SILVER LINING AT LITTLE SILVER CORNER?

wicker-rose-texaco-lsBoth the former Wicker Rose building,  foreground, and the abandoned Texaco station in the background have “substantial” environmental issues. (Click to enlarge)

Three adjoining Little Silver properties with the taint of fraud and pollution go on the auction block tomorrow.

The whiff of financial chicanery comes from their connection to Solomon Dwek, the Ocean Township real estate investor-turned-federal-informant, who acquired them as part of a massive $400 million real estate roll-up scheme studded with allegations of bank fraud. That was before Dwek agreed to wear a wire and bribe elected officials snared in a statewide public-corruption sweep last year.

The underground pollution is literally traceable to one of the three properties, a former Texaco filling station, as well as from other sources, says real estate marketer Ray Smith, whose firm will conduct the auction.

On the block, along with the former Hunter Texaco station at the foot of Willow Drive, are the two properties to either side of it: the former Wicker Rose furniture store building at 1 Sycamore Avenue, and a small house at 321 Willow.

Clearly, these are assets for investors with strong stomachs for risk and an eye for the hard-to-see upside.

“There are substantial environmental issues involving both the former Wicker Rose furniture building and the former Hunter Texaco property,” says Smith, of Stafford Smith Realty. “There is substantial contamination that emanated not only from this property but from other sources.”

A vacant former Exxon station across the street from the site is the subject on an environmental cleanup, according to a sign posted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Not everyone is down on the site. When redbankgreen was out taking photos of properties this morning, a woman stopped in traffic asked if we were bidding.

“It’s a great location,” she said. “Great town, lots of cars passing by.”

The auction, scheduled for 10:30a at the Holiday Inn in Tinton Falls, is open only to participants who registered and posted 10 percent of the opening bids on properties by last Saturday, Smith said.

The Wicker Rose building is assessed at $558,700, according to Monmouth County property records. The filling station, at 333 Willow, is assessed at $300,000, and the house is assessed at $195,700.