Long Branch City Council Grapples with Pier Village 3 Audit Delays

In a recent Long Branch City Council meeting, residents learned of ongoing delays in obtaining CPA audits for Pier Village 3, raising concerns over accountability and financial transparency. Vincent LePore, a local resident, highlighted the administration’s extended timeline to fulfill his Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, which now reaches a six-month delay. The audits are critical for verifying compliance with financial agreements tied to the urban renewal project’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.

LePore questioned Mayor John Pallone about the responsibility within the administration for ensuring developers at Pier Village 3 meet their reporting obligations. Mayor Pallone responded that no specific individual was responsible, indicating a collective responsibility by the city. LePore also brought up the issue of the Pier Village 3 garage, which was purchased by Gary Barnett and received a mortgage from Provident Bank. He challenged the designation of the garage as part of the common elements of the residential condominium association, suggesting a contradiction with the language in the master deed and the bank’s mortgage agreement.

Mayor Pallone stated that the decision regarding the garage’s status was a matter between the bank and the property owner. When questioned about the correspondence sent to the developers regarding the missing audits, Mayor Pallone admitted to requests being sent to the property manager without recalling the frequency. LePore expressed dissatisfaction with the city auditor’s apparent disinterest in reviewing the Pier Village 3 audits, critical for assessing compliance with profit limitations under the PILOT agreement.

LePore also criticized Councilwoman Dr. Anita Voogt for her connection to Dennis Sherman, the head of the condo association at Save Ocean Avenue, highlighting potential conflicts of interest and a lack of enforcement of audit requirements for abated condos. These issues point to broader concerns about favoritism and the financial management of urban renewal entities within Long Branch.

Aside from the Pier Village 3 discussion, the council meeting covered routine matters with no new ordinances introduced or public hearings scheduled. Councilmembers took the opportunity to wish residents a Happy New Year and reminded them of upcoming events, such as holiday beach badge specials and the release of city calendars.

The council closed the meeting without further announcements or changes to the list of resolutions. The next City Council meeting is expected to address any developments on the Pier Village 3 situation and other city matters.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

John Pallone
City Council Officials:
Rose Widdis, Dr. Mary Jane Celli, Bill Dangler, Mario Vieira, Dr. Anita Voogt

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