Tuesday, September 23, 2008
June 11, 2005
Honorable Jerome B. Simandle
Michael H. Cohen U.S. Courthouse
One John F. Gerry Plaza
4 & Cooper Streets
Camden, NJ 08101-0888
Dear Judge Simandle:
I implore you to please read every word of this correspondence to you. Every single solitary word and fact is absolutely and unequivocally true.
Yesterday an innocent man was sentenced to jail and his family devastated.
Often I have said to myself, “that this must be a dream, when am I going to wake up from this nightmare?” Why would I, at this stage in my life, do something that contradicts the good value system that I have established since my childhood? I have never knowingly taken advantage of anyone in my life, nor have I ever defrauded anyone.
It has been suggested by the government that I should repent, take responsibility and that it would be helpful to me. I am self-reproachful because I did not “watch the store” closer. I am humbled, regretful, contrite and mad as hell at myself for not knowing that I was being taken advantage of. I am a sadder and wiser man, but I can never say that ever defrauded anyone in my life. Everyone that knows me knows that I could not do these deceitful acts. I am certainly not unregretful or remorseless. I will spend the rest of my life trying to right any wrongs that were done during my watch.
I do not lie and cheat. I also do not make up excuses. The following is the truthful and blunt explanation of why I find myself in this terrible predicament: My company hired an individual with a criminal background, unbeknownst to me or anybody in the company, who eventually progressed to be our CFO and COO. He previously held the same responsibilities and titles while employed with a very reputable company (Revlon Industries) with fifteen hundred employees. When employed with our company, without anyone’s knowledge, he created a sophisticated yet simple embezzlement and bank fraud scheme. His dishonest nature, coupled with accepted “look the other way,” undiscerning and sometime tutelage of unethical business practices, of a minority yet too large a segment of the lending industry, enabled him to accomplish his corrupt goals. Evidently, the knowledge of this propensity of some lenders was taken advantage of by our CFO.
My predicament started when seventy-five percent of the company loans, of which I was indicted for, were all channeled through Parke Bank, while they functioned not only as a direct lender but also a loan broker.
Parke Bank's first loans were my company's loans. Together with my CFO, the bank's president did all of the underwriting and packageing for our loans.
(Our CFO made up two sets of tax returns for a number of years. We had people knocking our doors down to lend us money at the time. At the beginning of this time we just completed a very successful project, the Flanders Condominium Hotel in Ocean City, New Jersey. The only reason I believe there were two sets of tax returns was so that our CFO could skim money.) Our CFO accomplished his fraudulent goals because I believe the bank's president, Vito Pantilione, was willfully blind and criminally negligent in his lack of due diligence procedures. All he had to do was to call our outside accountant, whom he was well aware of, and our CFO would have been in jail the next day. It has been said to me by other lending and real estate professionals that without the fees generated from our loans, the bank could not have survived (I read an article in the Philadelphia Business Journal that de novo banks like Parke Bank usually loose money in the first couple of years, in this article I see where Vito Pantilione was bragging that in the year 2000 Parke Bank of Swell, NJ enjoyed a healthy $440,000 profit. They would not have gotten that money without churning loans through my company.)
I am not proud to say that I was an easy mark when it came to billing, accounting and banking matters. These matters were delegated and you could term me a hands-off in this area. We had hundreds of employees, I was hands-on when it came to sales and marketing, development, building product detailing, merchandising and rallying the troops by keeping everybody happy and in good spirits. I fully trusted everyone who worked for me until they betrayed that trust. I had unequivocal and complete faith in our CFO. His criminal undertakings were discovered after his death in November 2000. I became the unknowing dupe, the target of a bank fraud investigaiton and now convicted and sentenced. That's the basic premise of my predicament, in a nutshell.
I had no direct contact with any of the nine lenders for the loans I was indicted for regarding the supplying of any financial information. I never met any of the lenders prior to the loans running into trouble, except Vito Pantilone and Eric Cummings. My CFO supplied all the financial information to the banks. I categorically deny ever scheming to defraud any bank.
I have also been convicted of bankruptcy fraud. I categorically deny same. After trying hard to save my company, I reluctantly filed bankruptcy on December 6, 2001. In April of 2001, I had sold my furniture to my son for $95,000.00 He had just received a settlement from a skiing accident he had. We sold him our furniture, which we had the perfect right to do. This had absolutly nothing to do with my bankruptcy. I never contemplated bankruptcy at this time. I decided to file bankruptcy on December 5, the day before I filed because creditors were seizing money out of our bank accounts. With the money from the sale of the furniture, we paid bills. Once again this had nothing to do with bankruptcy. We were advised by different law firms that we could sell our furniture to our kids for a proper value. I discussed this information in a bankruptcy deposition. The basis for bankruptcy fraud would be if somebody understated the value of one's personality or one's asset in order for someone to take advantage of same. The furniture was sold for $95,000; it was actually overpriced, not under priced, which Michael Hoffman and others stated at the time.
One can buy an awful lot of used furniture for $95,000. For example, there was at least twenty times more furniture in the banquet center and that furniture was sold for $47,000. HOw in the world I could have ever been accused of bankruptcy fraud is beyond me. And how in the world I could have ever been convicted of same is unbelievable. The jury was totally confused.
I am accused of stating in the bankruptcy deposition of saying that I did not give the $95,000 price. I certainly gave the $95,000 sale price to Michael Hoffman. That is the price the furniture was sold for. It did not come out of the sky. There was a list made up and the $95,000 sale price was spread over different room locations and the price was subdivided for each room by Michael Hoffman. I did not come up with these individual prices, Michael Hoffman came up with the subdivided room prices. That is the basis for the bankruptcy fraud allegation, that I did not give the $95,000 figure. The furniture was sold for $95,000; it was a matter of fact, well before the deposition. If someone reads all my statements in my deposition concerning the furniture, one could never conclude that I had not given the $95,000 figure.
If the sale price would have been $150,000 or $20,000 Michael Hoffman would have divided that price by the number of rooms as he did with the $95,000 figure. What motive or intention would I have to say that I did not give Michael Hoffman the $95,000 sale price? The only way that I could be guilty of bankruptcy fraud is if the furniture that I sold to my son was not worth $95,000, but more. That is what the government is claiming, that it is worth between $500,000 to $600,000, not $95,000. This is totally ludicrus. The government stated in a report that, "investigation has revealed that James Dwyer's personal property was valued at $500,000 to $600,000, not $95,000. By selling his personal property to his son, James Dwyer attempted to conceal his assets, so the bankruptcy Trustee could not liquidate them and pay off creditors." This is the crux of the bankruptcy fraud issue.
How was it revealed that our personal property was valued at $500,000 to $600,000? I'll tell you how it was revealed. Michael Hoffman, who has a great hate for me, who has a motive to not be sued by the bankruptcy Trustee, fabricated this value. Micahel Hoffman worked for us as a decorator. He is not an appraiser, he is not a designer, but the government decided to take his word that hte furniture was worth $500,000 to $600,000. A professional appraiser has just now concluded an appraisal of the furniture that remained of the inventory of the furnture stil ocated in our former home at 8 Camlough Road, formally 331 Dennisville Road.
