The Charrette Meetings and a Lakewood Parallel…. Perhaps Investment Clubs Should be Set Up to Buy and to Hold Property

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Miller Lobbyist to Swap for Preservation Property at Costco-Brick Border

Investigative News and Editorial Commentary by Joyce Blay

In the red-hot real estate market of New Jersey’s fastest-growing municipality, Laurie Leeds stands out in a crowded field of investors.

She is not only notable for her trademark wide-brimmed hat, but also for the size of her real estate holdings, which consist of an impressive 31 Lakewood properties acquired over the years.

These days, the notoriously camera-shy Leeds is not just taking center stage in acquiring investment properties in a township that is not her home, but in protecting them from other investors developing theirs – even if that means addressing a live-streamed public meeting of the Lakewood Planning Board, as she did on Tuesday night, August 7, 2018.

Leeds did not pull any punches. She threatened to file a lawsuit the following day if members approved a residential development project calling for the installation of a water/sewer pipe through her neighboring property without her signed permission.

New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) requires that all property owners within 200 feet of a proposed major subdivision or major site plan with variances be notified in writing of the project.

Some Lakewood property owners have charged that they were not notified by certified mail as required by state law.

During the planning board hearing, Adil Homes, LLC asked for approval of an amended preliminary and final major subdivision to adjust approved lots located on Block 190 on East County Line Road.

Leeds owns property on Block 191.

She also owns property located on Block 351 in the Industrial Park’s M1 zone on James Street.

So does Lakewood Township.

Since Leeds owns most of the block, a total of 1.65 acres, she cannot sell her investment property to developers without acquiring the township’s 8,000-square-foot-undersized parcel on the same block.

Under the 2013 Revised Statutes, Title 40A – Municipalities and Counties, Section 40A:12-13.2 – Sales of real property; right of first refusal of contiguous owners, owners of private property neighboring undersized public property have the right of first refusal whenever the municipality intends to sell that property.

Members of the Lakewood Township Committee had other plans for undersized public property contiguous to hers.

Instead of offering it for sale to Leeds, the adjacent property owner, committeemen offered to exchange the undersized public parcel with Diamond Triumph Properties, LLC, the owner of a 4,100-square-foot-undersized parcel located on Block 445, Lot 6 in RM zone, based on the two parcels’ assessed values, instead of their appraised values.

Block 351, Lot 3, owned by Lakewood Township, has an assessed property value of $8,800, while Block 445, Lot 6 has an assessed value of $19,000. However, Block 445, Lot 6 is nearly inaccessible due to its’ landlocked location.

According to the Ocean County Tax Board Web site, Diamond Triumph Properties LLC is located at 22 Carasaljo Drive, the home of Yecheskel (Charlie) Schwab.

Schwab is the owner of DataMap Intelligence LLC, a property mapping service.

In a March 7, 2018 post, NJ News & Views reported a business relationship between Schwab and Committeeman Menashe Miller.

A 2013 invoice, which a reporter for NJ News & Views received under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), included a hand-written notation instructing township officials to turn over the check, totaling $110,000 and made out to DataMap Intelligence, to “Mr. Miller.”

The invoice also included the notation, printed out in capital letters above the hand-written instruction: “ENTERED BY PURCHASING DEPT. AS PER YEHUDA ABRAHAM AND MINASHE MILLER.”

Yehuda Abraham is Lakewood Township Purchasing Agent.  He received the appointment during Miller’s administration as Lakewood mayor of 2012.

NJ News & Views requested copies of the front and back of the canceled check, which was endorsed by “DataMap,” instead of Miller’s own name as an officer of the company.

Miller did not disclose the income on his 2014 Financial Disclosure, which reports all sources of income earned in excess of $2,000 during 2013.

Miller also failed to disclose his part-time salary that year as a director of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce (LCOC). Miller did not report his income from the part-time position until 2017, which reported his 2016 sources of income.

Although the Chamber’s Web site provided Miller’s biography, it did not state exactly what work the committeeman performed for the organization that benefited its’ members.

Since first being affirmed onto the township committee in January 2004, Miller has never served as the appointed liaison to either the Lakewood Industrial Commission (LIC) or the Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC), which share the same goal as the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce – to promote jobs and business in the township.

Miller did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment.

Miller is currently under investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, based on a complaint that the 5-term committeeman personally profited from his public office. The complaint included a link to findings reported by NJ News & Views in the March 7, 2018 post.

In 2013, California resident Kenneth Garzo informed Lakewood officials in documents NJ News & Views obtained under OPRA that he was the heir to over 200 parcels formerly owned by his late uncle, New York real estate investor Maximilian Hirshberg. Hirshberg’s late widow, Florence, inherited the properties upon her husband’s death. In 2014, the executor of her estate transferred title to the properties to Garzo through an omnibus deed posted on the Ocean County Clerk’s Web site.

Garzo included documents prepared by DataMap to prove his claim to public and private properties on which the township had foreclosed during the 1970s and 1980s. However, the DataMap documents were prepared for Garzo the same year  DataMap was under contract to the township, making the work for Garzo a conflict of interest.

