Sunday, September 30, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
UPDATE: Body of man in wet suit found in ocean
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/17/07
TOMS RIVER — The Ocean County Prosector's Office has released the following statement concerning the body found today in the ocean:
Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford announced today that at approximately 9:03AM the deceased body of a white male attired in a wet suit was found floating one and a half miles northeast of the Manasquan Inlet.
This discovery was made by a private pleasure boat which then notified the US Coast Guard. The US Coast Guard dispatched a vessel that retrieved and returned with the unidentified body to their Manasquan Inlet Station, Point Pleasant Beach.
An autopsy will be conducted at 5 p.m. today by Dr. Hydow Park at Community Medical Center.
Members of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminalistics Investigation Unit (C.I.U.) are conducting the investigation to establish the identity of the deceased.
The body was found approximately five days after a prominent Florida developer, Frank D'Alessandro, was reported missing.
-- Staff Report
Friday, September 14, 2007
Search suspended for missing real estate mogul, rumors continue to swirl
Authorities find Frank D'Alessandro's kayak as search was expanded and then suspended all in the same day
By KATHLEEN CULLINAN, Charlie Whitehead
Originally published — 6:49 p.m., September 13, 2007
Updated — 10:53 p.m., September 14, 2007
Authorities suspended the search late Friday for Frank D’Alessandro, who went missing off the coast of Point Pleasant, N.J., three days before.
Friends and colleagues of the Southwest Florida real estate mogul are holding out hope D’Alessandro will be found alive. They also say they find rumors concerning his disappearance appalling.
The Point Pleasant Beach police department confirmed an overturned kayak found Wednesday nine miles from where D’Alessandro was last seen was the one D’Alessandro had rented when he arrived in New Jersey to care for his ill mother.
The kayak is a “Frenzy’’ model, made by the Ocean Kayak company.
“As far as survivability goes, the gentleman was in good health, the water temperature and the air temperature are ideal, we have calm seas,” said Petty Officer Nyx Cangemi in Atlantic City. “These are ideal conditions.”
The Coast Guard, which extended the search early Friday and then suspended it at nightfall, said they’re treating the case as a standard missing persons search.
However, several federal lawsuits pending against D’Alessandro and his business partners fueled speculation among some that the high-profile commercial real estate broker had a reason to be missing.
Dozens of postings on media Web sites alternated between sympathy for the family and theories about what might have happened. And the attorneys who filed a class-action suit against D’Alessandro and others over a real estate deal gone bad say the subprime lending practices involved had attracted the attention of state and federal investigators.
Gary Poliakoff, partner in the firm of Becker & Poliakoff, said there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people victimized by a real estate offer presented as a “First Home Lease Purchase Investment Opportunity” by D’Alessandro and Samir Cabrera, a broker with the Fort Myers commercial realty firm D’Alessandro & Woodyard.
Those who bought, the suit contends, were induced to invest a down payment for a home in Cape Coral or Lehigh Acres on the promise of a 14 percent annual return.
Officials with the State Attorney’s Office in Fort Myers, though, said their agency didn’t have any investigations ongoing involving D’Alessandro.
Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy in Fort Myers refused to comment on whether D’Alessandro is the subject of any federal investigation.
In New Jersey, Point Pleasant police said they have talked to local authorities as part of their investigation into D’Alessandro’s disappearance.
Todd Gates, a business partner of D’Alessandro’s, said he was upset by speculation the disappearance could be linked to the real estate mogul’s legal woes.
“I’ve heard all kinds of rumors, but they don’t add up. They just don’t add up,” Gates said, calling D’Alessandro “too successful” and “too healthy” to be cowed by lawsuits.
“It bothers me because I know Frank as a human being, and Frank is a wonderful human being,’’ Gates said. “He’s an honest individual, hard-working.”
According to the lawsuits, D’Alessandro and Woodyard promised they would provide renters when the homes were built. The suit alleges buyers were set up with loans they could not afford, renters were not provided and promises were not kept.
Mortgages were based on inflated appraisals, it alleges, leaving the buyers holding the $300,000 bag for homes worth much less.
Each of the claims demands to be made whole for the deals, plus damages. If Poliakoff is right and there are thousands of people eligible for the class-action suit, there could be millions of dollars at stake.
The offer specifically targeted low- and middle-income people.
“Individuals’ lives have been put in disarray as a direct result of this scheme,” Poliakoff said. “All these individuals tell similar stories.”
Also named in the suit are First Home Builders, First Mortgage Lenders, Norlarco Credit Union, First Home Title and other brokers or employees of those companies.
Dan Wallach, an attorney for Becke & Poliakoff, said he’d been looking forward to deposing D’Alessandro under oath.
“I would hope he didn’t meet a foul fate,” Wallach said. “I’ve been looking forward for over a year to the opportunity to depose him.’’
Naples attorney Chris Vernon represents two of the state cases brought against D’Alessandro.
The cases were filed May 29 and June 6. Among the allegations in the lawsuits are the sale of unregistered securities and breach of fiduciary duty.
Since D’Alessandro’s disappearance, Vernon said, he has heard a lot of speculation about what might have happened.
“There’s a lot of rumors flying,” he said. “I think when a story like this comes out sometimes there is a lot to it, and sometimes people just make stuff up.”
Lee County Manager Don Stilwell is a close friend of D’Alessandro’s. He calls speculation his friend’s disappearance is anything but a kayaking accident “pathetic.”
“I’ve known the man for 14 years,” Stilwell said. “I know he wouldn’t put people through that.”
Stilwell’s daughter, Jessica, a local TV reporter, is married to Cabrera, who is also named in the lawsuits.
Stilwell said he considers D’Alessandro a member of his family. He said he celebrated D’Alessandro’s birthday on his boat a few weeks ago.
“Frank’s been under tremendous pressure for a long time,” he said. “His mother has terminal cancer. Frank always works 60 hours plus a week. He’s a hard-working son of a gun.”
Stilwell said D’Alessandro seemed tired and worn down recently, but upbeat. He said D’Alessandro has had dinner at Stilwell’s house virtually every Sunday for years.
“He’s a member of my family,” he said. “My kids are devastated. Frank wouldn’t do that.”
D’Alessandro felt good about his chances in the lawsuits, Stilwell said, because he knew he’d done nothing wrong.
“To me it’s offensive that people come up with the most cockamamie things,” he said.
U.S. District Judge John Steele issued an order Friday calling for a pretrial conference in the lawsuits on Oct. 15.
Discussed then would be the possible class-action status of the case. Because the case involves certain federal securities allegations, the discovery phase, including sworn depositions, hasn’t yet begun.
The orange kayak found in New Jersey was identified as D’Alessandro’s by color, make, model and markings.
Police investigators have gone into the Point Pleasant Beach house that D’Alessandro was renting. Detective Pat Petruzziello declined to say what was inside.
Authorities believe D’Alessandro took off in his kayak between 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday after eating dinner with his mother. She reported him missing when he didn’t show up for lunch the next day.
Half an oar was later found on the beach, Cangemi said.
A life jacket was found in the storage compartment of the recovered kayak, and authorities said they do not know whether D’Alessandro was wearing another one or a wetsuit he is believed to have brought with him from Florida.
Petruzziello said no wetsuit was found in a search of D’Alessandro’s rental home, where the Lincoln Town Car he was renting was parked in the driveway.
‘‘Nobody actually physically saw him enter the water,” Petruzziello said.
Tracy Coon, president of the Jersey Shore Kayak Association, said it’s not uncommon for paddlers to take to the ocean after dark.
She said autumn weather is just setting in and the water temperature is still in the 70s, warm enough for someone in the proper attire.
Once a year, Coon estimated, an area paddler sets out and doesn’t come back.
“Almost always the person’s not wearing a (life vest) and almost always they’re not prepared for the water temperature,” Coon said.
Now in its third day, the rescue operation spans hundreds of miles and includes an 87-foot patrol boat, several helicopters and an airplane. Cangemi said rescuers use computer models to approximate, based on the currents, wind and D’Alessandro’s body weight, the area where he’s most likely to be found.
He said D’Alessandro was known to take daily kayaking trips three miles out from the shore.
Petruzziello said there is “no indication” the case is anything other than that of a missing person, “so that’s the way it’s being handled.”
Staffers at the Gates, D’Alessandro & Woodyard’s Fort Myers office gathered for an 8 a.m. meeting Friday about D’Alessandro, which Gates described as tearful and “very, very somber.”
“I don’t know much more than what you guys know,” he told a reporter. “The biggest thing is just hope and pray that he’s OK.”
- - -
Staff writers Katy Bishop and Aisling Swift and reporters Rudy Larini and Mark Mueller from The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., contributed to this report.
Posted on Thursday, Sept. 13
Rescuers were searching by air and by water Thursday off the coast of New Jersey for Frank D’Alessandro, a prominent Fort Myers Realtor who went kayaking two nights before and never returned.
A friend and co-worker said D’Alessandro, 52, was on a two-week visit with his mother in the area of Point Pleasant Beach and ate dinner with her Tuesday night before taking off in his sit-on-top kayak. When he failed to call or show up for an 11:30 lunch date the next day, authorities said, his mother reported him missing.
Search teams found a kayak believed to be D’Alessandro’s nine miles off the coast of Mantoloking, N.J.
“I keep telling myself he’s got to be clinging to a big rock somewhere, just waiting for somebody to find him,” said Susan Galbraith, chief operating officer for D’Alessandro and Woodyard.
Galbraith said she drew hope from reports from New Jersey authorities that the water was calm there and the weather was clear, ideal conditions to search for a man said to have been wearing a wetsuit. The U.S. Coast Guard joined local crews in the search, which included an 87-foot vessel, divers and a rescue helicopter, according to the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department.
Galbraith said many of D’Alessandro’s co-workers hadn’t been told he was missing before the media found out. She said D’Alessandro had been making regular trips to New Jersey recently to care of his mother, who was ill.
Galbraith pleaded for prayers for D’Alessandro, an avid boater who, she said, was in “excellent shape. He swam like crazy. He loved kayaking, he kayaked several times a day while he was up there.”
“He’s an absolutely wonderful man,” she said, as her voice broke. “Just please keep hoping and praying that he’s O.K.”
Todd Gates, a business partner and friend, said he was shocked and distraught after hearing about D’Alessandro’s disappearance.
He called D’Alessandro a “true friend.” They’ve know each other for about 20 years.
About a year ago, the two merged companies.
He said D’Alessandro’s broken paddle was found 9 miles offshore.
“We don’t know what happened,” said Gates, chairman of GATES in North Naples, a general contractor and full-service real estate firm.
He described D’Alessandro as a strong, healthy man. He remains hopeful he will be found.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s still purely a search and rescue mission, not a recovery,” Gates said. “Hopefully he’s hanging on to something and he’ll survive.”
D’Alessandro has been in Southwest Florida for more than two decades and been involved in many of the area’s biggest real-estate deals.
“He’s very prominent in this industry, very knowledgeable, one of the leaders in the Southwest Florida market,’’ said Tim Tillapaugh, a commercial Realtor with CB Richard Ellis in Collier and Lee counties. “If you ever go in Lee County you always see his signs here. It’s a small industry, everybody knows each other, especially in the commercial real estate market. He’s a great guy and hopefully everything turns out OK.’’
Samira Beckwith, chief executive officer of Hope Hospice, was stunned when she heard he is missing, recollecting a conversation she had with D’Alessandro recently about his ailing mother. He served on the board of directors for Hope Hospice for five years before resigning a year ago.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Beckwith said, adding she hopes he’s in some isolated spot and will be found. “I am really shocked. He has always been very supportive of our mission.”
D’Alessandro has been a political mover in Fort Myers since the 1980s. His fundraisers have helped more than one county commissioner into office. He has been one of the area’s most powerful real-estate agents, though in recent years he has been named in various real estate-related lawsuits as the market dropped. In 2000, he published a book, “Instant Negotiator.”
“What you achieve in life is in direct proportion to how well you negotiate,” the jacket states.
