At the request of Gov. Jon Corzine, Dept. of Community Affairs Commissioner, Joseph Doria, Jr., resigned today, July 23, 2009.
Asbury Radio's experience with the DCA has been marked by benign neglect. Inquiries to the office have often gone unanswered.
In the case of a local real estate deal maker, Ned Brown, who was serving improperly on the Zoning Board of Adjustment here in Asbury Park, complaints to the DCA were repeatedly ignored.
Brown continually denied a business relationship with a major rehab developer in town, which was common knowledge. Brown's office was located within the developer's offices. Brown stepped down from the board, of his own volition, prior to suing the developer for allegedly not paying the boardmember his share on their deals. The developer denied any monies were owed to the boardmember.
Brown later admitted under oath that he was guilty of four crimes contained in two indictments:
Indictment Number 07-05-1143
In pleading guilty to this indictment, Brown told Judge Mellaci that he committed the third degree crime of Official Misconduct. Brown stated that on October 9, 2001, while he was a member of the City of Asbury Park's Zoning Board of Adjustment, he failed to recuse himself or disclose his relationship with R.D.R. Properties and instead voted in favor of a zoning permit application that had been made by R.D.R. Properties. An investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office revealed that R.D.R. Properties was a company that Brown had a paid business relationship with at or about the time of the vote, and that over a period of several years Brown had worked for R.D.R. Properties in various capacities, to include without limitation as an employee, a limited partner, and a paid consultant. R.D.R. Properties' application was unanimously approved by the five member Board.
Indictment Number 06-05-895
In pleading guilty to the second indictment, Brown admitted his guilt on two counts of third degree Theft by Deception and one count of fourth degree Forgery in August 2005. Brown admitted committing Theft by Deception and Forgery when, while involved as a business partner in a limited liability corporation which purchased tax liens and mortgage notes on distressed properties in Neptune Township and Asbury Park, he stole a check issued by the Township of Neptune and made payable to his partners in the limited liability corporation in the amount of $51,462.16. Brown further admitted that he thereafter forged the signatures of his business partners and then endorsed the check into his own account that he had created in the name of his business partnership at a bank different from the one utilized by the limited liability corporation. The investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office revealed that Brown converted the money to his own uses.
Brown admitted that he committed the second count of Theft by Deception by appearing at a real estate closing on behalf of the same limited liability corporation. Upon receiving a check for the proceeds of the sale he deposited the check into his own account. Brown similarly used these funds for his own benefit.
Judge Mellaci set a sentencing date of June 13, 2008 for Brown. At sentencing the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office will recommend that Brown receive a term of probation on each offense. Pursuant to the guilty plea to the charge of Official Misconduct, Judge Mellaci ordered that Brown forfeit his right to hold public office in New Jersey in the future as is required under New Jersey law. Brown remains free on bail pending sentence.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin stated, "In pleading guilty to charges contained in two separate indictments, Brown acknowledged broad and significant criminal conduct. In one case, Brown betrayed the public and the Asbury Park Zoning Board of Adjustment by voting on a zoning permit application in which he had a clear personal interest. In the other case, Brown committed Forgery and Theft against business partners to whom he owed a fiduciary duty. The common theme in both cases is that Brown's selfish desire to serve himself trumped his obligation to adhere to the law. As a consequence of these guilty pleas, Brown has forever forfeited his right to hold any public position in the State of New Jersey."
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor John Loughrey. Brown was represented by Charles Moriarty, Esquire, of Red Bank, N.J.
Released: March 31, 2008.
Maybe with the FBI's investigation of the DCA records in Doria's home, we may learn why the department ignored AsburyRadio's inquiries. According to the FBI's press conference today, the department's 10 year-old Operation Bid Rig continues.