As you know, the furniture inventory consisted of seventeen pages. The home furnishing were on the first six pages which had a total sale price of $66,900 out of the $95,000 sale price. the remaining eleven pages consisted of office furniture, a little bit of which was in my office at home and at various locations, at the Flanders, our penthouse furniture, some furniture loaned to the Banquet Center, and business offices throughout the Flanders. The sale price of the furniture on the last eleven pages was priced at $28,100. All of the office furniture that was located in our house, was at the Flanders when the receiver for the banquet center liquidated same. Also, when Parke Bank forclosed on our Flanders Penthouse the furniture remained with the penthouse. All of this furnture was owned by my son Brendan Dwyer, because of the sale.
Very importantly, Mr. Ted Harski of T.B. Harski and Associates, the most respected and reputable furniture appraiser, who is used by all bankruptcy attorneys and trustees, just appraised the furniture that remained in our house which was sold to Brendan for $66,900 was valud by his firm at $43,740 based on an Orderly Liquidation Sale Value. this contradicts the FBI investigation done on December 2, 2003 stating that "investigation revealed that James Dwyer's property was valued at $500,000 - $600,000, not $95,000." Where did they get their value information? They got it from Michael Hoffman, a former furniture salesman who worked at Whale's Furniture, a decorator is the best qualification you could give him. He now claimed that he is a designer, which is absolutly incorrect. We used him as a decorator of our properties and new real estate properties.
Mr. Harski's appraisal is the first and only appraisal and/or valuation of the disputed furniture. The only way that I could be guilty of bankruptcy fraud is if I sold the furniture to someone for less than its true value. The Trustee's attorney, Mr. Wysotski, stated same during the trial. It is absolutly ludricious that the FBI bought the lie that the furniture was worth between $500,000 - $600,000.
Michael Hoffman is a psychotic individual and a liar. He hates me with an unnatural psychotic passion. He worked for me and many of his superiors wanted to fire him during his tenure at my company because of aberrant conduct. I actually thought he was being picked on and I stupidly protected him, not knowing the whole situation. I found out after the fact of his aberrant nature, for example, writing a poison pen letter to another employee’s (food and beverage director) wife. I also found out he was stealing some art treasures from the Flanders. Many people can testify to same. He was using his personal credit card to buy items for our different projects. Initially I was not aware of same. He was informed by his superiors that if he continued to put things on his credit card the card would be cut up. A couple days after I declared bankruptcy, he came into my office in a rage and told me he was owed money on his credit card, which I had become aware of somewhat prior to this time. Prior to deciding to file bankruptcy, I felt bad about same, so I made arrangements to pay his credit card off (unaware of the fact that he was told not to put anything on his credit card) and made a $20,000 payment to him and a number of $4,000 weekly payments to him. Because of our financial problems, he was let go right before I filed bankruptcy. When he came into my office in a rage I told him his recourse was through the bankruptcy Trustee. As stated above, I became aware of his misuse of his credit card and aberrant conduct, etc. After filing bankruptcy the Trustee’s accountant came to visit me and my acting CEO at the time, Frank Gallo. He asked up about the $20,000 and $4,000 payments to Michael Hoffman, and we informed him about Mr. Hoffman. He told Mr. Gallo and me at the time that, “he is going to be sued.”
Eventually Michael Hoffman made a deal with the bankruptcy’s Trustee’s attorney to come up with a story that I had Hoffman back date the date on the furniture list. Actually, this furniture inventory existed, at the very least, in May of 2000. Mr. Hoffman and his girlfriend at the time, Kerry Hartenstein, update the part of the inventory which was sold to my son with the break down of costs. Ms. Hartenstein, when she was at the trial, and when she was interviewed by the FBI, she stated to them that she did the inventory for Hoffman before she left my employ. Ms. Hartenstein, left my employ in March of 2001. She changed her testimony at the trial and said that she did the inventory in September/October of 2001 in order to accommodate this terrible miscarriage of justice. Ms. Hartenstein is a heroin user. She has five children that she is not allowed to see. She tested positive for heroin the last time she went to family court. She and her second husband were accused of embezzlement when they worked at a rooming house in Ocean City, New Jersey for which her husband went to jail. Her first husband, Mr. Mazzio, the father of her five children offered many times to come into court to talk about her nefarious background. When Ms. Hartenstein came into the court she lied every time she opened her mouth. Mr. Hoffman came into court and lied ever time he opened up his mouth. For example, he stated that he inventoried all the furniture in-place in September/October of 2001. This is physically impossible because the furniture on the list that was located at Fourteenth Street had been moved from the Fourteenth Street to our Flanders offices in June of 2001. (Your Honor, I saw Hoffman do a double take and lie right on the stand when he was questioned about this mater. He created a bald face lie and it came very easy to him). Once again, Mr. Hoffman has a psychotic hatred for me. If you interviewed any ten people that Mr. Hoffman worked with, they will all tell you about his very strange aberrant nature and his present hate for me. By the way, this hatred for me came after I had let him go. As an employer I was very kind to him, I also provided him with housing at our different properties, which was given freely and not part of his remuneration package. I am told that he has been going around from local bar to local bar and telling people that he put me in jail. I am also aware of the fact that he was thrown out of a bar by the proprietor because of his bad conduct.
In discussing the bankruptcy charge, it is important that I speak about Deborah Constant. Constant was never a personal friend of mine, as she stated in court. Her son went to grade school with my son. The first time I met her was when she became employed at Ocean Abstract. She handled some of our real estate closings. At this time I learned about our children going to the same school. Mrs. Constant has proven to be a pathological liar. I lent her money many times upon her request and she always said she would pay me back, but never once did. On these occasions, I forgave same because I understood she was in a tough financial situation at the time. Eventually, she bought a furniture business from the Owner of Ocean Abstract. On a number of occasions, I lent her money for her payroll at the furniture store. Each time she would give me a check for the same amount I lent saying I could cash it in a week. Every single solitary check bounced. I just considered it a women’s having a tough time because she was the main financial support of her family. When she owned the furniture store she would take checks on deposit for furniture. She also had in her store a mutual friend, Roy Zehner, who had a separate furniture concession within the confines of the store with his wife. Constant called me on the phone and told me she just got out of the County jail. She wanted me to talk to Mr. Zehner to act as a go between. Of course I wanted to find out why she was in jail. She told me she took the checks for deposit for furniture and spent the money without giving the individuals the furniture. She also told me that she took Roy Zehner’s credit card and charged money on it with his okay. After talking to Roy I found out that he was the main impetus of having her incarcerated, along with the other individuals who were scammed. I found out from Mr. Zahner that she put much more money on his credit card than she stated and he was extremely upset with her. I basically acted as a final intermediary based on the assumption that if this person goes to jail that Mr. Zahner and the others would not get their money back. Anyway, still feeling sorry for this person I was very helpful in bringing this situation to a close and getting the people their money back and eventually, I believe, Constant getting her record expunged. Prior to this time, in April of 2001 Mrs. Constant notarized the sale of the furniture between my son and me. It was just an ordinary notarization, nothing unusual about it.
The usual people we would use to notarize documents in our company did not have their license. I was told by my attorney that the sale of the furniture had to be notarized, just like the sale of a vehicle, store inventory, etc. After I helped straighten out the problem for Mrs. Constant, she called me in a panic. Your Honor, I stated to you in the trial that she was both “terrified and terrorized.” She told me that she was contacted about the notarization of the furniture sale. I told her to just tell the truth, she did absolutely nothing wrong. She said to me at the time that she was told by the government that things could be made very unpleasant for her concerning her embezzlement problem in the county. I told her to just tell the truth and that there was nothing to worry about. The last thing she said to me was that she contacted the attorney that represented her with the embezzlement problem and he told her that the only thing she notarizes is the signature, not the date. I told her that there was absolutely no question about the date and once again told her to tell the truth. I discussed this matter with my attorney because this was after my initial indictment and he said that we should have our investigator, a former FBI agent, Ken Blankenbuehler, contact her. Ken contacted her and she informed him that she never backdated any bill of sale and she would never consider doing same for anybody. Because of Mr. Hoffman lying about the date of the furniture inventory, Constant was coerced into saying that she back dated the inventory.
