Join Our Telegram Channel


Curious minds wonder if Lakewood Zoning Board Chairman Abe Halberstam is begging for yet another lawsuit which would be funded at taxpayer expense.

At the Zoning Board's July 10, 2023 public hearing, Menachem Gutfreund was scheduled to present a contentious application for houses on Spruce Street. However, his attorney Matthew Fiorovanti Esq. requested that the Board adjourn the application to a future meeting date. At that point, Attorney Jan Meyer Esq., representing the neighbors, requested that the Board adjourn the application to a different future meeting date, and discussion followed.

At that point, Chairman Halberstam stated that he will recuse himself from the Board's discussion regarding which date to reschedule the hearing of the application. Halberstam stated the reason for his recusal, was "due to a conflict of interest."

Originally Mr. Halberstam walked off the dais, but remained in the room. At one point during the Board's discussion of the matter, Mr. Halberstam walked back on the dais, and, as appears in the photo below, was signaling something to Acting Chairman Avraham Naftali!

Ultimately, the Board adjourned the hearing of the application until July 24.

At the July 24, 2023 public hearing, Mr. Fiorovanti again requested that the Board adjourn the application to a future meeting date. Chairman Halberstam sat on the Board during this adjournment request and did not even bother to recuse himself at all.

"An Outline of The Fundamentals of Zoning and Planning for Land Use Board's" states "If conflicted out, member must step down and leave the room," which means that just removing oneself from the dais is not sufficient for recusing oneself in an instance of conflict.

Mr. Halberstam's mention of his conflict of interest issue was referring to - as previously reported here on FAA News - Halberstam sitting on an earlier version of Mr. Gutfreund's application despite that a corporation owned, operated and/or controlled by Mr. Gutfreund was, at the time, constructing a home for Chairman Halberstam’s children! That resulted in the filing of a lawsuit and Mr. Gutfreund ultimately withdrawing his pending application.

It is always prudent for Board members to adhere strictly to the books. How much more so in contentious applications such as this one! How much way more so in a contentious applications which already resulted in a lawsuit - and the developer needing to withdraw his application - due to a conflict with a Board member!

This matter is of special import to residents of Lakewood as our property tax dollars are used to defend the Zoning Board against such litigation.

To join a FAA News WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA News WhatsApp Status, click here.

No comments: