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RED BANK: MENNA DEBT IN PRESS SPOTLIGHT

menna-painting-101511-3-500x375-6164484Mayor Pasquale Menna at work on his River Road home in October, 2011, and at borough hall last June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale-menna-061516-220x165-7219672Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna borrowed $75,000 from an Eatontown man who’s a “convicted car thief,” according to a report by the Asbury Park Press posted Thursday.

The article does not allege wrongdoing on the part of either Menna or his lender, Louis Lerner III of Eatontown. Instead, it details financial difficulties for Menna that include a $40,000 lien placed on his home by the Internal Revenue Service.

Menna, a sole-practitioner lawyer now entering his 11th year as mayor, said the IRS lien, filed in October, 2013, followed “a ‘confluence of circumstances,’ including a significant shift in his law practice and major health issues that cut into his income,” the Press reported.

“It’s painful, but it’s a reality,” Menna told the Press. “I’ve tried to deal with it quietly.”

From the report:

Menna said his goal is to pay off the federal tax lien by the end of the year — Saturday —  a timeline aided by a loan from Louis Lerner III, 56, the son of a now-decease client.

Lerner was convicted in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2002 on eight charges of fraud application of a driver’s license, two counts of display of a fictitious driver’s license, two charges of grand theft of an automobile and one count of insurance fraud, according to Florida court records.

He served less than a year in jail before being sentenced to five years probation, records show. Lerner has since completed his sentence.

“He’s had some issues. I’m not a moralist. Everybody has issues,” said Menna, 62, a Democrat serving his third term as mayor.

Lerner said he saw no issue with the loan and asked when questions of his past would be “put to bed.”

“I think I did my time and somebody else’s,” he said, before adding that he had no comment.

Menna, a Democrat who served on the borough council from 1988 through 2006, cited the loss of work as a municipal lawyer and the breakup of a law partnership as factors leading to the IRS lien.

He also cited health issues. Menna had open-heart surgery in May, 2015 to correct a congenital anomaly that had not previously caused him any health issues and was detected during a routine medical examination in 2014, he told redbankgreen at the time.

The mortgage on his home, at 203 River Road, was originally due to be paid off by October 31, 2014, but has not been discharged, according to Monmouth County records. Here’s the agreement: menna-mortgage-110113

Menna did not respond to a redbankgreen request for comment Thursday night.

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