I was set up by the assistant US Attorney and the attorney for the bankruptcy Trustee because the assistant US Attorney wanted something extra to add to the indictment – bankruptcy fraud. I believe the date of the deposition was sometime in November of 2003. I might add that many questions about the furniture inventory had been asked of me in many other bankruptcy depositions. I was told by my criminal attorney and my investigator that I should not go to the deposition. I told them that I had absolutely nothing to hide and I did nothing wrong. If you would read my full depositions, you will understand that the testimony, that the US Attorney used, was taken out of context. This whole matter was a concoction in order for the assistant US Attorney to add another count. It was concocted that I backdated the furniture inventory and also that I said in a deposition that I did not give the $95,000 sale price to Michael Hoffman. My question is, what was my motivation for same? I was indicted for bankruptcy fraud. Relative to same, how does backdating a furniture inventory have anything to do with bankruptcy fraud? Also, what motive would I have to say that I did not give the $95,000 sale price to Michael Hoffman?
The US Attorney had an ax to grind and so did the attorney and accountant for the bankruptcy Trustee. Brian Thomas was appointed as my Bankruptcy Trustee, a good attorney and a fair and equitable Bankruptcy Trustee. Normally when a Trustee is appointed to a case, he appoints an attorney and an accountant who is located in the same geographical area whom he has had a relationship with. I’m told from very reliable sources that he as forced by the banks to appoint Ravin Greenberg as counsel and Allen Wieland as accountant, both North Jersey firms who are known to be extremely vicious because the banks “wanted my blood.” I believe that the conduct by both firms has been reprehensible during my bankruptcy. The first time that we found out that there were two sets of tax returns was after I filed bankruptcy. Frank Gallo brought it to my attention and then immediately to Allen Wieland. Soon thereafter I testified about same in subsequent deposition. I testified that I had no knowledge of same, etc. I understood that this was kept under-wraps until I testified in the deposition because after I testified I wanted to bring this fact to the attention of Vito Pantilioine of Parke Bank because I thought I owed it to him before it became general knowledge. When I called him after my deposition, he told me he was already aware of it. The Trustee’s attorney and accountant apparently told many bankers and it spread like a wild fire prior to my deposition. You could imagine I felt like a complete idiot when Vito told me that it was all over the industry. It is a matter of fact that Allen Wieland, after he was informed of the two tax returns, said to many people at business seminars and meetings that “Dwyer is going to go to jail.” This was right after he was informed about same. The Trustee’s attorney and accountant could never be termed objective.
As you know, my indictment started out with one count. Prior to the expanded indictments, sometime, I believe, in July of 2003, my attorney at the time, Vince Giblin, succumbed to a large amount of pressure that was being put on him at the time if he did not agree to give the government additional time that they would move forward very quickly and ruthlessly with the original indictment. My point is that they threatened us to give them that extra time, and with this time they added on all the extra counts. Because of same, I believe that I did not receive the right to a speedy trial.
Your Honor, you stated in your most recent opinion, under K. Sufficiency of the Evidence, a few things that I would like to discuss with you. I have already stated my position above on the bankruptcy issue. I would like to talk about three other things in particular!
1) Signing of the income taxes and loan documents. 2) Reviewing “true company income statements with hotel manager.” 3) That I “actively participated in meetings with Parke Bank representatives in which this false financially information was discussed.”
1) As I stated, Mike McKeever created a very simple but ingenious plan, to have myself and Peggy sign one set of tax returns and then have us sign the other set of tax returns when we went to closing, which he had already presented to the banks unsigned. I unequivocally state that I never had any idea ever that there were two sets of tax returns. I trusted Mr. McKeever and never had any reason to believe that there was any scheme going on. I had a very large company to run. I was very involved in a number of areas, but all of the financial matters were fully delegated. I would just come in and sign papers that were put in front of me, at settlements, etc. The only financial papers I ever looked at were financial papers that were given to me by McKeever stating that our basic operations were grossing $15 million and netting $5 million. I’m a developer, builder, a sales man. I like to put things together and sell them. I made a huge mistake when I allowed Mr. McKeever, who was the former CEO and COO of Revlon with 1500 employees, talked me into keeping operations like the banquet center, our restaurants and the Homestead. I had made arrangements to sell all of these, including the seventy unit Homestead hotel/condominium units. I did all of the legal work for the condominium conversion of the Homestead Hotel. I wanted to sell all of the aforementioned properties, I had buyers lined up, but McKeever talked me into keeping them. Now I’m sure that the reason that he wanted to keep the operations was so that he could skim money from same. I was told by his former wife, who wanted to come to the trial and testify, that the minute he came to work for me he was scheming how to steal money from me. He did the same thing to her father when he was an employee of her father. She also informed me, like I found out from people in the area after McKeever’s death, that he was a pedophile, he raped his own son who is deaf and dumb. And this is somebody that I trusted. I was never given the opportunity during the trial to get my view point across to the jury about this income tax issue. I am sure that the jury was very confused. My attorney told me to “trust him” that I will have plenty of time to get my view point across in the redirect by the US attorney. I was not given a second to get anything out by the US Attorney. In retrospect, it was silly for my attorney to advise me of same. I wanted to get a number of issues like this out succinctly to the jury so they could understand my predicament. I trusted my accountant like everybody trusts their accountant. About a hundred people have come up to me since the trial started and said to me that they could see the same thing happening to them because they never read what their accountant prepares for them, they just sign it. Just the other day, I spoke with a very well known CPA who heads up a large accounting firm, who told me that he does seventy tax returns. He only knows of one person who actually sits down and reads through the tax return before they sign it.
2) My former hotel manager, Dennis Curley testified at the trial. I pursued Mr. Curley because he had a very hospitable nature about himself. He seemed like the perfect hotel manager. My characterization of him was wrong. He was all talk and no action – glad handing everybody, but never getting anything done. I also found out that he was a liar. I found out that the owner of a laundry service that was greatly overcharging us was owned by a cousin of his. I had already told him prior to this to straighten out the bills. Normally I wouldn’t be involved in something like this, but somebody in the company told me about the astronomical bills we were getting. I was also told by many people that his cousin owned the laundry company at the time. I asked Curley if his cousin did own the company and he said no. I asked him if he told anybody in the company that his cousin owned the company, he told me no. I then went and asked about a dozen people if he stated to them that his cousin owned the laundry company (Mr. Curley had a strange nature about him; he used to go around telling people he was the co-owner of the Flanders Hotel.). In any event, he said that he never told anybody that his cousin owned the laundry company, which was a lie, and I thought at the time that if he was lying to me about same he was probably getting a kickback from his cousin, the owner. (I have sadly found out that there is too large a segment of people who are in the hotel management field that are of questionable nature. The rank and file employees, I have found to be wonderful.) Because of Mr. Curley’s lying and suspected stealing, I let him go. As I mentioned before I persuaded Mr. Curley to come to our company I gave him a contract. I had the right to fire him at will because of his lying and suspected stealing without any severance. When I told him I was letting him go, he literally got down on his hands and knees, cried and asked me to give him more severance pay than I was offering him for the sake of his family. Because of the fact that I was an easy mark and that I had pursued him, I would up giving him nine months severance pay. During this trial I had to check payroll records, we found out that he ended up taking twelve months severance pay, three more than he was due. I also found out that during the time he was getting a very substantial pay from us he was receiving Unemployment Benefits. I never, ever, ever, sat down with Mr. Curley and discussed any income figures with him. Any time that I ever sat down with him, it was either with Mr. McKeever, Mr. Maher, Mrs. Parks, and Mrs. George. We never discussed income figures. Mr. Curley is a liar. He also made up a story about the income documents that he “kept in his attic” to bring to the trial. He reluctantly said that Mr. Daily contacted him about the trial matter during his testimony. He did not want to give up Mr. Daily’s name and asked the US Attorney if it was all right. I believe these income papers, which I never saw before, came from Mr. Daily. All I can say again, is that Mr. Curley is a liar and hates me for firing him for cause. I also fired Mr. Daily because when things were getting a little tight at the end he went directly to the Condominium Owners of the Flanders and Watson’s Regency while he was employed with me and pitched them to take over the management of the condominiums for himself. At the time the condominium owners thought it was dastardly for him to do same and reported it back to me.
