TOMS RIVER, NJ – All week, Toms River Township officials refused to reveal who was buying a fire-sale auction of 6 commercial and residential lots, including a 1.2 acre commercial tract on Hinds Road and 5 residential lots ready to be developed off Whittier Avenue. The land sale, devised by the township aimed to sell the Hinds Road property, assessed by the township at $750,000.
“I had this item pulled off the item from consent agenda,” said Matt Lotano. “The auction was conducted with a bidding war, the price eventually reached $318,000. The winning bidder had bidder’s remorse and renegotiated his deal with the auction company.”
Rodrick revealed that the bidder of the property was Chaim Sabel, a member of the Lakewood Township Planning Board.
Attorney Ken Fitzsimmons told Rodrick that Sabel made a bid of $318,000 to win a bidding war, then backed out of his bid. The town and the auction house then accepted Sabel’s $250,000 counter offer on the Hinds Road property.
Rodrick claimed that Councilman Matt Lotano decided to pull the matter from the last township council agenda meeting shortly after Rodrick made a telephone call to the auction house. Rodrick asked Lotano if he ever did business with the auction house and Lotano said yes, he had made bids on properties with the auction house in the past.
Now, Rodrick says that possible bid rigging and fraud may have taken place and said he has forwarded his findings to the New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice.