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CentraState Healthcare Foundation – Saving Lives Everyday

Since 1971, CentraState has served thousands in the Freehold, New Jersey area providing inpatient, outpatient, emergency care services. The facility also features the state-of-the-art Star and Barry Tobias Ambulatory Campus which is a modern outpatient center that offers a variety of health and wellness programs focused on prevention and rehabilitation. Centra State

A big part of the CentraState Healthcare System is its charitable division, the CentraState Healthcare Foundation. This foundation is the true link between the community and its hospital. Over the past 40 plus years It has been able to raise millions of dollars through generous community efforts. Today, because of the community generosity it has become one of the leading-edge technology medical facilities in the country.

One very important member of this outstanding foundation is philanthropist and humanitarian, Howard Schoor. For the past 25 years, Mr. Schoor has been involved in the CentraState Healthcare Foundation as a member of the Board of Trustees. He served as the Honorary Campaign Chairman of CentraState Healthcare Foundation’s Radiation Therapy Center fundraising effort.

Because of his charitable efforts, Howard Schoor has now been designated an Honorary Trustee and recognized as a Patron of the CentraState Healthcare Foundation’s Circle of Friends Society. This society recognizes and tributes the importance of philanthropy and community involvement in their quest for continuous improvement of patient care.

For more information on the CentraState Healthcare Foundation visit http://www.centrastatefoundation.org and for more information on Howard Schoor visit http://howardschoor.com/.

The Offer Howard Schoor Couldn’t Refuse

As the Founder and former CEO of a national engineering design firm and experienced residential home builder and land developer, you can imagine that Howard Schoor is a man who has initiated, received and negotiated countless offers.  From 1997 – 2004, Howard was Chairman of Community Bank of New Jersey (CBNJ-NASDAQ) until its sale to Sun National Bank (SNBC-NASDAQ).  In 1998, Mr. Schoor formed another of his many successful companies, HMS Consulting, LLC, a land development and real estate consulting company. 

Additionally, in September 2000, he established the Woodstone group of companies to develop 5,000± acres in Bethel, NY, now known as the Chapin Estate.  With this as his background, it was only recently that he received the offer of a lifetime – one that even Howard Schoor couldn’t refuse.  A keen buyer had an eye on Howard’s custom built home in the Chapin Estate, although it wasn’t for sale.

As one of the principals of The Chapin Estate in Sullivan County, Schoor built himself a most unique home overlooking the Toronto Reservoir.  The entirely south facing estate was a stunning masterpiece that according to David Knudsen’s Sullivan County Real Estate blog, was “…one of the few houses here in Sullivan County that truly qualified as a trophy property.”

Although Schoor’s estate was not listed on the market for sale, he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.   According to David Knudsen, “The reported sale has been buzzing around real estate circles here for weeks…”  The much talked about sale speaks great volumes not only to Howard’s skill as a land developer and home builder with a vision, but also to the magnificent value these Chapin Estate homes possess.  For Schoor, as a developer of this project, nothing could be a greater testament and compliment to honor his work at Chapin.

Knudsen commented in his blog covering the Howard Schoor offer, “Property falls into two categories-those that are on the market and those that aren’t…Some owners of special properties have no interest whatsoever in selling…But many respond with ‘We haven’t considered selling but make me an offer I can’t refuse’.”

Such an offer was made…..and Howard could not refuse.  This sale highlights, what a special place the Chapin Estate is.  Speculation now has it that he is planning a new home at Chapin which will overlook Toronto Reservoir.

RE: Schoor sentence badly engineered

The Editors
The Asbury Park Press
3601 Highway 66, Box 1550
Neptune, NJ 07754-1551

March 9, 2009

RE: Schoor sentence badly engineered

Dear Editors:

ASBURY PARK PRESS FOUND GUILTY by New York State Psychologist and friend to victim, Howard M. Schoor. Yes, Mr. Schoor is a victim.

My dear editors, for a moment separate yourselves from wanting to sell newspapers or defending your lapse in judgment when you printed the “Schoor sentence badly engineered” editorial on February 11, 2009.

When you stated, “Howard Schoor, a prominent engineer who admitted bribing a public official…” you lied. The facts are as follows:

The Court records (from both the Plea and Sentencing) indicate: Schoor DePalma “the firm” provided engineering and consulting services to the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority (TOSA) in a professional and proper manner. The Court heard, and the U. S. Attorney agreed, that: Kessler and Weldon solicited Mr. Schoor, not the reverse. Mr. Schoor did not benefit from the offense. Since February of 1992, some eight years prior to the solicitation, Mr. Schoor had no involvement in the day-day operations of Schoor DePalma; he didn’t even have an office there. Messrs. Kessler and Weldon never approached anyone at TOSA to influence a vote for or against Schoor DePalma. Schoor did not know that Kessler or Weldon had some scheme among themselves. The words of Judge Cavanaugh at sentencing and the government’s response:
“There’s no benefit to anybody. This whole thing to me is just – I don’t – quite frankly, I hardly get it.” And here are the words of Mr. Nobile (Government), “Your Honor, the record indicates that Mr. Schoor received nothing personally from the turnover of this $15,000 gratuity…” And here again, the judge is clear regarding what went into his sentencing. “And the instance alone (referring to the gratuity) has me a bit confused anyway. And there was no bribe; No one seemed to have received much of a benefit, I guess, except these two guys that got the $15,000. Schoor DePalma didn’t get anything for it, other than the headaches that we’re dealing with now.” “There was no gain or benefit, no victims really.”

Clearly, the record discloses, there was no bribe. Contrary to perhaps your good intentions and worthy desire to be champion of the people in exposing public corruption (which I admire as a purpose). you are, here, disingenuous, at best, in regard to Mr. Schoor. The facts do not support your editorial position.

You might want to hold onto your view that because money changed hands, it is for the reason you think, but in doing so you have judged against all evidence to the contrary, and that, unfortunately, puts you in the category of biased against Mr. Schoor and renders him victim of that prejudice. You must certainly admit that The Honorable Dennis Cavanaugh was the single individual, having read Briefs and having listened to arguments from both parties, in the best position to reach an unbiased judgment.

I don’t know your politics, nor do I know the politics of your county or state. I do know, however, that in all walks of life, forces beyond the surface influence attitudes and behaviors as they just might have on your opinion page. I would hate to think your inaccuracies were more than simply a rush to judgment based on lack of facts rather than on some other more unconscionable and devious agenda. I will give you the benefit of that doubt and not carelessly accuse you of a destructive nature that may not exist in the essence of your being. I wish you would give Mr. Schoor that same benefit. Who knows, it may even sell more papers.

It’s a hard, tough, often-unconscious world we live in. Perhaps, instead of expressing your disappointment in the sentence of Mr. Schoor for a one-time error in judgment where neither he nor his former company received any benefit, you could focus on all the good this extraordinary human being has done for society with his personal efforts and financial support of organizations such as Collier Youth Services, Centra State Healthcare, Temple Beth Shalom, The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the American Heart Association, etc. In this instance, perhaps the public’s money would have been better spent on the pursuit of deeper truths.

I always cringe when people are lumped together and sacrificed to the zeitgeist of the times without due press process in the pursuit of facts. As you say, in your February 11th Editorial, “How about justice?”

Sincerely,

Jaqueline H. Becker, Ph.D.
JHB:bb

Engineer gets no jail for paying ‘gratuity’

BY DANIEL HOWLEY
Staff Writer

Howard Schoor, 70, a founding member of the Schoor DePalma engineering firm, was sentenced in federal court on Feb. 10 to two years’ probation for paying a $15,000 “gratuity” to Stephen Kessler, the former chairman of the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority (TOSA).

Schoor must perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $7,500 fine for his admission to the crime. The crime carried a maximum sentence of.five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Justin Walder, Schoor’s attorney.

