Protest – Call to Action, May 16th
Contributors May 9, 2016
Residents are calling on themselves, their neighbors, law enforcement, politicians and the media to find a way to use those documents to bring criminal charges of fraud against those involved in approving and constructing the high-density housing project Chestnut Ridge.
From the Herald Times:
MAMAKATING — Residents of the Village of Bloomingburg and the surrounding Town of Mamakating are calling for action — from everyone.
Two weeks after developer documents describing a secret long-term plan for Bloomingburg were published, residents are calling on themselves, their neighbors, law enforcement, politicians and the media to find a way to use those documents to bring criminal charges of fraud against those involved in approving and constructing the high-density housing project Chestnut Ridge.
About 70 people gathered at Mamakating town hall Thursday night for a Rural Community Coalition meeting, where they discussed the recently published documents and what further actions can be taken to get justice for what they believe were crimes committed against their community.
RCC President Holly Roche said the documents, which described a long-term plan to build 5,000 homes for Hasidic families in Bloomingburg and take control of the village government, don’t help the RCC build a new civil case against developers Shalom Lamm and Kenneth Nakdimen and the former government officials who approved Chestnut Ridge.
But she said she hopes the documents will be a tipping point for a criminal investigation.
The FBI raided Lamm’s Bloomingburg offices in 2014 and has interviewed local residents as recently as last month. Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell has also stated he is looking into the allegations of fraud and corruption in the village, but no charges have been brought and several civil lawsuits against the developers have been dismissed.
At Thursday’s meeting, residents signed letters addressed to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and state Senators John Bonacic and Bill Larkin asking the representatives to make public requests of the state comptroller’s office to open an investigation into the Bloomingburg situation.
A protest was scheduled for Monday, May 16, from noon-4 p.m. at the Sullivan County Courthouse. Residents want to call out law enforcement for their lack of action, and again ask their local politicians to help bring attention to the issues.
“There really should be a public shaming,” Roche said.
Roche reminded the community to be vigilant, and pay close attention to any land deals or business partnerships that could pave the way for fraud. The community is in a better position now to stop any fraud before it occurs, Roche said.
“We are here, and we’re watching,” Roche said.