Jackson Zoning Board Member Resigns Over Anti-Semitic Comments

LAKEWOOD -

A recently appointed member of the Jackson zoning board resigned abruptly, the evening before a collection of crude and anti-Semitic comments he made on social media was made public.

Larry Schuster, who operates a car wash in Toms River, was appointed to Jackson’s zoning board last week. His being appointed aroused complaints from many in the community at large, particularly for his role as the operator of an indecent online forum. The site was also found to contain several offensive comments aimed at Lakewood’s Orthodox community as well as at Jews in general.

In response to an individual who posted the contact information for his business, Mr. Schuster responded by saying, “There is a fee to post adds here 1. Jew joke, 2. Hate your neighbor story,” other items listed used offensive terms. In response to a news item regarding the Lakewood community he wrote, “Jew got to be kidding me.”

A large trove of offensive statements made by Mr. Schuster were sent to members of the Jackson town council. Less than half a day before they were reported by local media, he resigned the post. Mr. Schuster did not make mention of the comments, but cited a commitment to care for his daughter from a previous marriage each Wednesday night, which would prevent him from attending board meetings.

Mr. Schuster’s story is not the first Jackson zoning board member to leave amid controversy. Board member John Burrows resigned after a virulently anti-Semitic rant against Lakewood State Senator Robert Singer was reported in local media. Anthony Marano left the board last month after being arrested for possession and distribution of illicit materials. When police arrived at his home to execute the warrant, he drew a loaded pistol, but ultimately surrendered.

Citing those incidents at a recent meeting, Councilman Barry Calagero called for greater care in vetting applicants for township positions.

Jackson, which boarders Lakewood, has become home to some 500 Orthodox families and continues to grow. While the community has yet to submit an application for its own shul, it is likely to do so in the near future, a matter that would rest with the town’s zoning board.