3) The meeting that supposedly took place where I discussed all of my financial matters between myself, Mr. Maher, Mr. McKeever, Mr. Pantilione and Mr. Guerin from Parke bank never, ever took place. This can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and I am sure Mr. Guerin will not jeopardize his life and career and state that it did take place.
There were many people that came into the trial and lied, starting with Mr. Pantilione. He lied from the beginning of his testimony until the end. Pantilione is being sued by some banks for taking unauthorized fees. His contact at National Penn Bank was Joseph C. Walker. I never heard of the name of Dennis Moyer until my meeting with National Penn Bank at the Union League to tell them that McKeever was “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Mr. Walker was the one that told me directly on the telephone that the deposit checks did not have to be deposited, they could be held by the title company. After getting off the phone with Mr. Walker, I spoke to McKeever and Frank Maher and told them the checks could be held but not cashed. Around this time I was told by Mr. Pantilione that Mr. Walker was somewhat of a negative character, both personally and professionally. I wondered at the time why he was dealing with him. Also after the contracts came into question, Mr. Pantilione told me that: “I don’t know how many times I signed presale contracts for developers,” i.e., phony deals. We put bona fide sales together. I now understand that its not unusual for developers and bankers to conspire and make up phony presale deals. I was never, ever involved with putting a phony presale contract together in my business career. The buyer was always going to have the ability to make money. He always bought in at a lower price, had the option to close on it, flip it, or we would put in a tenant in the property for the buyer. I can hardly believe that Mr. Walker continues to be the Executive Vice President at National Penn Bank. We just received a mailing from NPB addressed to Frank Maher stating that they are looking for more business and Joe Walker’s name was highlighted in the mailing piece. In the original court proceedings which ended with National Penn Bank releasing me of any liability and me releasing them of any liability, Walker committed perjury when he falsely stated that he met me for lunch and I told him that I purchased the Packard Building with monies from the Linwood Construction Loan. This was proven to be a lie when we provided the court with an audit of the Packard Building transaction. He also shook down somebody that you know who played basketball with your son for $150,000 in order for the individual to get loans. His name is Jay Phillips. I am aware of this because before I was indicted, Jay Phillips called me to find out if I gave Mr. Walker any money to get the loans I received. He had been in NPB offices and heard that my loan with them was in jeopardy. I had met Mr. Phillips at a property that he owned. I was invited by an acquaintance of his to have dinner there with some sports figures and then go on to a Seventy-Sixers basketball game. This is the first time I met Jay Phillips. All of the attendees had their own tickets to the Seventy-Sixers games. A couple of times I would see Jay Phillips at other Seventy-Sixers basketball games. After this time he pursued me because I believe he wanted to do some business with me. He seemed to be a nice guy, very charming, but I did not think he had a lot of real estate business acumen. When Phillips called me on the phone I told him I never gave anybody a dime in my life and I never took a dime from anybody in my life. I told him to go immediately to the FBI to report the matter. It is my understanding that this is exactly what he did. I later contacted Mr. Phillips to see if he would testify for me. I met with him at his Voorhees business offices and he told me about the mess that he was involved in; that he committed irregularities with his title company and that he was under investigation for same. At a much later time, I met again with Jay Phillips at his real estate offices at Pennsauken, he had his two daughters with him. I wanted to reiterate that he agreed and would testify for me in any of my court proceedings, he said that he would. He said to me at the time that the reason why he got in trouble was that his wife was an attorney and ratted on him to the FBI. I have also found out after this that Mr. Phillips was involved with the New Jersey Billboard scandal. As stated, I only had a casual relationship with Mr. Phillips. When this matter came up in court, I believe that the assistant US Attorney tried to imply that I was involved with this man and that I had some guilt by association. I am sure that the US attorney knew about my casual relationship and he was creating a smoke screen which he is a master of. I’m also willing to bet anything that Mr. Phillips was wired during my last meeting with him and that the US attorney was completely aware of same.
I stated above that that there was no investigative objectivity by the bankruptcy Trustee’s attorney and accountant. I also know for a fact that there was absolutely no objectivity by the lead assistant US Attorney in my case. He interviewed many of my friends and business acquaintances. They contacted me and told me that the AUSA spoke very negatively about me in a subjective way and not at all objective. Many of them told me that he didn’t want to hear anything good about me. A number of people that testified at the trial told me that he was threatened them. In general, I think that the AUSA made up a script and coerced people into following it during the trial. He tried to do this with Mr. Joseph Bogle, a buyer at Linwood Business Center, but Mr. Bogle was not intimidated. He successfully intimidated Brian Broadley, Frank Walls and Paul Logan, all buyers at the Lindwood Business Center. He convinced them that they did something wrong, which they did not, and they went along with the script in order to protect themselves. The three of them did absolutely nothing wrong prior to the trail, but during the trial they perjured themselves. Other people came into the Court and lied because they had an ax to grind, i.e. Ron Denny, and Mike Hoffman. I don’t know what to think about Kerry Kelly Hartenstein. The last time I saw her prior to the trial she gave me a hug and a kiss and thanked me for helping her get another job. It has been suggested by a number of people that Mike Hoffman supplied her with drug money with the monies he got from kickbacks when he put furniture expenditures on his credit card. It is normal for independent decorators to get fifteen percent kickbacks, which is of course very legal. Of course the same would not apply for someone who worked directly for another as an employee, as Mr. Hoffman worked for me. Why did he insist on putting expenditures on his own personal credit card even after he was told by his superiors that if he continued to do so, his card would be cut up?
