When you donate to Habitat for Humanity, you expect your money will go toward helping needy people put a roof over their heads.
And it’s kinda hard to believe an NJ Assemblywoman and her husband qualify as “needy,” especially since she’s a well-connected Democrat who was just appointed to a $90,000 per year job at the Union County Improvement Authority, on top of her $49,000 legislative salary.
But Monmouth County’s Coastal Habitat for Humanity thought differently. They approved the Stenders’ application for Hurricane Sandy relief with plans that call for an impressive 2000 square foot, two story, 4 bedroom, 3 and ½ bath home to be built at the Jersey shore.
When state Assemblywoman Linda Stender’s husband asked a Habitat for Humanity group for help after his nearly half million dollar Manasquan bungalow was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, he wanted to replace it with a two-story house that would be nearly three times larger, documents show.
Zoning plans filed with Manasquan’s construction office show that Richard Stender, who owns a printing company and is married to the longtime Union County Democratic assemblywoman, sought to replace the 700-square foot, single story bungalow that the Monmouth County-based Coastal Habitat for Humanity demolished for him with a 2,000-square foot house.
The “Stender residence” plans, filed in August 2014, show a proposed home far from the more modest ones Habitat for Humanity groups typically build for lower-income families.
The plans call for four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen, a dining room, a two-car garage, a wood-burning fireplace, a screened porch on each floor, and an outdoor shower with a “louvered ceiling,” privacy screen and a changing area.
And gold-plated fixtures too?
Habitat typically builds modest “starter homes” with 3 bedrooms and 1 and ½ baths. And the Stenders earn far more than the maximum income that ought to qualify for Habitat’s help.
[Habitat] helps homeowners who make up to 80 percent of Monmouth County’s median household income, which is $84,526. However, Linda Stender’s legislative financial disclosure records shows her combined income with her husband was at least $99,000 a year in 2012 and 2013.
Now for the best part. Manasquan in Monmouth County is far outside of Linda Stender’s Union County district. But it’s OK! She “lives with her mom.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
The financial disclosures also list the Manasquan property as the only one owned by either Stender or her husband. Stender registered to run for reelection in 2013 from a Scotch Plains address, and told her district-mate, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union), that she lives with her mother and that her husband lives in Manasquan.
So, it appears that Assemblywoman Stender is either scamming the voters, scamming Habitat, or more likely, doing both. In other words, she’s a typical Democrat!
The good news is, Habitat is “re-evaluating” the Stenders’ application.
And in November, the voters will get a chance to “re-evaluate” Linda Stender’s employment. I hope they make the right choice.