Schoor DePalma engineering is now known as CMX and Schoor has no connection to the firm.

“I think it was a fair and appropriate sentence under the circumstances,” Walder said. “Mr. Schoor has had no prior involvement in the criminal justice system. He is 70 years old. He has been an ideal citizen with his philanthropy and charity, and besides giving money to worthwhile causes, he was active in working with them.”

In his plea deal, Schoor said he made the payments to Kessler without the knowledge of anyone at Schoor DePalma.

Additionally, it was the government’s finding that Schoor DePalma would have been awarded a contract to perform sewage projects in Ocean Township regardless of Kessler’s vote, because the majority of TOSA members also voted in favor of the firm.

gmnews.com

Editorial Overreacted to Error in Judgement

Your Feb. 11 editorial “Schoor sentence badly engineered” about Howard Schoor was a vitriolic diatribe filled with misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Passion is important, but overzealousness is damaging and dangerous.

Schoor is a friend of mine – a fact I am proud of. He did not admit to bribing a public official, as stated in the opening sentence, but to giving a gratuity. There is a significant difference. The prosecution found that Schoor had long sold his interest in the engineering firm and was, in fact, only serving as honorary chairman.

The claim that the payments were made to enable the firm to receive more than $850,000 in work was false and slanderous, to both the individual and the firm. The government established that the firm received no benefit as a result of the act, which is why the firm was never indicted. In fact, Schoor Engineering previously had held the contract for about 20 years and was awarded the contract by an almost unanimous vote each year.

Schoor’s gift to a long-term relationship was wrong — he will be the first to admit It. In fact, he did and he is paying an appropriate penalty. Shame and discrimination for a man of his stature is a steep price to pay.

One of his greatest laments throughout the process was the need to resign from the boards of the various charitable organizations that he has supported for decades. The pall of indictment prevented him for raising monies for these organizations. One of his first comments to me after the sentencing was that he could finally resume those charitable activities publicly. Even good people commit errors in judgment.

Eli Kramer
MANALAPAN

Asbury Park Press

This whole thing to me is … quite frankly I don’t get it

Schoor DePalma co-founder is spared prison on conspiracy

by Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger
Monday February 09, 2009, 5:17 PM

The 70-year-old founder of a prominent engineering firm, one of New Jersey’s biggest government contractors, was spared a prison term today for paying what federal authorities called a $15,000 “gratuity” to two corrupt Ocean Township officials.

“There’s just no way this man should be in jail and I’m not going to put him there. He’s 70 years old and has never committed a prior offense,” said Judge Cavanaugh, prompting Schoor’s friends and family to openly applaud.

They took turns hugging Schoor as he left court, ending a case that, when he was initially indicted in 2006, ignited speculation among New Jersey political insiders that a larger public corruption case would follow because of Schoor’s extensive dealings with public officials for 40 years. The firm has worked statewide on projects ranging from the Asbury Park waterfront redevelopment to the Jersey Gardens Mall and the Turnpike’s Interchange 13A in Elizabeth.

But federal authorities absolved the firm of any wrongdoing, Schoor said he acted alone and the $15,000 payment was never linked to any project involving Schoor DePalma or any attempt to influence a public agency.

“Quite frankly, I don’t get it,” Judge Cavanaugh said of the case. “There’s no bribe. … Schoor DePalma didn’t get anything for it.”

Federal prosecutors claimed the payment, made between 2000 and 2001, rewarded two members of the Township of Ocean Sewerage Authority for helping the firm get work in the past. The case stemmed from a larger public corruption probe in Monmouth County that netted a dozen officials, including former Ocean Township Mayor Terrance Weldon.

But Justin Walder, Schoor’s attorney, said his client gave the money only to Kessler and not as a bribe.

“My client and Kessler had become friends, and Kessler ran into a number of problems, including a divorce, and had financial troubles. He asked for money, and my client helped him out. … It was never a bribe,” Walder said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Nobile, arguing that the payment was illegal and merits prison time, said the plea-deal given to Schoor already took into consideration his minor role in the corruption scheme.

