Salkind, Walsh served towns as suburbia was developing

Staff Writer

Two men who were involved in municipal government as their respective communities developed into suburban enclaves died within a month of each other.

According to an obituary published in the Nov. 4 edition of the New Jersey Jewish News, Morton Salkind, 82, of Denville, who in the early 1970s served as the mayor of Marlboro and as a state Assemblyman representing Monmouth County, died on Oct. 4. Salkind was a builder/developer. He was a former state lottery commissioner.

According to an obituary provided by the Freeman Manalapan-Marlboro Funeral Home, Manalapan, John “Jack” Walsh, 76, of Manalapan, died on Nov. 9.

Walsh served on the committee from 1979-84. He was Manalapan’s mayor in 1980, 1982 and 1983. In his professional life, Walsh was a stockbroker.

A moment of silence in honor of Walsh was observed at the Nov. 12 Township Committee meeting.

George Spodak, of Manalapan, served on the governing body with Walsh and called his former running mate “a leader of this town.”

“He was a real true friend,” Spodak said. “I was mayor and he was deputy mayor. When he was mayor, I was deputy mayor. We covered for each other. Jack was one of the great mayors of this town when we were building the town.”

Spodak said that as a member of the committee, Walsh took a specific interest in the growth and development of the Manalapan Police Department.

The police department was formed in the early 1970s and was still very much in its infancy when Walsh and Spodak joined the governing body in the middle of the decade.

Since leaving the committee 30 years ago, Walsh had remained out of the public eye, although he did pen a letter to the editor of the News Transcript in February 2012.

At that time the Manalapan Planning Board was considering an application from automobile dealership owner Ray Catena, who wanted to convert an office building at the corner of Route 9 north and Taylors Mills Road into an automobile dealership.

In part, Walsh wrote, “ … from the information I have gathered, car dealerships, and especially an Audi agency, will have significantly less traffic than an active office building. It will also provide more substantial tax revenue (ratables) which Manalapan badly needs to try to keep the tax rates stable. … “I cannot see how the proposed use would be detrimental. … not only should this use be approved, but welcomed and supported by the Planning Board and Township Committee for the benefit of all 38,000 Manalapan residents and the existing businesses on the Route 9 corridor,” Walsh wrote.

The letter from the former mayor drew one response a week later from a resident who took issue with that viewpoint. Ultimately, the Audi dealership was not approved at that location.

Salkind, who was Marlboro’s top elected official in the early 1970s, was the subject of an article in the News Transcript in May 2003, years after he had moved out of Monmouth County.

He detailed plans he had to build an automobile racing facility in Linden, Union County. He said it was his hope to attract a major NASCAR race to the metropolitan area. Salkind foresaw a facility with a 100,000-seat grandstand.

Salkind said the $450 million project would also include a 20-story hotel and conference center, and a 400,000-square-foot entertainment center.

It was his goal to have the facility in operation by April 2007, but the plan never materialized.

Several years later, Salkind was dealing with a different type of issue. At the age of 77 he was sentenced to one year in prison for evading corporate income taxes.

Salkind was the developer of a Morris County condominium community and pleaded guilty to tax evasion on May 28, 2008, and admitted he made false accounting entries in the books and records of Fox Development Inc., the company that developed the Fox Hills over-55 residential community in Rockaway Township, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Salkind, who was the vice president, secretary and treasurer of Fox Development, admitted causing the filing of a 2001 Corporate U.S. Income Tax Return that understated Fox Development’s income because of those false accounting entries, according to the U.S. Attorney.