Your Honor, you stated in your answer to my attorney’s Motion for an Order of my release pending appeal, that I had not furnished reliable personal financial information to the U.S. Probation office and that my personal financial dealings remained quite unclear. I fully, correctly and honestly furnished true and reliable information to the U.S. Probation office. In the Pre-sentence Report furnished by the Probation Office the officer stated that the financial profile that I provided “is misleading. Although Dwyer declared bankruptcy in December 2001, by his own admission, all of his assets were transferred (property) or sold (home furnishings) to his children, reportedly based on the advise of his accountant, once he learned that judgments would be filed against him due to his failing business dealings. Dwyer transferred virtually all of his holdings prior to declaring bankruptcy. According to defense counsel, the only property that was transferred at the time judgments were threatened, were the furnishings, which were transferred to Brendan for the sum of $95,000, and the motor vehicles, which had no equity at the time.” Also the Pre-sentence Report states, “The Probation Office recently re-interviewed Dwyer regarding his financial situation and his apparent ability to support his family with no known income other than his wife’s earnings and his son’s benefits. The defendant responded that he has used commissions from prior sales to support his family. He also averred that he has borrowed money from friends and family.” I must say that contrary to what the probation department states I believe their report is ambiguous. I never stated to anyone at anytime that my “real estate property assets were transferred to my children, once he learned that judgments would be filed against him…” I did state during the trial that by advice of counsel that I transferred my real estate assets to LLC’s. I was informed by counsel that I could sell shares of this LLC’s and also give investors a percentage of future projects. I was not able to sell the assets at that time because there were liens against them. None of these real estate assets were transferred to my children. When I was solvent, in accordance with an Estate Planning program orchestrated by our outsides accounting firm, I sold some of my assets to my children. They took out new mortgages and the old mortgages were paid off, etc. Bary Sharer is a CFO and accountant for my children. My children have been dragged into my bankruptcy proceedings because of alleged fraudulent transfers by the Trustee’s law firm Ravin and Greenberg. Mr. Sharer has stated that when the transfers were made I was definitely solvent. As you know, you can not have a fraudulent transfer if one is solvent. In conclusion, I was never misleading in my financial disclosures to the Pre-sentencing Officer. I was very forthright and truthful. The officer was confused and didn’t know the difference between the LLC transfers and the assets that were sold to my children properly. I can see where someone would get confused.
I stated to the Probation Office that right after declaring bankruptcy, that I was able to help support my family through real estate broker commission income. I stated truthfully that the only definite monthly income we had was my wife’s salary and my son Josh’s SSI benefits. I have been working with my son Brendan who is the owner of the brokerage company and trying to help him generate real estate brokerage income. Brendan has been able to borrow some money from family and friends based on potential future brokerage income. Brendan is the owner of the brokerage company. I am actually teaching and advising him. Hopefully there will be some good future income for my family. Once again, everything that I disclosed to the Probation Office was truthful and not misleading. I can see where the probation officer could be confused, because the US Attorney and the attorneys for the Trustees have consistently tried to put things in a bad light.
I stated before that many people came into my trial and lied and I named a few. I will name some others. Eric Cummings of Cambridge Capital lied from the beginning of his testimony to the end. He charged us hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and only gave us one loan of a million and a half dollars. Ron Denney lied. He is a disgruntled investor. He invested in many things with our company, prior to the Linwood Project. He invested in the White Sands Hotel. He bought a property on the Boardwalk from me and I bought it back from him. He invested money different times with me and he received a very high return. They were unsecured loans. At that time I secured his last loan with my house and building lots, which I was not obligated to do, he had already made the loan. He also bought other properties and had a long standing investment relationship with the company. He told us that he would buy a unit at Linwood. He also was going to buy another unit in partnership with Brian Broadley, who I introduced him to. He decided not to buy the original unit and did not give us a check, but he had signed the contract before deciding not to go through with the deal. Somehow Frank Maher sent this contract through to Vito Pantilione and he sent this through to National Penn Bank. Ron Denney is a liar. For example, he claims that he had no contact with Mike McKeever. He never wanted to talk to me, he always wanted to talk to McKeever who was the money man.
Brian Broadley, Frank Walls and Paul Logan all lied when they said that they did not sign or have signed a real estate contract to purchase at Linwood Business Campus. Brian Broadley had somebody at his company sign the contract for him. Frank Walls did sign a contract and also said to Frank Maher to sign whatever he had to sign for him. Paul Logan certainly signed the contract and people in my company heard him tell Frank Maher that Frank cold sign whatever needed for him. A handwriting expert could prove that they all were fully involved with the contracts. The sad and ironic thing about these individuals is that none of them ever did anything wrong regarding the sales contracts. The thing that they did wrong was come into court and perjure themselves. I believe that they were threatened and coerced into believing that they did something wrong when they did not. They were bullied into following the party line. Every one of them was going to make money on their Linwood Real Estate Deals. They bought in at a low price and they all were going to make money one way other. It was fully disclosed that they had to put up a check and that the check was not going to be deposited but held by Ocean Abstract at the suggestion and direction of Joe Walker at National Penn Bank when I spike to Mr. Walker on the phone. The only buyer at Linwood that told the truth and absolute truth was Joe Bogle. He could not be threatened or coerced by anybody.
Part of the script that the US Attorney authored was that witnesses were to term me as a “hands on” business individual when it came to financial matters. This was parroted by Jim Simpkins who was scared into doing it. Dennis Curley is a liar with an ax to grind and Kerrie Harnstein is a drug addict that would say anything. I very certainly was never hands on when it came to financial matters.
I have become aware that many banks, like South Jersey Bank, orchestrate and make up false tax returns, W-2 forms, etc., etc., in order to garner loans for their clients. This is fact, not fiction. Many of the people that work for these institutions are wonderful people who have been taught by the institutions to do it this way.
Georganne Parks, Frank Maher, Jodi George, Jack Geraghty and Joe Volpe, all witnesses at the trial, were all threatened. Georgeanne Parks was threatened that she would become a co-conspirator and “that you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if you interfere with this case” by Tom DeLeonardo, AUSA. He threw a tantrum on a number of occasions, scaring Mrs. Parks during interviews (Mrs. Parks has told us that when she got to read the text of her grand jury testimony, that all of the bad things she said about Mike McKeever and all of the good things she said about me were systematically eradicated. In other words, this evidence was tampered with.) Frank Maher was threatened that he would become a co-conspirator and “never see his grandchildren again.” I believe that the abject pressure that was put on Frank helped to shorten his life (More than ten times in one of the AUSA attorney’s motions, he stated that I blamed Frank Maher for wrong doings. He stated the same at least ten times, I counted them. This is absolutely untrue. I never said anything negative about Frank Maher, I only stated that “he was a wonderful human being.” The AUSA deliberately distorted the record.) Jodi George was slyly pressured and threatened by the government, and they inferred that they would not go after her for what they said she wrongly notarized if she cooperated with them. She knew she did nothing wrong and stood firm. Jack Geraghty, after he basically testified in a positive way for me in the grand jury, said that the government inferred that he did not report income that was discussed in his interview. This is patently false: Joe Volpe’s name was given to the government as a witness for the defense at the last minute towards the end of the defense of the trial. The main reason why he came was to refute as to what Mr. Hoffman testified to and also Mr. Hoffman’s questionable character. Prior to him coming to the court, Mr. Volpe was contacted by his son’s attorney (his son had gotten into trouble with some drug charges and had had contact with the government), he was told point blank: that if he would say some negative things about me, that he could expect his son to receive good treatment.
I believe that the Assistant US Attorney is a master of obfuscation and he was underestimated by my attorneys. For example, he brought up the judgment that was recorded on April 5, 2001, the day after I sold my furniture to my son. I had no idea that the judgment was filed on that day, none whatsoever. Also, the judgment has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with bankruptcy fraud. I could sell my furniture to anybody, before, after or on the same day of the judgment for fair value. This was shone to the jury as being something sinister. There is nothing sinister about it. It was strictly a coincidence that the judgment was filed the day after I sold the furniture to my son. This is neither a date that I would know nor any of my attorneys. During deliberations, the jury asked to see the judgment, which again had nothing to do with bankruptcy fraud. It was only a smokescreen that the jury bought into because of the AUSA’s obfuscation.
