HOV HIT WITH $1 MILLION IN FINES

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s headquarters, at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises has agreed to pay $1 million for violations of federal Clean Water Act rules at 591 construction sites across the country, according to a federal Justice Department announcement.

The payment settles civil accusations that the company failed to obtain necessary permits before beginning construction or not getting them at all in 18 states and in Washington, D.C.

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CHAIN SALES FLAT AS CORPORATE NET SOARS

urban-outfitters-nov-2009Urban Outfitters opened its Red Bank store at the corner of Broad and West Front Streets in November. (Click to enlarge)

The parent company of the Urban Outfitters chain reported record fourth-quarter sales and a 92-percent jump in earnings today.

But sales were flat at the Urban Outfitters chain itself, with the gains coming from the Philly-based company’s Anthropologie and Free People lines, the publicly traded company disclosed.

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YOURS FOR JUST $29.9 MILLION

dawkins-estateThe Dawkins estate in Rumson, as seen from the Navesink by redbankgreen in 2008. (Click to enlarge)

Let us stipulate right up front that Pete Dawkins does everything on a scale most of us mortals can only gape at in wonder.

Don’t know who he is? Check out his exhaustively comprehensive monument-to-self website, one befitting his numerous achievements: 1958 Heisman Trophy winner. Rhodes scholar. Retired Army brigadier general. Wall Street bigwig. Onetime contender for U.S. Senate.

A decade ago, when Dawkins and his wife, Judith, bought the Rumson estate called Long Point from the widow of an heir to the A&P supermarket fortune, they plunked down $4.5 million and promptly tore down the existing mansion, replacing it with a 20,000-square-foot home on a spit of land jutting out into the Navesink River.

Now, in keeping with his appetite for the biggest and best, Dawkins has put the place up for sale at a price that, if obtained, would crush the previous high price in the region, a knowledgeable broker tells redbankgreen.

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HOV BACK IN BLACK AFTER THREE YEARS

HovHovnanian’s headquarters on West Front Street.

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises ended a 13-quarter losing streak in its latest reporting period, the company announced Tuesday.

Though revenue in the quarter ending on January 31 plunged 14 percent, to $319.6 million, the company managed to rack up a profit of $236.2 million, or $2.97 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $178.4 million, or $2.29 a share.

That beat the consensus expectation of Wall Street analysts for a loss of 46 cents a share on revenue of $321 million, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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FAIR HAVEN BROKER COPS TO $700K SCAM

authorities2aA stockbroker from Fair Haven is looking at seven years in prison under the terms of a plea deal he accepted yesterday for pocketing nearly $700,000 he swindled from 31 clients, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced yesterday.

Here’s the text of a press release from the office of Prosecutor Luis Valentin:

On February 16, 2010, Stephen Severio, 40, of Fair Haven, N.J., appeared in Monmouth County Superior Court and pled guilty to criminal charges contained in two indictments and one accusation. The charges relate to thefts Severio committed against his clients while he was employed as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch.

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TRT PUBLISHER WEIGHS RUN AT PALLONE

diane-goochDiane Gooch, publisher of the Two River Times and wife of Wall Street gazillionaire Mickey Gooch, is thinking about challenging longtime Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone when he’s up for re-election.

The Rumson resident, who hasn’t before run for office at any level, confirmed to PolitickerNJ.com that she’s considering a run, though she sought to tamp down rumors that she and her husband are willing to put up $2 million to back her.

From the article:

“This is something that we haven’t really figured out yet,” she said. “Any number would be completely wrong. I don’t know what we’re going to spend at this point if I’m going to run.”

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SWINDLED INVESTORS TO GET $5.15 MILLION

hot-topic rightCustomers of a penny-stock boiler room that operated out of an office on Half Mile Road in Lincroft will share in $5.15 million obtained by authorities from stock swindler Robert E. Brennan, according to a report today from NorthJersey.com.

The defunct firm, L.C. Wegard & Co., was a legitimate stock brokerage before Brennan secretly took it over in the early 1990s. But like First Jersey Securities, a firm whose ubiquitous commercials made Brennan famous in the 1970s and ’80s, Wegard became a high-pressure sales operation peddling stocks that Brennan secretly controlled.

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HOV REVENUE FELL BY HALF IN 2009

Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s Red Bank HQ, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Hovnanian Enterprises reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $250.8 million yesterday.

That’s down from a net loss of $450.5 million in the final fiscal quarter of 2008, the Red Bank-based homebuilder disclosed.

In announcing its results, the publicly traded company said revenue in the quarter fell to $437.4, from $721.4 a year earlier. For the full year, revenue fell by half, to $1.6 billion, from $3.3 billion.

