Commissioner signed as broker but not broker of record on Pacific Ave deal

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WILDWOOD — Commissioner Pete Byron said he signed his name as broker on a letter regarding the sale of a property on Pacific Avenue that he hoped would be home to a synthetic ice rink, but he is not the broker for the real estate deal.
He said he would not make a commission on the property.
In response to allegations by former Mayor Gary DeMarzo that there were “recently uncovered documents showing Commissioner Byron signed documents as a real estate broker on the ice rink property,” Byron said that DeMarzo was trying to “blatantly distort the truth and slander people’s reputations.”

The city had eyed the lot on Pacific Avenue for open space and had planned that the proposed purchase be paid for by the county Open Space Fund. Byron has been a supporter of bringing in a synthetic skating rink, but he said that a rink was one of many possibilities for the land.
However, after the city voted on two ordinances, one issuing the $1.3 million purchase of 3400 Pacific Avenue and another ordinance allowing the purchase, a committee of residents the opposing the project, calling themselves Concerned Citizens for Wildwood, gathered petitions to bring the ordinances to a public referendum.
The matter was brought to court after the petitions were deemed invalid and the petitioners appealed that decision. The city is scheduled to rescind those ordinances during its next commissioner’s meeting on Dec. 12.
“As commissioner, I took the lead on getting the project moving,” said Byron of using the property on Pacific Avenue for an open space project. “But I am not the broker of record. Dan Higman of Weichert is the broker.”
Byron said that he did sign his name as “Pete Byron, Broker” in a letter between himself and Higman.
However, he says the signature was signed out of habit and compared it to how doctors will add an “MD” to their signature.
“You know how you do something for 30 years? You’re used to typing certain things.” he said. “I’m not making a cent off this. There is no way I’d allow myself to do that.
“The document is not a smoking gun,” Byron added. “It is a document I sent to Weichert for them to take to the bank.”
The document in question is a July 17 letter between Byron and Daniel Higman, a Realtor and broker at Weichert Coastal real estate agency that references the contract between the city of Wildwood and the seller of the property, Palisades Financial Bank, at 3400 Pacific Ave., for $1.3 million.  
Byron writes to Higman that enclosed he will find a contract for the property signed by Mayor Ernie Troiano. He also encloses a copy of the letter the said the county would reimburse the city from the open space program, pending an appraisal.
Byron signed the letter as “Pete Byron, Broker” and included his real estate business’s phone number, cell phone, and business web address.
In other letters to Higman, Byron signs as commissioner of revenue and finance
In the contract between the buyer and seller of the property, in this case the city and Palisades Financial Bank, Weichert Realtors Coastal is listed as the broker.
Higman confirmed that he is the broker for the property at 3400 Pacific Ave. and has also been the listing agent for the last three years.
“I don’t know why people keep saying that it is Pete,” Higman said regarding the question of who is the broker on the deal. “I’m the broker and the point of contact between the city and the bank.
“Everything has been above board,” Higman said. “There is no conspiracy.”  
Higman said that his job as broker was a real estate agent that puts buyers and sellers together.
Higman said that he would have received a 2 percent commission on the deal, less than the 6 percent that brokers typical make.
“I took a pay cut to make it work,” Higman said. “I’d rather see a park there then 63 more condos.”
Since the city is in the process of rescinding the ordinances, Higman said that he is again marketing the Pacific Avenue property to other buyers.

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