My attorneys accused the Assistant US Attorney of manufacturing false evidence. We actually found four instances of same and my attorney made a formal complaint on two of the issues. It’s funny that this never got into the press. The Atlantic City Press was nothing more than an echo chamber for the US Attorney’s office. It seemed that they just took the US Attorney’s press releases and printed it exactly the same in the newspaper. In fact on one occasion, when the reporter for the AC Press was not in court one day, coincidently the next day information of that day’s trial appeared in the paper, all quoting the US Attorney. It is my understanding that this is not proper, that in fact the media is not supposed to receive the information until it becomes a matter of record the next day. Every single thing that appeared in the AC Press was very negative towards me. Nobody will ever convince me that the jury did not read the paper. I believe that everyone of the jury were within the circulation of the Atlantic City Press. If they read the Press, it would be impossible for them to not see the articles. Al lof the articles were in large bold type face.
I don’t think of myself as being better than anyone, but I believe that the conduct of the jury could have been much better. At times, I actually saw half of the jury asleep. I can see why because it was a very complex and boring trial. Lender after lender, who I had never met during the loan process, was marched up the witness stand and went on ad nauseum. A couple things really upset me concerning the jury: a. They only deliberated (actual deliberation time) four and a half hours for a nine and a half week trial. b. This is what really made me loose respect for the jury. (They had made their decision and I told myself that this was something I had to deal with. Life is fleeting. I had or have now no animosity towards them.) After Thanksgiving, when the jury came back, on Monday, they reached a conviction judgment. You told them that they had to hang on a few days because they had to be involved with the sentencing process. You informed them that you were not allowed to tell them this before they reached their decision. They all reacted that they were very surprised. At least half of the jury asked for letters for them that they would be able to give to their employer. What I deduct out of this is that they went home for Thanksgiving, told their bosses they would be in the following Tuesday, that they would go in on Monday, reach a guilty verdict, and go back to work on Tuesday. Of course, it would be a violation if they did same. Why would anybody need a letter to their employer, when in fact they had already been involved in a nine and a half week trial if they had not already told their employer about the verdict and that they would be back on Tuesday? This is when I lost respect for the jury.
My family is devastated. If there ever was a family that was inner dependent and loving, it’s my family. If there ever was a family that is interdependent on their father, it is my family. You know about Josh’s, Brendan’s, Megan’s and my wife’s maladies. They are all crushed. The system is very wrongfully breaking up my family. I never, ever, ever, defrauded anyone in my life.
If I was the bad character that government accused me of and convicted me of, I would have money hidden away somewhere. I don’t have a dime. I borrowed my children’s funds that were rightfully theirs, in order to save my company. I had great faith and hope that I could save my company. I poured a lot of money into the company at the very end that I could have hidden away if I was an unsavory character. I have never taken what does not belong to me.
The assistant US attorney said that I was a bad man. They said that I was a bad man found out, not a good man turned bad. I say that at least the one US Attorney is a bad man because he follows the philosophy that the end justifies the means. I think that he would have done anything to get me convicted.
I don’t think that I was properly represented. I love my two attorneys. I feel like we have been through a war together, but I am not happy with the result and not perfectly happy with them. Emmett, Jr. was not able to represent me properly because he was suffering from cardiac problems. Right after my trial he had a pacemaker installed. His pulse before that was twenty-four. He was not able to function and did nothing for me during the trial. I love him, but facts are facts, and this is my life and my family’s life that is under consideration. Emmett III had all of the responsibilities thrust on his shoulders, which was impossible for him to do alone. We never really developed my defense properly, including the developing of defense witnesses. I guess Fitz is going to be upset with me. He did not show you proper respect during my trial. I was appalled and told him so a number of times. He would rail at you and then not have the courtesy to look you in the eye when you would answer him. I am sure that his lack of respect for you did not help me in the eyes of the jury. Fitz did not do this with any malice. I believe that he was trying to emulate his father. In his day, his father could charm you, tactfully put you in your place and defer to you all at the same time. I love the Fitzpatrick’s, father and son, but I don’t believe that I had proper representation.
Your Honor, as you can see this letter has been written over a period of time. I started the day after my sentencing, June 11. I am concluding it this evening, July 17. As you know, I am to report tomorrow to begin serving a nine year prison sentence. I was not prepared to report to Fort Dix tomorrow. I certainly thought that the earliest that I would have to report was July 25. I hoped for an extension and I also hope and pray for an appeal bond. I would like to clarify what happened on the day of my sentencing. You said that I was to report six weeks from Monday. You then paused and asked if someone had a calendar, and I believe that the Probation Officer that was stationed at the end of the jury box gave you the date of July 18. I never considered any date other than July 25, because that was six weeks from Monday. The date selection was an innocent mistake. I was mentally prepared on the worst case basis to report on July 25. Everyone is distraught. We are trying to fix up a house we just rented. It’s a state of confusion. I thought I had the extra week to help my wife put things in order.
There was an anecdotal incident during the trial that I will tell you. The head US Attorney stationed in the Camden office. An attractive, blond haired women whose name escapes me, sat behind my attorney during the direct examination of me. She was trying to systematically distract me during my testimony. She sat behind Fitz and would laser stare at me while moving her head from side to side. I was tempted to say to you that somebody was deliberately sitting behind my attorney and trying to distract me. Coincidently, just around that time we took a break. I told Fitz about the situation and he said that he was going to make a complaint about it to you. I told him I didn’t want to complain to you because I did not want the government to know that they were getting to me. Instead, the next time I went up to testify, I had a paperclip which I broke in half and formed a cross, a Cross of Jesus Christ. The annoyance went immediately away. It was a little miracle. This is an example of how my faith in God works for me. I know that I never, ever defrauded anyone in my life. I know that I will be exonerated. I know that I will win via appeal. I am not at all bitter, because bitterness is the cancer of the heart. I will never be broken. I will be inexhaustible in my pursuit of justice. I do nothing out of bitterness. I will do everything out of justice.
I want to reiterate again that I never, ever defrauded anyone in my life.
Life is very fleeting, one has to react to its ebb and flow. The only way you can act properly is through Faith and Hope in God.
James M. Dwyer
Cc: Alberto R. Gonzales, United States Attorney General.
Christopher Christie, United States Attorney
Senator Arlen Specter, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Chris Mondies, Staff Writer, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Charles Wood, Ocean City Sentinel
Richard Harris, Esq.
F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, III, Esq.
Packard Building Sold
Developer Alex Schwartz
has finally sold the 330,000-
square-foot Packard Building
to Jim Dwyer, a New Jersey
developer, for $8 million.
Schwartz had owned the
building at 15th and Chestnut
streets for a little more than a
year, buying it for $5 million.
While owning the property,
Schwartz had entertained
plans to convert it into apartments.
Dwyer has not finalized
any plans for what he
might do with the property
and couldn't be reached for
Dwyer is better known
for his hotel developments,
including The Flanders Hotel
in Ocean City, N.J. The historic
hotel was built in 1923
and was considered a landmark
in the Shore town. When
the Flanders was about to
be demolished a couple of
years ago, Dwyer invested $12
million into renovating the
property into a full-service
convention facility and hotel.
The Packard is a 25-story
building constructed in 1924
and was considered a couple
of years ago as a hotel site by
Affirmative Equities Inc., a
New York investment company.