Cavanaugh pointed to more than 30 years of charity work by Schoor, saying society is better served having him free on probation. He also ordered Schoor to perform 250 hours of community service.

Schoor provides tour of proposed pet cemetery site

Developer, farm manager & crematorium director hold stakes in project
BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP
Staff Writer

Developer Howard Schoor said he’s not going away anytime soon.

That’s what the Holmdel resident, who is the founder of Manalapan’s Schoor DePalma, one of the region’s leading engineering and consulting firms, told reporters at a press junket held Monday at Showplace Farms on Route 33 in Millstone.

Schoor made the comment in reference to a Millstone-based nonprofit organization’s appeal of the township zoning board’s unanimous vote to grant a variance that would allow the construction of a pet memorial park on Showplace Farms.

“I already have $150 [thousand] to $200,000 invested in this project,” Schoor said. “If the township overrides the board’s decision, I’ll seek remedy in the courts.”

The fate of Showplace Pet Memorial Park depends on the Township Committee upholding its zoning board’s decision and the project receiving final site plan approvals, Schoor said.

The committee will hold a hearing on the matter at 6 p.m. May 18 at the Millstone Municipal Building, Millstone Road.

If everything goes well, Schoor said, he and his partners — Larry Nicola, a regional cemetery/crematorium operator, and Bix DiMeo, who oversees the daily operations at Showplace Farms — would invest more than $1 million in developing a pet cemetery and crematorium on 16.5 acres of the 140-acre farm.

“We would start construction in the fall,” Schoor said.

Showplace Farms is currently used to stable horses that compete in races at the Meadowlands, Schoor said. The facility also opens its horse pool to dogs from the local area that have medical complications, according to DiMeo.

“I can see the headline now: ‘Showplace Farms goes to the dogs,’ ” Schoor said.

Schoor made the comment referring to the current situation with the Millstone residents who created a nonprofit organization through a Web site, www.noincinerator.com, to garner support and funding for appealing the zoning board’s decision to grant the variance for the pet cemetery.

The nonprofit’s attorney, Lewis Goldshore, said the group’s legal objections to the zoning board proceedings include failure to properly notify residents; improper rezoning of a parcel of land; failure to show that the project would be inherently beneficial; and failure to prove the site suitable for a pet cemetery/crematorium and without substantial detriment to the public good.

A press release from www.noincinerator.com states that not only do residents object to the land use, but also to the potential pollution and traffic such a facility could produce.

“We take care of over 400 horses here,” Schoor said. “Eighty percent of them race and are worth more than half a million dollars. We would never do anything to harm these horses. Why would we put something on 14 acres that would be a detriment to the other 125 acres?”

With regard to the potential pollution the incinerator could produce, DiMeo said people are wrongly comparing the animal crematorium to a municipal waste incinerator.

“There won’t be anything but organic material going into the crematorium,” DiMeo said. “These animals are 98 percent water and about 2 percent carbon. There’s nothing toxic going into the crematorium.”

Schoor produced a statement from Lester Jargowsky, director of the Monmouth County Health Department and a Millstone resident.

“The relative health risks are extremely small,” Jargowsky said in the press release. “There is more environmental harm in a residential fireplace than in an animal crematorium.”

With regard to possible traffic the pet cemetery could create, Schoor said, “We’ll be lucky if we have half a dozen cars a day. We’re located on the state highway, so traffic won’t impact the local community.”

With regard to the aesthetics of the property, Schoor said that the entrance to the facility will be tree-lined. There would be meandering paths throughout the property, and sitting areas among the ash-scattering gardens. All of the existing farm buildings, once used for horse auctions, would be renovated and covered with stucco.

“This will be the most upscale facility in the country, if not the world,” Schoor said.

Schoor said the proposed animal crematorium would have two 15-foot smokestacks that stick out of a 30-by-50-foot building. One of the facility’s three ovens would be big enough for horses.

