What price peace and solitude? A gentleman’s farm in Hopewell might go for a bargain price when the bidding starts on Thursday, May 25, at 4 p.m. Prospective bidders may register at an open house set for Thursday, May 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. Call 888-299-1438 or go to www.maxspann.com.

Last year Mercer County spent $2 million for 248 Pleasant Valley Road, which came with 25 acres bordered by the Howell Living History Farm, preserved open space, and a creek. Then the county carved out the eight acres next to a creek (to be used as farmland by the Howell Farm) and slapped on restrictions to development. The restrictions might cool the bids.

“Our expectation is that it will sell for nowhere near $2 million,” says Max Spann. Before the restrictions were applied, in October, 2004, it listed with Coldwell Banker for $2,250,000. “But I learned a long time ago never to predict, and the final price is subject to the freeholder’s approval.”

At age 42, Spann is a graduate of Fairfield University in Connecticut and the Missouri School of Auctions. His great grandfather began by auctioning cattle that he had shipped from the Isle of Jersey.

Spann, whose Clinton-based auctioneering firm focuses on real estate, reports that more than 100 potential buyers have seen the house, and they are talking about prices of from the $600,000 range to more than $1 million.

Though there is a restored 180-year-old shed on the 16-acre property, the house is just 10 years old and has five bedrooms, five baths and two half baths, full basement, art studio, geothermal heating, and in-ground pool. A 3,000-foot barn has a big loft.

On the day of the auction Spann plans to set the stage with a tent and chairs, light refreshments, and a live blue grass band. Tire kickers are welcome. “It’s show business,” says Spann. “Auctioned houses rarely fail to sell.”

High Tech Expansion

Universal Display Corporation Inc. (PANL), 375 Phillips Boulevard, Ewing 08618; 609-671-0980; fax, 609-671-0995. Steven Abramson, president. Home page: www.universaldisplay.com

Universal Display Corporation will showcase its new, 40,000 square-foot research laboratory at an invitation-only open house on Monday, May 22, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.. Congressman Rush Holt is scheduled to speak on how Universal Display has led the revitalization of `Einstein Alley,’ the high tech research corridor for Central New Jersey.

Universal Display is a pioneer in organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology that was incubated at Princeton University. OLEDs (naturally existing chemicals that glow when electrically charged) could revolutionize displays on TVs, cell phones, and even buildings. Consumer products using OLEDs are scheduled to debut in 2006.

The company’s revenues doubled for the first quarter of this year, compared to last, thanks to a contract with a major display manufacturer. It owns or has exclusive license rights in approximately 725 issued and pending patents.

Torkelsen to Jail

John Torkelsen has another day in federal court on Friday, May 26. He was sentenced in March to 70 months imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, as part of a plea bargain for his 2005 conviction for Making a False Entry in the Books, Reports and Statements of Acorn Technology Fund, formerly based on Vaughn Drive.

The plea bargain terms were supposed to include “soft time” in a minimum security prison known as the “camp” in Fairton, New Jersey, 92 miles south of Princeton, near Bridgeton. Instead Judge Reggie Walton, in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, sentenced Torkelsen to a medium security prison at Fairton. “The placement of a defendant at a specific facility for security reasons is a classification decision for the Bureau of Prisons to make, and this court should not have attempted to influence the decision through its recommendation,” Walton wrote.

For a prison term of that length, the first part of the sentence is generally in a medium security prison because of the perceived security risk, says Peter J. Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University who has been following the case.

One difference is that inmates at the minimum security camp can have unlimited visitors, but the medium security jail allows each inmate just nine “visitor points” per month, with a weekday visit counting for one point and a weekend visit for three points.

Torkelsen, 60, is also supposed to pay restitution to the SBA in the amount of $1,905,634. Torkelsen got funding from the Small Business Administration for Acorn Technology Fund (ATF) to invest in start-up businesses. “During the year 2000,” says the FBI, “Torkelsen converted at least $5 million ATF received from the SBA. He thereafter falsified ATF’s records to make it appear to the SBA that $5 million in ‘pre-paid management fees’ had been repaid with funds from outside of ATF, when in reality the ‘repayments’ were made with loan proceeds secured by ATF’s assets. Torkelsen also submitted false reports and statements to the SBA representing that none of ATF’s assets were pledged as security for any liability.”

Pamela Torkelsen, Torkelsen’s wife, has a status hearing on the same day in the same court. She had entered a guilty plea and is cooperating with investigators regarding a potential suit against her husband’s former client, law firm Milberg Weiss, according to Justin Shenck of CalLaw.com.

No one is saying whether John Torkelsen is cooperating with the Los Angeles grand jury that is investigating Milberg Weiss and former Milberg Weiss attorney, William Lerach. “If Torkelsen is cooperating, his contribution will have to come quickly because the statute of limitations is ticking,” wrote Henning in a legal blog.

Deaths

Teresa Honnen, 53, on April 20. An artist, clothing, designer, and tailor, she worked at the Jaeger Store in Princeton.

Barbara LaTourette Prosser, 59, on May 5. She had worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb in virology and infectious diseases.

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