The firm had plans to drop
$30 million renovating it, but
the project never made any
progress after preservationists
worried the historic building
would be detrimentally
altered. Affirmative Equities
was going to buy the building
from its owner, General
Electric Capital Corp., for $8
million, but never did. A brief
time later, Schwartz bought
Mallin Panchelli Wentworth
represented Schwartz in both
transactions. Dwyer was not
Earlier this past spring, the
property became part of a
lawsuit filed by Albert M.
“Moose” Greenfield's company
against Wolf Block Schorr
& Solis-Cohen. The suit
accused the big law firm
of deliberately thwarting
Greenfield's real estate company
from buying three
Philadelphia properties, one
of which was the Packard
Building. The suit alleges
Greenfield had retained the
firm to acquire the buildings.
In each case, Greenfield lost
out on buying the properties to
others who were either represented
by the law firm or had
relationships with the firm that
posed a conflict, the suit said.
The case is set to go to trial
But when he was finally on the stand, the prosecutors only allowed him to answer short specific questions, and his own attornies never bothered to draw out Jim's story in his own words.
After his conviction and sentencing, Jim finally tried to do this in his letter to the Judge, but that too, in my opinion, fails to show that Jim too was a victim of his CFO Mike McKeever, banker Vito Pantelone, and the stystem, which allowed him to become a victim of a scam artist and a shister.
When Jim was in the process of purchasing the Packard Building in Center City Philadelphia, it was a new crown in his string of jewels that included the Jewish Federation Building in Center City Philadelphia, the Flanders, Watsons and Homestead Hotels in Ocean City, the Linwood Business Center and White Sands hotel in Bermuda, as well as a dozen boardwalk and off boardwalk apartment/condos, valued in total over $250 million.
Jim Dwyer was on top of the world when he sat down for dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant in Philadelphia in the middle of the settlement to seal the deal on the Packard Building. There was a new hitch in the $8 million dollar deal when one of the banks that guaranteed a $1 million loan suddenly backed out and they had to come up with a quick million. Not a problem, said McKeever, the Chief Financial Officer, who suddenly keeled over and died of a heart attack.
While the meal was spoiled with McKeever's death, the deal went through, and Dwyer contacted his outside accountant in to go over all his finances in response to McKeever's death.
In a review of the company's finances, Dwyer and the accountant discovered that it wasn't as pretty a picture as McKeever had portrayed, and Dwyer had to flip the Packard Building in order to raise money to complete other deals - including the Lindwood Project and the Flander's Penthouses.
When the outside accountant became temporary CFO, they discovered that McKeever kept two sets of tax teturn reports for the company, each signed by Dwyer and his wife, one that was sent to the IRS and the other, apparenty presented to banks.
Dwyer and his accountant, upon discovery of these two tax returns, reported them to authorities, and turned them in. When Dwyer filed for bankruptcy, his finances were scruitinized to the penney, and the two tax forms used as the primary evidence against him in his indictment and conviction.
But it was never fully brought out to the judge and the jury that the most incriminating evidence of Dwyer's guilt was found and disclosed by Dwyer himself!
When investigators and prosecutors offered Dwyer a plea bargain, they said that if he pleaded guilty to a single count of bank fraud, he would get a year to three years in prison, but Dwyer believed he was innocent and fought the charges in court in order to clear, and keep his good name. He believed in the system and that the system would clear him, especially when they explained to him that he had to intend to defraud the banks when he took out the loans, something he knew he never intended to do.
When Dwyer decided to fight the charges, the prosecutors broke down the loans into nine separate counts rather than one, and also charged him with bankruptcy fraud, having convinced three witnesses to perjure themselves in exchange for not being charged with crimes unrelated to Dwyer's loans.
They also wired another businessmen who attempted to obtain loans from the same banks who asked Dwyer about paying special fees under the table in order to obtain the loans, to which Dwyer responded that he didn't make any such payments, wouldn't make any such payments and that he should go right to the FBI. But since that was exculpatory evidnce, rather than support for the prosecutor's assertion of Dwyer's corruption, it was never entered into evidence.
Additional evidence of Dwyers' innoncence was known to the prosecutors when they showed Dwyer a document with his name and signature on it, which he said, under oath, that it was not his signature. He had previously acknowledged that it was his signatures on the two tax forms, but he didn't recall ever signing them, and they were probably signed during the course of a settlement when many such records are signed.
The one document that contained a fabricated signature purported to be Dwyers, was never entered into evidence, but apparently was a parole record of Mike McKeever, whose previous conviction for fraud and embezzlement as CFO of a Fortune 500 company (Revlon) was kept from Dwyer, who never met McKeever's parole officer(s). Apparently McKeever forged Dwyer's signature on these parole records, and the parole officer (a women), who appeared at McKeever's job site on occassion, never bothered to tell Dwyer that he had a former convict in his employ who had previously embezzled millions of dollars and served time for it.
But the prosecutors knew that the record existed, and that it wasn't Dwyer's signature(s)on it, and that the parole officers, who weren't called to testify, never notified Dwyer that he had a master thief in his employee in the most critical position in the whole company.
That document alone is the proof Jim needed at his trial that clearly indicated he did not know that his Chief Financial Officer had been previously convicted of fraud and embezzlement, and the parole office knew and wrongfully failed to notify Dwyer that he had such a person in his employ.
But that fact was never brought to the attention of the judge or the jury.
If all the facts were known and brought out, Jim Dwyer would not be in prison today.
Bermuda Resort Hotels Reopens the Former White Sands Hotel as the Grape Bay Beach Hotel
BERMUDA (July 11, 2003) Bermuda Resort Hotels, Bermuda's newest hotel group, announces the opening of Bermuda's newest hotel experience, the Grape Bay Beach Hotel July 15, 2003. This intimate retreat, formerly the White Sands Hotel, has been reborn, sporting a new name, new facilities, including extensive renovations and an innovative new restaurant.
Grape Bay Beach Hotel boasts new ocean view deluxe and garden terrace rooms, a breathtaking lounge overlooking the South Shore, and Sapori Restaurant, operated by the Primavera Restaurant Group. Sapori's extensive menu will feature a deliciously eclectic mix of "global" cuisines including Italian, Thai and Japanese.
Bermuda Resort Hotels has also appointed a Bermudian, Marcus Jones, as General Manager. Jones has been promoted from his previous position of Manager of the Wharf Executive Suites Hotel.
Grape Bay Beach Hotel
(formerly the White Sands Hotel)
55 White Sands Road
Perched majestically above the South Shore, this small hotel offers panoramic views of sea all within steps of the coral sand, Grape Bay beach. Perfectly placed to discover all the charms of Bermuda, the hotel is located in the central parish of Paget, only minutes away from the picturesque capital of Hamilton, challenging golf courses, tennis courts and all manner of water sports.
Bermuda Resort Hotels is Bermuda's newest hotel group that combines four distinctive properties, Harmony Club, Surf Side Beach Club, Grape Bay Beach Club and the Wharf Executive Suites. Now offering the island's first collection of boutique-styled properties, Bermuda Resort Hotels provides many choices for leisure and business travelers.
View Floorplan »
Guests of Watson's Regency Suites receive the highest level of service and care. We furnish each suite with a wide range of amenities including wireless internet access, in-room coffee, free parking*, and complimentary beach tags to start your vacation as soon as you arrive. Newspapers, vending machines, and ice are available onsite.
