UnionhousevillageThe theft occurred during the development of the Union Street Village condos on the former site of the Olde Union House restaurant, authorities alleged. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

A Middletown building contractor pleaded guilty to theft and agreed to repay the owners of the now-gone Olde Union House in Red Bank more than $1.4 million, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The plea by 55-year-old Timothy Hurst came one week before the scheduled start of his trial on theft by deception and other charges arising from his role in developing the Union Street Village condos on the former site of the restaurant, according to the Press.

The plea also contains a civil judgment in of $244,000 in favor of a West Long Branch homeowner who the Monmouth County Prosecutor alleged was also defrauded by Hurst. A separate trial on those allegations was also pending, the newspaper reports.

From the Press:

Hurst also agreed to sign a civil consent judgment in favor of the pub owners, Neil and Patricia Malloy, for $1,434,234, and another civil judgment in favor of the West Long Branch homeowners, Paul and Nancy Schaaf, for $243,569.64, according to Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Michael Cunningham, who said the plea agreement was approved by the victims.

Hurst’s attorney, Mitchell J. Ansell, of Ansell, Grimm & Aaron in Ocean Township, said the decision to plead guilty was a difficult one for his client and his client’s family.

“He was fully prepared to start the trial this week; however, the prosecutor came to us with this most recent offer, and it was one that had never been offered before,” said Ansell. “Unfortunately, Tim’s health is not good, and he felt that based upon all of the facts and circumstances, that this offer from the prosecutor was one that made sense for him to accept.”

Authorities previously said Hurst used some of the money to build a home in Middletown.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 21, when prosecutors are expected to recommend a one-year jail term, the Press reports.