In December 2016, Garzo sued Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller, Lakewood Municipal Manager Thomas L. Henshaw, Lakewood Township and a representative of the Cedarbridge Redevelopment Corporation, which the township contracted to lease or sell space in Lakewood’s Corporate Park . Garzo claims title to several undersized parcels in the area, including the adjacent baseball stadium’s parking lot.

According to Garzo’s legal papers, the officials reportedly met with him at municipal offices in February 2016 to negotiate a global settlement of his claim to the Hirshberg properties that called for the exchange of public property for the foreclosed properties, then reneged on the deal.

If he prevails, Garzo can ask the court to have Lakewood taxpayers to reimburse his legal costs, as well as those of the township.

Garzo can also settle out of court for his original deal of public land for foreclosed property, valued at millions of taxpayer dollars.

Miller and Lakewood Township continue to do business with Schwab, to the profit of both men and the continued expense of Lakewood taxpayers.

Last month, it was Leeds whose investment took second place to Miller and Schwab’s money-making scheme.

According to Ordinance M-3, scheduled for second reading on the township committee’s July 12, 2018 meeting agenda, township Tax Assessor Edward Seeger had determined that public property located on Block 351, Lot 3 was equal in value to private property located on Block 445, Lot 6, and that the exchange would benefit Lakewood by development of private property as a public park.

Under  the 2013 Revised Statutes, Title 40A – Municipalities and Counties, Section 40A:12-16 – Exchanges of certain lands; exceptions, the municipality can exchange public property for private property. However, taxpayers must receive “full and fair value” for public property as determined by the  municipal tax assessor, pursuant to R.S. 54:4-23 for the then current tax year.

In other words, the exchange of public property for private property must be based on the appraised value of public and private land, not the assessed value.

A reporter for NJ News & Views made an OPRA request for Seeger’s recommendation to exchange public and private property for their assessed values, which he reported to be equal in value.

In response, township officials informed the reporter that the requested document did not exist.

By exchanging public land for private land based on the properties’ assessed values,  Schwab and Miller can flip their new acquisition for a profit at the appraised value.

The ordinance stated that Block 351, Lot 3 held no “intrinsic” value, even though is was located on a block owned by a single private property investor, and that the exchange would return public property to the tax rolls.

So would sale of public property to the adjacent property owner.

“It is in the best interests of the Township of Lakewood to exchange these parcels,” the ordinance concluded.

No, it was not.

Any developer that proposes a project on Block 445 must include open space or a tot lot or playground. Taxpayers should not have to subsidize a developer’s obligation to homebuyers that purchase a unit in his or her proposed development.

If a municipality seeks to build a playground or park on an undersized lot for public use, the local governing body can condemn private property for a public purpose under Title 40 – Municipalities and Counties, Section 40:61-1 General powers; acquisition of property. The local governing body does not have to exchange valuable public property not located immediately adjacent to private property for that purpose.

Instead of exchanging his undersized parcel for public property, Schwab could offer to donate it to the taxpayers of Lakewood. His generosity would benefit everybody, not just a select few.

That is a gesture that real estate investor Ovadi Malchi made several years ago with land he could not develop either. Malchi’s property was located near the Metedeconk River, a protected C-1 waterway with a 300-foot buffer.

Instead of accepting Malchi’s gift, which would have enabled the township to preserve environmentally-sensitive land,  the township committee declined it, citing its’ lack of access.

Malchi’s act of kindness not only sets an example for private citizens, but public officials as well.

Committeemen could have shown the same benevolence as Malchi by offering public property located on Block 351, Lot 3 for private sale to Leeds, the adjacent property owner, but they did not. Leeds had to assert her rights by offering a sale price far in excess of the property’s assessed value, unlike Schwab.

At the July 12, 2018 committee meeting, members of the audience and viewers watching the live stream did not see Leeds address the local governing body in opposition to the property exchange. However, committeemen discussed her offer to buy Block 351, Lot 3 during the videotaped workshop meeting that preceded the public meeting that night.

Before agreeing on a private land sale price of $25,000, one committeemen suggested a sale price of $35,000 – even though Block 351, Lot 3 is assessed at only $8,800.

A reporter for NJ News & Views attempted to ask committeemen about the land exchange during the public forum held following the ordinance’s second reading. Instead, Mayor Raymond Coles informed the reporter that the committee was “killing” the ordinance, and did not allow her to publicly discuss it.

According to Robert’s Rule of Order, in order to “kill” an ordinance, Coles was required to ask for a motion and second to approve the ordinance after second reading and a public hearing. If no member of the governing body responds, the ordinance “dies.”

That did not happen on July 12, 2018.

That does not mean Miller and Schwab do not have an alternative get-rich-quick scheme.

On the same meeting agenda, Ordinance N-2, scheduled for first reading, called for the exchange of land with Diamond Triumph Properties, LLC for the same undersized lot. However, the new ordinance proposes the exchange  because the township “believes” that it would be more advantageous for municipality to own Block 445, Lot 6 for future combination with adjacent lots owned by the township.

Lakewood Township owns Block 445, Lot 3, which is not contiguous to Lot 6. It is the location of the Lakewood Fire Tower, which provides the highest unobstructed view of the 25-square-mile municipality from it.

It is not advantageous for Lakewood taxpayers to also acquire Block 445, Lot 6. As long as Diamond Triumph owns property it cannot develop, taxpayers do not have to subsidize municipal or district services to any improvement on it, while investors in the LLC must continue to pay taxes that subsidize services to other taxpayers in Lakewood.

But that is not what Schwab or Miller plan to do with their investment.

Instead of getting an undersized lot that would have reduced the value of Leeds’ property, while increasing the value of their acquisition to her, Schwab and Miller have set their sights on public property designated for preservation under the township’s Smart Growth Plan.

Located on Block 1264, Lot 1 in the B-5 zone, the 1.16-acre site is east of Shorrock Street, next to the Costco building on the south side of Route 70.

Ordinance N-2 incorrectly reported that Block 1264, Lot 1 was located in the B-2 zone, but correctly reported that the site was undersized because the B-5 zone requires a buildable lot of two (2) acres. However, JSM at Brick Properties LLC owns 1.20 acres on Block 1252, Lot 1, and 1.97 acres on Block 1262, Lot 3. The properties are separated by paper streets the township committee could vote to vacate, giving Diamond Triumph Properties the opportunity to acquire a total of 4.33 acres – enough to qualify for a Planned Educational Campus.

Schools are a permitted use in the B-5 zone.

A Planned Educational Campus includes schools, faculty housing and student dormitories.

For Schwab and Miller, there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if the deal goes through, but not for Lakewood taxpayers.

Instead of holding a public land auction, Diamond Triumph Properties LLC will pay Lakewood Township an additional $13,000 for a total acquisition price that will equal the public property’s assessed land value, rather than its’ market value.

The assessed land value of the vacant public property is $32,000, but its’ appraised value may be much greater.

A reporter for NJ News & Views made an OPRA request for the appraiser’s report of the market value of Block 445, Lot 6. The township clerk’s office responded by informing the reporter that the requested document did not exist.

According to Ordinance N-2, scheduled for first reading on the July 12, 2018 Lakewood Township Committee meeting agenda, at 1.16 acres, public property on Block 1264, Lot 1 is undersized, adjacent only to paper streets and is of no practical use to the Township.

Not according to documents Lakewood submitted last year for state Plan Endorsement.

Page 21 of the revised 2013 Lakewood Smart Growth Plan calls for preservation of the following areas:

1.)  Lands along the Kettle Creek near Route 70 and in the proposed Oak Street Core

2.)  Crystal Lake Preserve Area

3.)  Wetlands and wooded areas in the Cedarbridge Redevelopment Area

4.)  Areas within Lakewood Shenandoah Park adjoining Cedarbridge Avenue

5.)  Wetlands north of Cedarbridge Avenue in the Lakewood Industrial Park

6.)  Undeveloped areas along Shorrock Street to be combined with existing Green Acres preserved land

7.)  Lands east of the Garden State Parkway, adjoining the township boundary with Brick Township

8.)  A portion of the former Department of Public Works site along the Cabinfield Branch

The township’s Smart Growth Plan is a requirement for state Plan Endorsement.

In 2016, the state Planning Commission granted conditional Plan Endorsement to Lakewood Township, provided local government  incorporated its’ Smart Growth Plan with the township’s Master Plan and adopted ordinances that advanced it.

The township was also required to demonstrate  that it would have adequate water and waste water capacity for its’ projected growth.

As reported by NJ News & Views, the township was given an extension to meet those requirements last year.

The state extension did not help Lakewood meet its’ deadline.

Neither did a lawsuit challenging the validity of documents already filed with the state for Plan Endorsement.

Late last year, the homeowners association (HOA) of The Fairways at Lake Ridge, an adult community located on Massachusetts Avenue whose name references its’ proximity to the neighboring, award-winning Eagle Ridge Golf Course, filed suit to stop the amenity’s proposed redevelopment. The developer, GDMS LLC, reportedly paid the Kokes Organization $9.5 million for the golf course, then proposed an ambitious redevelopment plan for it consisting of 1,872 units of housing, commercial retail space, a clubhouse and five acres of Lakewood’s most precious commodity – on-site parking.

Following public protest, the DEP instructed GDMS to hold a public hearing on the proposed project. GDMS held a public forum on May 9, 2017, in the Jackson Memorial High School auditorium, the largest available area venue. A reporter for NJ News & Views attended the hearing on that date and noted that every one of the 1,200 available seats was filled, mostly with objectors to the proposed redevelopment plan.

One Fairways resident held up a sign from his seat in the audience that read, “DON’T TURN CROSS STREET INTO A LOST STREET.”

The Fairways is located at the intersection of Massachusetts with Route 70 and Cross Street. The township has designated Cross Street for dense development on its’ Smart Growth Plan.

Senator Robert Singer, who represented Lakewood as a committeeman for 30 years until 2010, and continues to represent the township in the state’s 30th Legislative District, did not attend the public forum.  Instead, Singer met with Lakewood district administrators, state monitors and former board of education attorney Michael  Inzelbuch to negotiate the terms of his rehire.

No elected members of the Lakewood Board of Education were informed of the meeting so they could attend it, according to board member Ada Gonzalez.

Several weeks after GDMS held a public forum on its’ proposed redevelopment plan for the golf course, the DEP rejected the plan.

Or so it seemed.

After initially rejecting GDMS’ application for a permit, the DEP met behind closed doors to settle the matter out of court.

In the November 2017 DEP Bulletin, the department announced a settlement with GDMS, which had submitted a modified plan for redevelopment of the golf course. Instead of 1,872 units, the developer proposed 517 townhouses, each with a basement apartment, for a total of 1,034 residential units on the former golf course.

The timing of the announcement was conspicuous, published days before the November election in which Singer was running for re-election to his state Senate seat.

Singer owns a home in Island Heights, which is not a township he represents in the 30th Legislative District. During the work week, Singer reportedly rents a home that is owned by GDMS in The Enclave, an adult community that the Kokes Organization developed in Lakewood on the other side of Massachusetts Avenue from its’ sister development, The Fairways.

Despite Singer’s absence from a public discussion of the proposed redevelopment of the golf course as a mixed-use development, he won his bid for another 6-year term in the state Senate.

Government lobbyists may not be as fortunate in 2018 as they were in 2017.

On December 17, 2018, former Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford, now a state Superior Court Judge, sitting in Toms River, is scheduled to hear the Fairways HOA lawsuit against GDMS and township officials.

According to the 31-page lawsuit, filed by land use attorney Michele R. Donato, the Fairways HOA is challenging the rezoning of the golf course for dense residential redevelopment by asking Ford to invalidate Lakewood’s Master Plan and to void the ordinances adopted by the Lakewood Township Committee to rezone the municipality under it.

The lawsuit also asks Ford to place a protective trust on the golf course until GDMS agrees to protect it as open space.

In addition, the lawsuit charges the following:

1.)  Lakewood Township ignored the MLUL’s environmental impact and open space preservation requirements;

2.)  The Lakewood Township Committee did not adopt the planning board’s recommended infrastructure improvements in adopting the planning board’s recommended zoning changes based on them;

3.)  Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles’ planning board designee, Angela Zografos née Koutsouris, an employee of Gilmore & Monahan, the law firm owned by George Gilmore, head of the Ocean County Republican Party, does not live in Lakewood; and that

4.)  Committeeman Marc (Meir) Lichtenstein, owner of MSL Property Management, works for three principles of GDMS, creating a conflict of interest from which he did not recuse as a voting member of the Lakewood Township Committee.

During Reorganization 2004, following Lichtenstein’s and Miller’s 2003 election to the Lakewood Township Committee, members voted to appoint Lichtenstein as liaison to the Lakewood Zoning Board of Adjustment. Every year for the next for seven years, committee members re-appointed Lichtenstein to the liaison position, even though the zoning board grants exceptions to ordinances adopted by the Lakewood Township Committee, making the position a conflict of interest as well.

According to sources, during those seven years, Lichtenstein, like Miller, sold his influence to government lobbyists. In exchange for guaranteeing zoning board approval, Lichtenstein’s management company was contracted to manage applicant’s properties.

Following years of NJ News & Views reporting the liaison position as a conflict of interest, the township committee no longer appoints a liaison to the zoning board. Instead, members appointed Lichtenstein their liaison to Planning & Zoning, instead of appointing a committeeman that does not stand to personally profit from his public service.

On August 16, 2018, Miller also stands to personally profit from his public service.

Or maybe not.

His fortunes may rise or fall, depending on whether or not Lakewood can develop the municipality in accordance with a blueprint for growth that some state officials approved, and others did not.

In December 2017, Gerard (Gerry) P. Scharfenberger, Ph.D., the director of the state Office of Planning Advocacy (OPA), signed off on Lakewood’s 10-year Plan Endorsement, which he registered on the same date the new governor, Phil Murphy, was sworn into office on January 16, 2018.

One month later, Gov. Phil Murphy reportedly fired Scharfenberger, who had requested to continue serving as OPA director before his dismissal.

According to media reports, Murphy fired Scharfenberger after the OPA director did not appear at a scheduled press conference Murphy had asked him to attend. Murphy reportedly scheduled the press conference Scharfenberger did not attend in order to discuss his administration’s new environmental policy.

Scharfenberger continues to serve as a member of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and as part-time adjunct professor of anthropology at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, where www.ratemyprofessors.com reports he is a popular instructor.

Murphy’s relationship with state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney may be just as problematic as his relationship with Scharfenberger.

