It was early evening, late July. Sean Thielen-Esparza, a project manager for a tech company, was on a work call in the bedroom of his Bushwick apartment when he heard someone banging on the door. The apartment is railroad style, and his room has its own entrance into the hall.
“No one knocks on that door, so I knew something was up immediately,” Thielen-Esparza recalled. “I had to tell the person on that call, ‘There’s something up and I need to go.’”
The rent was due, and all but one of the apartments in the building had stopped paying that month. The banging continued.
Men’s voices came through the door. Thielen-Esparza: “The words they used are, ‘We need to discuss the rent payment.’”
Bang, bang, bang.
“’Discuss the rent payment.’”
Bang, bang, bang.
Through the peephole, Thielen-Esparza saw two guys in T-shirts, strangers.
“I remember they were tall enough,” he said, ”where I was aware of the fact that if anything were to happen like a physical confrontation, I would not be able to defend myself against both of them.”
This went on for 10 minutes. Thielen-Esparza said nothing, instead checking in with his neighbors over email. They’d all gotten knocks. And when no one opened up, some of the visitors gathered outside. Peeking out their windows, tenants saw their landlord, a teenage boy (more on that later), standing there with another man, on the phone.
The building’s residents started getting calls and texts from a strange number. It was about the rent. The men lingered on the sidewalk. Thielen-Esparza had an acupuncture appointment that evening. He canceled it.
CODE VIOLATIONS SHOULD BE TREATED AS CRIMINAL!
Nod to FB – Clarkstown What They Don’t Want You to Know.
Rabbi Schwarz, Chairman Rockland County Illegal Housing Task Force, Addressed A Public Hearing On January 23, 2020 In Albany On Illegal Housing In Rockland County.
He spoke about greed, corruption, yeshivas, hatred, machetes, infection of adjacent municipalities, the ‘second floor’, Attorney General James, the Yiddish term for ‘bullshit’, the judiciary, handcuffs and political hacks.
It was a tour de force!
On the same day that Supervisor Specht and Democratic Chairwoman, Mona Montal, were holding the Five Supervisors Meeting on “Confronting Hatred” in Rockland County, Rabbi Schwartz was in Albany describing how they were not confronting greed and corruption in their own Town of Ramapo.
In the last election there were signs that read “What Happens In Ramapo Will Not Stay In Ramapo”. Those were condemned as anti-Semitic and as contributing to a rise of hatred in Rockland County. However, watch now as Rabbi Schwartz spells out what is NOT staying in Ramapo and why anger and resentment, NOT hatred, are rising in Rockland County.
Comments to Rabbi Avi Shafran’s Opinion in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Below we have republished a portion of an opinion that appeared in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, written by Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel. We would like to thank the person who sent this our way, though we are certain he would not agree with our conclusions. Thankfully, there is a mutual respect for differing opinions. We thank him for that also.
There are a few points that should be made about Shafran’s opinion in JTA. The first is we believe you can criticize over-development and the draining of the public school system for the benefit of private yeshivas (and parochial schools) and still defend against anti-Semitism and resentment. The two are not mutually exclusive. While he refers to the links as “indirect” he spends an inordinate amount of time criticizing efforts to uphold educational standards, presumably albeit indirectly linking criticism to hate.
We take the position that only when these uncomfortable subjects are aired can the differences in perception (that often create resentment) be either resolved or peacefully tabled. One can agree to disagree so long as both sides can be vocal and respectful.
Second, Safran’s comments about the criticism of the substandard Yeshiva education in many (but not all) Hasidic yeshivas is, in our belief misguided. Contrary to Shafran’s opinion, a fair indictment of a school system that public money is also partially funding does not detract from defending the religious beliefs that the children who graduate from those yeshivas share. It is simply a criticism of the leadership and the political governmental system that allows the education of these kids to be neglected. If public money is being used to fund these yeshivas, even a single dollar of public tax funds, then they should comply to certain state mandates. To do otherwise is an unfair requirement on all taxpayers; and that does not even address the future tax burdens that stem from inadequate education.