Posted by 27 years on Broadway at 11:05 PM
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The Coast Guard had planes as early as 6:AM up and down the beach of Belmar , I guess this is why. ...they were still searching the coast line as late as 6pm tonight via Coast Guard Helicopter
BREAKING NEWS: Missing kayaker identified as prominent Florida developer
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/13/07
POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Coast Guard officials continue to search for a missing kayaker, who has been identified as a prominent developer from Fort Myers, Fla., who recently has been plagued by lawsuits.
Frank D'Alessandro, 52, went missing Wednesday. The Coast Guard and the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau began their search for him off of Point Pleasant Beach after a family member called authorities because he failed to meet her for a scheduled lunch date.
D'Alessandro is a partner in the commercial real estate development firm of Gates, D'Alessandro and Woodyard LLC of Fort Myers, Fla.
In April 2003, D'Alessandro and First Home Builders president Pat Logue teamed up to present the real estate market in the Fort Myers area with a plan to sell leased-up houses to investors.
The plan went well at first but collapsed in 2006 as rental rates and prices plummeted. Numerous lawsuits have been filed, but D'Alessandro and his attorneys have denied any wrongdoing.
D'Alessandro was in Point Pleasant to visit his mother who just underwent surgery, according to police. He had rented an oceanfront home in Point Pleasant Beach for a two-week stay.
On Wednesday, the Coast Guard received the missing report about D'Alessandro at 1:30 p.m. and a helicopter was on the scene three minutes later, according to Petty Officer Nyx Cangemi.
Soon after, the crew discovered an overturned orange kayak about nine miles off shore, he said, adding that authorities have not confirmed that the kayak belonged to the missing boater.
On Wednesday night, the Air National Guard also searched for about two hours, said Cangemi.
The search continued today without any sign of D'Alessandro
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Posted by 27 years on Broadway at 12:49 PM
A Pictorial Journey Through a Day Spent Entirely Inside of a Bar
I guess when Benny was able to confirm our story weeks ago that the Tropical Pub in Belmar NJ, is being sold, He decided he better get over to the Trop to play Sunday Bingo
Saturday, September 08, 2007
BELMAR — A lack of waves forced organizers to postpone the start of the Verizon Belmar Surf Pro's qualifying heats until 8 a.m. today.
It's touted as New Jersey's premiere surfing event, drawing some of the world's best surfers to the 16th Avenue beachfront through the weekend to take aim at the largest cash prize ever offered at the Belmar event, according to organizers.
There is a $15,000 pro shortboard purse, a $3,000 pro longboard purse and $1,500 pro women's purse.
The field for the pro shortboard is expected to consist of 128 competitors. First prize for the event is $5,000. The balance of the prize money will be allocated using the standard ASP format. No more than 48 amateurs will be allowed to enter the pro event against some of the best surfers in the world, according to organizers.
The pro longboard event, new to Belmar this year, will consist of no more than 24 contestants, competing in the standard pro format. First prize in that event is $1,000.
Also new this year is a pro women's event in which no more than 16 contestants will be allowed, competing in the standard pro format. The prize money will be awarded to the top six places, according to organizers.
Events are to last until 9 p.m. today; continue from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. However, the schedule remains at the mercy of the weather and surfing conditions in Belmar.
Posted by 27 years on Broadway at 8:47 AM
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tixx Alert: TICKETS and TOUR: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band tickets go on sale this weekend for the shows in Phila. Pa
Friday, October 5, 2007
Posted by 27 years on Broadway at 11:53 AM
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
San Diego Police Break Up Beach Brawl
Sep 4 12:15 PM US/Eastern
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Police in riot gear sprayed smoke and tear gas to break up a hostile crowd throwing bottles and cans during a massive Labor Day brawl at Pacific Beach.
Sixteen people were arrested and face charges of fighting and being drunk in public.
Police were called when the crowd, estimated at about 500, started brawling, authorities said. Beach lifeguards locked themselves in their towers, witnesses told television reporters.
It was not immediately known what triggered the fight.
A police helicopter hovered over the beach while officers on the ground formed a skirmish line along the boardwalk.
No officers were injured.
City Councilman Kevin Faulconer went to see the fight for himself and said alcohol likely played a part in it. Because of the brawl, he said he is considering a push to ban alcohol on city beaches.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Posted by 27 years on Broadway at 12:34 PM
Posted by 27 years on Broadway at 12:32 PM