For the past seven months, the state Planning Commission Scharfenberger directed has not met due to lack of a quorum of appointed members.

That will not change anytime soon.

According to media reports, Sweeney wanted the job that Murphy won. Murphy is unlikely to give Sweeney the satisfaction of rejecting any appointees he may submit to the Senate in its’ advisory role.

Earlier this month, NJ News & Views submitted an OPRA request with the N.J. Governor’s Office, asking for Murphy’s list of proposed candidates for appointment to the state Planning Commission.

On August 10, 2018, the reporter received an e-mail from the records custodian with a denial of access letter attachment. The letter informed the reporter that the requested document did not exist.

The last time the state Planning Commission met was on January 10, 2018, which ironically was the commission’s Reorganization meeting. Since that time, the commission has not met to continue its’ discussion of Lakewood’s Plan Endorsement with Fairways HOA spokesman Rob Robison and Fairways attorney Michele Donato.

Robison told NJ News & Views that when the commission does meet again, he will ask commissioners to reverse Scharfenberger’s approval of Lakewood’s Plan Endorsement.

That may not be necessary.

In February, the same month Murphy fired Scharfenberger, the DEP rejected Lakewood’s water service delivery plan. As a result, the township did not meet all requirements for dense development of areas regulated by the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA), which would have permitted an increase in the percentage of impervious coverage from the current 35 percent to as much as 80 percent.

According to a state official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, DEP rejection of Lakewood’s Plan Endorsement may not make a difference.

The official told NJ News & Views that in Lakewood, the threshold for CAFRA jurisdiction is much higher, requiring 75 or more units of residential or 150 or more parking spaces for any non-residential use – from which schools are exempt.

“So even without the allowable site coverage densities that the Township Smart Growth Plan sought to incorporate for CAFRA-sized projects, there is a huge potential for dense development which would not need CAFRA permits,” the official told a reporter. “As a result, there is much building in the CAFRA area of Lakewood that sails right under the CAFRA permitting requirements.”

The official shared his thoughts about Lakewood’s future development.

“I believe that the Lakewood government officials and the secular officials know that higher density development is the only way to accommodate the burgeoning population which seeks to remain in the township, but this type of development is the antithesis of what many other residents want to see.”

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Ramapo Charrette Meetings and Overdevelopment, not a Problem with the “Who” but with the “Methods” Employed

Dear readers:

We are posting this from our comments section, a quasi editorial. We are well aware that by posting it, focused so closely on curbing the development and ultra-Orthodox neighborhood, it runs a fine line between a well-balanced approach and a fear of an entire culture. We note that the ultra-Orthodox are comprised of some very decent people and some far darker forces, depending upon the sect of the community. Few can differentiate so the fear is broader, perhaps, than it should be. But there are precious few within the ultra-Orthodox community willing to sit down and really and truly build healthy and stable bonds, willing to face the darkness and the fear that it perpetuates.

Everything is done under cover of darkness which breeds suspicion. In the case of Ramapo, New York, there has been a “bait and switch” pattern that has left few trusting the community at all.

We invite you to review and to view all of the videos that are linked to the comments. The issue from our perspective is not what on its face may appear to be somewhat anti-Orthodox. Rather, the issue is the change of the character of the area, something shared in large part by communities like Lakewood, NJ, Toms River, NY,  Bloominburg, NY, and others whereby the ultra-Orthodox move in, they build incessantly, they register as  home-based Yeshivas and then they pay reduced taxes. This hurts everyone else and unquestionably feeds resentment.

Most send their children to insular yeshivas where many do not learn basic subjects – core subjects like English and math; and in many instances, they do not make good neighbors.

It is a pattern we have seen repeatedly and if we are to end, both the inherent appearance of anti-Semitism and a mutual resentment, and if we are to create a neighborly and inviting place to live for everyone, we need to come to grips with the fact that the behavior of what may be a few is breeding a hatred for the many. Sadly, that hatred filters down to moderate, conservative and secular Jews alike and non-Jews alike. We also must come to an agreement regarding how much of the character of the neighborhoods are going to change and what lines need to be drawn on both sides of the debate.

Bait and switch techniques, like those used before, do nothing but create hostility, mistrust and hatred.  

PLEASE READ ON:

Can we stop the Ultra-Orthodox from taking over yet another established neighborhood?

A neighborhood that many (including many Orthodox) moved to because of its rural flavor?

Why has the town of Ramapo sold out to the religious builders? And how can we stop them?
The Town of Ramapo has hosted a number of ‘Charrette Planning Meetings’. The voice of the residents is clear:
We want to preserve our open space and our single family neighborhoods! We do not want to become another Monsey or New Square!
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 6 PM at the Pomona Middle school. Please attend if you can.
Watch the videos from the recent presentations by the Rampo town hired planners. They have lots in store for Northeast Ramapo!
Ramapo Charrette Meeting: Introduction 11/27/18
Ramapo Charrette Meeting: Citizens Report 11/27/18
Ramapo Charrette Meeting: Developers & Agents 11/29/18 Part 1
Ramapo Charrette Meeting: Developers & Agents 11/29/18 Part 2
Ramapo Charrette Meeting: Open House Presentation 11/29/18
New Hempstead Charrette Meeting: Community Update 12/18/18

A Rumored Meeting Between Legends in Chabad and the Satmar?

kinus.

