On 4/16/15 realtor.com listed the Stender property located in Manasquan at 12 Pershing Avenue for $399,000 along with this message:
Aren’t you dreaming of warm summer evenings? Cleared building lot in the heart of Manasquan. Build your dream home on this desirable and unique home site. Conveniently located close to shopping, transportation, the beach, inlet and downtown Manasquan.
Richard Stender purchased the home on 10/29/2008 for $465,000. At the time the land was assessed at 213,000, the house at $99,700. It was then damaged by hurricane Sandy.
As of February 2015, the state Attorney General’s Office was investigating Assemblywoman Linda Stender and her husband Richard, and whether they inappropriately used Coastal Habitat for Humanity to demolish their Sandy damaged shore bungalow which was built in 1932, and attempt to have the charity which ministers to the indigent, help the Stenders replace it with a three-story dream shore house to include five bedrooms and an elevator.
At issue is their income qualifications and whether this was a primary residence for Richard Stender who only registered to vote in Monmouth county on 8/6/13. Which could mean he was not a full-time resident of Manasquan during Hurricane Sandy.
When the scandal broke Linda Stender first maintained that she had nothing to do with her husband’s home. The story went on to make international news and later reports quoted an architect working for Habitat Humanity as confirming that Linda Stender was indeed involved with the rebuilding plans. Habitat for Humanity stated that at one point during a meeting the assemblywoman became irate and yelled and screamed “You are not allowing me to build my dream home!”; Stender also reportedly told them “I can make a phone call to Manasquan”.
Linda Stender released a statement at the time: “Like many others, our family suffered significant losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy. An application was made to Coastal Habitat for Humanity to assist in rebuilding. There are outstanding issues which are the subject of continued efforts to resolve.”
Assemblywoman Stender did not resign her assembly seat. However, after losing support from the Union County Regular Democratic Committee she announced that she would not be seeking re-election in the Fall. Her statement: “Over the last several days, it has become apparent that personal issues involving my family and a nonprofit group have become an insurmountable distraction to me, to my running mates, and most importantly, to the constituents I have been proud to represent for more than a decade,” the statement said. “As a result, I have decided not to seek reelection.”
On February 19, 2015 Assemblywoman Stender was hired to be the Assistant Director of the Union County Improvement Authority, with a salary of $90,000. The County Watchers obtained Stender’s resume which lists her experience, besides her political exploits, as being a yoga instructor and floral designer.
The County Watchers, Union County government’s local news source, attended a freeholder meeting on 2/26/15 in an attempt to have the freeholders comment on Linda Stender’s hiring, specifically what were her qualifications for the position, and how she was expected to be able to represent the Union County Improvement Authority under the light of these allegations.
Stender directly reports to former freeholder Daniel Sullivan who is the UCIA Director. Investigative reportd by the County Watchers revealed Sullivan’s’, and the Union County Prosecutor’s office, credibility issues.