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ASBURY PARK, NJ-This legendary oceanfront city, which spawned the careers of Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny, among others, has been trying to rebuild itself since the devastating civil unrest of the late ’60s, but matters political and ethical have kept getting in the way. Now, with a $1.2 billion redevelopment plan apparently in place, the unethical card has again been played.

And while local officials hope it doesn’t rain on their parade, town council meetings have suddenly taken on a dark and combative tone. At issue is the performance of city manager Terrance Weldon – who is now the former city manager. “It’s the same old [stuff],” according to one city official, who did not want to be identified. “Just when we thought we were on a roll, this [stuff] happens.”

The pending redevelopment by Asbury Partners (formerly Oceanfront Acquisitions), comprised of M.D. Sass Partners of New York and First New Jersey Real Property Management of Lakewood, NJ, would entail more than 3,000 oceanfront residential condos, a major retail component, restaurants and a luxury hotel. The city would lease the oceanfront tract to the developer for 99 years, although ownership of the Asbury Park convention hall and other buildings still has to be worked out.

Monday morning, however, minutes after completing final negotiations with the developer prior to presentation of the final development plan to the city council, Weldon abruptly announced his resignation as both Asbury Park city manager and mayor of neighboring Ocean Twp. He cited “mistakes” he had made, which were quickly revealed as involving bribery and extortion charges pertaining to his reign as mayor of Ocean Twp.

And while his activities as city manager of Asbury Park were not implicated, the whole matter quickly cast a shadow on the distressed city. “I can’t believe this is happening,” one city official told GlobeSt.com. “This might not involve us directly, and Terry did a great job in getting this deal pulled together, but where is it going to lead? Why do we have to continually be under a cloud?”

As for Weldon, the charges do indeed reflect his actions as mayor of Ocean Twp., and his activities involving Asbury Park apparently remain “clean.” As part of a two-year investigation of local power broker Philip Konvitz’s activities, Weldon’s voice kept surfacing on federal wiretaps.

According to published reports, when confronted with the evidence, Weldon cut a plea deal with the feds more than two weeks ago. But the whole thing was kept quiet until now, and he continued to function as both city manager of Asbury Park and mayor of Ocean Twp. He is scheduled to formally enter his guilt plea today on as many as three counts, each punishable by up to seven years in prison.

“The timing is terrible,” according to the city official. “I know this is a solid project, and it will happen, but again, we’re operating under a shadow. Give me a break!”

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