TOMS RIVER, NJ – Terrance Turnbach, a practicing lawyer who serves as an elected official on the Toms River Township Council usually plays the part of antagonist against his former running mate, Dan Rodrick when it comes to political theater in Toms River. On Tuesday, Turnbach remained absolutely silent on the matter of the illegal land sale that was to be conducted by the township council. That is until Councilman Rodrick started snooping around.
Rodrick said he began investigating the sale which was hidden in a long list of consent agenda items days before it was to go to vote. The day of the meeting, Rodrick said he called the auction house to inquire about the mysterious sale after he learned it was being sold to an unknown entity with an LLC registered only to a PO Box at the Route UPS Store on the Lakewood-Toms River border.
An hour later, Councilman Matt Lotano admitted last night to pulling the sale from the last meeting’s agenda. Rodrick suspected Lotano, a builder himself was tipped off by the auction house by Rodrick’s phone call. On Tuesday, Lotano admitted he does have a personal business relationship with the auction house and that he, in the past bid on auctions with the company.
It wasn’t until hours before Tuesday’s meeting that Mayor Maurice Hill, who facilitated the sale of the property without council consent finally asked the council in an email not to vote on his land sale to Chaim Sabel, a Lakewood Township Planning Board member.
“Councilman Lotano, have you ever had a business relationship with [the auction house]?” Councilman Rodrick asked.
“I have,” Lotano responded.
During the meeting, the usually contentious Turnbach remained silent. Lawyers know best when to stay silent when laws may have been broken.