If Shafran’s comments are to be taken to their extreme, then perhaps this country should allow schools for white supremacists, schools for radical Muslims, schools for the Church of Latter Day Saints, Scientologists, and an endless list, all without any oversight guaranteeing that the children have some level of conformity to basic subjects when they graduate. According to Shafran, if applied equally to all faiths, any criticism of any non-conforming schools, whatever the religious belief, is contrary to a peaceful co-existence. That is absurd. Demanding certain standards be met is not indicting an entire religious belief system. Rather, it is holding an educational system to a conforming standard. The United States is based upon a system of equality and laws should be upheld equally. For the yeshiva system in New York, equality has gone out the window.
Many of you have been reading incessantly about a rise in anti-Semitism, insensitive and/or hateful rhetoric, language, violence, etc. This issue has become a hot-bed topic in Rockland County, New York following the stabbings that occurred at a Rabbi’s home/shul on the 7th night of Chanukah.
Yesterday, January 23, 2020, the Supervisors of the 5 towns that comprise Rockland County, New York held a Supervisor’s meeting intended to be the first step in addressing the problems within Rockland County. The Supervisors addressed the attendees and then the attendees were broken out into about 15 groups, each marshaled by a moderator who then had 3 minutes to provide the findings to the entire audience.
This blogger moderated groups 12, 13, 14 and 15 because they were short moderators.
We were asked to answer 2 questions (simplified here):
What are the 3 most prevalent problems within the County?
What are some possible solutions?
Notably, anti-Semitism was not listed as the most eminent threat or significant problem in a majority of the groups. Rather, overdevelopment and unequal enforcement of zoning/land-use laws were deemed to be an overriding problem nearly uniformly throughout each group. That speaks volumes.
The most salient points expressed as problems were:
Over-development (by far the first and most significant point)
Unequal treatment within the many communities in all aspects of life: development, housing, education, services, governmental assistance, law enforcement and the enforcement of building and zoning codes
Discriminatory housing practices and segregation
Education and ever increasing taxes
Social Media and the lack of sensitivity, both from the English-speaking non-religious sites and those geared towards the religious community
A synthesis of the possible solutions is:
Equal application of zoning and housing codes
Equal treatment under the law
Transparency by political and law enforcement officials
A tempered approach to social media, greater sensitivity and a better use of language. Most groups did not think that government intervention in censorship was appropriate, rather they suggested that we need to better temper ourselves.
LostMessiah’s blogger can be seen from about 15:18 to 19:54 on the video.
Two alleged fraudsters swindled an 80-year-old woman out of her Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone valued at more than $1 million in the borough’s latest case of deed fraud, according to the district attorney.
Craig Hecht, of Long Island, and another unnamed suspect set up a convoluted scheme involving dummy corporations and falsified documents in order to steal the brownstone at 260 Clifton Place. Though the victim lived in the neighborhood for more than three decades, the property has been vacant since a 2010 fire.
“This defendant allegedly thought he could take advantage of an elderly homeowner’s absence to steal her house and sell it before she or anyone else noticed,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.
Hecht and the other defendant allegedly created two companies reflecting the victim’s name in 2015, then filed documents with the city indicating a transfer of the home to a third company, TDA Development, which they also controlled.
Hecht allegedly began shopping the property around to would-be buyers, and in November 2015 sold it from TDA to a buyer for $850,000. According to the district attorney, the defendants distributed the money through multiple accounts, with some sent offshore to Greece and more than $250,000 landing in an account owned by Hecht’s wife.
When the new owners of the home began construction on the property, a neighbor informed the real owner, who notified the district attorney’s office.
Hecht was charged with two counts of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of second-degree money laundering, and faces up to 15 years if convicted. The co-defendant has not been apprehended.
In March, lawmakers and housing advocates warned at a hearing organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that Brooklyn is facing an emerging crisis in housing theft cases, including deed fraud.
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