When asked if the facility would accept road kill from local areas, DiMeo said, “It’s not in our business plan, but if Monmouth County officials called us up and asked us to do them a favor, we wouldn’t say no.”

For those who would like to ensure the proper handling of their animals, Schoor said, the facility will allow pet owners to watch cremations. The facility will also have a chapel for services, along with a 30,000-plot cemetery, a mausoleum and indoor niches for cremated remains, Schoor said.

“We’re really going to make this a destination point for people who love their animals, a real tourist attraction,” DiMeo said.

Schoor said the state of New Jersey currently has two licensed and operating crematoriums. Showplace Pet Memorial Park would join them in the National Association of Pet Cemeteries, Schoor said. The facility would also be subject to federal, state and local environmental regulations.

“We will have to get a clean-air permit,” Schoor said. “We’re already in the process of applying for one.”

With regard to comments made on www.noincinerator.com stating that an animal crematorium would reduce property values, Schoor said, “If anyone had a vested interest, it would be me. I’m the largest tax payer in the township.”

DiMeo said, “When anyone hears the word incinerator, red flags go up. But, the people who are giving out wrong information about this kind of incinerator are the ones to blame.”

Schoor said, “We think there is a tremendous need for this. It doesn’t seem anyone is objecting to the pet cemetery, just the crematorium, but that’s an intrinsic part of this kind of facility.”

When asked if he is considering more than just profits with this project, Schoor said, “Sure, I’m a developer, but there are other things in life that motivate projects other than profits. This really isn’t a project for us, but our children and our grandchildren.”

Schoor, a civil engineer, founded the design and engineering firm Schoor DePalma Inc. in 1968. His firm handles more than 5,500 projects a year in areas that include transportation services, land development planning, public works services, environmental services and building services. The firm provides engineering and consulting services to more than 500 commercial and government clients in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, according to the firm’s Web site.

“If Howard Schoor wants something done, it gets done,” DiMeo said. “The pet industry is growing in leaps and bounds, and having a pet cemetery in Millstone could put it on the map. We could be in the forefront of a billion-dollar industry.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about Showplace Farms or its proposed pet cemetery can call DiMeo at (732) 446-3100.

http://examiner.gmnews.com

Sun Bancorp Inc. to buy Community Bank

Inependent

BY LINDA DeNICOLA

Staff Writer

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — So many things are bigger today — houses, people, fast food meals, SUVs, merged telecommunications companies and, over the last few years, bank corporations.

The Community Bank of New Jersey, with headquarters on Route 9 in the township and branches throughout western Monmouth County, is being bought by Sun Bancorp Inc. of Vineland for $83.2 million. The deal will create a larger community bank corporation, but one that will continue to cater to the needs of the community.

According to Howard Schoor, one of the founders of Community Bank, a key point in the merger is that the combined company is still going to be a community bank, but one that is going to be bigger and better than either of the two banks alone.

“Sun has the same philosophy and culture regarding customer service and what our role is in the community. I believe what I’ve said to others, that this was the right time for the right reasons with the right bank,” Schoor said. “We are pretty excited that this will be good for customers, shareholders and most of our employees. There is always some consolidation and cost savings with back office personnel.”

Schoor explained that by back office personnel he means the staff members who process checks and manage interaction with the federal reserve. Those jobs will be consolidated, he said.

“We anticipate that all of the front line staff will remain the same. The Community Bank has Saturday lobby hours and most have Sunday hours. That won’t change,” he said, adding that Sun has 70 branches and wants to be the premier community bank in every town it serves.

“When you pick up the phone you can talk to the branch manager, unlike some banks where you can’t even reach your local branch on the phone,” Schoor said, adding, “It’s not about getting every efficiency out of the system so you can make more money.”

The only physical thing about the merged bank that will change is the name. It will carry the Sun National Bank name, Schoor said.

