APP Report: Lakewood Tax Assessor’s Retirement is Result of Rebuke from Orthodox Community


lakewood-tax-assessors-office[See Matzav poll at left side of this page.] The Asbury Park Press reports on a story that originally appeared (here) on

The township’s tax assessor announced her abrupt retirement Monday, following a series of scathing rebukes from some members of the Orthodox Jewish community and increasing pressure from an overload of property-tax appeals.

Linda Solakian said she sent letters to the Township Committee, the township manager and the Ocean County Board of Taxation, saying she will retire Sept. 15 due to health reasons brought on by stress at work. She was planning to retire in February.

However, Mayor Robert Singer said he has seen only a copy of Solakian’s letter to the county and will not recognize the retirement until the township receives one of its own.

“Once I officially know this is the case, then she must give us two weeks’ notice, and we then can take proper action,” he said Tuesday.

Solakian said she will remain on sick leave until Sept. 15. The veteran assessor had been facing mounting criticism from resident complaints and Jewish press articles accusing her of anti-Semitism and improper tax adjustments.

In an Aug. 22 article that relied heavily on unnamed sources, The Lakewood Shopper, a local Jewish weekly, said, “Some observations on the assessor’s conduct in public meetings indicates an unfair bias in her approach to different members of the Lakewood community.”

Solakian said the article was a factor in her early retirement, calling it “disgusting.”

Yehuda Shain, a local government critic who at one time applied for Solakian’s job, has filed three complaints against the assessor in the past month. Shain said he applied for the position in 1996, the year Solakian started, but has since allowed his certified tax assessor license to lapse.

Recently, Township Committeeman Steven Langert and Solakian engaged in a shouting match in her office, according to witnesses. Solakian would only say the argument was about an appeal in Pine River Village, a mostly Orthodox senior neighborhood that was being reassessed in preparation for lifting its age restriction. Langert said he would not comment about an “open personnel matter.”

Solakian, who began as a clerk typist in the assessor’s office, said she has developed a number of stress-related health problems following a 2006 revaluation that brought some 4,500 tax appeals to her desk this year, comprising a third of all appeals in the county.

“It’s a very high volume,” said county tax board President P.G. Waxman.

Solakian said the complaints of prejudice came from “a handful of people who didn’t get what they want.” Of the 3,000 appeals she settled this year, she said, about half were with Orthodox residents.

“I have never been a biased person in my entire life and never intend to be,” Solakian said.

{APP/Noam Newscenter}


  1. This is all garbage. SHe is trying to save her own skin so she is blaming this on the “rebuke.”
    For the record, she will be suing the Township Committee – mark my word – for pushing her out.
    there is no truth to what this report claims or what she said. her retirement and resignation has nothing to do with articles or anything else.

  2. 4500 appeals. nebach. i feel so bad.
    IF SHE COULDN’T handle the job, she dshouldn’t have taken it. don’t complain the job is too hard. that’s what you get paid for. that’s why you get a nice salary with benefits.

  3. We are still continuing to file additional charges that the Assessor acted unethical and not utilizing proper accepted appraisal methods. These charges are also being filed against the Appraisal firm of Gagliano, that was hired by Lakewood Township to defend the tax appeals.

  4. In the event that Lakewood Township intends to give the Assessor a severance package or other compensation, we also intend to challenge Lakewood Township on that.We are fully capable to defend Lakewood Township if The assessor or Gagliano’s Appraisal sues.
    Yehuda Shain

  5. I give Langert credit in this case for telling Linda off. But you watch – Linda is going to sue Langert for harrassment. no, i am not kidding. just watch. this is all a game. she is trying to get leverage as she leaves her job.