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MONEY MAN ADMITS TO STATE FRAUD CHARGES

authorities3One day after he pleaded guilty to federal charges arising from an $8 million investment scam, Fair Haven resident Maxwell Smith was in state court Wednesday, owning up to more allegations.

The 69-year-old former financial adviser at Cantone Research in Tinton Falls faces up to 15 years on the state charges when he’s sentenced on March 5, according to an announcement from the office of Attorney General AnnE Milgram.

He faces a 20-year sentence on related federal charges, to which he pleaded guilty on Tuesday, and is scheduled for sentencing in that case on February 26. Under a “global resolution” worked out between prosecutors and Smith’s lawer, the sentences will be served concurrently.

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FAIR HAVEN MAN ADMITS $8 MILLION SCAM

authorities2aMaxwell Smith, a 69-year-old financial advisor and Fair Haven resident, pleaded guilty to fraud charges yesterday, admitting he stole at least $8 million from clients.

He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton on February 26. Meantime, he’s free on $1 million bail, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark.

Smith, who worked at Cantone Research in Tinton Falls until last April, admitted to Cooper that he set up a phony investment fund that purportedly had $300 million under management as a means of attracting investments from clients.

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WSJ: HOV SEEKING DEBT RESTRUCTURING

Img_9341Hovnanian’s headquarters overlooking the Navesink River.

Red Bank-based Hovnanian Enterprises is trying to refinance some $759 million in debt even as other homebuilders are beginning to buy land again, today’s Wall Street Journal reports.

The company’s moves toward a debt restructuring were underway last week when company founder and chairman Kevork Hovnanian died Friday at age 86. The impact of the Rumson resident’s passing on his family’s control of the publicly traded company is unclear, the Journal reports.

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MERRILL BROKER INDICTED FOR FRAUD

authorities2bA former broker at the Red Bank office of Merrill Lynch was indicted by a Monmouth County grand jury yesterday on charges that he swindled $500,000 from more than two dozen clients.

Forty-year-old Steven Severio of Fair Haven is alleged to have persuaded  investors to cash out of some holdings and roll over the proceeds into new investments, for which he promised returns to 15 to 20 percent, according to a statment issued by Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin.

Instead, Severio desposited the funds into his own account, without making any investments. In some cases, he cashed the checks at a local check-cashing service, Valentin said.

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HOV POSTS 12TH CONSECUTIVE NET LOSS

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s HQ, at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank.

Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises has notched its third straight year in red ink, according to data released Wednesday.

The glimmer of good news for investors in and employees of the Red Bank-based company is that the latest quarterly deficit was smaller than the one recorded a year earlier.

For its third fiscal quarter, ended July 31, Hovnanian said it lost $168.9 million, down from $202.5 million in the comparable 2008 period.

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HOVNANIAN SLASHES LOSS, BUT STILL AILS

HovHovnanian's headquarters on West Front Street.

Red Bank-based Hovnanian Enterprises sharply cut its net loss in the quarter ended April 30, compared to year-prior levels.

But the publicly traded homebuilder continued to slash prices in the face of contract cancellations and write-downs on the value of real estate in its inventory.

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OVER THE MIDDLE: FIRM TACKLES CHREBET

ChrebetLooks like downtown Red Bank is about to get a little bit more green — New York Jets green.

Wayne Chrebet, a former receiver famous for making third-and-long catches in heavy traffic, has joined the Linden Place office of Morgan Stanley, the firm announced today.

Chrebet, who lives in Colts Neck, is one of six financial advisors in the office’s Moldaver Group, which handles wealth management for high net worth clients.

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OVER THE MIDDLE: FIRM TACKLES CHREBET

ChrebetLooks like downtown Red Bank is about to get a little bit more green — New York Jets green.

Wayne Chrebet, a former receiver famous for making third-and-long catches in heavy traffic, has joined the Linden Place office of Morgan Stanley, the firm announced today.

Chrebet, who lives in Colts Neck, is one of six financial advisors in the office’s Moldaver Group, which handles wealth management for high net worth clients.

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FAIR HAVEN MAN FACES PONZI CHARGES

Hot TopicA Fair Haven investment adviser who is reported to have a villa in France was charged in federal court in Newark today with running a Ponzi scheme, the Star-Ledger is reporting.

The criminal allegations against Maxwell Smith follow earlier allegations in a civil suit that Smith had swindled $9 million from a now 93-year-old client over a decade, and that Smith had admitted to the wrongdoing.

