“The perception certainly is that these big moneyed interests will get what they need if they give enough money,” said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters of New York States.
Contributors – May 4, 2016
We have previously reported on Shalom Lamm, Moshe and Louis Kestenbaum and Kiryas Joel. We planned a follow up with Mayer Hirsch, another player in the Satmar expansionist playbook and a long time associate of the Kestenbaums, an association dating back to at least 1999.
What we did not know at the time was the connection of Mayer Hirsh to Governor Cuomo, the address of which is 266 Broadway in Brooklyn.
The expansionist story begins…
A federal grand jury handed down five indictments Thursday against one Swiss and four New York City businessmen they say defrauded Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble.
The group is accused of conspiring to buy $5.5 million in goods from P&G to be exported to new markets in the former Soviet Union. Instead, the products went to a Brooklyn warehouse and were later sold in the United States for about $9.7 million, prosecutors said.
Facing charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering: Joel Schoenfeld, 50; Louis Kestenbaum, 48; Moshe Kestenbaum, 41; Mayer Hirsch, 49, all of New York City, and Moses Kraus, 59, of Zurich, Switzerland.
While Moshe and Louis Kestenbaum and Mayer Hirsch were being accused of money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy, the Kestenbaums were working on an expansion of the ultra-Orthodox Satmar community into Bloomingburg and Mayer Hirsch was trying to expand the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel.
In 2004, updated in 2010, the RecordOnline published a piece entitled: Myriad of deals done to carve out new village.
Kiryas Joel — In January, when one of the last farms — in Monroe and Woodbury quietly changed hands in two quick deals, a — mysterious organization from Kiryas Joel with $12.7 million at its — disposal wound up with the 140-acre prize.
— Less than two months later, when news broke of a — plan to annex the newly bought ACE Farm and hundreds more acres into — Kiryas Joel, the same entity was said to be coordinating the effort.
— That entity is Vaad Hakiryah of Kiryas Joel Inc., — an organization tied to the Satmar Hasidic community’s main synagogue — — Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar — and led by a former village official — named Mayer Hirsch.
At about the same time, in 2005, Moshe and Joel Kestenbaum and Mayer Hirsch signed a plea deal avoiding criminal charges with regard to activities engaged in by AMRU International Trading Corporation. The deal was singed in the Southern District of Ohio and was resolved by corporate plea. In and around the same time, Mayer Hirsch was remarkably a village official for Kiryas Joel.
In 2015, shady expansionist history repeated itself.
The CapitalNewYork reported that a “network of limited liability companies tied to a Kiryas Joel developer [Mayer Hirsch] has given Governor Andrew Cuomo $250,000 in 2015, more than any other source.
Those last minute contributions corresponded to efforts being made by the ultra-Orthodox Satmar community to put the kibosh on passage of legislation which would have potentially halted the expansion of the Village of Kiryas Joel. According to the article, “The legislation would have required the approval of annexation attempts by local governments within their borders. It was prompted by Kiryas Joel’s attempt to annex 507 acres, which would “make the village up to 70 percent larger.””
In response to various accusations, the governor claimed that the legislation was unconstitutional and he vetoed the bill on July 8, 2015. Coincidentally, “on July 13 and 14, a series of nine checks from vaguely-titled L.L.C.s entered Cuomo’s campaign account, according to a filing he submitted to the New York State Board of Elections on July 15.”
The series of LLC’s which sent the 9 checks were all registered at 266 Boradway, Suite B04 in Brooklyn. Their corporate registrations with the New York Department of State also listed the address 11 Hayes Court, Unit 1 in the town of Monroe, which includes Kiryas Joel and is a property tied to Hirsch. This last company according to the article is also associated with the registered address for Kiryas Joel Meat Market.
According to TheRealDeal, “Several property-holding companies linked with Hirsch signed the Kiryas Joel annexation petition, which could have been blocked if Cuomo had approved the bill. Assemblyman James Skoufis, who sponsored the legislation, called the governor’s claim that the proposal unconstitutional “flat-out wrong.””
The recent stories of the expansion of Bloomingburg, in our view, date back to the same shenanigans involving the Kestenbaums and Mayer Hirsh. The other parties involved to follow.
It should also be noted that 266 Broadway in Brooklyn is also the office address for Rep Nydia Vasquez. We find it very difficult to believe that the payment of the contributions were anything more or less than bribes, which Governor Cuomo accepted.
According to Board of Elections Filings, the donations were as follows:
Read the in-depth article from the RecordOnline describing Hirsh’s involvement in the initial deal expanding Kiryas Joel.
For additional reading click here.
See also numerous articles written on the accusations of bribery and payoffs which were and continue to be levied upon Governor Cuomo: https://www.google.com/search?q=joel+hersch&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS435US435&oq=joel+hersch&aqs=chrome..