By Asbury Park Press 03/5/06 BY RICHARD QUINNT. R. BUR.
LAKEWOOD — Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg is the face of Lakewood Development Corp.'s trustees board, the merchants and community leaders who oversee the township's Urban Enterprise Zone.
Weisberg publicly touts the zone's loan programs. Once a month, he presides over meetings as the board's chairman. And then there are the myriad programs his nonprofit agency, Lakewood Community Services Corp., runs with zone money.
It's that last part that has the attention of state auditors.
A recent state audit of Lakewood's UEZ suggests that while Weisberg has abstained from votes and discussions affecting him, "the appearance of conflict" remains.
LCSC — which runs everything from English as a Second Language classes to a kosher Meals on Wheels — receives about $100,000 a year from the zone, Weisberg said.
The conflict question was disclosed in an audit summary penned by LDC Executive Director Russell K. Corby and obtained after an Open Public Records Act request.
A written audit report is not expected to be issued by the state for several weeks.
"My usefulness on the LDC, if I feel it's compromised, or if the members of the LDC feel it's compromised, I would certainly step down," Weisberg said.
But no one has asked him to step down.
Weisberg has been involved with the UEZ since its inception in 1994 and only assumed the chairman's role for the first time in 2005. He was unanimously re-elected to that post this year.