Rubashkin and Mirilashvili to Meet in Rockland County with Unknown Satmar Heads and Maybe Others?

This year’s Chabbad Kinus is proudly featuring the Reb Yitzchak Mirilashvili as the keynote speaker to speak before thousands of ultra-Orthodox, at an event which is scheduled to take place during the first week of November at Rockland Community College, Rockland County, New York.

Sources close to the Kinus have told us that it is attended by thousands, not only members of Chabad but also members of other sects, including the Satmar whose leaders are usually present. This year is expected attract the largest attendance of any thus far and security is expected to be tight. While we had hoped women were also invited, we have been advised that this is a G.O.L.F. (gentlemen only, women forbidden) event.

As to the keynote speaker, while we cannot diminish the importance of the  donations that Reb Mirilashvili has made to Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Mikvahs, Torah Scrolls, etc), we can’t quite shed the feeling that the providence of that money can’t possibly be cleansed within the waters of a Mikvah (or several).  Reb Mrilashvili’s father Michael, it is said, “has an unusually colorful history” so too, we would guess does the family fortune. Be that as it may, the Chabad movement has been proud of it’s donors (think Mark Nordlicht, Lev Leviev, etc.) and we cannot forget about Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin, another darling of Chabad, along with Rabbi Berel Lazar, who is quick to tell us how much Putin loves Mazoh. We cannot begrudge Chabad the fame and fortune of such a legendary list of “Philanthropists.”.  

Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, if you will recall, was welcomed home with open arms, singing and dancing after President Trump provided him with a promised Presidential Pardon, something we understand came as a tradeoff for Chabad support of Trump’s election. Whether or not the current investigation into Russian meddling has any connection is a matter of speculation.  That said,  after Rubashkin’s return, “Rubashkin spoke enthusiastically in a mix of English and Yiddish, thanking President Trump for commuting his sentence, describing him as a messenger of G-d.”

Sources close to the community have told us that Rubashkin, whose pardon was supported by thousands both online and elsewhere, is enjoying his fame and good fortune; and as a pardoned man has a significant measure of perceived untouchability. So, it would not surprise us to learn that he is allegedly the bridge between warring Jewish factions, particularly where discussions of financial  matters are concerned.

Sources close to the organization of all of the events have told us that there is a planned meet sometime during the weekend of the event to be attended by the heads of Chabad and Satmar and, while we were unable to verify with certainty, there may be other sects represented at that clandestine meeting also.  

In our opinion and given the entire Kinus operation is intended to raise money, it sounds like something out of a Francis Ford Coppola or a Martin Scorcesi movie.

 

Guest Keynote At The Banquet: Mr. Yitzchak שי׳ Mirilashvili 

We are honored to share that Reb Yitzchak Mirilashvili will be the guest keynote speaker at this year’s Gala Banquet.

Through his Keren Meromim Foundation he supports dozens of revolutionary projects spreading Torah learning, Chessed and outreach while supporting hundreds of Shluchim in Eretz Yisroel and throughout the world.

The Mirilashvlili family have become exemplary partners to Shluchim and communities around the world, committed to perpetuating and expanding the Rebbe’s vision accross the globe.

New York – From Monsey To Brooklyn, Rubashkin Greeted By Thousands On Street In Joyous Celebrations

New York – Just hours after word broke that President Donald Trump had commuted his sentence, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin received a hero’s welcome at his family home in the New Hempstead section of Monsey.

Thousands took to the streets in Brooklyn and revelers packed Lubavitch world headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, where cases of Smirnoff were rolled in to celebrate the good news, an unexpected gift from the White House that came in the final moments of Chanukah.

But the level of joy in Monsey was off the charts as throngs of people packed the two block long South Gate Drive where the Rubashkin family has been living for the last several years in order to be the first to greet the 57 year old after his release from the federal penitentiary in Otisville.

Police blocked off streets in all directions to accommodate the sudden influx of cars to the area, with some drivers abandoning their vehicles and walking because traffic had come to a complete standstill.

Photographer Shimon Gifter was the first member of the media to speak with Rubashkin after his release in an exclusive VIN news interview that took place aboard a coach bus as he prepared to leave Monsey for a trip to Brooklyn to visit his parents in Borough Park, Lubavitch world headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens.

Free of Otisville and its orange prison garb and surrounded by family members including some grandchildren that he had never met,  Rubashkin was dressed in a black jacket, pants and hat and a white shirt as he spoke about the importance of being “b’simcha” at all times.

Asked what message he would like to send to President Trump, Rubashkin said that he prays for Trump every day.

“G-d should bless him and the United States of America,” added Rubashkin.