The federal case alleges Smith stole $7 million by selling investments in health care facilities and promising returns of up to 9 percent, the Sledger reports. But instead of investing the money, prosecutors said Smith deposited it into his own bank account, using a small amount to pay interest to clients, the newspaper reports.

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FAIR HAVEN MAN NAMED IN ALLEGED SCAM

Call in the authoritiesA Morris County judge today froze the assets of a Fair Haven investment adviser who is alleged to have swindled an elderly client out of $9 million over a decade, according to reports by the Star-Ledger and Morristown’s Daily Record.

Superior Court Judge Theodore Bozonelis today ordered Marshall Smith not to transfer any of his assets pending further notice.

According to a civil suit filed by Leonard Frederick, his 93-year-old client, Smith was fired from his job at Cantone Research Inc. in Tinton Falls earlier this month afer admitting to his employer that he had sold Frederick non-existent financial investments over the prior decade.

The suit also names Smith’s wife, Holly, as a defendant. Monmouth County records show the Smiths own a property on Fair Haven’s Kemp Avenue assessed at $894,200.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Where_04.09.09_IR

Those three spheres featured in last week’s ‘Where’ seem to be quite the eye-catchers.

Installed outside the TD Ameritrade office on Broad Street (Route 35) at Monroe Avenue in Shrewsbury, they’re clearly decorative, and lend a touch of whimsy to the site.

But many of the 17 (wow) readers who wrote in — and every one of them got the location right — mused that the spheres also serve a protective purpose against errant vehicles. Matt Villa of Fair Haven referred to them as bollards.

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HOVNANIAN LOSSES CONTINUE CLIMB

Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s head office, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Red Bank-headquartered Hovnanian Enterprises, one of the nation’s largest homebuilding companies, saw its losses accelerate in the most recent quarter.

The company posted a net loss of $178.4. million in its second fiscal quarter, up from $130.9 million a year ago.

On a per-share basis, the most recent shortfall equated to $2.29, versus last year’s $2.07. Polled analysts had expected a loss of $1.47 per share, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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FAIR HAVEN BOND SALE YIELDS SAVINGS

Money (half column)
Fair Haven’s first-ever trip to the Wall Street debt markets yesterday resulted in a bond sale at a better-than-expected interest rate, borough officials tell the Asbury Park Press.

From the Press:

The 10-year bonds sold for an interest rate of 3.08 percent, much lower than rates in the mid-3 percent range that officials expected to get, which will save taxpayers $40,000 annually, said Mayor Michael Halfacre. Last month, the borough received a Double A rating from Standard & Poor’s, making it one of 26 towns in the state to be rated Double or Triple A.

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HOVNANIAN POSTS NINTH LOSING QUARTER

HovHOV HQ on West Front Street, Red Bank.

A near stoppage in mortgage lending drove Hovnanian Enterprises to its ninth consecutive quarterly loss in the period ending October 31, the Red Bank-based homebuilder reported yesterday.

According to Bloomberg, the loss was more than three times the deficit that analysts had expected.

For Hovnanian and its shareholders, the upside was that the latest loss, at $450.5 million, or $5.79 a share, was smaller than the $466.6 million, or $7.42 a share, deficit of the comparable year-prior period.

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GOOCH PILE UNAFFECTED BY ECONO-WINDS

Gooch_1

The U.S. economy may be smashing into a wall, but Rumson’s Mickey Gooch — owner of and columnist at the Two River Times, sometime quarrelsome neighbor and Wall Street billionaire — is still doing just fine, thank you very much, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

In fact, despite the collapse the credit-default-swaps market on which he made his fortune, the British native seems rather in a mood to boast about his bank account.

The founder and controlling shareholder of GFI Group — an “interdealer broker” of the financial instruments many critics say are at the root of the current global credit crisis — is among 15 or so CEOs of homebuilding and financial services companies who the Journal says reaped tens of millions of dollars in personal gains in the past five years.

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‘OVERWHELMING GREED’ UNDERLIES CRISIS

Img_952872“It’s something that affects all of us. It’s not just a Wall Street bailout,” says Jan Gardiner, of Locust.

Today’s Washington Post reports the results of a poll that finds voters deeply divided over the terms of the government’s $700 billion economic rescue package, but overwhelmingly in agreement that the House’s rejection of the measure on Monday could deepen the country’s financial woes.

Here in The Green, random interviews with people on the streets of Red Bank and Sea Bright yesterday found New Jerseyans largely share that fear. There’s also a widespread sense that runaway greed got us into this mess, though whose greed depends on one’s point of view.

Read on for our sampling of opinions, and feel free to weigh in with a comment.

Faces5

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