan residents deserve better than this.”