When the deal is finalized sometime in early summer, the new bank will have $3.2 billion in assets and will offer customers more in the way of products. Schoor explained that there are regula­tory approvals to come and since both companies are listed on the stock ex­change the Securities and Exchange Commission has to review the action.

“It’s fairly perfunctory,” he said.

The present Community Bank, whose holding company is Community Bancorp of New Jersey, has branches in Freehold Township, Freehold Borough. Colts Neck, Howell, Manalapan, Matawan and Shrewsbury.

Sun has four branches in Monmouth County. According to Schoor, Sun may close branches in Freehold and Eatontown and merge them with the Freehold Township branch. Two other branches, in Red Bank and Manasquan, will remain, as well as eight branches Sun has in Ocean County.

Proclamation

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

WHEREAS, those who dedicate their time, effort and skills to help others are among the most valued members of any community; and

WHEREAS, the State of Israel Bonds in Highland Park, New Jersey, will honor Howard M. Schoor with its State of Israel Peace Medal on June 19, 2003; and

WHEREAS, the State of Israel Peace Medal is awarded to an individual whose commitment and contributions to the State of Israel and the community at large has been demonstrated through continual giving of themselves; and

WHEREAS, a man of many talents and accomplishments, Mr. Schoor is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Schoor DePalma, Inc., the Founder of SGS Communities, and Founder and Chairman of the Community Bank of New Jersey. An active participant in numerous local charitable and civic community activities, he currently serves on the Board of Directors of Collier Services and the Regional Board of the American Heart Association. In addition, he has served as Honorary Campaign Chair of Centra State Healthcare Foundation’s Radiation Therapy Center, Trustee of the Centra State Hospital Foundation, the Monmouth County .iultiple Sclerosis Foundation, and as a Director and Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Monmoutiz County; and

WHEREAS, he has lived by the principals of brotherhood, benefiting all in the community;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. McGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, do hereby recognize and commend

HOWARD M. SCHOOR

as an individual who best exemplifies the true meaning of public service to his community and the State of Israel, and join with the State of Israel Bonds to congratulate him and extend best wishes for the future.

GIVEN,    under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of New Jersey, this nineteenth day of June in the year two thousand three and of the Independence of the United States, the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

Development cowboy ridin’ high

photo

By Steve Israel
Times Herald-Record
sisrael@th-record.com

Bethel – Call him The Cowboy Donald

He’s the steer-wrestling builder of one of the most spectacular luxury home developments this side of Montana – 6,000 rolling acres of wild Sullivan County woods and water. More than 100 rustic homes, many with a price tag of a million bucks or more. Carved eagles inside, real ones outside. A $200 million development deal.

Catskill cowboy Steve Dubrovsky is a savior, say folks ranging from his hometown of Bethel all the way to Washington, D.C.
“A credit to our county,” says Sullivan County Attorney Ira Cohen. “He’s bringing a whole new class of people here.”
“Something we can all hang our hats on,” says Assemblyman Jake Gunther about the gated development called the Chapin Estate.

“It’s going to make life there very special,” says former United Artists president David Picker, who’s having a lakefront home built by Dubrovsky.

Wait. Hold your horses, say some folks in the neighboring little Hamlet of Smallwood.
Politicians bow down to the rodeo champion, they say. When Dubrovsky wanted a town road leading to his land closed, the town closed it, they say. His company is marketing land near the Chapin Estate in Bethel – owned by the Bethel supervisor.

“If this isn’t a case of a developer having a Town Board in his pocket, I don’t know what is,” says Smallwood’s Harold Saltzman.

Dubrovsky swears on his leather saddles that he plays by the rules. So does Bethel, which reopened the road after pressure from Smallwood. Its supervisor now abstains from Chapin business.

Call this Catskill cowboy whatever you want. But know this: the man rodeo champ Smokey Smith calls “one tough bulldogger” has mastered the art of the development deal.

And it all began with a gamble worthy of “The Donald.”

Dubrovsky plunked down $5 million on property with a reservoir that was draining. The trees couldn’t be cleared without a huge forestry program penalty. He had no guarantee the lots of at least five acres each would sell at their six-figure prices.

