Hopefully, Lakewood's Township Committee usually listens to their attorney's advice. Otherwise his salary is a waste of taxpayer funds.

As previously reported here on FAA News (, the Township Committee recently authorized a public land sale of two lots on Ridgeway Place (Block 368 Lot 1 and Block 363 Lot 1) for $650,000 to Toras Emes. These lots are adjacent to Toras Emes's current site.

This land sale was the result of a public auction which the Committee authorized last month. Instead of an in-person auction, the Township accepted closed bids. The minimum bid was $650,000.

These lots were previously put up for public auction at a higher price.

Back in July 2020, the Township Committee advertised a public auction on these very same lots with the minimum bid of $875,000 and no one came to bid.

Apparently, subsequent to the 2020 auction "someone" asked the Committee to reconsider the appraisal amount and they obliged, leading to the lower minimum bid sale in 2022.

Obviously, this is theft from the taxpayers because over the course of 2 years, land only went way up in value - especially in Lakewood.

Moreover though, lowering a minimum bid goes against Township Attorney Steven Secare's advice to the Committee on a similar situation in 2018.

Back in 2017 residents of Massachusetts Avenue requested that the Township sell Block 443 Lot 1 so they could purchase it and build a shul for the neighborhood.

In September 2017, after appraising the lot for $600,000 the Township put it for public auction, with a deed restriction for shul use. No one came to bid at the auction. The neighbors explained that the minimum price was over their budget and they asked the Committee to reconsider the sale at a lower price.

The Committee discussed the request at a workshop session in February 2018 with Township Attorney Steven Secare. Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein suggested "if we start the auction for less money, more interested buyers will bid and the price will increase". Mr. Secare, however, adamantly advised the Committee not to lower the price.

Somehow, in the case of Toras Emes, the Committee ignored this advice and rebid the land - for more than $200,000 below the appraised value. The taxpayers are the ones who lost out.

Why did Toras Emes get special treatment while the request from the residents on Massachusetts Avenue residents was rejected?

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