24-Hour Front Desk
Elevator Service to all Floors
Daily Maid Service
Wireless Internet Access
Handicap Accessible Rooms
Coin Operated Washer/Dryer on Site
Indoor Pool & Hot Tub Open Year-Round
Meeting Room Accommodating up to 30 People
*Free parking for one car per suite.
THE FLANDERS HOTEL
719 E. 11th Street Ocean City, NJ 08226
Read About Emily, Our Happy Resident Ghost
It was for the purpose of creating a first class boardwalk hotel that a group of Ocean City, New Jersey businessmen formed the Ocean Front Hotel Corporation in 1922. The first meeting, held at Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield, included William Massey, Howard Stainton, Allen Corson, William Shriver, Randolph Fogg, Henry Cooper and other prominent citizens of the day. They decided to build an elegant seaside hotel that would compete in service and appointments with the best hotels in America, a project supported by a $100 a point stock investments by ordinary citizens of the community.
Designed by a renown local architect, Vivian Smith, an Ocean City native who achieved success in Philadephia before returning home to assist in the design of the Ocean City Music Pier, Smith also designed Ocean City Hall, Ocean City High School, Ventnor City Hall and a number of Atlantic City hotels. He also laid out the unique, planned rural town of Belcoville, near Mays Landing.
The Flanders Hotel is of Spanish Mission Revival style, similar to the Chatterbox, the Music Pier, Grace Kelly's family home at 26th and Wesley Avenue and the Golden Galleon shops on the boardwalk, which sets a classic tone for the town. Constructed of steel girders and concrete, the hotel was not quite complete when a Grand Opening dinner party was held on July 28, 1923. The over four hundred guests, dignitaries and prominent citizens enjoyed a cuisine that included Aiquilette of Striped Bass, Consome Yvette, Potatoes Hollandaise, peas, Supreme of Chicken Mousselene and an entree of saddle of Spring Lamb, with Mousse glace Flanders dessert. It was a feast the Flanders chef Richard Spurlock recreated for the hotel's 75th anniversary party.
January 4, 1923
April 10, 1923
April 21, 1923
July 26, 1923
The Flanders Hotel is named after Flanders Field in Belgium, where poppies grow over the rows of gravestones of American soldiers who died during World War I, the cemetery made famous by the John McCrae poem:
"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row...
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
and now we lie in Flanders fields..."
The first national marbles tournament was held at the Flanders to publicize the opening of the hotel, which was originally managed by J.Howard Slocum. Having previously managed the Waldorf Astoria, the Princeton Inn and the Normande Hotel, Slocum established the precedence of fine cuisine, appointments and service that have been continued through the years.
The hotel miraculously survived the devastating fire of October 1927, when twelve city blocks were leveled, after which the boardwalk was rebuilt a block closer to the ocean, which made room for what became the salt water swimming pools.
The stock market crash of 1929 caused economic hardship for the corporation and in 1932, Elwood F. Kirkman assumed ownership of the hotel. Most of the original investors were paid dimes to the dollar, but even in hard times, Kirkman maintained the hotel with an atmosphere of hospitality and continuation of the first class standards.
Among the hotel's more prominent guests wereVice President Charles Curtis, the three Lit brothers of department store fame, cartoonist Al Capp, Grace Kelly and Jimmie Stewart, all of whom spent time in the Ocean Room, which traditionally was the center of activities.
After Kirkman died, his family sold off the property in parcels. Other plans devised to make the hotel into a retirement community, but the city wanted to maintain the hotel as one of the city's premier landmark attractions. James M. Dwyer purchased the Flanders in 1996, remodeled the rooms as condominium units and restored the hotel to much of its former grandeur. The Drifters and the Coasters performed at the hotel's grand reopening on Labor day 1997, a function that was attended by then New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.
Billy Kelly, Historical Author
HOME | ACCOMMODATIONS | PENTHOUSES | AMENITIES | RATES | RESERVATIONS | HISTORY | DIRECTIONS | CONTACT
View Our Video!
...the finest Grand Hotel in Southern New Jersey, completely renovated to modern luxury comfort and convenience standards. The Ocean City landmark is centrally located directly on the famous Ocean City boardwalk and features luxury multi-room suites and exquisite Penthouses with ocean front, ocean side, bay, and city views.
Come enjoy modern luxury accommodations and amenities in an environment of historic grandeur. Relax and meet your fellow guests in our beautifully restored lobby, in our wonderful restaurant and cafe, out by the pool, or in our invigorating fitness center. Celebrate special occasions at the on-site Flanders Banquet and Conference Center. All of our suites have fully equipped kitchens and are tastefully decorated, and our Penthouse suites offer oceanfront extravagance at its best. High speed internet access is available throughout the building.
The Flanders offers a gateway to fun, relaxation, and excitement for the entire family, and our professional staff is ready and eager to assure that your stay is both wonderful and memorable. Bring your family and we are sure you will return again and again to the magic and elegance of The Flanders Hotel.
What Our Guests Have Said...
The accommodations were lovely!
Perfect location. Great time. We would love to come back.
What a great place. Loved the decor.
We all can't wait to visit next summer!
We especially love the close proximity to the beach and boards.
I was glad I had the experience of such a lovely, classic hotel.
Copyright © 2003 The Flanders Hotel Rental Board. All Rights Reserved.
Regal Elegance in Ocean City, NJ
The Homestead Hotel is one of Ocean City, New Jersey's oldest hotels. It first opened in 1929, just steps from the famous Ocean City, NJ boardwalk. It is now available for summer vacation enjoyment, boasting newly renovated rooms and amenities plus more much more.
About the Homestead Hotel
The devastating fire of 1927 destroyed large portions of the Ocean City Boardwalk and left residents and visitors yearning for modern, fireproof hotels. Seeing this opportunity, the Hanscom brothers (bakers and restaurateurs by profession) began plans for a new hotel with contemporary amenities. While not rivaling the Flanders Hotel, Ocean City's luxury accommodations, the Hotel Hanscom added much needed first-class guest rooms to the growing resort.
Now known as the Homestead Condotel, the hotel's early history is briefly stated on the building's plaque. It says, in part, "Formerly Hanscom Hotel, established in 1928 by the Hanscom Baking Company." However, the hotel opened Monday, July 22, 1929, according to the Ocean City Daily.
"The owners, having many years experience of understanding and satisfying the wants of summer hotel guests, planned the hotel as ideal for the seashore," stated the newspaper. "The place they conceived had to be comfortable in size and arrangement, attractive in design, within and without, tasteful in furnishing and complete in service. It was to be neither ostentatious nor expensive; it must wholly satisfy those of moderate means, but not oppress with over-lavishness. All this they materialized in the form of the new Hanscom."
However, in 1968, Friendly Homes, Inc., a group of Methodist laymen and clergy, purchased the Hanscom, changed its name to the Homestead Hotel and turned it into a retirement home. Although the company was based in Philadelphia, Friendly Homes' president William G. Luft was also president of the Ocean City Tabernacle Association, the city's first religious institution. After some renovation, the establishment was ready for occupancy in late summer of that year.
It remained a retirement residence for many years until purchased by a local entrepreneur. "Renovated in 1997 by James M. Dwyer, proprietor and real estate developer" (the plaque continues), the home again became a hotel.
The Homestead has been recently renovated into a condominium hotel (or "condotel").
Now, the hotel may finally break free from its retirement home image and move forward to a new era. Bathers would love staying at the property, since the Homestead is less than a block from the beach and Boardwalk. Ocean views range from excellent to mediocre depending on the location of the condo within the building itself.
Get the reservation process started at the Homestead Hotel.