 

ABOUT MICHAEL MIRILASHVILI

The Russian-Israeli Billionaires Embroiled in Israel’s Latest Corruption Investigation

His life and business career suffered a lengthy interruption when he spent eight years in prison on charges related to the kidnapping of his father. In August 2000, his father, Moshe Mirilashvili, a prominent member of the Jewish community who served as president of the Congress of Georgian Jewry, was kidnapped in broad daylight on a main road in St. Petersburg. He was released just two days later, and a month and a half after the abduction, the bodies of two of the kidnappers were found.

Michael Mirilashvili was arrested and charged with several offenses, including attempted murder. In August 2003, he was convicted of kidnapping and lesser charges but acquitted on the charge of attempted murder, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The conviction sent “shock waves” through the Russian Jewish community, the Jewish press reported at the time, saying it was widely believed that Mirilashvili was being targeted, either by rival businessmen or by powerful politicians.

Mirilashvili’s legal team fought his sentencing, calling it “enormously unjust” and “enormously severe.” In 2004, Mirilashvili appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, arguing that his rights had been violated and that he did not receive a fair trial. He was vindicated in 2009, when the European court ruled that his conviction and sentencing was unfair. That year he was released from prison and he moved his home base to Israel, where he continued his business activities in Russia and began investing heavily in Israel and elsewhere.

Since his release, Mirilashvili has held an annual party with rabbis and politicians to celebrate his freedom. Attendees this year included Dery, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and former cabinet ministers Gideon Sa’ar and Ariel Atias.

Mirilashvili’s close ties to politicians were also seen in 2010, when businessman Ofer Nimrodi threw Mirilashvili a party for his 50th birthday at his house in Savion – one of Israel’s richest communities. Some 350 people attended that party, which was said to have cost some $1 million, including Edelstein, lawmakers Tzachi Hanegbi and Meir Shitrit, as well as former chief rabbi Yona Metzger.

The indictment filed against Metzger alleged that Mirilashvili gave Metzger $250 thousand in for the wedding of the former chief rabbi’s son. Mirilashvili wasn’t indicted and Metzger was ultimately convicted in a plea bargain and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

Keynote Speaker Yitzchak Mirilashvili to Speak Before Thousands in Suffern at Rockland Community College

Kinus Hashluchim Banquet Keynote Speaker Announced

The organizers of the Kinus Hashluchim  have announced the Keynote speaker for this years banquet. The following press release was sent out:

We are honored to share that Reb Yitzchak Mirilashvili will be the guest keynote speaker at this year’s Gala Banquet.

Through his Keren Meromim Foundation he supports dozens of revolutionary projects spreading Torah learning, Chessed and outreach while supporting hundreds of Shluchim in Eretz Yisroel and throughout the world.

The Mirilashvlili family have become exemplary partners to Shluchim and communities around the world, committed to perpetuating and expanding the Rebbe’s vision accross the globe.

Yitzchak Mirilashvili is an Israeli-Georgian billionaire businessman and philanthropist, based in Russia and Israel. Mirilashvili’s family businesses include real estate, construction of shopping malls, casino chains, petroleum industry, diamond and renewable energy sectors. He was known as the youngest billionaire of Israel, following the sale of his shares in a popular news site for $1.12 Billion.

He is also a very active contributor to many Jewish organizations.

KEEP READING:

 

Continue reading

A Substantially Uneducated New York – Alternatives to Cuomo’s Hands-Off Policy

STEPHANIE MINER

Note to Reader: We are going to avoid endorsing any candidates except to say that it is our sincerest hope that Governor Cuomo will be ousted. He has already drawn a line in the sand, promising that the education and the lack of substantially similar standards will not be addressed in New York. In other words, he has promised the children of the Hasidic communities that they will grow up functionally illiterate, with little or no ability to live outside of their communities, absent their own desires to study independently. He has promised the leaders of the communities that they can continue to keep yeshiva students children hostage to illiteracy.

Getting Cuomo out should be a priority to those of us who want to see all children in New York to be educated.

 

PRESS RELEASE
ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD MEET BASIC EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
October 15, 2018 1:00 PM

 

https://www.minerforny.com/all_schools_should_meet_basic_education_requirements

Syracuse, N.Y., October 15, 2018 – State education law requires that private schools provide a “substantially equivalent” education to that of public schools. However, in Andrew Cuomo’s New York, certain politically-connected schools have been given a pass. 

“School children shouldn’t be political pawns,” said Miner. “All schools should be required to meet basic standards. Period.”    

At the governor’s direction, this year’s state budget effectively exempted certain private schools from the requirement that they provide a “substantially equivalent” education. It also took oversight away from local school districts, instead giving to the state education commissioner.

“Cuomo’s cynical, transactional politics is dooming kids. When they grow up and realize they don’t know basic reading and math, they’ll ask how adults failed them,” Miner said.

Miner pledges to:

1.     Work to reinstate the “substantially equivalent” standard for schools, ensuring students learn subjects including English, math, science, history, geography.

2.     Direct the State Education Department to certify private schools on an annual basis to ensure they are meeting state standards.

