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Monday, February 23, 2015


Assemblywoman Linda Stender represents Plainfield...

The facts are just starting to ooze out about Assemblywoman Linda Stender's husband Richard's efforts to get Habitat for Humanity to rebuild a Sandy-damaged home in Manasquan (see a Ledger story here). And yes, there may be a Plainfield angle.

I was surprised recently to hear Assemblywoman Stender described as being from Scotch Plains and made a mental note to look into that. I have known Linda, as she is called by everyone, since I was with Burgdorff Realtors in Fanwood in the late 1980s and have watched her star rise -- from Fanwood borough council to freeholder to Assemblywoman.

A Channel 9 news crew tried to get a comment from the Assemblywoman, to no effect -- see clip below (or here) --

Funny thing is that during her 2013 campaign, when all Plainfield's Democrats were united, Linda campaigned in Plainfield at several events and never once was there a mention of an address change, though the first Ledger story on "Stendergate" (see here) says she had listed her residence as Scotch Plains for that campaign.

The questions are sure to mount --

  • How can the Stenders qualify for Habitat assistance, based on Linda's income alone (she was recently in the news for snagging a $90,000/year job with the Union County Improvement Authority -- see here)?

  • Linda has quite an interesting salary history since she began the climb up the political ladder (see the CountyWatchers report here), all of which would have made the Stenders overqualified for Habitat assistance if taken together.

  • Was Richard a bona fide resident of Manasquan at the time of Superstorm Sandy (October 2012)? Union County voting records show him voting in Union County for the 2013 November election. The CountyWatchers blog asserts he only registered to vote in Manasquan in August, 2013 (see here) -- was that after he applied to Habitat to demolish the damaged home?

  • Then there is the question of whether Richard's income declarations to Habitat were truthful.

  • Richard owns a printing business, SVO Printing, which CountyWatchers pointed out in 2008 got a no-bid contract for printing the Union County Alliance's "Directions" newsletter, even though his bid was $50,000 higher than the next one. With that kind of markup, one has to wonder about his true income.

  • Then there is the matter of the Fanwood home. While it is not necessarily the public's business if the Stenders have split and live in separate domiciles, it does become relevant if they sold their Fanwood home. If they did, what became of the proceeds? If split between the two, would that affect Richard's eligibility for Habitat help? If held jointly, what does that mean?
Lastly, there is the political fallout. Linda was slated to run for re-election this year, along with her running mate, Assemblyman Jerry Green, who heads both the Plainfield and Union County Democratic Committees.

Scuttlebutt is that Green and Sen. Nick Scutari have already put together a "plan B", which would replace Stender with Fanwood's current mayor, the up-and-coming Colleen Mahr.

Jerry has taken a public position of "hop[ing] things work out for her", but observers of the political scene will recall that he has always smarted at the fact that through all these many years, Stender has consistently outpolled him in Plainfield. Could he secretly be rooting for her downfall?

Oh yes, the Plainfield connection?

Linda was in City Hall Annex a couple of weeks ago, wanting a copy of a death certificate, which I am told Registrar Barbara Wynne refused to issue. Did that request have anything to do with this "Stendergate" story?

Only time will tell.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I just checked...there are no tax records for a residence in her name in Fanwood. There is a Stender, but its not her name.

Anonymous said...

LINDA STENDER IS A SPENDER of other peoples money. Spend your own money to rebuild your shore house just like the rest of us had to do. She should loose her pension and be thrown out of the State Legislature. Instead she is given a bogus job with the Union County Improvement Authority for $90,000.

Anonymous said...

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!"
Things haven't changed since Sir Walter Scott's time in 1800. If only we could involve Gerry in this!

Anonymous said...

Tax records show that the Stenders sold their house at 154 Herbert Place in Fanwood for $514,000 on December 8, 2010. Richard Stender bought their house in Manasquan for $465,000 two years earlier, on October 2, 2008. Therefore unless they took a reverse mortgage on their Fanwood house or had a sizable downpayment socked away from another source of income, they would have needed a pretty hefty loan for the second property. The Stenders also own considerable property in downtown fanwood, including the land that the Dunkin Donuts, Post Office, and Scotchwood Florist sit on. Finally, Linda Stender has claimed that she lives with her mother on Highlander Drive in Scotch Plains. That house is in her mother's name, Shirley De Milt.

Anonymous said...

You'd still vote for Stender if she was up against a republican, wouldn't you Dan? So save the shit like you give shit for a different day. "New Democrat" = "Established Democrat". Proven by Linda Carter.