“I’ve had a lot of sweat run down my butt,” says Dubrovsky, sitting in his office near the Woodstock festival site, a converted red barn where a lasso hangs on a coat rack.
So the Catskill cowboy went to work.

When Dubrovsky wanted the electric company that owns the Toronto Reservoir to stop draining the water, he called U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Assemblymen Jake Gunther and John Bonacic.

He and his partners donated some $35,000 to them – and Gov. George Pataki – over the last few years, with most going to Bonacic and Schumer. Dubrovsky held a fund-raiser for Schumer at his woodsy headquarters where carved raccoons grace a wagon wheel chandelier. A Bonacic staffer toured the Chapin Estate last week.

The water level of the lakefront homes, which once dropped so low you could see brown dirt, is now full and bright blue.
When he needed the town and county to help him avoid penalties from cutting down trees, he drove to tiny town halls in his GMC Yukon. The county convened a meeting for him.

Attorney Cohen found a part of the law that allows most of the penalty to be waived. The land went back on the tax rolls. Dubrovsky’s company, Woodstone, paid all of the taxes for the first phase of development, which amounted to $190,000. He got back $53,000 through the part of the law that waived the exemptions.

That means $365,000 for Bethel, the county and the school system each year –- compared to $291 if the 35-home first phase of the estate plan had remained undeveloped.

“It’s economic development and it protects the water and the land,” says Dubrovsky. “Why shouldn’t they support me?”
“Who can complain about that?” asks Cohen.

“The guy’s fearless,” says Picker, the former movie mogul. “He’s jumped off a horse to wrestle the steer down. He has a vision. He’s willing to take risks.”

The son of a professor of Yiddish has been taking risks since his bar mitzvah. That’s when his uncle gave him a horse to ride on his family’s former chicken farm in Farmingdale, N.J. A neighbor saw Dubrovsky riding in circles. A real man wouldn’t do that, the neighbor said. A real man would jump off a horse and corral a steer. Even though his mother was furious, cowboy Dubrovsky was born. When he made $300 for 10 seconds of work, he was hooked.

But Dubrovsky was also a kid who liked to play with wood building blocks – “and concoct all sorts of structures,” says his mom, Gertrude.

So when he saw the empty concrete chicken coops on his family’s farm, he had an idea.
Why not turn them into houses and sell them – for $50,000 to $60,000. Not a bad price some 35 years ago in rural Jersey.

Soon, the Jersey cowboy was building, bucking and not going to college.

He sketched homes when he hit the rodeo trail – particularly the log and stone mountain homes he saw in the great Northwest. Back in Jersey, he added those touches to ranch homes he helped build. When he saw a story in Forbes magazine about a down-on-its-luck county just two hours from New York City, he headed to Sullivan.

Dubrovsky discovered the untouched 6,000 acres of woods, wildlife and water that were part of the estate of Manhattan businessman Chester Chapin.

He hooked up with two partners to raise the $5 million to buy it – Dan Silna, who had turned part ownership of the old St. Louis Spirit ABA basketball team into a fortune and already had three Dubrovsky homes and Howard Schoor, who owns a New Jersey engineering firm and builds 600 homes per year.

Together they spend thousands on ads in The New York Times, thousands more for billboards on Route 17. Dubrovsky turns up at all sorts of town meetings to win approvals and, he says, to “keep the towns comfortable.”

He dines with cable magnate Alan Gerry, who’s building a performing arts center within walking distance from Dubrovsky’s office. Then he chows down with the regulars at Blanche’s Diner in Mongaup Valley. He trades his sneakers for cowboy boots for a fund-raiser for Pataki and a town meeting with Schumer. Why, he’s even moving his longhorns to the Estate for “window dressing.”

All reasons why you can call Steve Dubrovsky The Cowboy Donald, the master of the art of the development deal. He’s earned the title.

Copyright © 2011 Howard Schoor Comanies

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