3.     Make sure schools receiving state or local funding are subjected to state inspection at any time.

4.     Work to identify ways to assist school districts that have significant numbers of private school students who are competing with public school students for resources.

5.     Explore permitting school districts to establish district seats for school board.

 

Voter Fraud Contentions in Rockland County, New York – Re-Printed with Permission – Editorial

IS THERE INTEGRITY TO THE VOTING LAWS, THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN ROCKLAND COUNTY?

Note to readers:
We received this from a concerned citizen and it is being re-printed from a post on Facebook. There was additional information posted on the Facebook Post that we chose to leave off of this post due to names and signatures, though we do believe we could have posted it under the http://rocklandgov.com/departments/law/freedom-of-information-law-foil/.
The Facebook post can be accessed by clicking here.

Part 6: How can I, as a citizen, have faith or confidence in our Boards of Elections and electoral process?

Wake up Orangetown? Wake up Rockland!
Potential Voter Fraud in Our Own Backyard…
No matter what your political party affiliation is, you should be VERY concerned.

FOR THE RECORD: WHATEVER I WRITE OR HAVE WRITTEN CONCERNING THIS ISSUE IS BASED UPON INFORMATION FROM A DIRECT AND PRIMARY SOURCE. I DO NOT RELY ON HEARSAY WHEN PRESENTING FACTS.

38 invalid petitions for Conservative Party Committee Members have been subsequently validated by the Rockland County Board of Elections (BOE) resulting in the election of 40 ineligible candidates and another 35 ineligible candidates being placed on the September 13 Primary ballot.

This has occurred even though a thorough investigation was conducted by yours truly providing irrefutable evidence that all 38 petitions were invalid. 
THE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION AND IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE WAS PROVIDED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. IN THE TIME THAT IT TOOK COMMISSIONER STAVISKY TO “CONSULT WITH”, PREPARE AND WRITE HER NUMEROUS LENGTHY RESPONSES TO ME, SHE AND THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY REVIEWED THE EVIDENCE AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUBSTANTIATED THE INVALIDATION OF ALL 38 PETITIONS.

1. In her many email responses to me, BOE Commissioner Stavisky has repeatedly stated that the BOE does not perform investigations. This was also stated to me by a BOE attorney. Ms. Stavisky has also indicated that the BOE does not have enough personnel to perform investigations. They both have reiterated that all petitions are considered valid unless objected to by registered voters. Election Law Section 6-154 states this. Yet there are exceptions. The BOE could very well have invalidated petitions for election districts 49, 55 and 85 because they each did not have the required number of signatures. The NYS Board of Elections Law Update (page 15) clearly states that a BOE can invalidate a petition without the necessary number of signatures even without objections. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED THE ABOVE 3 PETITIONS.

2. All 8 petitions filed for 8 Orangetown election districts are invalid because all petition signers clearly do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, as prescribed by election law. All petition signers clearly live in Ramapo. THERE WAS NO NEED FOR AN INVESTIGATION HERE; THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY NOTED THE INVALID ADDRESSES BY VISUAL SCAN IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 8 PETITIONS.

3. 29 petitions for 29 Ramapo election districts are invalid because all petition signers do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, again as prescribed by election law. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 29 PETITIONS.

4. Election districts 7, 100 and 104 have no registered Conservative Party voters therefore all 3 petitions should have been invalidated.

5. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. How can effective decisions be made when there exists a dual power-sharing model which has 2 equal election commissioners (one democratic, one republican) in charge? This method was enacted in 1974. Our state legislators need to take a hard look at the Board of Elections hierarchies. No ONE individual is in charge.
I mention this because “I have been told” (hearsay) that the Rockland County republican commissioner, Ms. Giblin, had asked for an investigation of several or all of the 38 petitions. Since mid-July, I have written to both election commissioners and have repeatedly received responses from Ms. Stavisky, the democratic commissioner. The only response I received from Ms. Gibln was a confirmation concerning my inquiry regarding the elected/primary statuses of the 75 ineligible candidates. I am unsure of the BOE protocol regarding responses to the public.

IT SHOUD BE NOTED THAT COMMISSIONER STAVISKY IS ALSO THE CHAIRWOMAN OF THE ROCKLAND COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE.

6. Both election commissioners took an oath of office, in part, to defend the Constitution of the State of New York. I fully understand and appreciate the obvious problems that can be inherent with the existing dual power-sharing model that exists within the Rockland County Board of Elections. This absolutely should not excuse the BOE officials from not doing everything professionally possible to prevent ineligible candidates from being considered for election. This is why I believe our Rockland County Board of Elections has failed the citizens of Rockland County.

7. I have either emailed and/or faxed an updated letter to the NYS Board of Elections (attached), Rockland County District Attorney, NYS Attorney General, Senator Carlucci, Assemblywoman Jaffee, Assemblyman Zebrowski, each of the 17 Rockland County Legislators, Congresswoman Lowey, Governor Cuomo and multiple media outlets.

 

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